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Agriculture, Volume 12, Issue 10 (October 2022) – 238 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Many of the important traits of livestock are complex or quantitative traits controlled by thousands of variants in the DNA sequence of individual animals and environmental factors. The identification of these causal variants would be advantageous for genomic prediction, to understand the physiology and evolution of important traits, and for genome editing. In this review, we consider eight types of evidence needed to identify causal variants: large and diverse samples of animals, accurate genotypes, multiple phenotypes, annotation of genomic sites, comparisons across species, comparisons across the genome, the physiological role of candidate genes, and experimental mutation of the candidate genomic site. View this paper
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12 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
Morphological Features of Winter Rape Cultivars Depending on the Applied Growth Stimulators
by Anna Sikorska, Marek Gugała, Krystyna Zarzecka, Łukasz Domański and Iwona Mystkowska
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1747; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101747 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1339
Abstract
Currently, in agricultural engineering, plant growth regulators or biostimulants, immunity stimulants or bacterial vaccines are becoming standard elements in the production technology of many types of field, fruit and vegetable crops. The research was based on a three-year field experiment carried out in [...] Read more.
Currently, in agricultural engineering, plant growth regulators or biostimulants, immunity stimulants or bacterial vaccines are becoming standard elements in the production technology of many types of field, fruit and vegetable crops. The research was based on a three-year field experiment carried out in 2018–2021 at the Agricultural Experimental Station of northeastern Poland. The aim of the research was to determine the effect of biostimulators containing microorganisms and micro and macro elements, phosphorus and potassium and silicon on the morphological features of the leaf rosette and the increase in fresh and dry mass of the above-ground part of the rosette and the root system of three winter rape cultivars. The conducted research showed that the application of the organic preparation Ugmax significantly increased the number of rosette leaves (by an average of 13.9%), the length of the tap root (by an average of 2.3 cm), root neck diameter (by an average of 4.2%), fresh and dry weight of the above-ground part of the rosette (by an average of 6.0% and 6.6%) and fresh weight of the root system (by an average of 0.88 g) compared to the control variant. The hybrid morphotypes that were restored compared to the population cultivar Chrobry were characterized by a weaker autumn development of the leaf rosette. Full article
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15 pages, 3382 KiB  
Article
Identification of Allelochemicals with Differential Modes of Phytotoxicity against Cuscuta campestris
by Antonio Moreno-Robles, Antonio Cala Peralta, Gabriele Soriano, Jesús G. Zorrilla, Marco Masi, Susana Vilariño-Rodríguez, Alessio Cimmino and Mónica Fernández-Aparicio
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1746; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101746 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
Cuscuta campestris is a parasitic weed species with noxious effects in broadleaf crops worldwide. The control of Cuscuta in the majority of crops affected is limited or non-existing. We tested, for the first time, the effect of eighteen metabolites in in vitro-grown Cuscuta [...] Read more.
Cuscuta campestris is a parasitic weed species with noxious effects in broadleaf crops worldwide. The control of Cuscuta in the majority of crops affected is limited or non-existing. We tested, for the first time, the effect of eighteen metabolites in in vitro-grown Cuscuta seedlings. We found that 2-benzoxazolinone, hydrocinnamic acid and pisatin caused the strongest inhibition of seedling growth. In addition to seedling growth, pisatin caused necrosis of the Cuscuta seedling, occurring mostly at the seedling shoot. Scopoletin and sesamol treatments caused toxicity, observed as a black staining, only at the Cuscuta root apices, while caffeic acid, ferulic acid and vanillic acid caused toxicity, observed as brown staining, in the root apices. The structure–activity relationships in four structural derivatives of 2-benzoxazolinone, and five structural derivatives of hydrocinnamic acid, were also studied. The identification of new herbicidal modes of action against Cuscuta is the first step in creating new alternatives to sustainable chemical control of parasitic weeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasitic Plants and Weeds Control in Cropping Systems)
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26 pages, 3156 KiB  
Review
Smart Farming: Internet of Things (IoT)-Based Sustainable Agriculture
by Muthumanickam Dhanaraju, Poongodi Chenniappan, Kumaraperumal Ramalingam, Sellaperumal Pazhanivelan and Ragunath Kaliaperumal
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1745; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101745 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 81 | Viewed by 87953
Abstract
Smart farming is a development that has emphasized information and communication technology used in machinery, equipment, and sensors in network-based hi-tech farm supervision cycles. Innovative technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing are anticipated to inspire growth and initiate the use [...] Read more.
Smart farming is a development that has emphasized information and communication technology used in machinery, equipment, and sensors in network-based hi-tech farm supervision cycles. Innovative technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing are anticipated to inspire growth and initiate the use of robots and artificial intelligence in farming. Such ground-breaking deviations are unsettling current agriculture approaches, while also presenting a range of challenges. This paper investigates the tools and equipment used in applications of wireless sensors in IoT agriculture, and the anticipated challenges faced when merging technology with conventional farming activities. Furthermore, this technical knowledge is helpful to growers during crop periods from sowing to harvest; and applications in both packing and transport are also investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovations in Agriculture)
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22 pages, 4509 KiB  
Article
Toxicological Effects of Silver and Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles on the Biological and Life Table Parameters of Helicoverpa armigera (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera)
by Muhammad Shahbaz Asghar, Zahid Mahmood Sarwar, Abdulrahman A. Almadiy, Ashwag Shami, Rania Ali El Hadi Mohamed, Nazeer Ahmed, Minakshi Sanjay Waghulade, Pravej Alam and Fahd Mohammed Abd Al Galil
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1744; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101744 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2034
Abstract
American bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) is a notorious pest of different agronomical and horticultural crops. Different synthetic insecticides are recommended to control H. armigera but widespread and repeated use has led to pesticide resistance in this pest. It is, therefore, necessary to develop [...] Read more.
American bollworm Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) is a notorious pest of different agronomical and horticultural crops. Different synthetic insecticides are recommended to control H. armigera but widespread and repeated use has led to pesticide resistance in this pest. It is, therefore, necessary to develop a novel strategy to manage the population of H. armigera. Nanotechnology is the most effective and eco-friendly approach to mitigate this problem. In the present study, the bioefficacy of green synthesized nanoparticles and two different silver and zinc oxide nanoparticles with different concentrations, viz. 100, 125, 150, 175 and 200 ppm were used against the larvae. UV-vis spectrophotometer, SEM and EDX were used for nanoparticle characterization. Data were recorded daily. The result showed that in silver nanoparticles maximum larval mortality was 97%, while in zinc oxide nanoparticles, 82% was recorded against the 3rd, 4th and 5th instar of H. armigera. The effect of nanoparticles on demographic parameters was also evaluated, which increases the net reproductive rates, mean generation time and intrinsic rate in the control group compared to the treated population. After bioassay, larval and pupal duration was prolonged in the treated population compared to the control. The longevity of males, females and fecundity was also reduced. This technique will be a valuable tool in integrated pest management regimens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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16 pages, 4507 KiB  
Article
Wood Ash Additive for Performance Improvement of Gelatin-Based Slow-Release Urea Fertilizer
by Eefa Manzoor, Zahid Majeed, Shamyla Nawazish, Wasim Akhtar, Sofia Baig, Ayesha Baig, Syeda Manahil Fatima Bukhari, Qaisar Mahmood, Zainub Mir and Shahida Shaheen
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1743; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101743 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2453
Abstract
Urea is a crucial nutrient for plant growth, but because of its substantial losses due to nitrification, ammonification, and subsurface leaching, there is currently a push to reduce these losses. Urea is frequently uploaded and trapped in gelatin. In this research, the improvement [...] Read more.
Urea is a crucial nutrient for plant growth, but because of its substantial losses due to nitrification, ammonification, and subsurface leaching, there is currently a push to reduce these losses. Urea is frequently uploaded and trapped in gelatin. In this research, the improvement of urea uploading and encapsulation efficiency is investigated using wood ash made from plant biomass (Pinus roxburghii). The 8 g w/v of gelatin was mixed with various concentrations of wood ash (from 4 to 16 g w/w), urea (from 4 to 24 g w/w), and glutaraldehyde (from 0.5 to 3 mL g−1) to prepare various formulations of slow-release fertilizer (SRF). According to this study, adding wood ash to gelatin increases its ability to upload and encapsulate urea. The urea on its surface and the metal in wood ash both considerably contribute to the compositional alterations in gelatin in SRFs, which were demonstrated by IR spectroscopy. Visualization from photographs revealed that the homogenous dispersion of wood ash improved structural compatibility. The water content of the SRF formulation showed that wood ash can reduce water absorption by changing how hydrophobic gelatin is. Wood ash improves the gelatin’s ability to reduce the rapid release of urea over time, according to testing of cumulative urea release from SRF. The optimal combinations for achieving the maximum 53.43% of urea uploading were 2.44 g of urea, 2.47 mL of glutaraldehyde, and 1.50 g of wood ash, according to the Box–Behnken model. The gelatin-based SRF that had been amended with wood ash was applied to the Mentha spicata plant, and the plant’s healthy development and higher chlorophyll content revealed its agronomic potential. This study has a significant contribution to the development of an affordable and more effective wood ash-modified gelatin-based SRF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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21 pages, 642 KiB  
Article
Technical Efficiency Analysis of Layer and Broiler Poultry Farmers in Pakistan
by Nisar Ahmed Khan, Majid Ali, Nihal Ahmad, Muhammad Ali Abid and Sigrid Kusch-Brandt
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1742; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101742 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3072
Abstract
Achieving high production with limited resources is a major challenge faced by poultry farmers in countries with developing economies, such as Pakistan. Optimization of the technical efficiency (TE) of poultry business operations is a promising strategy. A representative sample of 210 poultry farms [...] Read more.
Achieving high production with limited resources is a major challenge faced by poultry farmers in countries with developing economies, such as Pakistan. Optimization of the technical efficiency (TE) of poultry business operations is a promising strategy. A representative sample of 210 poultry farms in the province of Punjab in Pakistan was analyzed for TE. The studied sample comprised 105 layer chicken farms (battery cage system, egg production) and 105 broiler chicken farms (environmental control shed system, meat production). A Cobb–Douglas stochastic frontier production analysis approach with the inefficiency effect model was used to simultaneously estimate TE levels and identify factors that influence efficiency. The results indicated that flock size, labor, feed, and water consumption are positively related to egg production, whereas vaccination was found to be insignificant. For broiler businesses, flock size, feed, and water consumption were positively related to the output, whereas labor and vaccination were found to be insignificant. The results of the TE inefficiency effect model revealed that farmer age, education, experience, access to credit, and access to extension services all had a significant and positive influence on the technical efficiency of both layer and broiler farmers. The estimated mean TE level of layer and broiler poultry farmers was 89% and 92%, respectively, evaluated against the benchmark of the identified frontier of efficient production with prevailing systems. The study concludes that it is possible to increase egg production by 11% and meat production by 8% by making more efficient use of the available resources and technology. To improve poultry farmers’ efficiency, policy interventions should focus more on the pronounced effects of variables such as education, farmer experience, credit access, and extension services. Full article
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11 pages, 729 KiB  
Article
Health—Promoting Properties of Highbush Blueberries Depending on Type of Fertilization
by Agnieszka Lenart, Dariusz Wrona and Tomasz Krupa
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1741; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101741 - 21 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1760
Abstract
The purpose of the experiment was to demonstrate a comparison of fertilization with and without biostimulation. A study was carried out in an experimental blueberry field in central Poland (51°55′42.7″ N 20°59′28.7″ E) during the three growing seasons of 2019, 2020 and 2021, [...] Read more.
The purpose of the experiment was to demonstrate a comparison of fertilization with and without biostimulation. A study was carried out in an experimental blueberry field in central Poland (51°55′42.7″ N 20°59′28.7″ E) during the three growing seasons of 2019, 2020 and 2021, on ‘Bluecrop’ shrubs growing at a distance of 1 × 3 m. The plants were re-planted in the spring of each year and irrigated using drip irrigation. The experiment was conducted using a random block design (four fertilizer treatments × five replications × six bushes). The fruits were tested for antioxidant activity and amount of total polyphenols. Additionally, anthocyanin quantitative and qualitative analysis was performed. The results indicated a significant effect of fertilizer combinations on the values of the evaluated parameters. The positive effect of biostimulants on the content of antioxidant compounds in highbush blueberry fruit was significant. In most of the combinations in which additional biostimulants were used, higher values of the analyzed indicators (antioxidant activity and polyphenol content) were observed. The most noteworthy was the T4 fertilization program, where during treatment, soil and foliar fertilization were carried out with preparations that contained biostimulants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Environmental Factors on Fruit Quality)
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18 pages, 10711 KiB  
Article
A Seedbed Clearing and Shaping Device for Dry Direct-Seeded Rice
by Hui Li, Longyu Fang, Pingping Yuan, Wei Lu and Wenwu Yang
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1740; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101740 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1278
Abstract
The soil in some areas of northern China is heavy owing to the presence of clay and stones, which significantly affects the normal operation of a planter as well as the growth of rice. In this regard, this study proposes a seedbed clearing [...] Read more.
The soil in some areas of northern China is heavy owing to the presence of clay and stones, which significantly affects the normal operation of a planter as well as the growth of rice. In this regard, this study proposes a seedbed clearing and shaping device for dry direct-seeded rice, which can be used to remove stones in the seeding area, break soil blocks, for soil leveling, and groove forming. The overall structure and roller of the proposed device was developed based on theoretical calculations, discrete element modeling (DEM) simulations, and field tests. The soil-mixing tooth was distributed on the roller based on the double-helix rule, and the two sides of the helix were configured according to the right-hand and left-hand. Subsequently, DEM was used to develop a 33 box-bench design. According to the agronomic requirements and operating speed ratio, the forward speed was set to 0.5 m/s. Furthermore, the optimization parameters combination of the device obtained by simulation experiments was: forward speed 0.5 m/s, soil depth 61 mm, and rotation speed 110 r/min, which obtained a stone removal rate of 85.65%, stone removal efficiency of 35.47 pieces/m, operating resistance of 719.23 N, and torque of 174.89 Nm. The field verification test results indicated that the stone removal rate was 77.23% under the optimization parameters combination, and the mean relative error of the simulated experiments value was 8.42%, which showed that the performance of the proposed device functioned stably and reliably, thereby providing a high-quality seedbed for sowing and rice growth. The developed device represents a useful solution for the seedbed clearing and shaping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Application of Agricultural Equipment in Tillage System)
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23 pages, 3110 KiB  
Article
Towards the Modeling and Prediction of the Yield of Oilseed Crops: A Multi-Machine Learning Approach
by Mahdieh Parsaeian, Mohammad Rahimi, Abbas Rohani and Shaneka S. Lawson
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1739; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101739 - 21 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2113
Abstract
Crop seed yield modeling and prediction can act as a key approach in the precision agriculture industry, enabling the reliable assessment of the effectiveness of agro-traits. Here, multiple machine learning (ML) techniques are employed to predict sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) seed yields [...] Read more.
Crop seed yield modeling and prediction can act as a key approach in the precision agriculture industry, enabling the reliable assessment of the effectiveness of agro-traits. Here, multiple machine learning (ML) techniques are employed to predict sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) seed yields (SSY) using agro-morphological features. Various ML models were applied, coupled with the PCA (principal component analysis) method to compare them with the original ML models, in order to evaluate the prediction efficiency. The Gaussian process regression (GPR) and radial basis function neural network (RBF-NN) models exhibited the most accurate SSY predictions, with determination coefficients, or R2 values, of 0.99 and 0.91, respectfully. The root-mean-square error (RMSE) obtained using the ML models ranged between 0 and 0.30 t/ha (metric tons/hectare) for the varied modeling process phases. The estimation of the sesame seed yield with the coupled PCA-ML models improved the performance accuracy. According to the k-fold process, we utilized the datasets with the lowest error rates to ensure the continued accuracy of the GPR and RBF models. The sensitivity analysis revealed that the capsule number per plant (CPP), seed number per capsule (SPC), and 1000-seed weight (TSW) were the most significant seed yield determinants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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10 pages, 584 KiB  
Article
Selected Soil Physicochemical Properties under Different Tillage Practices and N Fertilizer Application in Maize Mono-Cropping
by Bonginkosi S. Vilakazi, Rebecca Zengeni and Paramu Mafongoya
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1738; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101738 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
No-till (NT) has been said to conserve soil moisture, maintain or increase organic matter (OM), and improve crop production compared to conventional tillage (CT). However, very few studies have explored the effect of these under dry-land agriculture with occasional tillage where ploughing is [...] Read more.
No-till (NT) has been said to conserve soil moisture, maintain or increase organic matter (OM), and improve crop production compared to conventional tillage (CT). However, very few studies have explored the effect of these under dry-land agriculture with occasional tillage where ploughing is performed only after several years of NT, especially in KwaZulu–Natal. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of tillage and fertilizer application on selected physicochemical soil properties under rain-fed maize production. Soil samples from NT, conventional tillage in the 5th season (CT-Y5), and annual conventional tillage (CT-A) with 0, 60, 120, 240 kg N ha−1 were taken at 0–10, 10–20, and 20–30 cm and analysed for pH, EC, exchangeable acidity, exchangeable bases, C:N, gravimetric water content, bulk density, and soil texture. Results showed that NT at 0 and 60 kg N ha−1 in 0–10 cm had higher bases, gravimetric water content, pH, and EC compared CT-Y5 and CT-A (p < 0.05). At 10–20 cm depth, CT-Y5 had higher gravimetric water content (0.17 gg−1), followed by CT-A, (0.13 g g−1), while NT had the least (0.11 g g−1) (p < 0.05) in the control treatment. Again at 20–30 cm depth, NT had higher (p < 0.05) bases than CT-Y5 and CT-A tillage practices at 120 and 240 kg N ha−1 application rate. Regression analysis of fertilizer application rate with both bases and gravimetric water content showed a strong relationship under NT. Better soil properties under both NT and CT-Y5 was attributed to residue cover and minimum disturbance of the soil, which encouraged infiltration, thus reducing runoff and evaporation from the soil surface. Accumulation of residue under conservation tillage enhances OM, which subsequently improves soil quality, whereas ploughing aerates the soil causing oxidation of OM, thus releasing H+ ions. Again, fertilizer application induces mineralization of OM, thus, higher fertilizer application rates result in low levels of carbon. NT is well-recommended in conserving soil quality while sustaining crop productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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20 pages, 3595 KiB  
Review
Insights into Agricultural-Waste-Based Nano-Activated Carbon Fabrication and Modifications for Wastewater Treatment Application
by Syaifullah Muhammad, H. P. S. Abdul Khalil, Shazlina Abd Hamid, Yonss M. Albadn, A. B. Suriani, Suraiya Kamaruzzaman, Azmi Mohamed, Abdulmutalib A. Allaq and Esam Bashir Yahya
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1737; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101737 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5489
Abstract
The past few years have witnessed extensive global industrial development that has led to massive pollution to most available water resources. There is no alternative to sustainable development, and the utilization of agricultural waste for wastewater treatment has been always a novel milestone [...] Read more.
The past few years have witnessed extensive global industrial development that has led to massive pollution to most available water resources. There is no alternative to sustainable development, and the utilization of agricultural waste for wastewater treatment has been always a novel milestone in sustainable development goals. Agricultural-waste-based nano-activated carbon exhibits high porosity, great surface area, and unique surface functional groups that promote it to becoming a future and sustainable solution for wastewater treatment applications. Several modification approaches have been made to further enhance the adsorption capacity and reusability of such adsorbents. In this review, we presented the potential of agricultural-waste-based nano-activated carbon as a sustainable solution for wastewater treatment. We highlighted the fabrication process and properties of different nano-activated carbons in addition to different modification approaches to enhance its adsorption capacity. Finally, we critically discussed the recent advances in nano-activated carbon applications in water treatment including its role in drinking water filtration, organic dye removal, oil spill applications, heavy metals removal and the elimination of toxic compounds from wastewater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agricultural Engineering Technologies and Application)
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17 pages, 6778 KiB  
Article
Identification Method of Rice Seedlings Rows Based on Gaussian Heatmap
by Rongru He, Xiwen Luo, Zhigang Zhang, Wenyu Zhang, Chunyu Jiang and Bingxuan Yuan
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1736; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101736 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1283
Abstract
The identification method of rice seedling rows based on machine vision is affected by environmental factors that decrease the accuracy and the robustness of the rice seedling row identification algorithm (e.g., ambient light transformation, similarity of weed and rice features, and lack of [...] Read more.
The identification method of rice seedling rows based on machine vision is affected by environmental factors that decrease the accuracy and the robustness of the rice seedling row identification algorithm (e.g., ambient light transformation, similarity of weed and rice features, and lack of seedlings in rice rows). To solve the problem of the above environmental factors, a Gaussian Heatmap-based method is proposed for rice seedling row identification in this study. The proposed method is a CNN model that comprises the High-Resolution Convolution Module of the feature extraction model and the Gaussian Heatmap of the regression module of key points. The CNN model is guided using Gaussian Heatmap generated by the continuity of rice row growth and the distribution characteristics of rice in rice rows to learn the distribution characteristics of rice seedling rows in the training process, and the positions of the coordinates of the respective key point are accurately returned through the regression module. For the three rice scenarios (including normal scene, missing seedling scene and weed scene), the PCK and average pixel offset of the model were 94.33%, 91.48%, 94.36% and 3.09, 3.13 and 3.05 pixels, respectively, for the proposed method, and the forward inference speed of the model reached 22 FPS, which can meet the real-time requirements and accuracy of agricultural machinery in field management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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25 pages, 6893 KiB  
Article
Design of an Air Suction Wheel-Hole Single Seed Drill for a Wheat Plot Dibbler
by Xinchun Ma, Qixiang Gong, Qingjie Wang, Dijuan Xu, Yinggang Zhou, Guibin Chen, Xinpeng Cao and Longbao Wang
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1735; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101735 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2051
Abstract
Focusing on the problems of the poor filling ability and stability of the mechanical wheat seeder and the complicated structure of the pneumatic seeder, a special air suction wheel-hole single seed drill for remote controlled self-propelled single seed dibbler in wheat plots was [...] Read more.
Focusing on the problems of the poor filling ability and stability of the mechanical wheat seeder and the complicated structure of the pneumatic seeder, a special air suction wheel-hole single seed drill for remote controlled self-propelled single seed dibbler in wheat plots was designed in this paper. According to the agronomic requirements of precision seeding in wheat plots, the seeding wheel radius was set at 180 mm 16 suction holes. Using the discrete element simulation software EDEM to analyze the seed disturbance effect of different parameter designs, the thickness of seed suction ring was 16 mm, the height of seed suction mouth was 4.5 mm, and the diameter of seed suction cam was 12 mm. Through hydrodynamic simulation, the phase angle of the negative pressure chamber was 280 degrees, positive pressure chamber was 22 degrees, phase angle of the unpressurized interval zone was 20 degrees, thickness of the negative pressure chamber was 24.5 mm, diameter of transition pipe was 17.5 mm and length of the transition pipe was 14.5 mm. Based on the above design parameters, the samples were then processed and benchtop experiments carried out. The results showed that under the best operating parameters, the re-suction index was 0.82%, the leakage index was 6.67%, and the qualified index was 92.41%, which met the design requirements. This study could provide a reference for the design of single-seed dibbling technology in wheat plots. Full article
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19 pages, 1101 KiB  
Article
Agronomic and Economic Aspects of Biodiesel Production from Oilseeds: A Case Study in Russia, Middle Volga Region
by Kirill A. Zhichkin, Vladimir V. Nosov, Lyudmila N. Zhichkina, Elena A. Krasil’nikova, Olga K. Kotar, Yuri D. Shlenov, Galina V. Korneva, Anna A. Terekhova, Vadim G. Plyushchikov, Vladimir P. Avdotin, Regina R. Gurina and Tatiana V. Magdeeva
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1734; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101734 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2116
Abstract
Emissions from fossil fuels are expected to increase in accordance with the global economy, which causes the development of alternative non-hydrocarbon sources in energy production. Biodiesel is one of the best options, among other sources, due to its low footprint. Russia does not [...] Read more.
Emissions from fossil fuels are expected to increase in accordance with the global economy, which causes the development of alternative non-hydrocarbon sources in energy production. Biodiesel is one of the best options, among other sources, due to its low footprint. Russia does not have a smart policy of state support for biofuel production. The work objective was to determine whether it is necessary to develop equipment for biodiesel production, taking into account the structure of cultivated areas and available technologies; to calculate economic indicators of biodiesel production for agricultural needs; to compare the options for spring rape cultivation; as well as calculate the government support optimal level. As research methods, the authors used the apparatus of economic and mathematical modeling, and the method of absolute, relative and average values. Statistical tables are used to present the research results. Based on our study results, it is proven that the homemade biodiesel production by agricultural enterprises is economically justified. The equipment needed for its production was determined, the main economic indicators of the fuel production type and the optimal value of monetary and labor costs were calculated, and the gross and market biofuel values were obtained. The optimum level of government support for biofuel production in the Middle Volga region should be EUR 13.223 million, and the area planted with oil crops should be increased by 47.1 thousand ha. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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16 pages, 1476 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Impact of Different Straw Management Practices on Carbon Fractions and Biological Properties under Rice–Wheat System
by Rajeev Kumar Gupta, Hitesh Hans, Anu Kalia, Jasjit Singh Kang, Jagroop Kaur, Paramjit Kaur Sraw, Anmol Singh, Abed Alataway, Ahmed Z. Dewidar and Mohamed A. Mattar
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1733; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101733 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1653
Abstract
Intensive agriculture has led to generation of a vast volume of agri-residue, prompting a reliance on conservation tillage techniques for prudent management. However, to ascertain the long-term impacts of these practices, the interrelation with the carbon fractions and the biological properties of the [...] Read more.
Intensive agriculture has led to generation of a vast volume of agri-residue, prompting a reliance on conservation tillage techniques for prudent management. However, to ascertain the long-term impacts of these practices, the interrelation with the carbon fractions and the biological properties of the soil must be identified. Therefore, in a long-term experiment, five different treatments involving the incorporation of paddy straw as mulch or through disc harrow and farmer practice, including the partial burning of rice straw, were evaluated. After the harvesting of the wheat crop, soil samples collected from 3 different depths (0–15, 15–30 and 30–45 cm) were analyzed for various attributes critical to assessing soil health. Crop residue retention in both seasons (T4) improved carbon fractions, soil microflora viable cell counts and enzyme activities. The principal component analysis (PCA) revealed a positive interaction among the organic carbon, bacterial counts and soil enzyme activities. Thus, a positive impact of conservation tillage techniques involving a minimal disturbance was recorded as improvement in the soil properties, build-up of organic carbon, and wheat productivity in rice–wheat cropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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26 pages, 5329 KiB  
Article
Micro-Investment by Tanzanian Smallholders’ in Drip Irrigation Kits for Vegetable Production to Improve Livelihoods: Lessons Learned and a Way Forward
by Muhammad Azher Bhatti, Sosheel Solomon Godfrey, Shai André Divon, Julie Therese Aamodt, Siv Øystese, Peter C. Wynn, Lars Olav Eik and Øivind Fjeld-Solberg
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1732; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101732 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2301
Abstract
Food security in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the major issues confronting the continent. Innovative use of fresh water, the world’s scarcest food production resource, is vital for family-run small-holder agricultural systems, which supply up to 80% of the world’s food. Agriculture employs [...] Read more.
Food security in sub-Saharan Africa is one of the major issues confronting the continent. Innovative use of fresh water, the world’s scarcest food production resource, is vital for family-run small-holder agricultural systems, which supply up to 80% of the world’s food. Agriculture employs 70% of Tanzania’s rural population and supplies 95% of the country’s food. The goal was to measure the impact of smart drip irrigation kits on smallholder farmers’ resilience and rural poverty in Tanzania. A household survey was conducted using an exploratory sequential design in four districts (Babati, Hai, Kasulu, and Kilosa) in Tanzania. A total of 383 respondents (Micro-investing (MI) farmers, n = 195; control, n = 187) were randomly selected from a pool of 3444 farmers. Partial budgeting and enterprise economic analysis were used for the calculation of gross margins, and multivariate analysis was used for poverty analysis. Gross margin analysis showed that communities using drip-irrigated vegetable farming are more profitable. Partial budgeting analysis showed that micro-irrigation increased the revenue generation for most vegetable varieties. However, multivariate analysis was unable to confirm that household poverty was markedly reduced through the adoption of this technology. Half of the MI farmers could afford an education for their children due to the extra income generated from MI. This investment strategy has the potential to improve smallholder livelihoods and resilience to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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16 pages, 2545 KiB  
Article
Fine Mapping and Candidate-Gene Analysis of an open glume multi-pistil 3 (mp3) in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
by Yongshu Liang, Junyi Gong, Yuxin Yan, Tingshen Peng, Jinyu Xiao, Shuang Wang, Wenbin Nan, Xiaojian Qin and Hanma Zhang
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1731; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101731 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1612
Abstract
The rice mutant mp3 was derived from an indica–japonica cross between Rejing35 and XieqingzaoB, producing an inconstant number of pistils ranging from one to four pistils in a floret at heading stage, which also developed an open-glume with one or two seeds and [...] Read more.
The rice mutant mp3 was derived from an indica–japonica cross between Rejing35 and XieqingzaoB, producing an inconstant number of pistils ranging from one to four pistils in a floret at heading stage, which also developed an open-glume with one or two seeds and twin seedlings at mature and seedling stage. Several altered characteristics, including filling grain panicle–1 (62.90), grain-setting rate (60.48%) and grain yield plant–1 (13.42 g), decreased but an increase in 1000-grain weight (36.87 g) was observed. Genetic analysis revealed that the mp3 mutant phenotype was controlled by a single recessive gene. Using a chromosome walking strategy in the F2 population of 02428/mp3, the mp3 gene was fine mapped between L3-135 and RM7576, with a physical distance of 30.617 kb on rice chromosome 3. Four candidate genes were found in this region referred to the rice genome annotations. LOC_Os03g11614/OsMADS1 corresponded with the mutant mp3 phenotype. Sequencing showed no sequence alterations in the coding and promoter sequence of the LOC_Os03g11614/OsMADS1 of mp3. The mp3 gene may be an allelic gene with three previously reported genes but controlled different mutant floral organ phenotypes in rice. Therefore, this mp3 gene provided a novel perspective on the biological function of OsMADS1 in the development of rice floral organ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prospects and Challenges of Rice Breeding under Climate Change)
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15 pages, 1411 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Influence of Storage Conditions and Time on Red Currants (Ribes rubrum L.) Using Image Processing and Traditional Machine Learning
by Ewa Ropelewska
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1730; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101730 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1518
Abstract
This study was aimed at revealing the usefulness of the combination of image analysis and artificial intelligence in assessing the quality of red currants in terms of external structure changes under the influence of different storage conditions. Red currants after harvest were subjected [...] Read more.
This study was aimed at revealing the usefulness of the combination of image analysis and artificial intelligence in assessing the quality of red currants in terms of external structure changes under the influence of different storage conditions. Red currants after harvest were subjected to storage at room temperature and at a lower temperature in the refrigerator for one week and two weeks. The statistically significant differences in selected image textures as a result of prolonged storage were determined for both samples stored in the room and the refrigerator. However, the changes in the structure of the red currant samples stored at room temperature were greater than for storage in the refrigerator. Distinguishing samples using models built using machine learning algorithms confirmed the usefulness of selected textures to assess the influence of storage conditions and time on red currants. Unstored red currants, samples stored at room temperature for one week, and those stored at room temperature for two weeks were classified with an accuracy of 99–100%, and unstored samples, fruit stored in the refrigerator for one week, and that stored in the refrigerator for two weeks were correctly distinguished at an accuracy of 97–100%, depending on the algorithm. Models developed for distinguishing red currants stored at room temperature and in the refrigerator for one week provided an accuracy of 99–100%, and for the classification of red currants stored at room temperature and in the refrigerator for two weeks, an accuracy equal to 100% for all used algorithms was determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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18 pages, 2842 KiB  
Article
Smart Operation of Climatic Systems in a Greenhouse
by Aurora González-Vidal, José Mendoza-Bernal, Alfonso P. Ramallo, Miguel Ángel Zamora, Vicente Martínez and Antonio F. Skarmeta
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1729; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101729 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2445
Abstract
The purpose of our work is to leverage the use of artificial intelligence for the emergence of smart greenhouses. Greenhouse agriculture is a sustainable solution for food crises and therefore data-based decision-support mechanisms are needed to optimally use them. Our study anticipates how [...] Read more.
The purpose of our work is to leverage the use of artificial intelligence for the emergence of smart greenhouses. Greenhouse agriculture is a sustainable solution for food crises and therefore data-based decision-support mechanisms are needed to optimally use them. Our study anticipates how the combination of climatic systems will affect the temperature and humidity of the greenhouse. More specifically, our methodology anticipates if a set-point will be reached in a given time by a combination of climatic systems and estimates the humidity at that time. We performed exhaustive data analytics processing that includes the interpolation of missing values and data augmentation, and tested several classification and regression algorithms. Our method can predict with a 90% accuracy if, under current conditions, a combination of climatic systems will reach a fixed temperature set-point, and it is also able to estimate the humidity with a 2.83% CVRMSE. We integrated our methodology on a three-layer holistic IoT platform that is able to collect, fuse and analyze real data in a seamless way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agricultural Engineering Technologies and Application)
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14 pages, 5902 KiB  
Article
Design and Experiment of Anti-Blocking Components for Shallow Stubble Clearing Based on Soil Bin Test
by Wenyan Yao, Peisong Diao, Hequan Miao and Shaochuan Li
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1728; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101728 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1330
Abstract
In response to the problems of excessive wheat stubble blocking the opener during corn seeding in wheat–corn double cropping areas, an active-strip stubble removal method was proposed under the premise of conservation tillage. Firstly, the effects of two conventional rotary blade structures (inward [...] Read more.
In response to the problems of excessive wheat stubble blocking the opener during corn seeding in wheat–corn double cropping areas, an active-strip stubble removal method was proposed under the premise of conservation tillage. Firstly, the effects of two conventional rotary blade structures (inward and outward) on the stubble-cleaning effect and power consumption were studied under five rotary speeds (400, 500, 600, 700, 800 rpm). The results show that when the rotary speed was 400–600 rpm, the outward structure of the rotary blade was more suitable for stubble cleaning. Then, a torque sensor and a six-component force sensor were applied to the soil bin test platform to measure the relative data of four oblique angles (0°, 15°, 22.5°, 30°) on the stubble-cleaning effect, seedbed parameters, and power consumption at three rotary speeds (400, 500, 600 rpm). The results show that the straw residue on the seedbed was effectively reduced when increasing the oblique angle and rotary speed. Moreover, the quality parameters of the seedbed were improved and the power consumption was reduced when reducing the oblique angle and rotary speed. When the rotary speed was 400–500 rpm, the difference between the vertical resistance and lateral resistance was relatively small, while the difference between the horizontal resistance was large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Innovation and Solution for Sustainable Agriculture)
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16 pages, 4117 KiB  
Article
Classification of Fine-Grained Crop Disease by Dilated Convolution and Improved Channel Attention Module
by Xiang Zhang, Huiyi Gao and Li Wan
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101727 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1411
Abstract
Crop disease seriously affects food security and causes huge economic losses. In recent years, the technology of computer vision based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) has been widely used to classify crop disease. However, the classification of fine-grained crop disease is still a [...] Read more.
Crop disease seriously affects food security and causes huge economic losses. In recent years, the technology of computer vision based on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) has been widely used to classify crop disease. However, the classification of fine-grained crop disease is still a challenging task due to the difficult identification of representative disease characteristics. We consider that the key to fine-grained crop disease identification lies in expanding the effective receptive field of the network and filtering key features. In this paper, a novel module (DC-DPCA) for fine-grained crop disease classification was proposed. DC-DPCA consists of two main components: (1) dilated convolution block, and (2) dual-pooling channel attention module. Specifically, the dilated convolution block is designed to expand the effective receptive field of the network, allowing the network to acquire information from a larger range of images, and to provide effective information input to the dual-pooling channel attention module. The dual-pooling channel attention module can filter out discriminative features more effectively by combining two pooling operations and constructing correlations between global and local information. The experimental results show that compared with the original networks (85.38%, 83.22%, 83.85%, 84.60%), ResNet50, VGG16, MobileNetV2, and InceptionV3 embedded with the DC-DPCA module obtained higher accuracy (87.14%, 86.26%, 86.24%, and 86.77%). We also provide three visualization methods to fully validate the rationality and effectiveness of the proposed method in this paper. These findings are crucial by effectively improving classification ability of fine-grained crop disease by CNNs. Moreover, the DC-DPCA module can be easily embedded into a variety of network structures with minimal time cost and memory cost, which contributes to the realization of smart agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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17 pages, 3092 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Differentiation and Driving Factors of China’s Agricultural Eco-Efficiency Considering Agricultural Carbon Sinks
by Shilin Li, Zhiyuan Zhu, Zhenzhong Dai, Jiajia Duan, Danmeng Wang and Yongzhong Feng
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1726; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101726 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1758
Abstract
Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and food security have put forward higher requirements for sustainable agricultural development. Agricultural ecological efficiency (AEE) is an important indicator to evaluate the sustainable development of agriculture. Low carbon agriculture promotes sustainable agricultural development. Agricultural carbon sinks are [...] Read more.
Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and food security have put forward higher requirements for sustainable agricultural development. Agricultural ecological efficiency (AEE) is an important indicator to evaluate the sustainable development of agriculture. Low carbon agriculture promotes sustainable agricultural development. Agricultural carbon sinks are an important output of agricultural production, but they have not been fully reflected in the current research on agricultural ecological efficiency. In this study, agricultural carbon sinks are considered as one of the expected outputs of AEE. The data envelopment method was used to measure the AEE of 31 provincial-level administrative regions in China from 2000 to 2019, and the AEE of China was compared with and without carbon sinks. The Gaussian kernel function was used to estimate the time evolution of regional differences in AEE. A geodetector model was used to detect the drivers of spatial differentiation of AEE in China. The results showed that considering agricultural carbon sinks as one of the expected measurement outputs brings the estimated AEE closer to reality. From 2000 to 2019, China’s AEE showed an upward trend, and the efficiency value increased from 0.48 to 0.95, an increase of 97.92%. The spatial distribution pattern of AEE in China was Northeast > West > Central > East, with obvious differences among provinces. The industrialization level, urban–rural gap, agricultural economic level, agricultural disaster rate, and urbanization level were the leading driving forces for the spatial differentiation of AEE in China. The research will help to reveal the dynamic characteristics, spatial differentiation characteristics, and driving factors of China’s agricultural ecological efficiency, and provide a scientific reference for the realization of sustainable agricultural development and high-quality development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecosystem, Environment and Climate Change in Agriculture)
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13 pages, 1736 KiB  
Article
Effects of Varieties, Cultivation Methods, and Origins of Citrus sinensis ‘hongjiang’ on Volatile Organic Compounds: HS-SPME-GC/MS Analysis Coupled with OPLS-DA
by Xiangwu Huang, Lihong Zhao, Sheng Pang, Yijun Liu, Jianrong Liu and Meiqian Zhang
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1725; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101725 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1851
Abstract
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Citrus sinensis ‘hongjiang’ oranges significantly vary depending on the fruit variety, cultivation mode, and cultivation location. The effect of these three factors on VOCs was experimentally determined in this study. In total, 102 VOCs were separated via headspace [...] Read more.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in Citrus sinensis ‘hongjiang’ oranges significantly vary depending on the fruit variety, cultivation mode, and cultivation location. The effect of these three factors on VOCs was experimentally determined in this study. In total, 102 VOCs were separated via headspace solid-phase microextraction and identified via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and the differential components were analyzed by partial least-squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). The VOCs of ‘hongjiang’ mainly comprised alkenes, alcohols, aldehydes, and ketones. They were well clustered in OPLS-DA and principal component analysis (PCA), and the seven groups were distinctly differentiated. The results of the S-plot, variable importance in projection (VIP), and heatmap analyses showed that these factors had a significant impact on VOCs in ‘hongjiang’. The characteristic VOCs between the two pairs were significant, while the net room cultivation mode had the most substantial effect on VOCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of Environmental Factors on Fruit Quality)
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19 pages, 1615 KiB  
Article
Scenarios for Sustainable Farming Systems for Macadamia Nuts and Mangos Using a Systems Dynamics Lens in the Vhembe District, Limpopo South Africa
by Fenji Materechera and Mary Scholes
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1724; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101724 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3179
Abstract
Agriculture is arguably one of the most important economic sectors for South Africa’s development as it is directly linked to food security. Farming systems in South Africa have been characterized by a duality where large-scale commercial farmers and small-scale farmers co-exist. The conventional [...] Read more.
Agriculture is arguably one of the most important economic sectors for South Africa’s development as it is directly linked to food security. Farming systems in South Africa have been characterized by a duality where large-scale commercial farmers and small-scale farmers co-exist. The conventional approach to understanding agricultural production in the country has always viewed the two farming systems as mutually exclusive. The study argues that there are various points of interaction between the two kinds of farmers and by using a systems dynamics approach to evaluate the two farming systems this can be applied to agricultural decision making. Data were used to identify and characterise small- and large-scale farming systems of two tree crops (mangos—Mangifera indica L. and macadamia nuts—Macadamia integrifolia M&B.) in the Vhembe district of Limpopo South Africa. The interactions between the two different farmers are illustrated using Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs) of the two farming systems under similar commodities. Results, presented as four conceptual scenarios, show that there are multiple points of interaction, such as the interdependence of farmers of macadamia nuts to meet export demands. Policy recommendations to strengthen collaboration between small-scale mango farmers and implement irrigation expansion for farmers who depend on rain-fed farming are discussed and present opportunities for the co-functioning of the two farming systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: Theories, Methods, Practices and Policies)
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19 pages, 2249 KiB  
Article
Wheat Crop Yield and Changes in Soil Biological and Heavy Metals Status in a Sandy Soil Amended with Biochar and Irrigated with Drainage Water
by Mohieyeddin M. Abd El-Azeim, Ahmad M. Menesi, Mahmoud M. Abd El-Mageed, Joanna Lemanowicz and Samir A. Haddad
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1723; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101723 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1624
Abstract
The current research aims to study the impacts of adding corncob biochar to a sandy soil irrigated with drainage water on wheat productivity, heavy metals fate, and some soil properties that reflect healthy soil conditions. This research consists of two separate experiments under [...] Read more.
The current research aims to study the impacts of adding corncob biochar to a sandy soil irrigated with drainage water on wheat productivity, heavy metals fate, and some soil properties that reflect healthy soil conditions. This research consists of two separate experiments under field (lysimeters) and pot incubation conditions conducted on sandy soil irrigated with drainage water and treated with corncob biochar at the rate of 0.0, 1, 2, and 3% as mixing or mulching. Results specified that drainage water electrical conductivity value (5.89 dS m−1) lies under the degree of restriction on use of “Severe”, indicating that nonstop irrigation with such drainage water may cause a severe salinity problem in soil in the long run. A comparison of heavy metal concentrations of biochar-treated soils with the control showed that total heavy metals had accumulated significantly in the topsoil layer. Most of the available heavy metal concentrations in all soil leachate fractions were below the method detection limits. Mean concentrations of Ni, Cd, and Pb in wheat crops were far below the concentrations considered phytotoxic to wheat plants. More than 90% of the Ni, Cd, and Pb contained in the drainage water of the Al-Moheet drain were significantly present (p ≤ 0.05) and adsorbed by biochar in the top 20 cm of soil lysimeters, indicating the high biochar adsorptive capacity of heavy metals. Total counts of bacteria and fungi gradually and significantly increased over the soil incubation time despite irrigation with contaminated drainage water. Soil resistance index (SRI) values for microbial biomass were positive throughout the experiment and increased significantly as the application rate of corncob biochar increased. These results indicated the high feasibility of using corncob biochar at a rate of 3% to temporarily improve the health of sandy soil despite irrigation with drainage water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping System Impact on Soil Quality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions)
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23 pages, 2401 KiB  
Review
Eco-Friendly Biocontrol Strategies of Alternaria Phytopathogen Fungus: A Focus on Gene-Editing Techniques
by Domingo Cesar Carrascal-Hernández, Edwin Flórez-López, Yeimmy Peralta-Ruiz, Clemencia Chaves-López and Carlos David Grande-Tovar
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1722; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101722 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2454
Abstract
Agricultural food production is greatly affected by postharvest diseases worldwide, such as the diseases caused by Alternaria species, which are very common in several crops. The management of fungal infections around the world largely relies on fungicides. In this context, the control of [...] Read more.
Agricultural food production is greatly affected by postharvest diseases worldwide, such as the diseases caused by Alternaria species, which are very common in several crops. The management of fungal infections around the world largely relies on fungicides. In this context, the control of diseases such as early blight caused by Alternaria solani in potatoes and Alternaria linariae in tomatoes has mainly consisted of the application of fungicides, with negative impacts on the environment and human health. Recently, the application of ‘omics’ and gene editing through the CRISPR/Cas9 system and RNAi technologies demonstrated their effectiveness as emerging greener alternatives for controlling phytopathogenic fungi. Additionally, coatings based on essential oils and microbial antagonists suggest alternative strategies for controlling phytopathogenic fungi that are respectful of the environment. This review presents an exhaustive literature review focused on using greener alternatives to the traditional management of postharvest diseases associated with Alternaria species, such as inhibiting pathogenicity from their phytopathogenic genes using gene editing based on CRISPR/Cas9 and RNAi technologies. The review also presents coatings based on essential oils and microbial antagonists as greener strategies for Alternaria control. Biological processes of maximum efficiency can replace chemical methods for controlling phytopathogenic fungi, preserving healthy conditions in agricultural lands and ecosystems. This is possible with the rise of ‘omic’ technologies, the CRISPR/Cas9 tool, and RNAi technology. Greener control methods of Alternaria fungi can increase agricultural production, improving the economy and global health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green and Sustainable Agricultural Ecosystem)
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18 pages, 2153 KiB  
Review
Codling Moth Monitoring with Camera-Equipped Automated Traps: A Review
by Jozsef Suto
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1721; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101721 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3043
Abstract
The codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is probably the most harmful pest in apple and pear orchards. The crop loss due to the high harmfulness of the insect can be extremely expensive; therefore, sophisticated pest management is necessary to protect the crop. [...] Read more.
The codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is probably the most harmful pest in apple and pear orchards. The crop loss due to the high harmfulness of the insect can be extremely expensive; therefore, sophisticated pest management is necessary to protect the crop. The conventional monitoring approach for insect swarming has been based on traps that are periodically checked by human operators. However, this workflow can be automatized. To achieve this goal, a dedicated image capture device and an accurate insect counter algorithm are necessary which make online insect swarm prediction possible. From the hardware side, more camera-equipped embedded systems have been designed to remotely capture and upload pest trap images. From the software side, with the aid of machine vision and machine learning methods, traditional (manual) identification and counting can be solved by algorithm. With the appropriate combination of the hardware and software components, spraying can be accurately scheduled, and the crop-defending cost will be significantly reduced. Although automatic traps have been developed for more pest species and there are a large number of papers which investigate insect detection, a limited number of articles focus on the C. pomonella. The aim of this paper is to review the state of the art of C. pomonella monitoring with camera-equipped traps. The paper presents the advantages and disadvantages of automated traps’ hardware and software components and examines their practical applicability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hardware and Software Support for Insect Pest Management)
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9 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Dietary Fumonisin Exposure on Apparent Ileal Digestibility of Amino Acids in Fattening Pigs
by Yarsmin Yunus Zeebone, Melinda Kovács, Brigitta Bóta and Veronika Halas
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1720; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101720 - 19 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
The cellular toxicity of the Fusarium mycotoxin fumonisins (FUMs) has been widely accounted for. However, the ability of FUMs to destroy intestinal functions is an emergence of growing concern. Thus, this experiment ascertained whether dietary FUMs obstruct the apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of [...] Read more.
The cellular toxicity of the Fusarium mycotoxin fumonisins (FUMs) has been widely accounted for. However, the ability of FUMs to destroy intestinal functions is an emergence of growing concern. Thus, this experiment ascertained whether dietary FUMs obstruct the apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of crude protein (CP) and amino acids (AAs) in fattening pigs during either short (7 d)- or long (21 d)-term exposure. Ten Danbred fattening pigs (initial body weight (BW) of 67.5 ± 4.1) inserted with a post-valve T-cecum cannula in the terminal ileum were enrolled in the trial. The pigs were randomly divided into a control group fed a basal commercial diet and a group fed in vitro-produced FUMs to provide a 40 mg FUMs/kg-contaminated diet. Titanium dioxide was added at an inclusion rate of 0.5% as an indigestible marker to diets. During two separate periods, ileal digesta were collected for 3 consecutive days for the determination of the AID of CP and the various dispensable and indispensable AAs. Data were subjected to two-way ANOVA of SPSS version 20.0 software using FUMs dose (i = 2; 0 or 40 mg FUMs/ kg feed) and duration (j = 2; short- vs. long-term exposure) as fixed factors. According to our findings, a dietary intake of 40 mg/kg FUMs substantially interfered with the AID of arginine, histidine, and tyrosine (p = 0.003, 0.047, and 0.047, respectively) in terms of the dose and duration interaction effect. In addition, the main duration effect of the AID of histidine was significant (p < 0.001). It is, therefore, conceivable that a dietary dose of a 40 mg/kg FUMs-contaminated diet does not drastically affect CP and AAs digestibility in fattening pigs over a period of 7 or 21 days. Full article
20 pages, 4625 KiB  
Article
The U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Industry: An Overview of Production and Trade
by Kuan-Ming Huang, Zhengfei Guan and AbdelMalek Hammami
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1719; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101719 - 19 Oct 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 9061
Abstract
The fruit and vegetable industry is an important segment of the U.S. agriculture. The 2017 U.S. Agriculture Census shows that the industry had total sales of USD 48 billion from over 10 million acres of land. However, over the last two decades, production [...] Read more.
The fruit and vegetable industry is an important segment of the U.S. agriculture. The 2017 U.S. Agriculture Census shows that the industry had total sales of USD 48 billion from over 10 million acres of land. However, over the last two decades, production of major fruit and vegetable crops in the United States has been declining while imports have grown significantly. The rapidly growing imports have posed challenges to the sustainability of the U.S. domestic industry. This study provides a systematic industry review of fresh fruit and vegetable production and trade between the United States and Mexico, by far the largest source of U.S. imports, highlighting the structural shift in the market over the last two decades and the caveats for industry sustainability. The analysis shows that Florida, Georgia, and California are among the states that face the strongest competition from Mexico. Among the 10 crops reviewed, berry, tomato, pepper, and cucumber production has been affected the most. The study further discusses the factors driving the rapid growth of imports and shows the importance of innovation and policy reform to the sustainability of the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry. Full article
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18 pages, 1126 KiB  
Article
Traditional and Conditional QTL Analysis of Kernel Size- and Shape-Related Traits in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
by Xiaoli Fan, Xiaofeng Liu, Shaodan Guo, Bo Feng, Qiang Zhou, Guangbing Deng, Hai Long, Zhibin Xu and Tao Wang
Agriculture 2022, 12(10), 1718; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12101718 - 18 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1313
Abstract
Optimal kernel size and shape were critical in improving the wheat yield potential and processing quality. A traditional and conditional QTL analysis for kernel-related traits was performed using 152 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between Zhongkemai 138 (ZKM138) and Kechengmai 2, [...] Read more.
Optimal kernel size and shape were critical in improving the wheat yield potential and processing quality. A traditional and conditional QTL analysis for kernel-related traits was performed using 152 recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between Zhongkemai 138 (ZKM138) and Kechengmai 2, whose kernel size showed significant differences. A total of 48 traditional QTLs (LOD: 3.69–14.20) were identified, with twenty-six QTLs distributed across five genomic regions. Each had at least one major stable QTL for kernel-related traits. We deduced from the co-location and conditional QTL analysis results that R3D and R4B.1 primarily controlled kernel shape, while R4D, R6A, and R6D2 primarily contributed to kernel size and the final thousand-kernel weight, potentially providing the genetic basis for the ZKM138’s high TKW and large-kernel performance. R4D may be involved with Rht2, and the possible regulatory effects of the other four QTL clusters are more likely to be influenced by unknown genes. The KASP markers validated their effect on kernel-related traits, and they were used to analyze the transmissibility and distribution of superior genotypes in ZKM138 derivatives and global wheat cultivars, respectively. These findings may serve as a reference for future genetic improvement of the ideal kernel morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Markers and Marker-Assisted Breeding in Wheat)
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