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Agriculture, Volume 13, Issue 6 (June 2023) – 167 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In order to solve the problems caused by the poor seed filling performance and low compensation accuracy of large- and medium-sized type loss compensation devices under medium- and high-speed conditions, an automatic pneumatic-type loss compensation system based on speed synchronization was designed. Through theoretical analysis, the key structures and parameters of the seed platter and seed feeding arm were determined. A universal compensation control system for single and continuous missed seeding was designed. The system meets the agronomic requirement of automatic compensation for the lack of seeding in large- and medium-sized precision planters, and it aids improvement in the operation performance of planters. View this paper
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16 pages, 2773 KiB  
Article
Characterisation of Pectinolytic Bacillus pumilus and Paenibacillus amyloliticus Strains, New Pathogens of Potato in Tunisia
by Anissa Yahyaoui, Maroua Oueslati, Agata Motyka-Pomagruk, Natalia Kaczynska, Wojciech Sledz, Belhassen Tarhouni, Mohamed Rabeh Hajlaoui, Ewa Lojkowska and Najla Sadfi-Zouaoui
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1275; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061275 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
Soft rot disease in potato is a major problem in fields and warehouses all over the world. Although it is known that bacteria from the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya are the main causative agents of soft rot diseases, recent studies indicate the involvement [...] Read more.
Soft rot disease in potato is a major problem in fields and warehouses all over the world. Although it is known that bacteria from the genera Pectobacterium and Dickeya are the main causative agents of soft rot diseases, recent studies indicate the involvement of pectinolytic Bacillus and Paenibacillus in this disease. In the present research, samples of potato with soft rot symptoms were collected from eight governorates of Tunisia. Two hundred and seventy bacterial isolates were acquired from tubers. Twenty of the isolated strains indicted pectinolytic activity by forming deep cavities on crystal violet pectate medium. All pectinolytic isolates were able to macerate potato tuber tissue. Phenotypic characterisation showed that these isolates were Gram-positive bacilli, exhibiting pectinolytic, cellulolytic, proteolytic and amylolytic activity. The majority of the isolates indicated swimming and swarming motility. The application of API test, MALDI-TOF MS and 16S rDNA sequencing allowed for the assignment of nineteen of the tested isolates to the species Bacillus pumilus and one to the species Paenibacillus amyloliticus. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of soft rot in potato caused by pectinolytic B. pumilus in Tunisia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Diagnosis and Control of Plant Diseases)
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14 pages, 1296 KiB  
Article
The Vertical Price Transmission in Pork Meat Production in the Czech Republic
by Jitka Sirohi, Zuzana Hloušková, Klára Bartoňová, Karel Malec, Mansoor Maitah and Robert Koželský
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1274; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061274 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1379
Abstract
The paper aims at vertical price transmission of the agri-food market in the Czech Republic. It is focused on the analysis of price transmission in pork meat by investigating the short-run and long-run relationships within the product and the speed of establishing the [...] Read more.
The paper aims at vertical price transmission of the agri-food market in the Czech Republic. It is focused on the analysis of price transmission in pork meat by investigating the short-run and long-run relationships within the product and the speed of establishing the equilibrium relationship. For this purpose, there is employed specially VECM (Vector Error Correction Model), impulse-response analysis, and decomposition of variance of VECM, which show the system’s reaction. The applied approach considers five alternatives in the Johansen approach. The results suggest that there is an existence of the equilibrium relationship in vertical markets and this relationship is simultaneous and demand-driven. The impulse-response analyses show the response of the processing price to one standard deviation shock to the agriculture price from approximately 15–20 periods reaching long-run equilibrium. The response of the agriculture price to one standard deviation shock to the processing price reaching long-run equilibrium is also from approximately 15–20 periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agri-Food System: Marketing, Economics and Policies)
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22 pages, 18542 KiB  
Article
Design of a Teat Cup Attachment Robot for Automatic Milking Systems
by Chengjun Wang, Fan Ding, Liuyi Ling and Shaoqiang Li
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061273 - 20 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Automatic milking systems (AMSs) for medium and large dairy farms in China require manual assistance to attach the teat cup, which greatly affects the milking efficiency and labor costs. In this regard, it is necessary to realize the automatic completion of cow teat [...] Read more.
Automatic milking systems (AMSs) for medium and large dairy farms in China require manual assistance to attach the teat cup, which greatly affects the milking efficiency and labor costs. In this regard, it is necessary to realize the automatic completion of cow teat attachment work. To address this issue, the authors developed a teat cup attachment robot for an AMS based on the theory of the solution of inventive problems (TRIZ). Specifically, we developed an enhanced algorithm for teat detection and designed a six-degree-of-freedom manipulator with integrated drive control. The design parameters were simulated and analyzed to validate their efficacy, while the rationality of the manipulator’s movement during teat cup attachment was verified. The maximum displacement and angle error of the cup was 1.625 mm and 1.216 mm, respectively, as verified by the teat cup attachment error test. A dynamic response test showed that the manipulator could follow the teat of the cow in real time. The attachment time for teat cups was 21 s per cow, with a success rate of 98%. The performance of the teat cup attachment robot was capable of meeting the automatic attachment teat cup needs for medium and large dairy farms during milking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Robots and Automation Technology in Agriculture)
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11 pages, 2997 KiB  
Article
Effects of Variations in Soil Moisture and Phosphorus Concentrations on the Diversity of the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Community in an Agricultural Ecosystem
by Yizhen Shao, Zhao Wang, Wenjun Liu, Xintong Zhang, Jing Wang and Peng Guo
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1272; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061272 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1184
Abstract
In farmland ecosystems, phosphorus and water have crucial roles. To elucidate the effects of phosphorus concentration and water management on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), field experiments were conducted in a farmland ecosystem (China). We examined the effects of different treatments, including drought and [...] Read more.
In farmland ecosystems, phosphorus and water have crucial roles. To elucidate the effects of phosphorus concentration and water management on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), field experiments were conducted in a farmland ecosystem (China). We examined the effects of different treatments, including drought and normal phosphorus, normal water and normal phosphorus, drought and low phosphorus, and normal water and low phosphorus, on the AM fungal biomass, diversity, and community. Results showed great differences in the AMF under different water and phosphorus concentrations. When under a suitable drought treatment, the AMF became more abundant and more conducive to plant growth. The abundance of AMF varied with different phosphorus treatments, and the abundance of AMF in low-phosphorus treatments was higher, which is more suitable for plant growth. In conclusion, as water and phosphorus concentrations change, the community structure of AMF constantly changes. Only under the appropriate water and phosphorus concentration processing can AMF play its role well. Understanding the influence of different phosphorus concentrations and the moisture contents of AMF can play a role in the agricultural production of AMF, and it can also provide improved theoretical support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Environment and Microbial Community of Agricultural Soils)
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15 pages, 8198 KiB  
Article
Study on Phyllosphere Microbial Community of Nettle Leaf during Different Seasons
by Shuan Jia, Yongcheng Chen, Rongzheng Huang, Yuxin Chai, Chunhui Ma and Fanfan Zhang
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1271; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061271 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Nettle (Urtica cannabina) is an excellent feed resource widely distributed worldwide. Phyllosphere microbes are important as they have living conditions similar to those of the above-ground parts of host plants. Exploring amino acids (AA) and microorganisms can further understand the growth [...] Read more.
Nettle (Urtica cannabina) is an excellent feed resource widely distributed worldwide. Phyllosphere microbes are important as they have living conditions similar to those of the above-ground parts of host plants. Exploring amino acids (AA) and microorganisms can further understand the growth of plants in different seasons. The present study investigated the content of AA and phyllosphere microbes’ structure of nettle plants in different seasons. The results found that AA contents varied significantly with the season, such as alanine, aspartate, cysteine, glutamate, glycine, and methionine contents decreased significantly from spring to winter (p < 0.05), the contents of arginine, histidine, serine, and lysine were highest in summer (p < 0.05). The results suggested that the diversity of bacteria and fungi both increased during winter. During winter, Sphingomonas (relative abundance 25.22–28.45%) and Filobasidum (27.6–41.14%) became dominant. According to the redundancy analysis (RDA) of the correlation between AA and microbes, these two microbes were both the most important factors and showed a negative correlation with AA during winter. Thus, seasons could significantly affect the distribution of phyllosphere microbial communities on the nettle, especially in winter. According to the function prediction(PICRUS2 (KEGG pathway) and FUNGuild) results, the bacteria in the phyllosphere of U. cannabina mainly participated in metabolism. Pathogenic fungi were relatively high in autumn. The present study reveals the influence of seasonal change on the phyllosphere microbial community in U. cannabina. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forage Breeding and Cultivation)
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15 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Can Direct Marketing Increase Fishery Profitability and Environmental Quality? Empirical Evidence of Aquaculture Farm Households in Taiwan
by Tzong-Haw Lee, Song-Yue Liu, Chiou-Lien Huang, Hung-Hao Chang and Jiun-Hao Wang
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1270; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061270 - 20 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1071
Abstract
Marketing strategies play a significant role in determining farm income. Although direct marketing has been proposed as an innovative way to improve producers’ economic welfare, little is known about producers’ adoption of direct marketing among aquaculture farms. This study examines the adoption of [...] Read more.
Marketing strategies play a significant role in determining farm income. Although direct marketing has been proposed as an innovative way to improve producers’ economic welfare, little is known about producers’ adoption of direct marketing among aquaculture farms. This study examines the adoption of wholesaler markets, individual wholesalers or shippers, and direct marketing among aquaculture farms. In addition, we quantify the effects of the use of different marketing channels on fishery revenues, profits, and production inputs. A sample of 25,180 aquaculture family farms in Taiwan was drawn from the fishery census survey. After estimating the simultaneous equation system model, we find that the use of multiple marketing channels generates the highest fishery revenues, which highlights the importance of marketing channel diversity on selling fishery products. Moreover, we find a positive effect of direct marketing on fishery revenues and profits. We also find that the use of direct marketing can reduce the use of groundwater in aquaculture production. Since the decrease in groundwater use can mitigate the severity of land subsidence, this paper provides evidence that direct marketing can possibly provide a win-win strategy to improve fishery producers’ revenues and environmental quality. Full article
17 pages, 4344 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of Different Fungicide Spraying Techniques on the Infestation with Kabatiella zeae and Formation of Fusarium Mycotoxins in Forage Maize
by Tim Birr, Andreas Tillessen, Joseph-Alexander Verreet, Mario Hasler and Holger Klink
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1269; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061269 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1354
Abstract
The application of fungicides in maize by the commonly used overhead spraying technique is more challenging than in small-grain cereals. Especially in later development stages, when the plant has reached a considerable height, lower plant organs (e.g., ears) may be insufficiently protected, since [...] Read more.
The application of fungicides in maize by the commonly used overhead spraying technique is more challenging than in small-grain cereals. Especially in later development stages, when the plant has reached a considerable height, lower plant organs (e.g., ears) may be insufficiently protected, since a large part of the applied fungicide is deposited on the upper leaves. In contrast, lower plant organs can be reached by the dropleg spraying technique, which allows sub-canopy applications. This study investigated the efficacy of fungicide applications during flowering in forage maize using the overhead and dropleg spraying techniques as well as a combination for the control of Kabatiella zeae and mycotoxin-producing Fusarium species, which can affect leaves and ears, respectively. The efficacy was evaluated in field trials under natural K. zeae and artificial Fusarium inoculum conditions in Northern Germany by measuring disease severities of K. zeae on maize leaves, dry matter yields, and concentrations of the Fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) at harvest. Fusarium inoculations of main ears at full flowering resulted in significantly higher DON and ZEN concentrations compared to natural Fusarium infections, whereas the dry matter yield was not affected. The strongest disease progressions of K. zeae were determined after flowering on the upper leaves and leaves around the main ear. Disease severities were significantly reduced on the upper leaves by the overhead application and the combination of the overhead and dropleg spraying technique, whereby the three spraying techniques were equally able to decrease the infestation on the yield-essential leaves around the main ear. No differences in dry matter yield were found between the application techniques, but they were significantly higher than in the untreated control. The contamination with DON and ZEN was most effectively reduced by sub-canopy applications using the dropleg technique, whether as a solo application or in combination with the overhead technique. The main ears were reached better with the applied fungicide, reducing Fusarium infections, and therefore, contamination with mycotoxins. The dropleg technique offers an opportunity for improved protection of lower plant organs, especially in tall growing crops. In combination with the overhead spraying technique, the protection of various plant organs along the entire plant with the applied fungicide could be advantageous, especially when different parts of the plant are affected by different fungal diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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24 pages, 8644 KiB  
Article
Simulation Research on Cotton Stalk Cutting and Crushing Based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA and Field Experiments
by Peng Wang, Xuegeng Chen and Haojun Wen
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061268 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1289
Abstract
In order to solve the problem of high straw content in recovered residual film and the low rate of qualified straw crushing in combination with a front-mounted cotton-straw-crushing device, the cutting and crushing mechanisms of cotton stalks were studied based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA. The [...] Read more.
In order to solve the problem of high straw content in recovered residual film and the low rate of qualified straw crushing in combination with a front-mounted cotton-straw-crushing device, the cutting and crushing mechanisms of cotton stalks were studied based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA. The height h and dip angle α of the fixed blade were determined to be 30 mm and 75° through a finite element analysis. On the basis of the device design, explicit dynamic models of the cutting and crushing of a single cotton stalk were established based on ANSYS/LS-DYNA. The results of the dynamic analysis revealed the cutting mechanism of the cotton stalk, and the influences of the cutting edge angle γ and front baffle height h1 on cotton stalk cutting were studied by using single-factor simulation tests. An edge angle of γ = 45° and a height of h1 = 265 mm were determined. Meanwhile, the mechanism of cotton straw crushing was revealed, and the motion states of the straw were studied at different times. The results of the simulation experiments on the influence of the cutter shaft’s rotational speed showed that with an increase in the cutter shaft’s speed, the rate of qualified crushing and the removal rate were both increased. At the design speed of n = 1800 RPM, the rate of qualified crushing was 84.6%, and the removal rate was 95.1%. Then, field experiments were carried out. The test results were as follows: the stubble height was 8.0 cm, the rate of qualified straw crushing was 91.8%, the clearance rate of film-surface impurities was 92.3%, and the film content was 3.6%, which met the working quality requirements (not less than 85%) of NYT 500-2015: “Operating quality for straw-smashing machines”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Machinery Design and Agricultural Engineering)
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25 pages, 10218 KiB  
Article
Multi-Tooth Cutting Method and Bionic Cutter Design for Broccoli Xylem (Brassica oleracea L. var. Italica Plenck)
by Yunlong Cao, Yao Yu, Zhong Tang, Yunfei Zhao, Xinyang Gu, Sifan Liu and Shuren Chen
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1267; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061267 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1150
Abstract
During the harvesting of cut-stem vegetables, the structural parameters of cutters have an important influence on the harvesting effect. Structural parameters of stalks directly affect the cutting effect of the cutter. The thickness of the stalk xylem has a strong influence on the [...] Read more.
During the harvesting of cut-stem vegetables, the structural parameters of cutters have an important influence on the harvesting effect. Structural parameters of stalks directly affect the cutting effect of the cutter. The thickness of the stalk xylem has a strong influence on the cutting stability and cutting surface effect of the cutter. In this paper, the effect of the broccoli stalk xylem on conventional toothless cutters was investigated using broccoli stalks as the cutting object. It was found that a thicker xylem leads to shear force fluctuations, which in turn affects the smooth operation of the cutting device. Taking locust mouthparts as the research object, a bionic multi-tooth cutting method is proposed in this paper to obtain the contour curve based on the locust upper jaw cutting tooth lobe. By establishing the regression equation, the contour curve of the cutting teeth is fitted accurately. The cutter edge is designed with the locust’s maxillary incisive lobe as the bionic object. ANSYS software was used to simulate the cutting of a double disc cutter and broccoli stalk. The effect of each factor was analyzed by response-surface regression to determine the optimal cutter speed, machine forward speed, cutting inclination, blade overlap, and optimal cutting position. The cutting test is verified via broccoli stalks and a cutting test bench to further determine the cutting device operating parameters. The optimal operating parameters of the cutting device were 0.239 m/s forward speed, 30.974-degree cutting edge angle, 10.066 mm blade overlap, and 467.511 rpm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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19 pages, 7345 KiB  
Article
Optimisation of Control Strategies for Power Shift Gearboxes
by Wenlong Pan, Lei Wang, Xiangdong Ni, Wenqing Cai, Yongqiang Zhao, Huajun Chen, Yuangang Lin and Yuhan Zhou
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1266; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061266 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1267
Abstract
This study is based on the influence of power shift control on the smoothness of cotton picker shifts and proposes an optimization method for the smoothness of power shifts with different control strategies for the gearbox. Through the structural design of the power [...] Read more.
This study is based on the influence of power shift control on the smoothness of cotton picker shifts and proposes an optimization method for the smoothness of power shifts with different control strategies for the gearbox. Through the structural design of the power shift mechanism control module, the hydraulic power distribution of the hydraulic system of the hydraulic travel module and its control mode are analyzed, and a regional cooperative shift control strategy is proposed in conjunction with control theory. A model of cotton picker dynamics was built using AMESim simulation software. In addition, the traditional control strategy was simulated and compared with the Statement component automatic control strategy to analyze and discuss the control deficiencies in power shift smoothness. Then, a particle swarm genetic algorithm (PSGA) was constructed by integrating the PSO algorithm and the genetic algorithm to verify the effectiveness of the algorithm in improving the dynamic performance and shift smoothness of the gearbox. The algorithm was verified using bench tests, and the algorithm improved the harvesting quality and efficiency of the cotton picker. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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13 pages, 1387 KiB  
Article
Energy Efficiency of LEDs during Micropropagation of Helleborus ‘Molly’s White’
by Karolina Nowakowska, Katarzyna Kowalczyk, Anna Pawełczak and Janina Gajc-Wolska
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1265; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061265 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1056
Abstract
For many years, there has been a growing trend toward producing plants using tissue culture, the most efficient method at present. Every year, more and more protocols for micropropagation of economically valuable species are appearing. Many factors influence the regenerating explants under sterile [...] Read more.
For many years, there has been a growing trend toward producing plants using tissue culture, the most efficient method at present. Every year, more and more protocols for micropropagation of economically valuable species are appearing. Many factors influence the regenerating explants under sterile laboratory conditions. One of the most important is light. The aim of the present study was to increase the efficiency of micropropagation of hellebore ‘Molly’s White’ using energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which were compared to traditionally used fluorescent lamps (FLs). To choose the best light and reduce production costs, white, blue or red LEDs with two levels of photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), 40 and 70 μmol/m2/s, were used at the multiplication and rooting stages. LED light color has been shown to affect regeneration rate and plant growth in length during micropropagation, while both light parameters (color as well as intensity) affect the length of regenerating shoots and the content of assimilation pigments in plants. The use of white LED light, which gives the highest multiplication rate, at an intensity of 70 μmol/m2/s saves more than 57 kWh during an 8-week micropropagation cycle compared to conventional fluorescent lamps with the same parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Systems and Management)
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17 pages, 4839 KiB  
Article
ResViT-Rice: A Deep Learning Model Combining Residual Module and Transformer Encoder for Accurate Detection of Rice Diseases
by Yujia Zhang, Luteng Zhong, Yu Ding, Hongfeng Yu and Zhaoyu Zhai
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1264; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061264 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1689
Abstract
Rice is a staple food for over half of the global population, but it faces significant yield losses: up to 52% due to leaf blast disease and brown spot diseases, respectively. This study aimed at proposing a hybrid architecture, namely ResViT-Rice, by taking [...] Read more.
Rice is a staple food for over half of the global population, but it faces significant yield losses: up to 52% due to leaf blast disease and brown spot diseases, respectively. This study aimed at proposing a hybrid architecture, namely ResViT-Rice, by taking advantage of both CNN and transformer for accurate detection of leaf blast and brown spot diseases. We employed ResNet as the backbone network to establish a detection model and introduced the encoder component from the transformer architecture. The convolutional block attention module was also integrated to ResViT-Rice to further enhance the feature-extraction ability. We processed 1648 training and 104 testing images for two diseases and the healthy class. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed ResViT-Rice, we conducted comparative evaluation with popular deep learning models. The experimental result suggested that ResViT-Rice achieved promising results in the rice disease-detection task, with the highest accuracy reaching 0.9904. The corresponding precision, recall, and F1-score were all over 0.96, with an AUC of up to 0.9987, and the corresponding loss rate was 0.0042. In conclusion, the proposed ResViT-Rice can better extract features of different rice diseases, thereby providing a more accurate and robust classification output. Full article
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17 pages, 42834 KiB  
Article
Research on TD3-Based Distributed Micro-Tillage Traction Bottom Control Strategy
by Guangxiu Ning, Lide Su, Yong Zhang, Jian Wang, Caili Gong and Yu Zhou
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1263; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061263 - 18 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1098
Abstract
Due to its flexibility and versatility, the electric distributed drive micro-tillage chassis can be used more often in the future in Intelligence agriculture scenarios. However, due to the complex working conditions of the agricultural operation environment, it is a challenging task to distribute [...] Read more.
Due to its flexibility and versatility, the electric distributed drive micro-tillage chassis can be used more often in the future in Intelligence agriculture scenarios. However, due to the complex working conditions of the agricultural operation environment, it is a challenging task to distribute the torque demand of four wheels reasonably and effectively. In this paper, we propose a drive torque allocation strategy based on deep reinforcement learning to ensure straight-line retention and energy saving, using a distributed electric traction chassis for greenhouses as the research object. The torque assignment strategy can be represented as a Markovian decision process, and the approximate action values and policy functions are obtained through an Actor–Critic network, and the Twin Delayed Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (TD3) is used to incorporate the vehicle straight-line retention rate into the cumulative reward to reduce energy consumption. The training results under plowing working conditions show that the proposed strategy has a better straight-line retention rate. For typical farming operation conditions, the proposed control strategy significantly improves the energy utilization and reduces the energy by 10.5% and 3.7% compared to the conventional average torque (CAT) distribution strategy and Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG) algorithm, respectively. Finally, the real-time executability of the proposed torque distribution strategy is verified by Soil-tank experiments. The TD3 algorithm used in this study has stronger applicability than the traditional control algorithm in dealing with continuous control problems, and provides a research basis for the practical application of intelligent control algorithms in future greenhouse micro-tillage chassis drive control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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15 pages, 2181 KiB  
Article
Economic Sustainability Assessment of a Beekeeping Farm in Hungary
by Aliz Feketéné Ferenczi, István Szűcs and Andrea Bauerné Gáthy
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061262 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1744
Abstract
In Hungary, beekeeping is a relatively small-scale sector within the livestock sector, but it is essential for maintaining biodiversity and rural employment. In order to provide ecosystem services such as pollination by honey bees, apiaries need to be economically sustainable, and it is [...] Read more.
In Hungary, beekeeping is a relatively small-scale sector within the livestock sector, but it is essential for maintaining biodiversity and rural employment. In order to provide ecosystem services such as pollination by honey bees, apiaries need to be economically sustainable, and it is therefore of strategic importance that beekeepers can continue their activities. Based on this, this article’s main objective is the economic analysis of Hungarian honey production, which enables the evaluation of the cost–benefit relationships, production volume and the efficiency of the operation. The authors’ analysis is based on a Hungarian apiary with 300 bee colonies, which also engages in migration and produces a significant amount of acacia honey. The model farm produces several types of honey due to migratory beekeeping, and its average yield reaches 60 kg/bee colony/year, which the authors calculated based on the average purchase prices in 2021. Based on the farm model, the analysis showed that 71 bee colonies and 4253 kg of honey production reached the profitability threshold. Full article
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12 pages, 1796 KiB  
Article
Response of New Yellow Lupin Varieties to Inoculation with Bradyrhizobium sp. Lupinus under Central European Conditions
by Agnieszka Faligowska
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1261; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061261 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1012
Abstract
The aim of a two-factorial field experiment was to determine how the inoculation of seeds/soil with preparations of Bradyrhizobium sp. Lupinus (Nitragina—seed inoculation, Nitroflora I—seed inoculation, Nitroflora II—soil inoculation, HiStick® Lupin—seed inoculation) affected plant development, seed chemical composition and yield of two [...] Read more.
The aim of a two-factorial field experiment was to determine how the inoculation of seeds/soil with preparations of Bradyrhizobium sp. Lupinus (Nitragina—seed inoculation, Nitroflora I—seed inoculation, Nitroflora II—soil inoculation, HiStick® Lupin—seed inoculation) affected plant development, seed chemical composition and yield of two yellow lupin varieties (Bursztyn, Puma). This experiment was carried out with four replications in 2018 and 2019 in Poland. Precipitation during both vegetation periods was similar to or lower than the long-term mean. Average seed yield of Puma was significantly greater than Bursztyn (by 0.22 t ha−1). According to the correlation coefficients, seed yield was mainly related to plant height, dry mass of nodules per plant and mass of 1000 seeds. Our results suggest that legumes, such as lupin, should always be inoculated with Bradyrhizobium, especially if they are cultivated for the first time in a field. For optimal results, the highest-quality preparations should be used. In our study, the best results were observed after HiStick® Lupin inoculation, which resulted in the highest protein content, seed yield and protein yield across all treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Nutrient Management in Agricultural Production)
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19 pages, 440 KiB  
Article
Digital Revolution and Employment Choice of Rural Labor Force: Evidence from the Perspective of Digital Skills
by Xiumei Wang, Yongjian Huang, Yingying Zhao and Jingxuan Feng
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061260 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1583
Abstract
The practical implementation of the employment promotion effect of the digital economy is closely linked to rural laborers’ digital skills (DS). Therefore, this study uses the Mprobit model to empirically test the impact of DS on rural labor employment choices. The results show [...] Read more.
The practical implementation of the employment promotion effect of the digital economy is closely linked to rural laborers’ digital skills (DS). Therefore, this study uses the Mprobit model to empirically test the impact of DS on rural labor employment choices. The results show that: (1) the acquisition of DS by the rural labor force significantly increases the rate of off-farm employment and entrepreneurship but has no significant effect on farm employment, with work skills having the most significant positive impact on the rural labor force off-farm employment and online business skills having the most significant positive impact on rural labor force entrepreneurship. (2) The mechanism test reveals that DS influences the employment choices of the rural labor force by alleviating the information access constraint and financing constraints faced by rural labor. (3) Heterogeneity analysis shows that males and rural laborers in rich regions can benefit from entrepreneurship. In contrast, females and low-skilled and rural laborers in middle and poor regions can benefit more from off-farm employment. Our findings provide empirical evidence on effectively cultivating DS to increase the diversity of employment choices for the rural workforce and highlight the importance of improving DS. Full article
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19 pages, 3896 KiB  
Article
Study of Potential Application Air Curtains in Livestock Premises at Cattle Management Farms
by Aleksey Kuzmichev, Aleksei Khimenko, Dmitry Tikhomirov, Dmitry Budnikov, Marek Jasiński, Vadim Bolshev and Ivan Ignatkin
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1259; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061259 - 17 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 926
Abstract
Recommendations on the selection of air curtains and the calculation of their parameters for livestock premises in cattle management farms are made. The air curtain functioning principle is analyzed from the air jet theory point of view. The block diagram and modular design [...] Read more.
Recommendations on the selection of air curtains and the calculation of their parameters for livestock premises in cattle management farms are made. The air curtain functioning principle is analyzed from the air jet theory point of view. The block diagram and modular design of air curtains with a variable air jet direction vector and with controlled slit width are designed. Laboratory tests of the newly designed air curtain structure are performed in accordance with the microclimate requirements for the cattle management farm premises. Based on the experimental results, the major air curtain parameters are calculated for the range from 10° to 60° of angle α between the direction of the air jet outward from the air curtain slit and aperture plane, and for the air curtain slit width b0 in the range from 0.05 m to 0.15 m with the account of the wind speed Vw variations. Calculated values for amounts of energy that have to be consumed to ensure the required air jet velocity, in the output from the air curtain, and those for the quantity of thermal energy required to heat the air supplied to the air curtain, depending on the angle α and on the slit width b0, can be helpful for selecting the power capacity of both the air curtain fan and electric heater. A block diagram of the air curtain control for cattle management farm premises is designed, enabling automatic control of the airflow rate, the angle of the air jet output from the air curtain slit, and the temperature of the heated air supplied to the air curtain, considering particular climate conditions. According to the preliminary estimate, applications of the newly designed air curtain will make it possible to reduce the energy consumed to maintain the required microclimate conditions in cattle management premises by 10% to 15% in the cold period. Full article
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14 pages, 1056 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Evolution and Spatial Convergence Analysis of Total Factor Productivity of Citrus in China
by Yumeng Gu, Chunjie Qi, Fuxing Liu, Quanyong Lei and Yuchao Ding
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1258; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061258 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 991
Abstract
In this study, the DEA–Malmquist index method was used to measure the total factor productivity of citrus in seven major mandarin-producing provinces and seven major tangerine-producing provinces in China from 2006 to 2020. Moran’s I index was used to test the spatial correlation [...] Read more.
In this study, the DEA–Malmquist index method was used to measure the total factor productivity of citrus in seven major mandarin-producing provinces and seven major tangerine-producing provinces in China from 2006 to 2020. Moran’s I index was used to test the spatial correlation of total factor productivity of mandarin and tangerine, and its σ convergence and β convergence characteristics were explored using coefficient of variation and spatial panel models. The results show that from the perspective of time series evolution, the growth rate of total factor productivity of mandarin and tangerine in China slowed down year by year after reaching the maximum value in 2008. Technological progress was the main factor affecting the total factor productivity of citrus. The total factor productivity growth of tangerine was more stable than that of mandarin, and the pure technical efficiency index and scale efficiency change index of mandarin and tangerine were not stable. From the perspective of regional differences, the total factor productivity of China’s main citrus-producing provinces all indicated positive growth, showing an increasing trend from east to west. The drivers of growth were mainly technological progress and scale efficiency. The regional differences in total factor productivity growth for mandarin were more obvious than for tangerine. The total factor productivity of mandarin and tangerine showed obvious spatial correlation characteristics; the positive spatial spillover effect was significant; and there were σ convergence, absolute β convergence, and conditional β convergence. Regional disparities in citrus industry development can be more objectively reflected by convergence analysis that takes spatial factors, economic and social factors, and other factors into account. Full article
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14 pages, 1355 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Government Food Policy on Farm Efficiency of Beneficiary Small-Scale Farmers in Indonesia
by Meidiana Purnamasari, Wen-Chi Huang and Bambang Priyanto
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1257; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061257 - 16 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1688
Abstract
Enhancing self-sufficiency and national food security have been strategic policy goals of the Indonesian government. From 2015 to 2019, a food policy program called Upsus Pajale had been implemented to provide input subsidies and extension assistants to farmers for three strategic commodities: rice, [...] Read more.
Enhancing self-sufficiency and national food security have been strategic policy goals of the Indonesian government. From 2015 to 2019, a food policy program called Upsus Pajale had been implemented to provide input subsidies and extension assistants to farmers for three strategic commodities: rice, maize, and soybeans, to accelerate productivity and increase production. The study was done by interviewing 374 beneficiary farmers. The objectives were to explore production efficiency and the farmers’ perspectives on the policy programs. By conducting stochastic frontier production function estimation, the results show that the mean efficiency level was 0.866. This study revealed that land size, seed cost, and labor cost were found to be important determinants of technical efficiency. In addition, the results of the inefficiency model indicated that age and farmers’ associations had a significant and positive effect on efficiency scores, whereas education had a negative effect. Contrarily, none of the policy program instruments appear to be essential determinants of efficiency. Furthermore, the research found that farmers prioritized their habits and profitability when deciding which crop to cultivate and that pests were their main concerns. Hence, the government should focus on enhancing research and development for improved seedling pest management control and encourage the establishment of farmers’ association to share experience and transfer information and technology for farmers to improve their efficiency. Full article
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16 pages, 5373 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baillon Collected in Habitats of South Korea
by Beung Sung Kim, Jong Soo Kim, Young Jin Seo, Tae Young Oh and Jeong-Dong Lee
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1256; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061256 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. has been traditionally used as a medicine for bronchial tube ailments in Northeast Asia. Recently, the demand for S. chinensis has increased for use as food and medicine because of the lignans found in its fruits. However, the species [...] Read more.
Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. has been traditionally used as a medicine for bronchial tube ailments in Northeast Asia. Recently, the demand for S. chinensis has increased for use as food and medicine because of the lignans found in its fruits. However, the species germplasm collection has rarely been studied to evaluate their phenotypic traits in Korea. In this study, 96 accessions of S. chinensis were collected in South Korea for two years to evaluate their phenotypes, and principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis were conducted. Significant variations among the measured phenotypic traits were observed. The total bunch weight produced from a single tree ranged from 109 to 5844 g; the contents in schizandrin, gomisin A, and gomisin N—three types of lignan—were 2.2–14.5, 0.9–9.8, and 2.1–12.2 mg/g, respectively. Gomisin N positively correlated with flowering traits (flowering start, period, and peduncle length) and leaf characteristics (leaf width and length). PCA and cluster analyses revealed four clusters among the 96 S. chinensis accessions. These results provide valuable information for systematic characterization of species germplasm collections and tools for further research. Full article
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23 pages, 9531 KiB  
Article
A Multistep Interval Prediction Method Combining Environmental Variables and Attention Mechanism for Egg Production Rate
by Hang Yin, Zeyu Wu, Jun-Chao Wu, Yalin Chen, Mingxuan Chen, Shixuan Luo, Lijun Gao and Shahbaz Gul Hassan
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1255; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061255 - 15 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1301
Abstract
The egg production rate is a crucial metric in animal breeding, subject to biological and environmental influences and exhibits characteristics of small sample sizes and non-linearity. Currently, egg production rate prediction research predominantly focuses on single-step point prediction, lacking multistep and interval prediction [...] Read more.
The egg production rate is a crucial metric in animal breeding, subject to biological and environmental influences and exhibits characteristics of small sample sizes and non-linearity. Currently, egg production rate prediction research predominantly focuses on single-step point prediction, lacking multistep and interval prediction exploration. To bridge these gaps, this study proposes a recursive, multistep interval prediction method for egg production rates, integrating environmental variables and attention mechanisms. Initially, this study employed three gradient boosting tree models (XGBoost, LightGBM, CatBoost) and the recursive feature elimination (RFE) method to select critical environmental variables and reduce data dimensionality. Subsequently, by scaling the time scale of important environmental variables and utilizing the variational modal decomposition improved by the grey wolf optimization (GWO-VMD) method for time-series decomposition, the volume of important environmental variable data is augmented and its complexity is reduced. Applying the long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network to obtain direct multistep predictions on IMFs, the predicted outcomes are averaged daily to yield the environmental variables for the upcoming two days. Finally, a multistep interval prediction model based on Seq2seq-Attention and Gaussian distribution is proposed in this study, and parameter optimization is carried out using the multi-objective grey wolf optimization algorithm (MOGWO). By inputting the historical egg production rate data and environmental variables into the proposed model, it is possible to achieve multistep point and interval prediction of egg production rates. This method was applied to analyze a dataset of egg production rates of waterfowl. The study demonstrated the feasibility of the recursive multistep prediction approach combined with environmental variables and guides egg production estimation and environmental regulation in animal husbandry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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18 pages, 7523 KiB  
Article
Two-Sex Life Table Analysis of the Predator Arma chinensis (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and the Prediction of Its Ability to Suppress Populations of Scopula subpunctaria (Lepidoptera: Geometridae)
by Kunqian Cao, Rongmeng Lan, Xiuju Yang, Bing Gong, Jingjing Zhang, Xia Zhou and Linhong Jin
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061254 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1437
Abstract
Scopula subpunctaria (Herrich-Schaeffer) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) is a leaf-eating pest in tea plantations that often causes serious economic losses. Arma chinensis (Fallou) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) as a polyphagous insect has become one of the main biological control agents for tea plantation pests due to its [...] Read more.
Scopula subpunctaria (Herrich-Schaeffer) (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) is a leaf-eating pest in tea plantations that often causes serious economic losses. Arma chinensis (Fallou) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) as a polyphagous insect has become one of the main biological control agents for tea plantation pests due to its wide feeding habit, predatory ability, and adaptability. However, studies related to the predation using A. chinensis on the third instar S. subpunctaria have not been reported. In this study, we used the age-stage, two-sex life table method to analyze the developmental duration and fecundity of S. subpunctaria fed on tea, and A. chinensis fed on third instar S. subpunctaria larvae, under a 25 °C regime. The growth, development, survival, fecundity, and predation rates of the insect populations were investigated. The results showed that the predator and the prey can complete their respective life histories, but the developmental durations at each stage were different, and the developmental stages overlapped significantly. In addition, we used the computer program TIMING-MSChart to project the stage structure and the total population size of A. chinensis and S. subpunctaria. We also simulated the population changes of S. subpunctaria using an A. chinensis intervention. These results showed that S. subpunctaria can support A. chinensis to finish its life history and A. chinensis has great potential to control S. subpunctaria. This study contributes to the understanding of the biological characteristics of S. subpunctaria and provides a theoretical basis for releasing A. chinensis in the field to suppress S. subpunctaria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Management of Insect Pests)
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10 pages, 671 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Efficiency of Different Nitrogen Fertilization Levels on Sorghum Yield and Quality Characteristics
by Dimitrios Bartzialis, Kyriakos D. Giannoulis, Ippolitos Gintsioudis and Nicholaos G. Danalatos
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061253 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
Sorghum is a Poaceae family plant that produces a lot of hay. A field experiment was carried out at the University of Thessaly’s experimental farm to investigate the hay yield and quality characteristics of six different sorghum varieties (V1: Buffalo grain, V2: Elite, [...] Read more.
Sorghum is a Poaceae family plant that produces a lot of hay. A field experiment was carried out at the University of Thessaly’s experimental farm to investigate the hay yield and quality characteristics of six different sorghum varieties (V1: Buffalo grain, V2: Elite, V3: Big Kahuna, V4: 25K1009, V5: 4264, and V6: 5D61) under different nitrogen fertilization levels (N1: 0, N2: 80, N3: 160, and N4: 240 kg ha−1, using urinary ammonia 40-0-0). Pea for silage production was established in the same field prior to sorghum cultivation. Hay yield was found to differ significantly between the tested varieties and was also influenced by nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen fertilization has a statistically significant effect on sorghum production, with a higher nitrogen supply contributing to a higher protein content in the sorghum yield. Other hay quality indicators, such as ash, NDF, and ADF, demonstrated differences between the different varieties and nitrogen fertilizer levels. According to the study, the variety that had stable output was “Elite”, which had good quality attributes and could be used as an alternative to feed production before sorghum development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficient Use of Irrigation and Fertilizer to Increase Crop Yield)
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19 pages, 6924 KiB  
Article
Effects of Future Climate Change on Spring Maize Yield and Water Use Efficiency under Film Mulching with Different Materials in the LOESS Plateau Region of China
by Bingfan Wang, Zhaoyang Li, Zihan Liu, Jinwen Pang, Peng Zhang and Zhikuan Jia
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1252; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061252 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1454
Abstract
Background: Traditional polyethylene film mulching is widely used in the Loess Plateau region of China to improve crop yields. However, whether long-term polyethylene film mulching can continue to ensure crop yield under future climate change conditions is questionable. First, we conducted a four-year [...] Read more.
Background: Traditional polyethylene film mulching is widely used in the Loess Plateau region of China to improve crop yields. However, whether long-term polyethylene film mulching can continue to ensure crop yield under future climate change conditions is questionable. First, we conducted a four-year field experiment to calibrate and validate the biogeochemical DeNitrification–DeComposition (DNDC) model. Then, based on the calibrated and validated model, we evaluated the spring maize yield and water use efficiency under different film mulching methods (no mulching, traditional polyethylene film mulching, and biodegradable film mulching) in the Loess Plateau region. Results: The temperature and rainfall in the Loess Plateau region are predicted to increase in the future (2021–2100) under four scenarios due to higher CO2 concentrations. Through 252 simulation results, we found that future climate change will have positive impacts under no mulching, traditional polyethylene film mulching, and degradable film mulching conditions. The yield increase will be greater with no mulching, but in the future, film mulching will continue to reduce crop yields. Additionally, the crop yield reduction under traditional polyethylene film mulching is greater. A sensitivity analysis indicated that rainfall will have a major effect on yield, and polyethylene film mulching will reduce the sensitivity of the yield to rainfall. As the rainfall increases, the differences between the yield and water use efficiency under ordinary plastic film and degradable film will become smaller. In the later period with a warmer and wetter climate under the SSP585 scenario, the water use efficiency will be higher under degradable film than traditional polyethylene film mulching. Conclusion: It can be seen that degradable film is more adaptable to the warmer and wetter climate in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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12 pages, 1496 KiB  
Article
Impact of Allelic Variation in Maturity Genes E1E4 on Soybean Adaptation to Central and West Siberian Regions of Russia
by Roman Perfil’ev, Andrey Shcherban, Dmitriy Potapov, Konstantin Maksimenko, Sergey Kiryukhin, Sergey Gurinovich, Veronika Panarina, Revmira Polyudina and Elena Salina
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061251 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1129
Abstract
Four maturity genes, namely, E1, E2, E3 and E4, have been found to play major roles in controlling the flowering and maturity time of soybean. Which genotypes of E1E4 genes provide effective adaptation to the varied conditions of [...] Read more.
Four maturity genes, namely, E1, E2, E3 and E4, have been found to play major roles in controlling the flowering and maturity time of soybean. Which genotypes of E1E4 genes provide effective adaptation to the varied conditions of Russia are unknown. To clarify this issue, we have studied the allele variation in soybean E1E4 genes in terms of both flowering and maturity time under the natural day-length conditions of Central Russia and Western Siberia in a collection of 176 soybean accessions, including 142 Russian and 34 foreign accessions. As a result, a high frequency of previously determined E1E4 alleles has been identified. The field experiment showed that genotypes with all recessive alleles from e1-nl/e2/e3/e4 and e1-as/e2/e3/e4 provide the effective adaptation of soybean to the mentioned conditions. Cultivars with these genotypes are considered to be most suitable for cultivation in Central Russia and Western Siberia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Soybean Genetics and Breeding)
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13 pages, 7902 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Introgressed Lines of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) under Contrasting Water Treatments
by Muhammad Mubashar Hussain, Saeed Rauf, Muqadas Noor, Amir Bibi, Rodomiro Ortiz and Jeff Dahlberg
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1250; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061250 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1844
Abstract
Drought stress is a major production constraint in crops globally. Crop wild relatives are important sources of resistance and tolerance for both biotic and abiotic stresses, respectively. A breeding program was initiated to introgress drought tolerance in sunflowers through hybridization between the wild [...] Read more.
Drought stress is a major production constraint in crops globally. Crop wild relatives are important sources of resistance and tolerance for both biotic and abiotic stresses, respectively. A breeding program was initiated to introgress drought tolerance in sunflowers through hybridization between the wild species Helianthus argophyllus and the cultivated pool of H. annuus. Selection was carried out from the F2 to F5 segregating populations for the silver canopy, high cuticular wax, small leaf area, single heading and high oil content. Cuticular wax ranged between 8.72 µg g−1 and 17.19 µg g−1 in the F5 offspring. The selected F5 breeding lines were self-pollinated to obtain the F6 generation. Thereafter, this F6 was compared with the non-adapted elite sunflower germplasm in a factorial complete randomized design with different water treatments; i.e., comparing fully irrigated (100%, T0) versus 75% (T1), 50% (T2) and 25% (T3) of total irrigation. The comparison between the two types of the germplasm showed that drought-tolerant breeding lines had a comparatively lesser decrease in leaf area (0, 11, 22%) and shoot length (4, 21, 28%) than the elite germplasm, which experienced a decrease in leaf area (21%, 33% and 40%) and shoot length (17, 27 and 34%) under the various drought treatments. Moreover, drought-tolerant breeding lines had 100% more root shoot ratios than the elite germplasm (20%) in T3 when compared with control. Several drought-tolerant promising lines (D-2, D-5 and D-27) were selected due to their high leaf area, great root length and increased root to shoot ratio under T3. Some of the lines could be directly used for the development of drought-tolerant hybrids. Combining ability testing indicated that D-27 (F7) was a good general combiner for seed yield plant−1 and oil content after mating with male-line RSIN.82. Resulting hybrids could help to minimize seed yield loss due to water stress and to achieve profitable cultivation of sunflowers in arid regions of Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genotype Evaluation and Breeding)
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21 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Socialized Agricultural Machinery Services on the Labor Transfer of Maize Growers
by Siyu Yang and Wei Li
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061249 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1680
Abstract
Socialized agricultural machinery services, effectively cracking the “who to plant, how to plant” dilemma, are an important grasp of the development of modern agriculture. Based on the specialization division of labor theory, using the 2019 national survey data of maize growers in 13 [...] Read more.
Socialized agricultural machinery services, effectively cracking the “who to plant, how to plant” dilemma, are an important grasp of the development of modern agriculture. Based on the specialization division of labor theory, using the 2019 national survey data of maize growers in 13 provinces, the instrumental variable method and systematic generalized moment estimation (GMM) were used to overcome the endogeneity problem of mutual causality between socialized agricultural machinery services and labor transfer, analyze the impact of socialized agricultural machinery services on the labor transfer of maize growers and its link to heterogeneity, and explore the impact effect in different terrain conditions, part-time. We also explored the cohort differences in the effect in different terrain conditions and degree of part-time work. The endogenous switching regression model (ESR) was also applied to construct a counterfactual framework to further analyze the impact effect of socialized agricultural machinery services on labor transfer. The results showed that socialized agricultural machinery services could effectively promote labor transfer among maize farmers. Compared with maize farmers in other terrain conditions and part-time degree, the impact effect of agricultural machinery socialization services on labor transfer of flatland and pure farming households was more significant. Socialized agricultural machinery services play an important role in driving traditional farming households to labor transfer and realizing their organic connection with modern agriculture. Full article
19 pages, 4341 KiB  
Review
Bibliometric Analysis of Research Trends in Agricultural Soil Organic Carbon Mineralization from 2000 to 2022
by Futao Zhang, Yuedong Liu and Yueling Zhang
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061248 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1530
Abstract
The change in agricultural soil organic carbon (SOC) at a global scale has a great impact on the soil quality, crop yields, and greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. Plant-derived C input into soil is an effective strategy to increase the SOC; meanwhile, [...] Read more.
The change in agricultural soil organic carbon (SOC) at a global scale has a great impact on the soil quality, crop yields, and greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. Plant-derived C input into soil is an effective strategy to increase the SOC; meanwhile, it promotes SOC mineralization. The SOC dynamics after plant-derived C input have received widespread attention in the past 20 years. This bibliometric study was performed to identify the basic characteristics, research output, and knowledge base as well as to understand the research trends and key topics of agricultural SOC mineralization. We collected data from the Web of Science Core Collection databases, with dates ranging from 2000 to 2022. The parameter calculated from the default indicators of bibliometric software tools was used to indicate the contribution of the journal/author/institution/countries. The activity and attractive index were calculated separately to evaluate the relative effort and impact made by a country. The results showed that: (1) the number of articles increased gradually during 2000–2010 and thereafter sharply increased; (2) Soil Biology & Biochemistry was the most representative journal, and agriculture was the most popular subject category; (3) the most productive institution was the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is based China and cooperates closely with other institutions; (4) although the number of articles from China was the largest, both the cited frequency and activity index were much lower for China than for the USA, which had the highest citation and centrality among countries; and (5) the studies involving agricultural SOC mineralization have primarily investigated the effect of exogenous C and nutrient addition, as well as biotic processes, especially the microbial process. We concluded that there was an increasing trend in research on agricultural SOC mineralization, with a focus on the interaction between SOC and nutrient/microbial communities. The physical processes, such as the association of minerals and occlusion of aggregate and pores, were paid less attention relative to biotic processes despite their importance in SOC mineralization. Through an in-depth analysis of agricultural SOC mineralization research, this study provides a better understanding of development trends that have emerged in this field over the past 22 years. In future studies, more attention should be paid to the physical processes to understand the physical protection mechanism of agricultural SOC mineralization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecosystem, Environment and Climate Change in Agriculture)
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17 pages, 1586 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Social Capital at the Community and Individual Levels on Farmers’ Participation in the Rural Public Goods Provision
by Furong Chen, Yuyuan Yi and Yifu Zhao
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1247; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061247 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1358
Abstract
This study examines the role of social capital, at both individual and community levels, in promoting farmers’ participation in providing rural public goods in China. Based on the survey data of 622 farmers from 82 villages across Hebei, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, and Fujian provinces, [...] Read more.
This study examines the role of social capital, at both individual and community levels, in promoting farmers’ participation in providing rural public goods in China. Based on the survey data of 622 farmers from 82 villages across Hebei, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, and Fujian provinces, we used a generalized hierarchical linear model (GHLM) to empirically estimate the effects of social capital on farmers’ participation in rural public goods supply. The findings indicate that: (1) community-level factors account for 42.3% of the variance in farmers’ participation behavior. The transparency of the public goods construction fund significantly encourages farmers to participate, while the rural collective economy income and the village’s geographical location—the distance to the township government—have a significant and negative effect on farmers’ participation. (2) On the individual level, social norms, social networks, and social engagement have a positive effect on farmers’ participation. The effect of individual social norms is particularly high compared to that of the other two factors. (3) When social capital at the community level is high, the positive effect of individual social networks on farmers’ participation is even more significant. Therefore, to encourage farmers to participate in the rural public goods provision, local government should not only pay attention to improving the publicity of public affairs but also cultivate social capital at both the individual and community levels. Full article
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0 pages, 1157 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Production of Maize with Grass and Pigeon Pea Intercropping
by Patrick Bezerra Fernandes, Lucas Ferreira Gonçalves, Flavio Lopes Claudio, Janayna Almeida Souza, Guido Calgaro Júnior, Estenio Moreira Alves and Tiago Do Prado Paim
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061246 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1347 | Correction
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the impact of intercropping pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan cv. Super N) with maize (Zea mays cv. AG 5055) and Paiaguás palisadegrass (Urochloa brizantha cv. BRS Paiaguás) on grain yield, silage chemical composition, and post-harvest grazing [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the impact of intercropping pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan cv. Super N) with maize (Zea mays cv. AG 5055) and Paiaguás palisadegrass (Urochloa brizantha cv. BRS Paiaguás) on grain yield, silage chemical composition, and post-harvest grazing forage. The experiment was conducted on the School Farm of Instituto Federal Goiano, Campus Iporá. The experiment treatments consisted of three cropping systems: pigeon pea and Paiaguás palisadegrass intercropping (PPPG), maize and Paiaguás palisadegrass intercropping (CPG), and maize, pigeon pea, and Paiaguás palisadegrass intercropping (CPPPG), respectively. It was observed after the fermentation process that the PPPG silage promoted the lowest values of forage mass (FM) and a reduction in the dry matter (DM) concentration. The PPPG silage showed higher values of crude protein (75.28 g kg−1 DM), while the CPPPG silage showed proportionately higher values of total digestible nutrients (616.11 g kg−1 DM). The intercropping did not affect the corn grain productivity, thus obtaining an average value of 4.78 Mg ha-1. After the silage harvest, during the dry season, a similar forage availability was obtained between the treatments (3.73 Mg ha−1). All three cultivation strategies produced abundant forage for grazing, showing that integrated intercropping systems can mitigate the seasonality in tropical forage production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Systems and Management)
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