Next Issue
Volume 13, June
Previous Issue
Volume 13, April
 
 

Agriculture, Volume 13, Issue 5 (May 2023) – 190 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The majority of rapeseed varieties cultivated nowadays have black seeds, but there are also lines with a fixed, yellow seed color. They have a thinner seed coat, lower content of hard-to-digest fiber and higher oil and protein content, but usually lower seed weight. Therefore, genotypes that combine the advantages of yellow seeded lines with a high seed weight (comparable to black seeded), are sought after. This article describes the use of multivariate statistical methods to select such valuable genotypes from a population of DH lines developed from a cross of parents with contrasting seed color. These allowed for a detailed evaluation of the studied plant material in terms of many traits at once and gave an accurate overview of the relationship between the examined features. View this paper
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Reader to open them.
Order results
Result details
Section
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
13 pages, 2705 KiB  
Article
SENSE-GDD: A Satellite-Derived Temperature Monitoring Service to Provide Growing Degree Days
by Iphigenia Keramitsoglou, Panagiotis Sismanidis, Olga Sykioti, Vassilios Pisinaras, Ioannis Tsakmakis, Andreas Panagopoulos, Argyrios Argyriou and Chris T. Kiranoudis
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1108; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051108 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 1687
Abstract
A new satellite-enabled interoperable service has been developed to provide high spatiotemporal and continuous time series of Growing Degree Days (GDDs) at the field. The GDDs are calculated from MSG-SEVIRI data acquired by the EUMETCast station operated by IAASARS/NOA and downscaled on-the-fly to [...] Read more.
A new satellite-enabled interoperable service has been developed to provide high spatiotemporal and continuous time series of Growing Degree Days (GDDs) at the field. The GDDs are calculated from MSG-SEVIRI data acquired by the EUMETCast station operated by IAASARS/NOA and downscaled on-the-fly to increase the initial coarse spatial resolution from the original 4–5 km to 1 km. The performance of the new service SENSE-GDD, in deriving reliable GDD timeseries at dates very close to key phenological stages, is assessed using in situ air temperature measurements from weather stations installed in Gerovassiliou Estate vineyard at Epanomi (Northern Greece) and an apple orchard at Agia (Central Greece). Budburst, pollination, and the start of veraison are selected as key phenological stages for the vineyards, whilst budburst and pollination for the apple orchard. The assessment shows that SENSE-GDD provided uninterrupted accurate measurements in both crop types. A distinct feature is that the proposed service can support decisions in non-instrumented crop fields in a cost-effective way, paving the way for its extended operational use in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Metrology-Assisted Production in Agriculture and Forestry)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 503 KiB  
Article
Eco-Efficiency and Its Determinants: The Case of the Italian Beef Cattle Sector
by Lucio Cecchini, Francesco Romagnoli, Massimo Chiorri and Biancamaria Torquati
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1107; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051107 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1314
Abstract
In recent years, eco-efficiency assessment has proven to be an effective tool to reduce the environmental damages of agricultural activities while preserving their economic sustainability. Hence, this paper aims to assess the eco-efficiency of a sample of 148 beef cattle farms operating in [...] Read more.
In recent years, eco-efficiency assessment has proven to be an effective tool to reduce the environmental damages of agricultural activities while preserving their economic sustainability. Hence, this paper aims to assess the eco-efficiency of a sample of 148 beef cattle farms operating in the extensive livestock system of Central Italy. The analysis is based on Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) economic data in the year 2020 and includes, as environmental pressures, farm expenditure for the use of fuels, electricity and heating, and fertilizers. A two-stage approach was implemented: in the first stage, an input-oriented DEA model including slack variables was used to quantify farm eco-efficiency scores and determine the polluting inputs’ abatement potentials. In the second stage, the influence of possible influencing factors on eco-efficiency scores was tested using a regression model for truncated data. The analyzed farms were found to be highly eco-inefficient, as they could abate their environmental pressures, on average, in a range from 56% to 60% while keeping the value of their global production constant. Fertilizers and fuel consumption were identified as the least efficiently operating inputs, with potential reductions in terms of the related expenditures fluctuating between 9% and 42%. Farms showing a high-intensity livestock system, a low labor intensity, and a larger farm area were recognized as the most eco-efficient. Environmental and animal welfare subsidies were found to not affect eco-efficiency, while a negative influence was estimated for a single farm payment, which does not seem to be an incentive mechanism for farms to operate efficiently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 891 KiB  
Article
Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum (L.) L’Hér.) Plant Growth and Flowering as Affected by Mineral or Biofertilizer with or without Compost Amendment
by Sultan F. Altobaishi, Fahed A. Almana, Ahmed M. Abd-ElGawad, Mohammed A. Al-Yafrsi and Khalid M. Elhindi
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051106 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1451
Abstract
Sustainable agriculture aims to eliminate the excessive usage of chemical fertilizers and can be crucial for soil fertility. A factorial pot experiment in a randomized complete block design was carried out in King Khaled International Airport Nursery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during 2019/2020, to [...] Read more.
Sustainable agriculture aims to eliminate the excessive usage of chemical fertilizers and can be crucial for soil fertility. A factorial pot experiment in a randomized complete block design was carried out in King Khaled International Airport Nursery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during 2019/2020, to evaluate the role of a biofertilizer (i.e., Bio-Fert, nitrogen-fixing microorganisms; Biot-Phos, phosphorus-released microorganism; and Bio-Potas, potassium-released microorganisms, either alone or in combinations) and slow-release compound chemical fertilizer (Osmocote), with or without compost, on Pelargonium peltatum plant growth, flowering, chlorophyll level, and ion percentage. Soil amendment with compost in general significantly increased plant growth and flowering attributes as well as chlorophyll level, nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) percentage over garden soil (without compost). All growth and flowering traits as well as ion percentage and chlorophyll level were significantly increased by biofertilizer treatments either alone or in combinations. The supreme treatment was the triple interaction over single or double interactions or untreated plants. Osmocote application increases chlorophyll levels, ions, flowering, and vegetative growth relative to untreated plants. Additionally, the data also revealed that all interactions between either osmocote or biofertilizers with compost significantly increased all studied attributes over each treatment alone or untreated control plants. Accordingly, it is recommended to add compost to the soil along with a triple mixture of biofertilizers for obtaining high plant growth and flowering attributes along with soil fertility. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 3201 KiB  
Article
Chili Pepper Farmers’ Pesticide Use and Residues under Thailand’s Public Good Agricultural Practices Standard: A Case Study in Chiang Mai Province
by Yuichiro Amekawa, Surat Hongsibsong, Nootchakarn Sawarng and Girma Gezimu Gebre
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1105; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051105 - 22 May 2023
Viewed by 2681
Abstract
This multi-level study focuses on Thailand’s public good agricultural practices certification standard (Q-GAP) and compares the performance of 100 certified and 229 uncertified growers regarding their pesticide use practices and the levels of pesticide residues detected in on-farm samples. Chili pepper, a crop [...] Read more.
This multi-level study focuses on Thailand’s public good agricultural practices certification standard (Q-GAP) and compares the performance of 100 certified and 229 uncertified growers regarding their pesticide use practices and the levels of pesticide residues detected in on-farm samples. Chili pepper, a crop primarily marketed domestically, was the focal point of this study conducted in the production context of Chiang Mai province. The data for the study were collected through field interview surveys and chili pepper sample collections. The collected crop samples underwent organophosphate pesticide and synthetic pyrethroid analyses using gas chromatography. Statistical analysis techniques, including one-way ANOVA, chi-square tests, probit regression, and multiple linear regression, were employed to analyze the numerical data using the Stata software. The study’s findings revealed several key points. The certified farmers’ main motivation for adopting Q-GAP was to meet market requirements, rather than ensuring safety assurance. They exhibited a significantly lower adoption of insecticides compared to the uncertified farmers, but no significant differences were observed for fungicide or herbicide adoption. The analysis of the pesticide residue results yielded mixed findings, making it challenging to conclude whether certified farmers have better control over pesticide residues compared to uncertified farmers. A probit regression analysis highlighted the critical importance of training for growers’ adoption of the standard. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 1280 KiB  
Article
N-Nitrosamine Impurities in Ethalfluralin: Determination of an Overlooked Deleterious Source in Pesticides
by George P. Balayiannis and Helen Karasali
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051104 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1405
Abstract
N-nitrosamines are a class of carcinogenic chemical compound. Considering the large-scale application of agrochemicals globally, the elimination of N-nitrosamines from pesticides should be a priority for manufacturers and regulators. A set of methods was developed and validated for the determination of [...] Read more.
N-nitrosamines are a class of carcinogenic chemical compound. Considering the large-scale application of agrochemicals globally, the elimination of N-nitrosamines from pesticides should be a priority for manufacturers and regulators. A set of methods was developed and validated for the determination of the toxicologically relevant N-nitrosamine impurity of ethalfluralin (ethyl-N-(2-methylallyl) N-nitroso amine—EMANA) in 33% w v−1 emulsifiable concentrate (EC) formulations. Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) was compared with the “dilute and shoot” approach. Gas chromatography (GC) was combined with Flame Ionization Detection (FID) and mass spectrometry (MS). For MS, two mass filtering modes (Selective Ion Monitoring—SIM, tandem mass spectrometry—MS/MS) and two ionization modes (Electron Ionization—EI, Positive chemical ionization—PCI) were applied. It was concluded that, in the case of samples with high nitrosamine concentration (>90 μg g−1), the “dilute and shoot” approach can be applied without compromising the quality of the results. SPE, however, is required to attain the LOQ (0.33 μg g−1) with good recovery (97.4–110.67%), linearity (R > 0.99) and precision (%RSD 0.68–1.74). The LOQ supersedes the limit set by EFSA (1 μg g−1) in the Technical Active Substance—TAS. The concentration range of the methods is 0.05–110 μg g−1. The methods were applied for the official surveillance program of the Greek agrochemicals market. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 312 KiB  
Article
Can Digital Finance Promote Professional Farmers’ Income Growth in China?—An Examination Based on the Perspective of Income Structure
by Yue Wang, Feilong Weng and Xuexi Huo
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1103; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051103 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1630
Abstract
As a product of the deep integration of digital technology and financial services, digital finance provides vital financial support for rural revitalization and increasing farmers’ income. Based on the survey data of 1030 professional apple growers in the typical areas of Shaanxi Province, [...] Read more.
As a product of the deep integration of digital technology and financial services, digital finance provides vital financial support for rural revitalization and increasing farmers’ income. Based on the survey data of 1030 professional apple growers in the typical areas of Shaanxi Province, this paper empirically tested the impact of digital financial involvement on professional farmers’ income, and its mechanism. The study found that digital finance significantly impacted the growth of professional farmer households’ total incomes. However, this impact was not achieved by directly increasing property income and transfer incomes, but through two indirect ways: first, digital finance promoted productive agricultural investment, which further promoted the increase in agricultural income; secondly, digital finance further increased the income of self-operated industry and commerce by promoting the entrepreneurship of professional farmer households. Furthermore, the heterogeneity analysis showed that professional farmers with high education levels, large-scale farmland operations, and high levels of agricultural mechanization participate in digital finance, which plated a more significant role in promoting their total household income. From the perspective of different types of digital financial services, mobile payment and digital credit could promote increases in the income of professional farmers, but the income increase effect of digital wealth management has not yet been shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
15 pages, 7316 KiB  
Article
Double Disc Colter for a Zero-Till Seeder Simultaneously Applying Granular Fertilizers and Wheat Seeds
by Adilet Sugirbay, Kaiyuan Zhao, Guangyao Liu, Guangrui Hu, Jun Chen, Zhasulan Mustafin, Ruslan Iskakov, Nurbol Kakabayev, Marat Muratkhan, Valery Khan, Yu Chen and Shuo Zhang
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1102; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051102 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
The application method of granular fertilizers and wheat seeds depends on the colter design and parameters. In this research, a new double disc colter is studied to apply the wheat seeds to the horizontal band 12 cm in width and apply granular fertilizers [...] Read more.
The application method of granular fertilizers and wheat seeds depends on the colter design and parameters. In this research, a new double disc colter is studied to apply the wheat seeds to the horizontal band 12 cm in width and apply granular fertilizers deeper 2 cm than the wheat seed level precisely to the middle of the band. Applying granular fertilizers and wheat seeds at different levels increases the granular fertilizer dose without harm to the wheat seeds. Furthermore, applying high doses of wheat seeds to the horizontal band decreases the competition between the seeds and suppresses the weeds. Therefore, preparing a plain seedbed after applying the fertilizers and distributing wheat seeds to the horizontal band was the research objective. The comparison experiments of the base and designed double disc colters were provided in the soil bin determining the horizontal and vertical forces and the placement of the fertilizers and seeds. The discrete element method (DEM) was used to track the soil particle behavior interacting with the double-disc colter. The simulation results and actual experiment results were satisfactory when the AB length of the wing orifice was 60 mm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Machinery Design and Agricultural Engineering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 5058 KiB  
Article
Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Ammonia Concentration in a Commercial Broiler Building
by João C. Gonçalves, António M. G. Lopes and José L. S. Pereira
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051101 - 21 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1112
Abstract
In the present study, a numerical model was developed to predict the flow pattern inside a broiler building. The model was intended to predict the velocity fields inside the domain and the ammonia (NH3) emitted or released by litter from poultry [...] Read more.
In the present study, a numerical model was developed to predict the flow pattern inside a broiler building. The model was intended to predict the velocity fields inside the domain and the ammonia (NH3) emitted or released by litter from poultry housing. The numerical model was developed in computational fluid dynamics (CFDs) commercial code and intended to represent a commercial broiler building and to simulate the 3D and heat transfer in steady-state flow. The evaporative cooling pads were also included in the model. The validation of the model was based on experimental measurements obtained in previous studies. The simulations were focused on the summer, winter, and mid-season conditions. Numerical measurements of NH3 concentration were compared with the experimental measurements, and a quite good agreement was verified. The numerical results allowed the characterization of: the inside flow pattern developed for the summer and winter periods and the NH3 and velocity field distributions inside the broiler building. It was found that NH3 concentration increased along the tunnel, as a result, especially, of the low flow rate of the exhaust fan. It was verified that the low velocities inside domain were not sufficient to remove the gaseous pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

10 pages, 1002 KiB  
Article
Resistance of Sorghum Genotypes to Ergot (Claviceps Species)
by Dejene Kebede, Isaac Onziga Dramadri, Patrick Rubaihayo, Thomas Odong and Richard Edema
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1100; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051100 - 21 May 2023
Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Ergot is an important disease affecting sorghum when susceptible cultivars are grown and environmental conditions are favorable. Resistance breeding to ergot is, therefore, of paramount importance to provide effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly management options. This study was conducted to assess the response [...] Read more.
Ergot is an important disease affecting sorghum when susceptible cultivars are grown and environmental conditions are favorable. Resistance breeding to ergot is, therefore, of paramount importance to provide effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly management options. This study was conducted to assess the response of a global collection of sorghum genotypes to ergot. A total of 358 sorghum accessions were evaluated under field conditions. Data collection was conducted based on ergot incidence, severity, and agronomic traits, and the results revealed highly significant differences among genotypes (p < 0.01) for all traits evaluated. A mean disease incidence range of 23.8% to 69.4% was observed across test environments. Of the screened genotypes, 23, 52, and 2 genotypes showed resistant reactions during 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. Disease incidence and severity showed a moderate correlation with days to 50% flowering and pollen quantity, indicating their importance in ergot infection. Resistant genotypes E313, E111, E225, E200, E351, E352, E353, and E354 were identified from this study. These genotypes could be exploited as a resistance source in breeding for resistance to ergot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Improvement through Conventional and Molecular Approaches)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 3465 KiB  
Article
Influence of Factors Determining Weeds’ Plant Tissue Reaction to the Electric Pulse Damage Impact
by Igor Yudaev, Yuliia Daus, Vladimir Panchenko and Vadim Bolshev
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1099; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051099 - 21 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1431
Abstract
Due to the emerging danger to the life of animals and people, today there is a turn to safe technologies for controlling weeds by physical methods, both from the point of view of ecology and food safety, which include the destruction of plants [...] Read more.
Due to the emerging danger to the life of animals and people, today there is a turn to safe technologies for controlling weeds by physical methods, both from the point of view of ecology and food safety, which include the destruction of plants using an electric current, in particular, high-voltage electrical pulses. The purpose of the study presented in the article is to identify and evaluate the effect of high-voltage electrical pulses on the irreversible damage to the intracellular structures of the plant tissue of weeds and unwanted grasses during their electric weed control, characterizing and evaluating the parameters and modes associated with such processing. Experimental studies were carried out using a laboratory experimental setup that consists of a pulse voltage generator, a control circuit for a spherical forming spark gap, and schemes for measuring the electrical resistance of the plant tissue of the weed sample. The lesion level made it possible to control the depth of irreversible damage to the internal structure of the plant tissue of weeds by measuring its tolerance (the conductivity of the tissue increased with increasing damage to the cellular components of the tissue).The irreversible damage to the plant tissues of weeds for weeds of various biological groups, which is characterized by reaching the value of at least 4.0–7.5 degrees of damage to their tissues, can be acted on them with high-voltage electrical pulses in the treated tissue of an electric field intensity of at least 3.74 kV/cm, while ensuring specific processing electric energy for the reliable processing of weeds: for Euphórbia virgáta, thise quals 5.2…17.5 J/cm3; for Amaránthus retrofléxus, it is 3.5…7.7 J/cm3; for Cirsium arvense, it is 2.7…10.9 J/cm3;for Sónchus arvénsis, it is 3.7…15.8 J/cm3; and for Lactúca tatárica, it is 3.3…8.1 J/cm3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engineering Innovations in Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 1527 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Piglets Tract and Encapsulation of Selected Probiotic Cells
by Mihaela Dumitru, Nicoleta Aurelia Lefter, Mihaela Habeanu, Georgeta Ciurescu, Dan C. Vodnar, Simon Elemer, Ionut Sorescu, Sergiu Emil Georgescu and Andreea Dudu
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051098 - 21 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1944
Abstract
Fourteen lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains were isolated from the intestinal tract and feces of piglets. Among these isolates, only twelve were biochemically (API 50 CHL and ABIS online for bacterial identification) and genetically (16S rRNA sequencing) confirmed as Limosilactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus [...] Read more.
Fourteen lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains were isolated from the intestinal tract and feces of piglets. Among these isolates, only twelve were biochemically (API 50 CHL and ABIS online for bacterial identification) and genetically (16S rRNA sequencing) confirmed as Limosilactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactiplantibacillus plantarum. Experiments to evaluate the probiotic potential of the isolates including pH tolerance (pH 2.0 and 3.0), bile salts (0.3% ox gall) resistance, hemolysis activity, antibiotic susceptibility, and high-temperature resistance were tested. Only two isolates from identified strains exhibited high survival rates when exposed to low pH and bile salts, these were L. acidophilus IBNA 76 and L. plantarum IBNA 84. The antibiotic test presented 100% resistance of both strains to gentamicin, kanamycin, lincomycin, colistin sulfate, erythromycin, amikacin, oxytetracycline, enrofloxacin, streptomycin, and tilmicosin, lower than the 0.6 mm inhibition zone diameter. Promising isolates (L. acidophilus IBNA 76 and L. plantarum IBNA 84) were exposed to the spray-drying technique based on visible probiotic potential and survival rates. Carrier matrix material was used as a maltodextrin-glucose solution. The encapsulation probiotic isolated survived both over 67% and 77%, corresponding to a decrease in strain viability from 109 to 107 CFU/g. After further in vitro evaluations, the findings of this study showed that, from all LAB strains, L. acidophilus IBNA 76 and L. plantarum IBNA 84 may be considered probiotic candidates for animal nutrition and may have promising performance in piglet feed due to their origin of isolation. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 956 KiB  
Article
Identification of Characteristic Parameters in Seed Yielding of Selected Varieties of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Using Artificial Intelligence Methods
by Dominika Sieracka, Maciej Zaborowicz and Jakub Frankowski
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051097 - 20 May 2023
Viewed by 2098
Abstract
Currently, there is a significant increase in interest in hemp cultivation and hemp products around the world. The hemp industry is a strongly developing branch of the economies of many countries. Short-term forecasting of the hemp seed and grain yield will provide growers [...] Read more.
Currently, there is a significant increase in interest in hemp cultivation and hemp products around the world. The hemp industry is a strongly developing branch of the economies of many countries. Short-term forecasting of the hemp seed and grain yield will provide growers and processors with information useful to plan the demand for employees, technical facilities (including appropriately sized drying houses and crop cleaning lines) and means of transport. This will help to optimize inputs and, as a result, increase the income from cultivation. One of the methods of yield prediction is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) methods. Neural modeling proved to be useful in predicting the yield of many plants, which is why work was undertaken to use it also to predict hemp yield. The research was carried out on selected, popular hemp varieties—Białobrzeskie and Henola. Their aim was to identify characteristic factors: climatic, cultivation and agrotechnical, affecting the size and quality of the yield. The collected data allowed the generation of Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models. It has been shown that based on a set of characteristics obtained during the cultivation process, it is possible to create a predictive neural model. Modeling using one output variable, which is seed yield, can be used in short-time prediction of industrial crops, which are gaining more and more importance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning for Smart Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 324 KiB  
Article
Nutritional and Health Values of Tunisian Edible Oils from Less-Used Plant Sources
by Rossella Vadalà, Vincenzo Nava, Vincenzo Lo Turco, Angela Giorgia Potortì, Rosaria Costa, Rossana Rando, Hedi Ben Mansour, Nawres Ben Amor, Asma Beltifa, Antonello Santini and Giuseppa Di Bella
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051096 - 20 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1160
Abstract
The reclaim of less-used plant sources is a novel approach to the growing demand for healthy and eco-friendly foods, and it constitutes a sustainable alternative to replace conventional food ingredients and sources of bioactives. In this work, a phytochemical profile in terms of [...] Read more.
The reclaim of less-used plant sources is a novel approach to the growing demand for healthy and eco-friendly foods, and it constitutes a sustainable alternative to replace conventional food ingredients and sources of bioactives. In this work, a phytochemical profile in terms of mineral elements, total polyphenols, fatty acids, α-tocopherol, sterols, and squalene was realized for several commercial edible oils of bitter almond, pumpkin seed, apricot kernel, nigella, souchet, and wheat germ sourced in the Tunisian market. Wheat germ oil, which showed the most significant nutritional and healthy impact, contained the highest contents of Mg (52.37 mg kg−1); Na (40.75 mg kg−1); Mn (2.39 mg kg−1); total sterols (1713.80 mg/100 g); and PUFAs (61.01%). The high levels of squalene detected on pumpkin seed oils (1160.01 mg kg−1) allows to proposet it as valuable functional food. The highest total polyphenolic content found in nigella oils (109.01 mg GAE kg−1) justifies its stability and antioxidant properties. A daily consumption of 10 g of bitter almond or souchet oil contributes to a 17.53% and 8.6% alpha-tocopherol daily intake, respectively. The usual consumption of these minor oils may represent a sustainable and convenient source of bioactives with beneficial effects on both human health and nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
15 pages, 2816 KiB  
Article
Recovery of Bioactive Compounds from Calabrian Bergamot Citrus Waste: Selection of Best Green Extraction
by Antonio Gattuso, Amalia Piscopo, Rosa Romeo, Alessandra De Bruno and Marco Poiana
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1095; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051095 - 20 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to select the best green extraction technique to recover the bioactive compounds in Calabrian Bergamot waste (Pomace). Different experimental variables such as solvent, time, and temperature were tested and the main physicochemical characteristics and antioxidant activity and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to select the best green extraction technique to recover the bioactive compounds in Calabrian Bergamot waste (Pomace). Different experimental variables such as solvent, time, and temperature were tested and the main physicochemical characteristics and antioxidant activity and constituents, such as total flavonoids, individual flavonoids, and limonoids (UHPLC-DAD) were analyzed. Later, the best extraction methodology was applied to characterize the individual portions that compose the bergamot pomace (albedo/pulp, seeds, and juice) of three different Calabrian cultivars: Fantastico, Femminello, and Castagnaro. Results of this study evidence that bergamot waste possesses a high antioxidant content that can be potentially used for further applications in the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research on Bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso & Poiteau))
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 1969 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Tires Acting on Soil in Field Conditions Using the 3D Scanning Method
by Weronika Ptak, Jarosław Czarnecki, Marek Brennensthul, Krzysztof Lejman and Agata Małecka
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1094; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051094 - 20 May 2023
Viewed by 1077
Abstract
This research presents the results of tests conducted under field conditions and included measuring the footprint of tires on soil. Two agricultural tires of the same size but different internal structures were tested, 500/50R17 (radial) and 500/50-17 (bias-ply). The factors were tire inflation [...] Read more.
This research presents the results of tests conducted under field conditions and included measuring the footprint of tires on soil. Two agricultural tires of the same size but different internal structures were tested, 500/50R17 (radial) and 500/50-17 (bias-ply). The factors were tire inflation pressure (0.8 bar, 1.6 bar, and 2.4 bar) and tire vertical load (7.8 kN, 11.8 kN, and 15.7 kN). The footprint made on the soil was scanned with a 3D scanner, resulting in a digital image of the tire footprint on the soil to enable an analysis of the measured parameters: length, width, depth, and contact area (in 3D form). Statistical analysis showed that for radial tire footprints, both inflation pressure and vertical load had a significant effect on all analyzed parameters. For bias-ply tire footprints, it was shown that only inflation pressure had a significant effect on all of the analyzed parameters, while the significance of the effect of the vertical load was not confirmed for the footprint depth. Based on the results obtained, the suitability of models describing the relationship between operating factors and the actual footprint area was verified. It was found that for a radial tire, the model formulated based on laboratory tests can predict the contact surface under field conditions (the correlation coefficient R2 was equal to 0.9226). In the case of a bias-ply tire, the correlation coefficient R2 reached a value equal to 0.5828. This indicates a less accurate estimation of the surface area under field conditions based on the model designed after laboratory testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 6753 KiB  
Article
Optimization of and Experiment on Simulation Parameters for Rotary Hole Filling Corn Precision Metering Device
by Wuxiong Weng, Changyu Wang, Guixuan Zhu, Zejun Gu, Han Tang, Jinfeng Wang and Jinwu Wang
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1093; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051093 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
This study is aimed at the special working conditions of seeding on sloping land, combining advanced precision seeding technology and the structure of rotary hole filling corn precision metering device seed rowers at home and abroad, and studying soil entry characteristics, the characteristics [...] Read more.
This study is aimed at the special working conditions of seeding on sloping land, combining advanced precision seeding technology and the structure of rotary hole filling corn precision metering device seed rowers at home and abroad, and studying soil entry characteristics, the characteristics of soil particles and the seed transport pattern in the puncture process, in order to improve the seed dispersal qualified index and reduce the coefficient of variation in the process of seeding. The simulation test of the cavity-tying device was carried out using the MBD–DEM coupling method, and it can be seen that the rocker bending angle is 120° when the force is the largest; at this time the rocker and the soil force is the largest, indicating the best effect on soil particle separation and the fastest movement speed. The single-factor test determined that the operating speed of the seed rower ranged from 0.8 to 1.2 m/s, the spring preload force of the seed rower ranged from 5.5 to 25 N, and the operating slope angle of the seed rower ranged from 8° to 16°. The optimal structure and parameter characteristics of the rotary hole filling corn precision metering device were determined with a multi-factor test, and it was proven that the rotary hole filling corn precision metering device has better performance and a higher seed rowing quality, with the qualified index reaching 96.2%. This study can provide a reference for the research of corn precision seeders, enrich the form of corn precision seeders, and effectively improve the level of corn mechanized seeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 2592 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study on Stability of Seed Characteristics in Vetch and Pea Cultivations
by Vasileios Greveniotis, Elisavet Bouloumpasi, Stylianos Zotis, Athanasios Korkovelos, Dimitrios Kantas and Constantinos G. Ipsilandis
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051092 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Stability for yield and seed quality across environments are desirable traits for varieties used for the support of livestock, and such specific varieties of common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) and peas (Pisum sativum L.) are highly demanded from farmers. The objective [...] Read more.
Stability for yield and seed quality across environments are desirable traits for varieties used for the support of livestock, and such specific varieties of common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) and peas (Pisum sativum L.) are highly demanded from farmers. The objective of this study was to investigate the stability performance of seed quality attributes on six common vetch genotypes and five pea genotypes. The genotypes’ stability traits were based on seed quality characteristics of peas and common vetch under low-input vs. conventional cultivation systems. Significantly positive or negative correlations between the main traits in all cultivation schemes were found. Based on these findings, improving certain traits that exhibit qualitative inheritance is expected to be an efficient indirect way to improve seed quality stability, more easily in the case of peas. It was evident from comparisons that even in low-input farming systems, varieties showed stable performance. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), GGE biplot on main traits, and AMMI analysis all resulted in statistically significant variations between genotypes, environments, and farming practices. This analysis resulted in specific pea varieties and vetch cultivars that were stable for various regions and farming systems on seed quality traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stability Analysis of Crop Yield under Different Cultivation Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 6373 KiB  
Article
Vegetation Indices for Predicting the Growth and Harvest Rate of Lettuce
by Ana Luisa Alves Ribeiro, Gabriel Mascarenhas Maciel, Ana Carolina Silva Siquieroli, José Magno Queiroz Luz, Rodrigo Bezerra de Araujo Gallis, Pablo Henrique de Souza Assis, Hugo César Rodrigues Moreira Catão and Rickey Yoshio Yada
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1091; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051091 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1677
Abstract
Urbanization has provided greater demand for food, and the search for strategies capable of reducing waste is essential to ensure food security. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) culture has a short life cycle and its harvest point is determined visually, causing waste and [...] Read more.
Urbanization has provided greater demand for food, and the search for strategies capable of reducing waste is essential to ensure food security. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) culture has a short life cycle and its harvest point is determined visually, causing waste and important losses. Using vegetation indices could be an important alternative to reduce errors during harvest definition. The objective of this study was to evaluate different vegetation indices to predict the growth rate and harvest point of lettuce. Twenty-five genotypes of biofortified green lettuce were evaluated. The Green Leaf Index (GLI), Normalized Green Red Difference Index (NGRDI), Spectral Slope Saturation Index (SI), and Overall Hue Index (HUE) were calculated from images captured at 1, 8, 18, 24, and 36 days after transplanting (vegetative state). The diameter and average leaf area of plants were measured using QGIS software. Green mass, number of leaves, and plant and stem diameter were measured in the field. The means were compared using the Scott–Knott test (p ≤ 0.05) and simple linear regression models were generated to monitor the growth rate, obtaining R2 values ranging from 62% to 99%. Genetic dissimilarity was confirmed by the multivariate analysis presenting a cophenetic correlation coefficient of 88.49%. Furthermore, validation between data collected in the field versus data obtained by imaging was performed using Pearson’s correlations and showed moderate to high values. Overall, the vegetation indices SI, GLI, and NGRDI were efficient for monitoring the growth rate and determining the harvest point of different green lettuce genotypes, in attempts to reduce waste and losses. It is suggested that the definition of the harvest point based on vegetation indices are specific for each genotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovations in Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

24 pages, 4612 KiB  
Article
Molecular Evidence for the Presence of Wisteria Vein Mosaic Virus in Italy: Shedding Light on Genetic Diversity and Evolutionary Dynamics of Virus Geographic Populations
by Giusy D’Attoma, Angelantonio Minafra, Pasquale Saldarelli and Massimiliano Morelli
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1090; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051090 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1992
Abstract
Wisteria vein mosaic virus (WVMV) is a member of the genus Potyvirus, found to be associated with the Wisteria mosaic disease (WMD). In 2022, severe symptoms resembling WMD were observed on the foliage of a Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) tree [...] Read more.
Wisteria vein mosaic virus (WVMV) is a member of the genus Potyvirus, found to be associated with the Wisteria mosaic disease (WMD). In 2022, severe symptoms resembling WMD were observed on the foliage of a Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) tree growing in Apulia (Italy). The presence of WVMV was ascertained by RT-PCR using the universal degenerate primers NIb2F/NIb3R in the NIb gene. Next, we derived the complete sequence of the CP gene. MAFFT pairwise alignment of the two target regions showed a high amino acid sequence identity of isolate Bari with other WVMV isolates, confirming they belonged to the same species. NIb phylogenetic analysis placed WVMV Bari within the lineage identified in the genus Potyvirus as the bean common mosaic virus supergroup. Closer analysis based on the CP gene showed that WVMV Bari was part of a sub-clade gathering all WVMV isolates within a larger clade clustering closely related species. An exploratory analysis of the genetic diversity and possible mechanisms underlying the evolution of geographic populations of WVMV was attempted. The analysis was based on the N-terminal coding region of CP, available for 20 isolates from Europe, Asia, and Oceania. A high diversity, mainly found in the European population, led to the identification of 16 different haplotypes. Based on the dN/dS ratio, the target region appears to be under negative selective pressure. Neutrality tests indicated a potential population expansion in Europe and a recent decrease in Asia. The two populations exhibited a high level of gene flow. We found that WVMV Bari may have originated from a recombination event in the NIb gene. To date, the presence of WVMV had never been reported on W. sinensis in Italy, and no molecular information was available on any Italian isolate. Our report draws attention to the further spread of WVMV in the European territory and its rising threat to the ornamental nursery sector. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

24 pages, 793 KiB  
Review
The Recent Use of Plant-Growth-Promoting Bacteria to Promote the Growth of Agricultural Food Crops
by Lucy Reed and Bernard R. Glick
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051089 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3063
Abstract
In the past 15–20 years, the employment of Plant-Growth-Promoting Bacteria (PGPB) to facilitate the growth of agricultural food crops has increased dramatically. These beneficial soil bacteria, whose use and demonstrations of efficacy have previously been largely limited to the laboratory, have now been [...] Read more.
In the past 15–20 years, the employment of Plant-Growth-Promoting Bacteria (PGPB) to facilitate the growth of agricultural food crops has increased dramatically. These beneficial soil bacteria, whose use and demonstrations of efficacy have previously been largely limited to the laboratory, have now been shown to be effective under field conditions. In addition, the mechanisms that these bacteria utilize to facilitate plant growth are now mostly well characterized. Moreover, several companies across the globe have commercialized a number of PGPB and there is every indication that this trend will continue to grow. As a consequence of these developments, in this review article, a large number of recent reports on the successful testing of many different types of PGPB and their effects on various food crops is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria in Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 4887 KiB  
Article
Spatial Prediction and Mapping of Soil Water Content by TPE-GBDT Model in Chinese Coastal Delta Farmland with Sentinel-2 Remote Sensing Data
by Dexi Zhan, Yongqi Mu, Wenxu Duan, Mingzhu Ye, Yingqiang Song, Zhenqi Song, Kaizhong Yao, Dengkuo Sun and Ziqi Ding
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051088 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 1404
Abstract
Soil water content is an important indicator used to maintain the ecological balance of farmland. The efficient spatial prediction of soil water content is crucial for ensuring crop growth and food production. To this end, 104 farmland soil samples were collected in the [...] Read more.
Soil water content is an important indicator used to maintain the ecological balance of farmland. The efficient spatial prediction of soil water content is crucial for ensuring crop growth and food production. To this end, 104 farmland soil samples were collected in the Yellow River Delta (YRD) in China, and the soil water content was determined using the drying method. A gradient boosting decision tree (GBDT) model based on a tree-structured Parzen estimator (TPE) hyperparametric optimization was developed, and then the soil water content was predicted and mapped based on the soil texture and vegetation index from Sentinel-2 remote sensing images. The results of statistical analysis showed that the soil water content had a high coefficient of variation (55.30%), a non-normal distribution, and complex spatial variability. Compared with other models, the TPE-GBDT model had the highest prediction accuracy (RMSE = 6.02% and R2 = 0.71), and its mapping results showed that the areas with high soil water content were distributed on both sides of the river and near the estuary. Furthermore, the results of Shapley additive explanation (SHAP) analysis showed that the soil texture (PC2 and PC5), modified normalized difference vegetation index (MNDVI), and Sentinel-2 red edge position (S2REP) index provided important contributions to the spatial prediction of soil water content. We found that the hydraulic physical properties of soil texture and the vegetation characteristics (such as vegetation coverage, root action, and transpiration) are the key factors affecting the spatial migration and heterogeneity of the soil water content in the study area. The above results show that the TPE algorithm can quickly capture the hyperparameters that are most suitable for the GBDT model, so that the GBDT model can ensure prediction accuracy, reduce the loss function with less training data, and accurately learn of the nonlinear relationship between soil water content and environmental factors. This paper proposes a machine learning method for hyperparameter optimization that shows considerable potential to predict the spatial heterogeneity of soil water content, which can effectively support regional farmland soil and water conservation and high-quality agricultural development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Technologies in Agricultural Crop and Soil Monitoring)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

14 pages, 1195 KiB  
Article
Early Warning of Poverty Returning against the Background of Rural Revitalization: A Case Study of Two Counties in Guangxi Province, China
by Yaqi Du and Rong Zhao
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1087; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051087 - 19 May 2023
Viewed by 975
Abstract
China has achieved the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in a well-rounded way by 2020. At this stage, effectively dealing with poverty and not returning to it has become the bottom-line task of rural revitalization. The purpose of this study is [...] Read more.
China has achieved the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in a well-rounded way by 2020. At this stage, effectively dealing with poverty and not returning to it has become the bottom-line task of rural revitalization. The purpose of this study is to construct a poverty-return early warning and evaluation system for X and Y counties in Guangxi. Based on the field survey data of 150 households from the questionnaire survey in X County and Y County of Guangxi Province, an early warning evaluation system for returning to poverty in the two counties of Guangxi Province is constructed. The AHP analytic hierarchy process is used to evaluate the early warning of returning to poverty for farmers. The BP neural network algorithm is used to verify the rationality of the method; the overall poverty relief situation in the two counties is stable and the living conditions are good. The early warning results are as follows: One household in X County has a severe early warning, six households have a slight early warning, and sixty-four households have no early warning; in Y County, six households had severe early warning, six households had mild early warning, and sixty-seven households had no early warning. For farmers, serious early warnings are mainly caused by the lack of labor force and low annual per capita net income, as well as the lack of the main means of livelihood and capacity. The characteristics of mild early warnings for farmers are mainly that the proportion of non-labor income is relatively high, and the farmers lack the ability and way of long-term development. Different suggestions are put forward for farmers with different early-warning levels, focusing on improving their viability and development ability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 1928 KiB  
Article
Non-Destructive Hyperspectral Imaging and Machine Learning-Based Predictive Models for Physicochemical Quality Attributes of Apples during Storage as Affected by Codling Moth Infestation
by Alfadhl Y. Khaled, Nader Ekramirad, Kevin D. Donohue, Raul T. Villanueva and Akinbode A. Adedeji
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1086; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051086 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1594
Abstract
The demand for high-quality apples remains strong throughout the year, as they are one of the top three most popular fruits globally. However, the apple industry faces challenges in monitoring and managing postharvest losses due to invasive pests during long-term storage. In this [...] Read more.
The demand for high-quality apples remains strong throughout the year, as they are one of the top three most popular fruits globally. However, the apple industry faces challenges in monitoring and managing postharvest losses due to invasive pests during long-term storage. In this study, the effect of codling moth (CM) (Cydia pomonella [Linnaeus, 1758]), one of the most detrimental pests of apples, on the quality of the fruit was investigated under different storage conditions. Specifically, Gala apples were evaluated for their qualities such as firmness, pH, moisture content (MC), and soluble solids content (SSC). Near-infrared hyperspectral imaging (HSI) was implemented to build machine learning models for predicting the quality attributes of this apple during a 20-week storage using partial least squares regression (PLSR) and support vector regression (SVR) methods. Data were pre-processed using Savitzky–Golay smoothing filter and standard normal variate (SNV) followed by removing outliers by Monte Carlo sampling method. Functional analysis of variance (FANOVA) was used to interpret the variance in the spectra with respect to the infestation effect. FANOVA results showed that the effects of infestation on the near infrared (NIR) spectra were significant at p < 0.05. Initial results showed that the quality prediction models for the apples during cold storage at three different temperatures (0 °C, 4 °C, and 10 °C) were very high with a maximum correlation coefficient of prediction (Rp) of 0.92 for SSC, 0.95 for firmness, 0.97 for pH, and 0.91 for MC. Furthermore, the competitive adaptive reweighted sampling (CARS) method was employed to extract effective wavelengths to develop multispectral models for fast real-time prediction of the quality characteristics of apples. Model analysis showed that the multispectral models had better performance than the corresponding full wavelengths HSI models. The results of this study can help in developing non-destructive monitoring and evaluation systems for apple quality under different storage conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Data Analysis in Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 6324 KiB  
Article
Research on Receiving Seeds Performance of Belt-Type High-Speed Corn Seed Guiding Device Based on Discrete Element Method
by Chengcheng Ma, Shujuan Yi, Guixiang Tao, Yifei Li, Song Wang, Guangyu Wang and Feng Gao
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051085 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1225
Abstract
Because the initial speed of the seeds leaving the seed disk is too high, they collide and bounce off the inner wall of the seed guide tube, resulting in poor sowing quality when corn is sown at high speeds above 12 km/h. This [...] Read more.
Because the initial speed of the seeds leaving the seed disk is too high, they collide and bounce off the inner wall of the seed guide tube, resulting in poor sowing quality when corn is sown at high speeds above 12 km/h. This study clarifies the primary factors affecting the stability of seed receiving and the accuracy of the seed entering the seed cavity, establishes the dynamic model of seed clamping, transportation, and releasing, and investigates the belt-type high-speed corn seed guiding device with the seed receiving system as the research object. It also proposes an improved method of adding herringbone lines on the finger surface to address this issue. Using EDEM software, a virtual experiment of seed-receiving performance was conducted, and the change trend of stress on seeds with and without a herringbone pattern and different wheel center distance as well as the change trend of the speed of seeds with various feeder wheel speeds and finger length, were both examined. The outcomes of the simulation demonstrate that the herringbone-lined feeder wheel could increase the stress on seeds. The average value of the stress on the seeds is the highest at the wheels’ center distance of 37 mm. The stability and speed fluctuation of seeds introduced into the seed cavity were better when the feeder wheel speed was 560 r/min. The speed of fluctuation and stability of the seeds introduced into the seed cavity were better when the finger length was 12 mm. The high-speed camera test on the test bench was used to verify the seed guiding process in accordance with the simulation results, and the outcomes were largely consistent. The study’s findings can serve as a theoretical foundation for a belt-type high-speed corn seed guiding device optimization test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2080 KiB  
Review
Advances in Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Grazing on Grassland Ecosystems in China
by Xuemin Gong, Yijia Wang, Tianyu Zhan, Chenxu Wang, Changjia Li and Yanxu Liu
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051084 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2062
Abstract
Grassland ecosystems are among the largest terrestrial ecosystems in China, and grazing, as an important grassland management method, has direct and indirect impacts on grassland ecosystems. Meta-analyses can be used to systematically evaluate and summarize multiple findings from existing studies, but there have [...] Read more.
Grassland ecosystems are among the largest terrestrial ecosystems in China, and grazing, as an important grassland management method, has direct and indirect impacts on grassland ecosystems. Meta-analyses can be used to systematically evaluate and summarize multiple findings from existing studies, but there have been few comparisons of meta-analysis methods. In this review, we summarize the effects of grazing on grassland plants and soil in the existing meta-analysis studies in China from 38 meta-analysis papers. The results show that they have consistent conclusions, such as grazing reduces the aboveground biomass by approximately half, increases the soil pH, decreases the C:N:P ratio, and reduces the number of topsoil microorganisms, but the conclusions of light and moderate grazing index changes vary greatly from study to study. The belowground biomass was generally found to increase, but it slightly decreased in some cases, and the total biomass generally decreased, but it slightly increased in other cases. Vegetation coverage increased during moderate grazing; the soil moisture content was highest for light grazing, and microbial diversity increased at light to moderate levels of grazing. There are also very inconsistent conclusions due to the different datasets and quantities of samples used in meta-analysis studies, as well as variations in the types and scales of grassland areas. The ranges of changes in other indicators were large, especially for the root-shoot ratio and soil carbon. However, changes in the aboveground biomass were generally stable. We suggest subsequent meta-analyses of grazing should further clarify the classification of grassland types and compare conclusions at different scales. Additionally, standardized network analyses are recommended for field manipulation experiments to further improve the accuracy of meta-analysis and reduce the temporal and spatial limitations of existing data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecosystem, Environment and Climate Change in Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 8494 KiB  
Review
Appraisal of Functions and Role of Selenium in Heavy Metal Stress Adaptation in Plants
by Mohd Asgher, Abdul Rehaman, Syed Nazar ul Islam, Mohd Arshad and Nafees A. Khan
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051083 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1830
Abstract
Heavy metals (HMs) contamination is one of the main abiotic factors affecting crop productivity and also threatens human health via consuming metal-contaminated crops as a food source. Over the past few years, HMs have drawn a lot of attention due to their increased [...] Read more.
Heavy metals (HMs) contamination is one of the main abiotic factors affecting crop productivity and also threatens human health via consuming metal-contaminated crops as a food source. Over the past few years, HMs have drawn a lot of attention due to their increased use for commercial purposes and their harmful effects on plants and other life forms, thus threatening human survival. However, several methods have been adopted in recent years to combat the harsh effects of HMs. After phytohormones, the use of mineral nutrients such as selenium (Se) in the prevention of HM stress has been explored by researchers more recently. Selenium is an important micronutrient widely known for its antioxidant properties in plants and animals. Exogenous Se inhibits metal uptake and translocation and improves the antioxidant system, thus imparting resistance to HM toxicity in plants. Moreover, Se also regulates the production of various osmolytes in cells, which helps develop cell osmolarity. Selenium also produces different secondary metabolites in plants’ defense mechanisms against different stresses. The uptake of mineral nutrients is a vital process for plant growth and development, which is also positively correlated with Se under metalloid toxicity. However, to understand the exact mechanism of Se in HM tolerance, different metabolic processes stimulated by Se and their pathways need to be explored. Hence, this review focuses on the role of Se on nutritional status, antioxidant metabolism, interaction with phytohormones and its role in the regulation of various genes involved in Se-induced HM tolerance. Thus, this study will help researchers in the future for the improvement of HM tolerance via Se application in plants. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 4978 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Intrinsic Vulnerability Using DRASTIC vs. Actual Nitrate Pollution: The Case of a Detrital Aquifer Impacted by Intensive Agriculture in Cádiz (Southern Spain)
by Sérgio Mateus Chilaule, Mercedes Vélez-Nicolás, Verónica Ruiz-Ortiz, Ángel Sánchez-Bellón and Santiago García-López
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051082 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1052
Abstract
The degradation of groundwater quality due to nitrate is a widespread issue in heavily agricultural areas and a major concern for public health. Improving knowledge of the intrinsic vulnerability of aquifers with respect to the actual contamination is crucial for adequate water management [...] Read more.
The degradation of groundwater quality due to nitrate is a widespread issue in heavily agricultural areas and a major concern for public health. Improving knowledge of the intrinsic vulnerability of aquifers with respect to the actual contamination is crucial for adequate water management and for complying with the European directives aimed at protecting this valuable resource. In this study, we applied the well-established DRASTIC method to assess the intrinsic vulnerability of the Benalup aquifer, a detrital aquifer located in the southern Iberian Peninsula that supports important agricultural activity. The model was compared with in situ measurements of this ion, evidencing a lack of agreement between the most vulnerable zones and those that display higher nitrate concentrations. This fact should not be interpreted as an inadequacy in the vulnerability model, but as a result of several factors such as (i) the marked heterogeneity in land uses and the spatial variability in contaminant sources, (ii) the construction and exploitation characteristics of the water boreholes, (iii) the sampling procedure and depth to the water table, and (iv) transport and degradation processes within the porous medium. All these aspects can lead to discrepancies between the actual distribution of contamination and vulnerability models such as DRASTIC. All these factors should be carefully considered in the design of a sampling network in order to achieve a representative picture indicating the extent of contamination and the overall chemical quality of the system. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 1269 KiB  
Article
A Step toward Water Use Sustainability: Implementing a Business Model Canvas for Irrigation Advisory Services
by Alessandra Santini, Antonella Di Fonzo, Elisa Giampietri, Andrea Martelli, Orlando Cimino, Anna Dalla Marta, Maria Carmela Annosi, Francisco José Blanco-Velázquez, Teresa Del Giudice and Filiberto Altobelli
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051081 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2472
Abstract
Some major future global challenges are linked to more efficient use of water for irrigation to respond to the growing water scarcity coupled with the increasing food demand. Although irrigation advisory services (IASs) are considered effective instruments to increase water use efficiency in [...] Read more.
Some major future global challenges are linked to more efficient use of water for irrigation to respond to the growing water scarcity coupled with the increasing food demand. Although irrigation advisory services (IASs) are considered effective instruments to increase water use efficiency in agriculture, their diffusion remains limited. This is due to several constraints mainly linked to their low accessibility and high costs. To overcome the bottlenecks associated with IASs’ adoption, this paper proposes a business model (BM) as a tool for scaling up IASs within a business perspective, with the aim of encouraging the diffusion of this technology while enhancing the associated environmental and social benefits. Drawn from the experience of the OPERA project, we structured the business model taking advantage of the opinion of relevant stakeholders and IASs’ potential users to identify specific limitations and understand their needs. It turned out that farmers are willing to adopt IASs but require that the service is easily accessible, with high-quality information that are delivered at an affordable cost. Indeed, here a BM with an innovative way to produce and deliver value is proposed. The value proposition is built upon key features namely, integration, customization, accessibility, and sustainability that reflect users’ needs and preferences. Our BM also provides a detailed revenues strategy that guarantees the financial sustainability of IASs. To design and represent our BM, the “Business Model Canvas ©” has been adopted. We concluded that an innovative and well-structured BM has the potential to leave the IASs profitable and capable to ensure environmental and social sustainability. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 498 KiB  
Article
Excessive Nitrate Limits the Sustainability of Deep Compost Mulch in Organic Market Gardening
by Benjamin Ruch, Margita Hefner and André Sradnick
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051080 - 18 May 2023
Viewed by 2080
Abstract
Market gardening is a widespread practice of bio-intensive vegetable production characterized by direct marketing, small-scale farming structures, high crop densities, and innovative cultivation approaches. Currently, deep compost mulch (DCM) is a popular trend among related growing techniques. The combination of no-till and a [...] Read more.
Market gardening is a widespread practice of bio-intensive vegetable production characterized by direct marketing, small-scale farming structures, high crop densities, and innovative cultivation approaches. Currently, deep compost mulch (DCM) is a popular trend among related growing techniques. The combination of no-till and a permanent mulch of compost aims to improve soil fertility, regulate soil temperature, retain soil moisture, and control weeds. To address the problem of perennial weeds in organic no-till, deep mulch layers of typically 150 mm are used. The amount of compost required and the associated N inputs are immense and carry the risk of environmentally harmful N surpluses that can be lost through nitrate leaching or denitrification. The aim of this study is to evaluate the use of compost as mulch and to investigate N dynamics under DCM. For this purpose, a literature review was conducted, and soil inorganic nitrogen (Nmin-N) was measured under on-farm conditions up to a soil depth of 900 mm in a market garden with DCM in Germany for one year. Furthermore, based on the collected data, the different N pathways were calculated using the N-Expert and NDICEA models and simulated for two additional scenarios. Results from field measurements showed a strongly increased N-surplus not taken up by the crops and a shift of Nmin-N to deeper soil layers for municipal organic waste compost (MW), with an average accumulation of 466 kg Nmin-N ha−1 at 600–900 mm depth. N inputs from DCM can be significantly reduced by the use of green waste compost (GW) with low bulk density or wood waste compost (WW) with an additional high C/N ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Strategies in Organic Farming Systems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 2030 KiB  
Article
Selection of New Sugarcane Genotypes for Sandy Soils in Florida with Enhanced Sucrose Content
by Orlando Coto Arbelo, Aliya Momotaz, Hardev S. Sandhu, Sushma Sood, Wayne Davidson, Miguel Baltazar and Duli Zhao
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1079; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051079 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1372
Abstract
The selection of sugarcane genotypes with high sucrose content and good ratooning ability (RA) is an important objective of the Canal Point breeding program to improve the current profitability levels of the Florida sugarcane industry. In this study, thirteen test sugarcane genotypes and [...] Read more.
The selection of sugarcane genotypes with high sucrose content and good ratooning ability (RA) is an important objective of the Canal Point breeding program to improve the current profitability levels of the Florida sugarcane industry. In this study, thirteen test sugarcane genotypes and three checks were evaluated in three sand locations, Pahokee Produce Inc. (PP), Townsite farm (TS), and Lykes Brothers Inc. (PF), during three crop cycles (plant cane, first ratoon, and second ratoon). Multi-environment best linear unbiased predictors (BLUPs) were highly significant for commercially recoverable sucrose (CRS) and not significant for cane yield (CY) among genotypes. The ANOVA based on the RA values produced significant genotypic effects but a reduced RA diversity among the genotypes. The simultaneous selection for BLUP_CRS, BLUP_CY yield, and RA identified CP 14-4165 and CP 13-2340 as the most outstanding genotypes. The BLUP_GGE biplots method showed that the PP location was the most discriminative for BLUP_CY, whereas the TS was the ideal location. For BLUP_CRS, the three locations had similar abilities to discriminate genotypes and were positively and strongly correlated. The which-won-where graph indicated that CP 13-2340 showed the highest BLUP_CRS levels in TS and PP locations, while CP 14-4165 and CP 14-4588 were the top genotypes in the PF location. The results suggest that selecting genotypes with high CRS values is possible without compromising the genotype discrimination for CY. CP 14-4165 and CP 13-2340 are resistant to most diseases and genetically diverse. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop