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Agriculture, Volume 12, Issue 9 (September 2022) – 225 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Flower strips can be an important component of integrated pest management and contribute to reducing the pressure on agroecosystems, as well as preventing the decline of species diversity in the agroecosystem and increasing functional biodiversity, which is a prerequisite for the provision of ecosystem services, such as pollination and natural pest control. This paper provides a record of the most important information and research findings regarding flower strips and may be a useful tool in relation to the European Green Deal, which aims to move the EU towards a green transformation.  Where intensive chemical treatments in agriculture have contributed to the degradation of the agricultural landscape, flower strips can now support its ecological intensification. View this paper
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15 pages, 2279 KiB  
Review
Scientometric Analysis on Rice Research under Drought, Waterlogging or Abrupt Drought-Flood Alternation Stress
by Xiaoyan Pan, Hui Wang, Zan Ouyang, Zifan Song, Hongjin Long and Wang Luo
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1509; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091509 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1834
Abstract
Many studies have shown that abiotic stresses could severely impact crop growth and yield, but a comprehensive review from a bibliometric perspective is lacking. This study explores how the research direction of rice under drought, waterlogging or both stresses has evolved over the [...] Read more.
Many studies have shown that abiotic stresses could severely impact crop growth and yield, but a comprehensive review from a bibliometric perspective is lacking. This study explores how the research direction of rice under drought, waterlogging or both stresses has evolved over the past three decades, based on bibliometric analysis using Vosviewer 1.6.15 and HistCite Pro. Data were collected from the academic database of Web of Science. The results showed that 12 journals had a high number of publications and highly local citations. Meanwhile, the three journals of Field Crops Research, Journal of Experimental Botany and Plant Physiology could be the most influential leaders in this field. The author Arvind Kumar had the highest contribution to the output of articles, and Lizhong Xiong had a greater impact on the field. China, and Chinese institutions, were dominant in terms of the number of articles, but Japan, Germany, UK and institutions in USA and Japan had a higher quality of publications on average. Scholars are concerned with using transgenic methods for improving rice productivity with increasing abiotic stress tolerance; the research topics of rice cultivars, irrigation, water-use efficiency and soil fertility may be gradually shifting from a single theme to intertwining with the themes of genomics and abiotic/biotic resistance with climate change in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Saving Irrigation Technology and Strategies for Crop Production)
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13 pages, 2795 KiB  
Article
Three-Way Top-Cross Hybrids to Enhance Production of Forage with Improved Quality in Pearl Millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.)
by Shashi Kumar Gupta, Ponnaiah Govintharaj and Ruchika Bhardwaj
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1508; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091508 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2127
Abstract
Three-way top-cross hybrids of pearl millet were evaluated along with a popular single- cross check hybrid (PAC 981) for forage yield and quality traits under a multi-cut (three cuts) system across multiple years, seasons and sites in India. Total green forage yield (TGFY) [...] Read more.
Three-way top-cross hybrids of pearl millet were evaluated along with a popular single- cross check hybrid (PAC 981) for forage yield and quality traits under a multi-cut (three cuts) system across multiple years, seasons and sites in India. Total green forage yield (TGFY) varied from 36 to 53 t ha−1, and two hybrids outyielded the check hybrid for both total dry forage yield (TDFY) and forage quality (CP; Crude protein, and IVOMD; In vitro organic matter digestibility) traits. A set of promising three-way top-cross hybrids evaluated along with a set of promising open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) and top-cross hybrids for forage-related traits over two years under a multi-cut system revealed that the mean TDFY of three-way top-cross hybrids was higher than the mean TDFY of top-cross hybrids, followed by OPVs. Also, three-way top-cross hybrids had higher/or at par forage quality traits such as CP and IVOMD in comparison to other types of cultivars. TDFY had no correlation with CP and IVOMD across cuts in three-way top-cross hybrids, indicating that forage quantity and quality traits can be improved independently of each other. Overall, three-way top-cross hybrids were found to be a better pearl millet cultivar option than other types of cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genotype Evaluation and Breeding)
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14 pages, 2800 KiB  
Article
Bamboo Biochar and Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Improved the Growth of Maize (Zea mays L.) and Decreased Cadmium Uptake in Cd-Contaminated Soil
by Yan Zha, Bo Zhao and Tianxin Niu
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1507; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091507 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1910
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) has attained top priority among all the toxic trace elements, and it easily accumulates in the human body through various pathways. The current pot study was focused on the impacts of foliar spray zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) (0, 50, 75, [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) has attained top priority among all the toxic trace elements, and it easily accumulates in the human body through various pathways. The current pot study was focused on the impacts of foliar spray zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) (0, 50, 75, 100 mg·L−1), alone or combined with soil-applied bamboo biochar (1.0% w/w), on the maize growth and Cd and Zn accumulations in the grains of maize under Cd-contaminated soil. The results showed that the maize-growth, photosynthesis, and gas-exchange attributes were accelerated by the foliar-applied ZnO NPs, and this effect was further enhanced by the bamboo biochar application in combination with ZnO NPs. All the amendments decreased the electrolyte leakage (EL) and malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) contents, and they enhanced the activities of the antioxidant enzymes in the leaves and roots of the maize more than the control. The Cd concentrations in the shoots decreased by 74.55%, in the roots 66.38%, and in the grains by 76.19% after the bamboo biochar combined with a foliar spray of 100 mg·L−1 ZnO NPs. The current study concluded that the combination of the foliar spray of ZnO NPs and soil-applied bamboo biochar is a feasible strategy for safely growing crops on Cd-contaminated soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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10 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Presence of a Monoculture: From Definition to Quantification
by Silvio Franco, Barbara Pancino, Angelo Martella and Tommaso De Gregorio
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1506; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091506 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2339
Abstract
The term monoculture is widely used in the scientific literature concerning the agricultural sector. However, it is very difficult to find a clear and shared definition of this term. This study investigates the concept of monoculture in agricultural areas where high specialization in [...] Read more.
The term monoculture is widely used in the scientific literature concerning the agricultural sector. However, it is very difficult to find a clear and shared definition of this term. This study investigates the concept of monoculture in agricultural areas where high specialization in a specific crop is observed. Therefore, we refer to a territorial-level definition, which associates the idea of monoculture to the prevalent presence of a crop in a region including many farms. The objectives of the paper are: (i) to define indicators capable of verifying the existence of this condition; (ii) to test the ability of such indicators in identifying the effective presence of a monoculture. A set of Italian areas identified as monoculture in the recent literature were selected to carry out a quantitative analysis, assessing different indexes of monoculture. On the basis of the obtained results, such an analysis should help in comparing the monoculture indexes and fostering a discussion on their suitability and descriptive capacities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture: 10th Anniversary)
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14 pages, 21223 KiB  
Article
Impact of Temperature on Age–Stage, Two-Sex Life Table Analysis of a Chinese Population of Bean Bug, Riptortus pedestris (Hemiptera: Alydidae)
by Xin-Yue Tian, Yu Gao, Muhammad Yasir Ali, Xiao-Hua Li, Ying-Lu Hu, Wen-Bo Li, Zi-Jie Wang, Shu-Sen Shi and Jin-Ping Zhang
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1505; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091505 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2026
Abstract
Riptortus pedestris Fabricius (Hemiptera: Alydidae) is an economically important pest of soybean that causes serious damage in the Huang-Huai-Hai region of China, which is the main soybean-producing area. However, the basic biological and ecological attributes of the Chinese populations of R. pedestris are [...] Read more.
Riptortus pedestris Fabricius (Hemiptera: Alydidae) is an economically important pest of soybean that causes serious damage in the Huang-Huai-Hai region of China, which is the main soybean-producing area. However, the basic biological and ecological attributes of the Chinese populations of R. pedestris are still unknown. Temperature is a critical factor influencing insect population dynamics; therefore, understanding the effects of temperature on individual development and population growth of R. pedestris is helpful to forecast the pest’s phenology as part of its control. In this study, we determined age–stage, two-sex life table parameters of R. pedestris at five constant temperatures (19, 22, 25, 28, and 31 °C) under laboratory conditions. The results demonstrated that the developmental period, preadult time, adult longevity, adult preoviposition period (APOP), and total preoviposition period (TPOP) were all significantly shortened when the temperature increased from 19 to 31 °C. The developmental time from egg to adult was 55.00 d at 19 °C but decreased to 24.43 d at 31 °C. The developmental threshold temperatures of the egg, nymph, female adult, male adult, and total generation (from egg to adult death) were 13.31, 10.91, 16.21, 17.13, and 13.44 °C, respectively, and the corresponding stage-specific day degree totals were 95.91, 260.51, 114.22, 147.35, and 582.04. The net reproductive rate (R0 = 2.36 offspring), fecundity (58.00 ± 28.59 eggs), and population trend index (I) (7.89) were found to be optimal at 25 °C. These results could be useful for predicting the population dynamics of R. pedestris and improving the management of this pest in field crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Pest Management of Field Crops: Series II)
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13 pages, 1230 KiB  
Article
Pseudomonas syringae Infection Modifies Chlorophyll Fluorescence in Nicotiana tabacum
by Magdalena Tomaszewska-Sowa, Norbert Keutgen, Tomáš Lošák, Anna Figas and Anna J. Keutgen
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1504; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091504 - 19 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1680
Abstract
The system Nicotiana tabacum L.—Pseudomonas syringae VAN HALL pv. tomato (Pto) DC3000 was investigated at a low inoculation level (c. 5 × 105 colony-forming units (CFU) mL–1) such as it occurs in the field. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
The system Nicotiana tabacum L.—Pseudomonas syringae VAN HALL pv. tomato (Pto) DC3000 was investigated at a low inoculation level (c. 5 × 105 colony-forming units (CFU) mL–1) such as it occurs in the field. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that N. tabacum, a non-host of Pto DC3000, improved the PSII efficiency in inoculated leaves compared with control detached leaves. Visible symptoms at the infected area were not detected within 14 days. Chlorophyll (Chl) a fluorescence was measured 6–7 days after inoculation of detached leaves. Compared with the control, the actual photochemical quantum yield of photosystem (PS) II was higher in the inoculated leaves at the expense of the fraction of heat dissipated by photo-inactivated non-functional centers. In addition, the fraction of open PSII reaction centers (RCs) was higher in inoculated leaves. Maximum fluorescence in the dark-adapted detached inoculated leaves, as a measure of the absorbed energy, was lower than in control leaves. The lower capacity to absorb energy in combination with a higher fraction of open PSII RCs is interpreted as an acclimation to limit over-excitation and to reduce heat dissipation. This should limit the production of reactive oxygen species and reduce the probability of a hypersensitive response (HR), which represents an expensive cell-death program for the plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research of Crop Plant Interactions with Bacteria and Fungi)
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14 pages, 3948 KiB  
Article
Effects of Farmland Landscape Fragmentation on Agricultural Irrigation in Hotan Oasis
by Lei Zhang, Yunfei Liu, Changjun Yin, Dongping Xue, Dongwei Gui and Zhiming Qi
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1503; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091503 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1502
Abstract
Farmland landscape fragmentation is an important problem affecting the agricultural modernization process in China. However, farmland landscape fragmentation leads to land being wasted and increases management costs, particularly in the dryland’s oasis regions. Therefore, investigating the impact of farmland landscape fragmentation on agricultural [...] Read more.
Farmland landscape fragmentation is an important problem affecting the agricultural modernization process in China. However, farmland landscape fragmentation leads to land being wasted and increases management costs, particularly in the dryland’s oasis regions. Therefore, investigating the impact of farmland landscape fragmentation on agricultural irrigation is of great significance in developing oasis agriculture. This paper used the landscape quantitative index (DIVISION), the moving window method, and gradient analysis methods to study the temporal and spatial pattern changes in farmland fragmentation in the Hotan Oasis. Additionally, the impact of fragmentation on irrigation in the oasis was elaborated upon by exploring the relationship between evapotranspiration and its components in farmland fragmentation. The results showed that the farmland area of the Hotan Oasis increased from 1546.19 km2 in 2000 to 2068.23 km2 in 2020, and farmland landscape fragmentation increased with the expansion of the Hotan Oasis. In addition, a significant relationship between farmland fragmentation and evapotranspiration and its components was evident. A lower DIVISION value corresponded to a higher ET value, a lower ETs/ETc ratio, and a higher water use efficiency. When the total farmland area is assumed to remain unchanged, the irrigation water consumption is reduced by 4.82 × 108 m3 according to the size and proportion of arable land with the lowest degree of fragmentation (L1, division value of 0.46). In addition, with the increase in the proportion of farmland, the scale of oasis decreases by 2431.56 km2 for the reduction in field roads, shelterbelt, and bare land. These findings suggest that solving the problem of farmland fragmentation can effectively reduce irrigation water consumption, realize the internal expansion of the oasis through intensive land use, and relieve the pressure of the external expansion of the oasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Water Management in Dryland Agriculture)
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23 pages, 4260 KiB  
Article
Under Natural Field Conditions, Exogenous Application of Moringa Organ Water Extract Enhanced the Growth- and Yield-Related Traits of Barley Accessions
by Nawroz Abdul-razzak Tahir, Djshwar Dhahir Lateef, Kamil Mahmud Mustafa and Kamaran Salh Rasul
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091502 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2277
Abstract
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is the preferred crop in arid regions, particularly for farmers with limited agricultural resources and low income. Typically, it is utilized for human consumption, animal feed, and malting. The discovery of natural (organic) sources of biostimulants has attracted [...] Read more.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is the preferred crop in arid regions, particularly for farmers with limited agricultural resources and low income. Typically, it is utilized for human consumption, animal feed, and malting. The discovery of natural (organic) sources of biostimulants has attracted a great deal of interest for crop productivity enhancement. Using a randomized complete block design with three main blocks, it was our aim to investigate the effects of foliar moringa (Moringa oleifera L.) organ extract (MOE) on the growth and yield components of a collection of barley accessions grown in Iraq. As indicated by the obtained results, almost all traits associated with barley growth and yield productivity were significantly enhanced by MOE application, relative to the respective control condition. The majority of barley accessions responded positively to the MOE treatment based on all studied traits (with the exception of 1000-kernel weight). According to the results of principal component analysis (PCA), the distribution of accessions on the two components under the MOE application was distinct from the distribution of accessions under control conditions, indicating that accessions responded differently to the MOE application. In addition, the distribution pattern of traits under MOE treatment was comparable to the distribution pattern of traits under the control condition, with the exception of two traits: total yield and 1000-kernel weight. AC5 and AC18 responded positively to the MOE application by possessing the highest total yield and harvest index values. The total yield trait registered the highest increasing value index (37.55%) based on the trait response index, followed by the straw weight (22.29%), tillering number per plant (21.44%), and spike number per plant (21.36%), while the spike length trait registered the lowest increasing value index (0.45%), compared to the traits under control conditions. So far, the results indicate that foliar application of MOE can be utilized effectively as a natural growth promoter to increase the growth and yield productivity of grown barley accessions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stresses, Biostimulants and Plant Activity)
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10 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
Growth, Sporulation, Conidial Germination and Lethal Temperature of Paraphoma radicina, A Fungal Pathogen of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Root Rot
by Shi Cao and Yan-Zhong Li
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091501 - 19 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1395
Abstract
In 2020, alfalfa root rot, a disease caused by Paraphoma radicina, was identified in Inner Mongolia, China, where it seriously affected alfalfa crop yields. Conditions for in vitro growth, sporulation and conidial germination of P. radicina are poorly understood, limiting further studies. [...] Read more.
In 2020, alfalfa root rot, a disease caused by Paraphoma radicina, was identified in Inner Mongolia, China, where it seriously affected alfalfa crop yields. Conditions for in vitro growth, sporulation and conidial germination of P. radicina are poorly understood, limiting further studies. In this contribution, we evaluated the suitability of different media, carbon and nitrogen sources, as well as temperature and pH for P. radicina in vitro growth and germination. In addition, the temperature sensitivity of these cultures was assessed. Paraphoma radicina growth and sporulation were most vigorous on the ARDA medium, reaching the maximum growth and sporulation rates after 4 weeks of incubation. All carbon and nitrogen sources supported growth, but none induced sporulation. The best carbon and nitrogen sources for growth were mannitol and peptone, respectively. Conidial germination was observed in the 4 to 35 °C temperature range, with an optimum temperature of 25 °C. The germination rate was highest at pH 7, and more than 50% of conidia germinated after 38 h of incubation at 25 °C. On the other hand, temperatures above 55 °C (10 min) and 41 °C (10 min) proved lethal for the mycelial and conidial forms of the pathogen, respectively. These results can provide clues to the environmental conditions amenable for P. radicina infection of alfalfa crops and, on the whole, a better understanding of pathogenicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant–Soil–Microorganism Interaction in Grassland Agroecosystem)
19 pages, 3195 KiB  
Article
Impact of High Temperature on Germination, Seedling Growth and Enzymatic Activity of Wheat
by Sushma Sharma, Vikram Singh, Hemender Tanwar, Virender Singh Mor, Mukesh Kumar, Ramesh Chander Punia, Mohinder Singh Dalal, Mujahid Khan, Sonali Sangwan, Axay Bhuker, Chander Shekhar Dagar, Shikha Yashveer and Jogender Singh
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1500; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091500 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4232
Abstract
Global warming has increased the temperature significantly over a large extent both spatially and temporally. The threat of heat stress during the germination and seedling establishment stages in the wheat crop is now more prevalent than ever before. The present experiment assessed the [...] Read more.
Global warming has increased the temperature significantly over a large extent both spatially and temporally. The threat of heat stress during the germination and seedling establishment stages in the wheat crop is now more prevalent than ever before. The present experiment assessed the effect of elevated temperature on the germination and early seedling growth of wheat genotypes. The seeds were sown under four temperatures, viz., 20 °C, 25 °C, 30 °C and 35 °C; the germination, seedling vigor and enzyme activities in 8-day-old seedlings were assessed. The temperature significantly influenced germination and early seedling growth. The germination percentage at 20 and 25 °C was statistically on par with and higher than at 30 and 35 °C. The seedling vigor parameters were maximum at 25 °C and showed a reduction at higher temperatures. Genotypic differences were observed for early heat stress as the genotypes WH 730, WH 1123 and HD 2967 showed tolerance towards heat stress during germination, whereas the genotypes PBW 725 and WH 1105 were susceptible. Antioxidant enzyme activities in seedlings increased with the rise in temperature. Catalase, peroxidase and superoxide dismutase enzymes showed increased activities at higher temperature levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Yield Cultivation, Growth and Development Mechanism of Wheat)
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22 pages, 5291 KiB  
Article
Multi-Granularity Feature Aggregation with Self-Attention and Spatial Reasoning for Fine-Grained Crop Disease Classification
by Xin Zuo, Jiao Chu, Jifeng Shen and Jun Sun
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1499; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091499 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1701
Abstract
Combining disease categories and crop species leads to complex intra-class and inter-class differences. Significant intra-class difference and subtle inter-class difference pose a great challenge to high-precision crop disease classification tasks. To this end, we propose a multi-granularity feature aggregation method for accurately identifying [...] Read more.
Combining disease categories and crop species leads to complex intra-class and inter-class differences. Significant intra-class difference and subtle inter-class difference pose a great challenge to high-precision crop disease classification tasks. To this end, we propose a multi-granularity feature aggregation method for accurately identifying disease types and crop species as well as better understanding the disease-affected regions implicitly. Specifically, in order to capture fine-grained discriminating clues to disease categories, we first explored the pixel-level spatial self-attention to model the pair-wise semantic relations. Second, we utilized the block-level channel self-attention to enhance the feature-discriminative ability of different crop species. Finally, we used a spatial reasoning module to model the spatial geometric relationship of the image patches sequentially, such that the feature-discriminative ability of characterizing both diseases and species is further improved. The proposed model was verified on the PDR2018 dataset, the FGVC8 dataset, and the non-lab dataset PlantDoc. Experimental results demonstrated our method reported respective classification accuracies of 88.32%, 89.95%, and 89.75% along with F1-scores of 88.20%, 89.24%, and 89.13% on three datasets. More importantly, the proposed architecture not only improved the classification accuracy but also promised model efficiency with low complexity, which is beneficial for precision agricultural applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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13 pages, 696 KiB  
Article
Responses of Wheat Yield under Different Fertilization Treatments to Climate Change Based on a 35-Year In Situ Experiment
by Rui Zhang, Yingnan Yang, Tinghui Dang, Yuanjun Zhu and Mingbin Huang
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1498; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091498 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1930
Abstract
Fertilization, as one of many important field management practices, can increase crop yields. However, whether different levels of fertilization will affect the response of wheat yields to inter-annual climate variations and long-term climate trends is not clear. In this study, 35-year wheat yields [...] Read more.
Fertilization, as one of many important field management practices, can increase crop yields. However, whether different levels of fertilization will affect the response of wheat yields to inter-annual climate variations and long-term climate trends is not clear. In this study, 35-year wheat yields were used to investigate the responses of wheat yield to inter-annual climate variations and long-term climate trends under different fertilization treatments. The first difference method was used to de-trend wheat yields and climate variables and stepwise regression analysis was used to quantify the yield–climate relationship. The experimental design consisted of a control treatment (CK without fertilization) and three fertilizer treatments: nitrogen, phosphorus, and manure (NPM with 120 kg ha−1 N, 26.2 kg ha−1 P, and 75 t ha−1 manure), nitrogen and phosphorus (NP with 120 kg ha−1 N and 26.2 kg ha−1 P), and manure (M with 75 t ha−1 manure). Compared to the CK treatment, the NPM, NP, and M treatments increased wheat yield by an average of 201.9, 161.7, and 130.6% and increased yield inter-annual variability by an average of 191.2, 149.3, and 144.2%, respectively, during the study period (1985–2020). Inter-annual climate fluctuations in the study area explained 45, 38, 27, and 29% of wheat yield variations and 35-year climatic trends contributed to wheat yield decreases of 0.3, 0.7, 1.6, and 1.8% for the NPM, NP, M, and CK treatments, respectively. The results show the impact of inter-annual climate fluctuations on yield increases with the increasing level of fertilization, while the effect of long-term climate trends on yield decreases with the increasing level of fertilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecosystem, Environment and Climate Change in Agriculture)
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15 pages, 5564 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Calibration of Wheat Seed Interaction Properties Based on the Discrete Element Method
by Adilet Sugirbay, Guang-Rui Hu, Jun Chen, Zhasulan Mustafin, Marat Muratkhan, Ruslan Iskakov, Yu Chen, Shuo Zhang, Lingxin Bu, Yerassyl Dulatbay and Bauyrzhan Mukhamed
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1497; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091497 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2067
Abstract
The interaction properties of the seeds have to be calibrated to simulate the realistic behavior of the seed bulk. Here, a simple and accurate calibration method of DEM interaction properties of seeds with adequate equipment to simulate each seed’s behavior remains a challenge. [...] Read more.
The interaction properties of the seeds have to be calibrated to simulate the realistic behavior of the seed bulk. Here, a simple and accurate calibration method of DEM interaction properties of seeds with adequate equipment to simulate each seed’s behavior remains a challenge. In this research, the rotary drum is chosen as simple equipment to calibrate particle–particle and particle–material interaction properties, as there is a lack of research on whether the rotary drum is adequate equipment to calibrate particle–material interaction properties. Therefore, this article calibrates particle–particle and particle–material static and rolling interaction coefficients using a rotary drum. The calibration of particle–material static and rolling friction coefficients are described using the rotating drum with a 45 degrees inclination. The particle–particle static and rolling friction coefficients were calibrated according to the angle of repose when the rotary drum is vertical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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12 pages, 2142 KiB  
Article
Effect of Rearing Systems on Growth Performance, Lying/Standing Behavior, Morbidity, and Immunity Parameters of Pre-Weaned Dairy Calves in a Continental Zone in Winter
by Wanying Zhao, Christopher Choi, Lin Ru, Zhengxiang Shi and Hao Li
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1496; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091496 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
On dairy farms, calves are typically raised inside barns (either in individual or group pens), or they are raised in outdoor hutches. To evaluate the effect of all three of these commonly used rearing practices on calves, an experiment was conducted. A group [...] Read more.
On dairy farms, calves are typically raised inside barns (either in individual or group pens), or they are raised in outdoor hutches. To evaluate the effect of all three of these commonly used rearing practices on calves, an experiment was conducted. A group of 58 Holstein dairy female healthy calves (3 days of age) was randomly divided into three subgroups (outdoor hutches, individual-housed, and group-housed in a barn). The body weight, lying bouts, lying time, and immunity parameters of each calf were monitored, and the ambient temperature and relative humidity were measured. The average temperatures outside and in the barn and hutches were −16.67 °C, −15.26 °C, and −15.59 °C, respectively, from 22 November 2020 to 27 January 2021. All calves suffered from cold stress. Group-housed calves weighed significantly less than the other calves at the ages of 1 month and 2 month (p < 0.05). The lying time of the calves housed in individual pens and group pens was longer (p < 0.05) than that of the calves housed in hutches. The morbidity attributable to bovine respiratory disease was significantly lower among the calves housed in hutches than it was among the calves housed either individually or in group pens inside the barn (p < 0.05). No significant differences in the concentrations of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 were found between the three groups (p > 0.05). On the basis of these findings, we were able to conclude that calves housed in outdoor hutches were at a lower risk of developing a disease than were calves housed in barns without heating in winter. To optimize the management process, heating should be added to hutch systems. Moreover, more rigorous disease and environmental control management strategies should be applied when raising calves inside barns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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12 pages, 1826 KiB  
Article
Relationship of Textures from Tomato Fruit Images Acquired Using a Digital Camera and Lycopene Content Determined by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography
by Ewa Ropelewska and Justyna Szwejda-Grzybowska
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1495; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091495 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1909
Abstract
This study aimed at correlating image features with the lycopene content of tomato fruit. Tomato cultivars with different fruit colors, such as ‘Ożarowski’ (yellow), ‘Marvel Striped’ (yellow-orange-pink), ‘Green Zebra’ (green), Sandoline F1 (red), Cupidissimo F1 (red), and Sacher F1 (brown) were selected for [...] Read more.
This study aimed at correlating image features with the lycopene content of tomato fruit. Tomato cultivars with different fruit colors, such as ‘Ożarowski’ (yellow), ‘Marvel Striped’ (yellow-orange-pink), ‘Green Zebra’ (green), Sandoline F1 (red), Cupidissimo F1 (red), and Sacher F1 (brown) were selected for the study. The tomato fruits were imaged using a digital camera. The texture parameters were computed from the images converted to color channels R, G, B, L, a, b, X, Y, and Z based on the histogram, autoregressive model, gradient map, co-occurrence matrix, and run-length matrix. Lycopene content was determined using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Pearson’s correlation coefficients (R), regression equations, and coefficients of determination (R2) were determined. The lycopene content in fruit ranged from 0.31 mg 100 g−1 for ‘Green Zebra’ to 11.83 mg 100 g−1 for Sacher F1. The correlation coefficient (R) between lycopene content and selected image textures reached −0.99 for selected textures from color channels G, b, and Y. The highest positive correlation (R parameter equal to 0.98) was obtained for texture from color channel Y. Based on the individual color channel providing the highest results, one texture was selected for the determination of regression equations. Coefficients of determination (R2) of 0.99 were obtained for texture from color channel G. The regression equations may be used in practice for nondestructive, objective, and precise estimation of the lycopene content in tomato fruit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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17 pages, 4805 KiB  
Article
Design and Performance Evaluation of a Multi-Point Extrusion Walnut Cracking Device
by Hong Zhang, Hualong Liu, Yong Zeng, Yurong Tang, Zhaoguo Zhang and Ji Che
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091494 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2191
Abstract
The practical problems of existing methods of walnut cracking under compression loading, including incomplete walnut-shell crushing, broken walnut kernels, and so on, are widespread in walnut processing and are constraints that hinder mechanized walnut processing. Therefore, attempts have been made to design and [...] Read more.
The practical problems of existing methods of walnut cracking under compression loading, including incomplete walnut-shell crushing, broken walnut kernels, and so on, are widespread in walnut processing and are constraints that hinder mechanized walnut processing. Therefore, attempts have been made to design and optimize a multi-point extrusion walnut cracking device. For this, walnuts were fed manually into a cracking unit through the hopper. The tangential force of the grading roller graded the walnuts and dropped them into the gap between the rotating cracking roller and extrusion plate, causing them to crack. The developed machine was tested and the parameters were optimized using a central composite design (CCD). The objective functions involving the cracking angle (CA: 0.17, 0.27, 0.52, 0.76, 0.86°) and roller speed (RS: 63, 75, 105, 135, 147 r/min) were calculated. The shell cracking rate (SCR), whole kernel rate (WKR), and specific energy consumption (Es) regression models were established using the quadratic regression orthogonal combination test and the parameters were optimized using MATLAB software. The results showed that the most significant factors for the RS were the linear terms of the SCR and WKR, whereas for the CA the most significant factor was the linear term of the Es. The interaction term of the two factors had a significant effect on the three indicators. The optimal parameter combination was determined to be 0.47° for the CA and 108 r/min for the RS. On this basis, the adaptability test showed that the cracking device had a better cracking effect on walnuts with a gap between the walnut shell and kernel greater than 1.6 mm and a shell thickness less than 1.2 mm. The results have practical significance for the design of walnut cracking devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Products Processing and Postharvest Storage)
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18 pages, 7315 KiB  
Article
Automatic Tandem Dual BlendMask Networks for Severity Assessment of Wheat Fusarium Head Blight
by Yichao Gao, Hetong Wang, Man Li and Wen-Hao Su
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1493; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091493 - 18 Sep 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2542
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) disease reduces wheat yield and quality. Breeding wheat varieties with resistance genes is an effective way to reduce the impact of this disease. This requires trained experts to assess the disease resistance of hundreds of wheat lines in the [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) disease reduces wheat yield and quality. Breeding wheat varieties with resistance genes is an effective way to reduce the impact of this disease. This requires trained experts to assess the disease resistance of hundreds of wheat lines in the field. Manual evaluation methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive. The evaluation results are greatly affected by human factors. Traditional machine learning methods are only suitable for small-scale datasets. Intelligent and accurate assessment of FHB severity could significantly facilitate rapid screening of resistant lines. In this study, the automatic tandem dual BlendMask deep learning framework was used to simultaneously segment the wheat spikes and diseased areas to enable the rapid detection of the disease severity. The feature pyramid network (FPN), based on the ResNet-50 network, was used as the backbone of BlendMask for feature extraction. The model exhibited positive performance in the segmentation of wheat spikes with precision, recall, and MIoU (mean intersection over union) values of 85.36%, 75.58%, and 56.21%, respectively, and the segmentation of diseased areas with precision, recall, and MIoU values of 78.16%, 79.46%, and 55.34%, respectively. The final recognition accuracies of the model for wheat spikes and diseased areas were 85.56% and 99.32%, respectively. The disease severity was obtained from the ratio of the diseased area to the spike area. The average accuracy for FHB severity classification reached 91.80%, with the average F1-score of 92.22%. This study demonstrated the great advantage of a tandem dual BlendMask network in intelligent screening of resistant wheat lines. Full article
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23 pages, 3065 KiB  
Article
An Improved Multi-Objective Optimization Decision Method Using NSGA-III for a Bivariate Precision Fertilizer Applicator
by Yugong Dang, Hongen Ma, Jun Wang, Zhigang Zhou and Zhidong Xu
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1492; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091492 - 17 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1739
Abstract
In order to boost the performance of a bivariable granular fertilizer applicator and simplify the control methodology of fertilization rate regulation, this paper proposed a fertilization decision method to obtain the optimal combination of rotational speed and opening length by selecting the accuracy, [...] Read more.
In order to boost the performance of a bivariable granular fertilizer applicator and simplify the control methodology of fertilization rate regulation, this paper proposed a fertilization decision method to obtain the optimal combination of rotational speed and opening length by selecting the accuracy, uniformity, adjustment time, and breakage rate as the optimization objectives. We processed the outlier data collected using the indoor bench test, segmented the data with the fertilization growth rate as the index, and proved the rationality of the data segmentation by an independent sample t-test. SVM, BPNN, ELM, and RVM were used to train the two data sections to create the fertilization rate prediction model, and the models with the highest accuracy in the two data sections were selected for the assembly of the final prediction model used to describe the fertilization process of the bivariate fertilizer applicator. Moreover, the fertilization performance problem model was established with the objectives of accuracy, uniformity, adjustment time, and breakage rate and was solved using the NSGA-III algorithm to gain an optimal fertilization decision. Compared with GA and MOEA-D-DE methods, the results show that, using the new method, the average relative error declines from 8.64% and 6.05% to 3.09%, and the average coefficient of variation reduces from 6.67% and 6.81% to 6.41%, respectively. In addition, the adjustment time lowers from 2.01 s and 1.33 s to 0.78 s, and the average breakage rate drops from 1.084% and 0.845% to 0.803%, respectively. It is indicated that the presented method offers the most notable improvements in accuracy and adjustment time, while the advancements in regard to uniformity and breakage rate is slight, but both are within a reasonable range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovations in Agriculture)
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16 pages, 508 KiB  
Article
Effect of Some Polysaccharide-Based Edible Coatings on Fresh White Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) Quality during Cold Storage
by Alina Mădălina Pleșoianu and Violeta Nour
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1491; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091491 - 17 Sep 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1997
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of pectin, chitosan, sodium alginate, and carboxymethyl cellulose-based edible coatings, individually and/or in combination with N-acetyl cysteine as an antibrowning agent, on some physical, chemical, and antioxidant properties of white button mushrooms. The weight loss, color change, [...] Read more.
This study investigated the effects of pectin, chitosan, sodium alginate, and carboxymethyl cellulose-based edible coatings, individually and/or in combination with N-acetyl cysteine as an antibrowning agent, on some physical, chemical, and antioxidant properties of white button mushrooms. The weight loss, color change, browning index, degree of cap opening, soluble solid content, total phenolic content, antioxidant activity and malondialdehyde content of control and coated mushrooms were evaluated during 14 days of storage at 4 ± 1°C. All coatings, both alone and with N-acetyl-cisteine, delayed weight loss and cap opening in mushrooms compared with the control. Sodium alginate was the most effective in controlling weight loss, followed by carboxymetyhyl cellulose, chitosan and pectin. The browning process and lipid peroxidation were best controlled by sodium alginate followed by pectin coatings, while chitosan coating determined a significant increase in the browning index. Coated samples showed significantly higher total phenolic content and antioxidant activity as compared with the control throughout storage. The treatment with N-acetyl cysteine was not effective for mushrooms as it resulted in a significant increase in the browning index in all coated samples. The results suggest that sodium alginate and pectin coatings could be recommended for extending the shelf life of white button mushrooms. Full article
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20 pages, 7061 KiB  
Article
Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery-Based Assessment of Soil Salinity in Irrigated Rice Fields in Portugal
by Romeu Gerardo and Isabel P. de Lima
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1490; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091490 - 17 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4305
Abstract
Salinization is a major soil degradation threat in irrigated lands worldwide. In Portugal, it affects several pockets of irrigated agricultural areas, but the spatial distribution and intensity of soil salinity are not well known. Unlike conventional approaches to appraise soil salinity, remote sensing [...] Read more.
Salinization is a major soil degradation threat in irrigated lands worldwide. In Portugal, it affects several pockets of irrigated agricultural areas, but the spatial distribution and intensity of soil salinity are not well known. Unlike conventional approaches to appraise soil salinity, remote sensing multispectral data have great potential for detecting, monitoring, and investigating soil salinity problems in agricultural areas. This study explores the assessment of soil salinity in irrigated rice cultivation fields using two types of multispectral-based indices calculated from Sentinel-2 satellite imagery: (i) vegetation indices (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Green Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Generalized Difference Vegetation Index and Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index), to monitor the indirect effect of salinity on rice growth; and (ii) salinity indicators, namely those based on visible and near-infrared bands (Normalized Difference Salinity Index) and on shortwave infrared bands (Salinity Index ASTER). The data are for the Lower Mondego Valley (Central Portugal) and the period 2017–2018. Results revealed that salinity indices can be used for mapping soil salinity and constitute a valuable soil salinity assessment tool in rice cultivation areas affected by salinity issues. As there is less reported inventorying of spatial extent of such degradation in irrigated agricultural areas of Portugal, this innovative approach allowed by remote sensing technology can add to understanding the spatial extent of such areas and undertaking more such studies spatially and temporally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture: 10th Anniversary)
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12 pages, 1654 KiB  
Article
Sensitivity and Recovery of Tomato Cultivars Following Simulated Drift of Dicamba or 2,4-D
by Michele R. Warmund, Mark R. Ellersieck and Reid J. Smeda
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1489; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091489 - 17 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2272
Abstract
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plants are commonly injured by the off-target movement of synthetic auxin herbicides. A greenhouse and a field trial were conducted to determine the relative tolerance of eight fresh market tomato cultivars to drift-simulating rates of dicamba or 2,4-D. [...] Read more.
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plants are commonly injured by the off-target movement of synthetic auxin herbicides. A greenhouse and a field trial were conducted to determine the relative tolerance of eight fresh market tomato cultivars to drift-simulating rates of dicamba or 2,4-D. Tomato cultivars included ‘BHN 589’, ‘Celebrity’, ‘Florida 91’, ‘Mountain Merit’, ‘Primo Red’, ‘Red Deuce’, ‘Red Morning’, and ‘Skyway’. Dicamba (3,6-dichloro-methoxybenzoic acid) and 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) were applied at 2.8 g ae ha−1 and 5.3 g ae ha−1-D, respectively. By 14 weeks after treatment (WAT), herbicide-treated plants of each cultivar produced less total and marketable yield than their respective nontreated control in the greenhouse trial. For most cultivars, dicamba-treated plants had less marketable yield than 2,4-D-treated plants in the greenhouse. Herbicide treatments also reduced total and marketable yields of each cultivar when compared with their control in the field study at 14 WAT, except for ‘Mountain Merit’. The severity of yield loss from herbicide treatments was cultivar-dependent. Field-grown ‘Skyway’ plants treated with dicamba produced the lowest marketable yield. In contrast, herbicide-treated plants of ‘Florida 91’ produced high marketable yields in the field, but ‘Red Deuce’ plants receiving 2,4-D were also highly productive. Herbicide residue in fruit sampled the third week of the harvest was nondetectable. Because the type of auxin herbicide drift is often unanticipated, ‘Florida 91’ may be the preferred cultivar for cultivation among those tested to maximize tomato production in the field. Full article
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19 pages, 6661 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of the Growth and Development of Potato Early Blight Pathogen (Alternaria solani) by Combining Penicillium chrysogenum VKM F-4876D with Some Strobilurin-, Triazole-, and Phenylpyrrole-Based Fungicides
by Amjad Hatem, Nataliya Karpova, Vera Yaderets, Elena Glagoleva, Kseniya Petrova, Alexandra Shibaeva, Alexander Ovchinnikov and Vakhtang Dzhavakhiya
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1488; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091488 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2347
Abstract
The biological control of fungal crop diseases based on the use of micro-organisms or their metabolites is a promising environmentally friendly alternative to common fungicide-based technologies. Penicillium fungi which synthesize various biologically active compounds with a wide range of antimicrobial activity are of [...] Read more.
The biological control of fungal crop diseases based on the use of micro-organisms or their metabolites is a promising environmentally friendly alternative to common fungicide-based technologies. Penicillium fungi which synthesize various biologically active compounds with a wide range of antimicrobial activity are of special interest as potential producers of antifungal biopreparations. The purpose of this study was the evaluation of the antifungal activity of a dry biomass of the Penicillium chrysogenum VKPM F-4876D strain (DMP), both individually and combined with commercial azoxystrobin-, fludioxonil-, difenoconazole-, and tebuconazole-based fungicides commonly used to control early blight, towards Alternaria solani, an infectious agent of this potato disease. The study was performed under in vitro (cultivation on solid and liquid media) and in vivo (detached potato leaves) conditions. The cultivation of A. solani on agarized medium supplemented with 5 g/L of DMP caused significant morphological changes in pathogen colonies, whereas 7.5 g/L of DMP resulted in complete suppression of pathogen development. DMP addition to the liquid culture of A. solani significantly increased electrolyte release, i.e., impaired the cell membrane integrity in the pathogen. Combining DMP (1–2 g/L) with fungicides at a dose range of 0.01–10 mg/L resulted in significant in vitro growth inhibition of A. solani. The best result was obtained for the combination of DMP (1 g/L) with fludioxonil (1–5 mg/L) or tebuconazole (10 mg/L): a significant and prolonged antifungal effect (96–97% growth inhibition) was observed during the whole 14-day period of observation. The treatment of detached potato leaves with 1 g/L of DMP prior to artificial infection with A. solani resulted in a four-fold increase in the number of uninfected leaves and a two-fold reduction in the number of severely infected leaves compared to the control. These results demonstrate the possibility to develop an efficient environmentally friendly approach to manage potato early blight and provide prerequisites for the reduction in pesticide load on agrobiocoenoses, thus contributing to the restoration of ecological balance and the prevention of the emergence and spread of resistant pathogen strains. Full article
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11 pages, 1318 KiB  
Article
In-Field Citrus Disease Classification via Convolutional Neural Network from Smartphone Images
by Changcai Yang, Zixuan Teng, Caixia Dong, Yaohai Lin, Riqing Chen and Jian Wang
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1487; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091487 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2070
Abstract
A high-efficiency, nondestructive, rapid, and automatic crop disease classification method is essential for the modernization of agriculture. To more accurately extract and fit citrus disease image features, we designed a new 13-layer convolutional neural network (CNN13) consisting of multiple convolutional layer stacks and [...] Read more.
A high-efficiency, nondestructive, rapid, and automatic crop disease classification method is essential for the modernization of agriculture. To more accurately extract and fit citrus disease image features, we designed a new 13-layer convolutional neural network (CNN13) consisting of multiple convolutional layer stacks and dropout in this study. To address the problem created by the uneven number of disease images in each category, we used the VGG16 network module for transfer learning, which we combined with the proposed CNN13 to form a new joint network, which we called OplusVNet. To verify the performance of the proposed OplusVNet network, we collected 1869 citrus pest and disease images and 202 normal citrus images from the field. The experimental results showed that the proposed OplusVNet can more effectively solve the problem caused by uneven data volume and has higher recognition accuracy, especially for image categories with a relatively small data volume. Compared with the state of the art networks, the generalization ability of the proposed OplusVNet network is stronger for classifying diseases. The classification accuracy of the model prediction results was 0.99, indicating the model can be used as a reference for crop image classification. Full article
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14 pages, 5142 KiB  
Article
A Fast Deployable Instance Elimination Segmentation Algorithm Based on Watershed Transform for Dense Cereal Grain Images
by Junling Liang, Heng Li, Fei Xu, Jianpin Chen, Meixuan Zhou, Liping Yin, Zhenzhen Zhai and Xinyu Chai
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091486 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1713
Abstract
Cereal grains are a vital part of the human diet. The appearance quality and size distribution of cereal grains play major roles as deciders or indicators of market acceptability, storage stability, and breeding. Computer vision is popular in completing quality assessment and size [...] Read more.
Cereal grains are a vital part of the human diet. The appearance quality and size distribution of cereal grains play major roles as deciders or indicators of market acceptability, storage stability, and breeding. Computer vision is popular in completing quality assessment and size analysis tasks, in which an accurate instance segmentation is a key step to guaranteeing the smooth completion of tasks. This study proposes a fast deployable instance segmentation method based on a generative marker-based watershed segmentation algorithm, which combines two strategies (one strategy for optimizing kernel areas and another for comprehensive segmentation) to overcome the problems of over-segmentation and under-segmentation for images with dense and small targets. Results show that the average segmentation accuracy of our method reaches 98.73%, which is significantly higher than the marker-based watershed segmentation algorithm (82.98%). To further verify the engineering practicality of our method, we count the size distribution of segmented cereal grains. The results keep a high degree of consistency with the manually sketched ground truth. Moreover, our proposed algorithm framework can be used as a great reference in other segmentation tasks of dense targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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13 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
The Antioxidant Potential of Grains in Selected Cereals Grown in an Organic and Conventional System
by Cezary A. Kwiatkowski, Elżbieta Harasim, Beata Feledyn-Szewczyk and Jolanta Joniec
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1485; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091485 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1498
Abstract
The paper presents the effect of conventional (use of NPK mineral fertilizers and pesticides) and organic (no use of agrochemicals) farming systems on selected parameters of antioxidant properties of winter wheat, spring barley and oat grain. The research was carried out during the [...] Read more.
The paper presents the effect of conventional (use of NPK mineral fertilizers and pesticides) and organic (no use of agrochemicals) farming systems on selected parameters of antioxidant properties of winter wheat, spring barley and oat grain. The research was carried out during the period 2017–2019 at the Czesławice Experimental Farm (central Lublin region, Poland) on loess soil (second quality class). The aim of the research was to evaluate the functional (antioxidant) properties of winter wheat, spring barley and oat grain in whole grain and its milling fractions (dehulled grain, flour and bran). The reduction potential (Fe+3 → Fe+2 ), the ability to eliminate the free DPPH radical and the total antioxidant potential in the β-carotene/linoleic acid system were determined. Polyphenol content was also determined using Folin–Ciocalteau reagent. The organic system did not significantly increase the antioxidant properties of cereal grains compared to the conventional system. Under organic farming conditions, oat grain was characterised only by the most favourable antioxidant properties. A highly statistically significant correlation was found between total polyphenol content and DPPH free radical quenching capacity, especially for oat and barley in the organic system. The closest correlations were for the fractions of bran and whole grain. Dehulling of grain, with the exception of oat grain, irrespective of the farming system, resulted in a significant deterioration of the antioxidant potential of grain extracts. In summary, the study showed that the bran obtained from oat grown under an organic system had the strongest antioxidant activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Science and Plant Cultivation in Organic Farming)
9 pages, 602 KiB  
Article
Human Activity Played a Key Role in Rice Stripe Disease Epidemics: From an Empirical Evaluation of over a 10-Year Period
by Yan-Li Ma, Wen-Wu Lin, Si-Si Guo, Lian-Hui Xie, Dun-Chun He and Zhao-Bang Cheng
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1484; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091484 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
Paddy is an artificial ecosystem driven by human activities, such as adjustment of cropping systems, deployment of resistant varieties and pesticides use. Inappropriate human intervention aggravated the disruption of ecosystems, which resulted in rice viral disease epidemics characterized by fulminant, migrating and intermittent [...] Read more.
Paddy is an artificial ecosystem driven by human activities, such as adjustment of cropping systems, deployment of resistant varieties and pesticides use. Inappropriate human intervention aggravated the disruption of ecosystems, which resulted in rice viral disease epidemics characterized by fulminant, migrating and intermittent outbreaks. Rice stripe disease (RSD), lasting for over 10 years from 2000, was modeled for exploring better management strategies of plant viral disease transmitted by insect vectors. In eight counties of Jiangsu province, China, the biotic, abiotic and human factors between 2000 and 2012 were monitored to determine key factors of human activities related to RSD epidemics. RSD severity was significantly related to resistance, the interval of wheat harvest and rice sowing (WHRS) and inconsecutive interval of wheat sowing and rice harvest (WSRH). The relationship between human activities and the small brown planthopper (SBPH) showed that the resistance was more significantly associated with SBPH viruliferous rate in the preceding year than that of the current year but not correlated with SBPH density. Resistance could impact the SBPH viruliferous rate in the preceding year indirectly through transmission probability and, thereafter, the continuing disease epidemics. The insignificant interactive effects among resistance, WHRS and WSRH on disease severity meant that these three factors could be taken into consideration separately in agricultural practice according to rice chronological order. The quantitative field study conducted in Jiangsu province presented a good example of plant viral disease management, guided by which could not only avoid pointless actions but, most importantly, generate more efficient and economic returns. Therefore, in order to improve the management of RSD, it should focus on the adjustment of these human factors independently and sequentially in combination with the forecast of RSD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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18 pages, 6423 KiB  
Article
Study on Modeling Method of a Multi-Parameter Control System for Threshing and Cleaning Devices in the Grain Combine Harvester
by Yang Li, Lizhang Xu, Liya Lv, Yan Shi and Xun Yu
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1483; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091483 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1789
Abstract
In order to realize the demand for high-quality and high-efficiency harvest in modern agriculture, the grain combine harvesters must have the ability to intelligently adjust the operation parameters. The difficult problem is to establish the multi-parameter control system model for threshing and cleaning [...] Read more.
In order to realize the demand for high-quality and high-efficiency harvest in modern agriculture, the grain combine harvesters must have the ability to intelligently adjust the operation parameters. The difficult problem is to establish the multi-parameter control system model for threshing and cleaning devices. The threshing and cleaning devices are located in the same rack space, and the interaction mechanism among agricultural material movement, mechanical structure, and airflow field is very complex. In view of the difficulties in the theoretical modeling of threshing and cleaning devices, a large number of operating parameters and performance indicators, strong coupling, and high requirements for real-time control, the system identification method was used to model the threshing and cleaning system in this paper. Firstly, the amplitude modulated PRBS input signals were designed as the input parameters of the system identification test, and the output signals acquisition test was carried out in the field. Then, the multi-input and multi-output signals of the system were used as training data, and the fusion method of the PSO (particle swarm optimization) algorithm and WNN (wavelet neural network) was proposed to identify it, and the optimal state-space model was obtained. Finally, the model identification and verification experiments were carried out on the threshing and cleaning system of various crops during the actual harvest. The VAF (variance-accounted-for) values of system identification model verification results were greater than or equal to 81.7%, and the RMSE (root mean square error) values were less than or equal to 0.602. The modeling method has high accuracy and adaptability, which laid a good foundation for realizing multi-parameter coordinated control of threshing and cleaning devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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10 pages, 995 KiB  
Article
Biogas in Uganda and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Fuel Analysis of Biogas and Firewood
by Phiona Jackline Mukisa, Chama Theodore Ketuama and Hynek Roubík
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1482; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091482 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2830
Abstract
Biogas technology has the potential to achieve at least eight of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study assessed household biogas consumption against firewood and its socioeconomic and environmental impacts with regard to achieving the SDGs in the Iganga District, Uganda. In addition, [...] Read more.
Biogas technology has the potential to achieve at least eight of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This study assessed household biogas consumption against firewood and its socioeconomic and environmental impacts with regard to achieving the SDGs in the Iganga District, Uganda. In addition, factors hindering the adoption of biogas technology were assessed. Data were collected from 314 respondents using a questionnaire, interview, and observation. A mixed analytical approach combined descriptive analysis, multivariate analysis of variance and one-way analysis of variance tests to compare the impacts of biogas and firewood use and identify factors hindering the adoption of biogas technology. Results show that biogas consumption contributed to higher socioeconomic, health and environmental benefits than firewood. Biogas positively impacted SDG7, and indirectly, SDGs 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 13. An estimated 46.9% of households perceive biogas as a clean fuel. The factors motivating biogas consumption include its smoke-free nature, women and children having more time to engage in other development activities and reduced time spent on cooking. In conclusion, biogas offers higher impacts on SDGs compared to firewood. Reviewing the current national renewable energy promotion frameworks to provide biogas subsidies to households and investors can contribute to increasing biogas consumption in households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Utilization of Biomass Resources in Agriculture)
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14 pages, 863 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Nutrient Contents and Nutritive Value of Taif’s Rose (Rosa damascena Mill var. trigintipetala) Waste to Be Used as Animal Forage or Soil Organic Fertilizers
by Tarek M. Galal, Esmat F. Ali, Ebrahem M. Eid, Hatim M. Al-Yasi, Ali Magrashi, Fayez Althobaiti and Emad A. Farahat
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1481; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091481 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1921
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the nutrient content and nutritive value of pruning waste of the Taif Damask rose for its potential use as an organic fertilizer or animal forage in the Taif region, Saudi Arabia. For this purpose, the pruning waste of [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the nutrient content and nutritive value of pruning waste of the Taif Damask rose for its potential use as an organic fertilizer or animal forage in the Taif region, Saudi Arabia. For this purpose, the pruning waste of Taif’s rose and soil samples supporting the plant growth at different ages were collected from four farms (F1: 4, F2: 10, F3: 12, and F4: 20 years old). The total aboveground biomass (AGB) of the plants, stems, and leaves were measured in addition to the stem height and crown diameter. The results showed that the maximum stem height and crown diameter (184.20 and 243.5 cm) were recorded in the oldest farm (F4). Moreover, the stem, leaves, and aboveground biomass (AGB) of the waste were maximal (3.91, 1.30 and 5.21 t ha−1) at F4. F1 had the highest N content (154.30 mg kg−1) in the plant leaves, while F2 had the highest stem N and P (172.33 and P 9.40 mg kg−1). Moreover, F3 had the highest concentrations of leaf P (7.17 mg kg−1), leaf and stem K (112.47 and 277.30 mg kg−1), stem Ca2+ (251.93 mg kg−1), and leaf and stem Mg2+ (122.27 and 123.57 mg kg−1). The stems had higher percentages of total proteins, fibers, ash, and NFE (total carbohydrates) than the leaves in F1 and F2, while the opposite was observed in F3 and F4. The leaves of F2 rose plants had the highest percentage of neutral detergent fibers (NDF), and their stems had the highest percentages of total proteins (10.71%). The leaves of F3 plants had the highest percentage of acid detergent lignin (ADL) and the lowest crude fibers (7.63 and 13.27%), while the stems had the highest NFE (72.71%). The plant–soil relationship expressed by the CCA biplot showed that all the measured plant parameters were at higher positions on the Mg axis, except for the plant height and crown diameter, which were at low positions on the N and NO3 axes, respectively. In contrast, Cl, NO3, HCO3, and SO42− had high positive correlations with axis 1 and negative values with axis 2, while EC, the total P, and Ca2+ had high positive correlations with, and pH had high negative values in relation to, axis 2. Due to its considerable high inorganic and organic nutrient contents, Taif’s rose could be used in the manufacturing of organic fertilizer. Additionally, the analysis of the nutritive value of the pruning waste supports its use as animal forage. We strongly recommend that further studies be conducted on the application of plant waste as a soil amendment and animal forage in the field. Full article
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16 pages, 3007 KiB  
Article
Calibration of Discrete Element Model Parameters of Soil around Tubers during Potato Harvesting Period
by Yuyao Li, Jiali Fan, Zhichao Hu, Weiwen Luo, Hongguang Yang, Lili Shi and Feng Wu
Agriculture 2022, 12(9), 1475; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12091475 - 16 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1894
Abstract
To address the fact that existing studies may not be able to accurately describe the discrete element parameters of the soil during the potato harvesting period and to improve the accuracy of the potato harvesting equipment simulation studies, this study was conducted on [...] Read more.
To address the fact that existing studies may not be able to accurately describe the discrete element parameters of the soil during the potato harvesting period and to improve the accuracy of the potato harvesting equipment simulation studies, this study was conducted on the soil around the harvested potato tubers in the field. The simulation parameters of the discrete element model of soil were determined by the soil stacking angle test and soil block shear crushing test with the actual test measurements as the target. Based on a series of experimental designs, the factors affecting the stacking angle were the static friction coefficient and the rolling friction coefficient between soil particles; and the rolling friction coefficient between soil and steel. The factors affecting the maximum shear damage force were normal stiffness and shear stiffness per unit area. The quadratic regression equations were established and solved to obtain the optimal discrete element simulation parameters. The results can provide more realistic and reliable parameters for the construction of soil simulation models of potato fields during harvesting and for the discrete element simulation of soil-touching components of potato harvesting equipment. It can also further enrich the parameter data of soil discrete element simulation models and provide a reference for related research Full article
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