Despite the global importance of Capsicum species, there is limited information on the indigenous endomycorrhizal fungal association in this crop. Therefore, the diversity and colonization patterns of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in roots of Naga King chilli (Capsicum chinense) were assessed during pre-flowering, flowering and fruit ripening growth stages under a sub-tropical shifting cultivation system of North Eastern India. All the roots examined had AMF colonization and the presence of Paris-type arbuscular mycorrhizal morphology is reported for the first time in C. chinense. A total of 11 AMF spore morphotypes were isolated from both field and trap culture soils. Maximum AMF spore density and root colonization were recorded during the pre-flowering and flowering stages, respectively. The influence of Funneliformis geosporum, individually or in combination with Pseudomonas fluorescens and Azotobacter chroococcum, on growth and yield of C. chinense, was evaluated in a pot experiment using sterilized and non-sterilized soils. The application of AMF and P. fluorescens to sterilized soil significantly increased the growth, flower and fruit production, and nutrient content of C. chinense. The highest growth rates and yields of C. chinense in non-sterilized soils were achieved when AMF was combined with both P. fluorescens and A. chroococcum. The results of the current study indicate the value of applying microorganisms to improve plant growth and performance in chillies. One of the mechanisms for this could be the facilitated assimilation of nutrients promoted by AMF and bacterial bioinoculants.
Amendment of recalcitrant organic materials with high carbon/nitrogen (C/N)-ratio may improve and maintain soil labile C for a longer period, thus enhancing the productivity of soils with low fertility; however, immobilization of N may affect the plant growth negatively. To reduce the negative impacts, recalcitrant organic materials can be pre-incubated with N-rich sources or applied in combination with fertilizers. The current study evaluated sawdust biochar (BC) and pre-incubated cattle manure-sawdust mixture (CS) amendments with synthetic fertilizers in improving soil carbon pool, soil fertility and maize (Zea mays L.) yield on a tropical Alfisol. Four treatments: control, site-specific fertilizer (SSF), site-specific fertilizer with sawdust biochar (BC + SSF) or pre-incubated cattle manure-sawdust mixture (CS + SSF), were evaluated for two seasons with maize. The residual effect was evaluated in the third season. During the year of active C application, lability index, C management index and potentially mineralizable N were significantly greater in CS + SSF than BC + SSF treatment. However, the same indices measured in the third season with no further application of amendments were significantly greater in BC + SSF than in CS + SSF treatment, indicating an increase in more recalcitrant C pool with BC amendment. Application of organic amendments improved soil fertility parameters compared with the application of fertilizer alone. Maize yield was significantly increased by fertilizer, with or without organic amendments; with significantly greater yield in BC + SSF than other treatments. Results suggest that soil amendment with BC had greater potential to improve the soil carbon pool and maintain labile carbon for a longer period than a pre-incubated CS.
A feeding trial involving growing piglets was undertaken to establish whether feed supplemented with whey protein concentrate (WPC), exhibiting antioxidant properties, had any effects on welfare and meat quality. For that purpose, 48 weaned piglets (20-days-old) were assigned to two experimental groups receiving standard or experimental diet for 30 days. Blood and tissue collection were performed at various time-points. The following oxidative stress markers were assessed: reduced glutathione (GSH), catalase activity, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), protein carbonyls (CARB) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) decomposition activity. The effects on bacterial growth and the fatty acid profile of meat were also assessed. Results showed that piglets fed with the WPC-supplemented diet had significantly increased antioxidant mechanisms in almost all tissues tested, as indicated by increases in GSH, H2O2 decomposition activity and TAC compared with the control group. Piglets fed with the experimental diet exhibited decreased oxidative stress-induced damage to lipids and proteins, as shown by decreases in TBARS and CARB in the WPC group compared with the control group. In addition, the experimental diet enhanced growth of facultative probiotic bacteria and lactic acid bacteria and inhibited growth of pathogen populations. In addition, WPC inclusion in piglets' diet increased n-3 fatty acids significantly and decreased n-6/n-3 ratio significantly compared with the control group. The current study showed that WPC inclusion in the diet had a significant effect on welfare and meat quality of growing piglets.
The prenatal development of cattle has influence on productive performance throughout postnatal life. The number of muscle and fat cells that the animal will have throughout its life is determined in the foetal stage and is influenced by nutrition of the pregnant cow. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of different energy levels (total digestible nutrient, TDN) and crude protein (CP) supplied to pregnant cows on foetal weight at 4 (FW4) and 8 months (FW8) and calf birth weight (CBW). Four studies and six trials involving 170 animals were assessed for FW4; four studies, four trials and 156 animals for FW8 and 48 studies, 125 trials and 9053 animals for CBW. High heterogeneity across studies was presented in FW4 (I-2 = 94.4%), FW8 (I-2 = 91.08%) and CBW (I-2 = 96.9%). Dietary TDN and CP levels did not influence FW4. The FW8 was reduced by 2.24 kg when cows were fed 100% of their CP and TDN requirements (I-2 = 0%), relative to those fed 70% of their requirements during the first and second trimesters. The CBW was reduced by 0.45 kg (I-2 = 96.9%) when cows were fed 130% of their CP requirements relative to other dietary CP levels. When cows were fed 140% of their TDN requirements, CBW decreased by 2.71 kg (I-2 = 98.3%) relative to other TDN levels. Dietary energy or CP levels fed above the requirements to pregnant cows restrict foetal development and CBW.
A field experiment with the 3(5-1) fractional factorial design and five factors (k = 5) at three levels (s = 3) was performed in 2007-2010 at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Balcyny, north-eastern (NE) Poland. The results of the experiment carried out under the agro-ecological conditions of NE Poland confirmed the high yield potential of common wheat and satisfactory yield potential of spelt and durum wheat. On average, durum wheat and spelt yields were 2.14 and 2.55 t/ha lower, respectively, than common wheat yields. Sowing date was not correlated with the yields of analysed Triticum species. Seed rate (350, 450 and 550 seeds/m(2)) had no significant influence on the grain yield of winter cultivars of common wheat, durum wheat and spelt. Common wheat cv. Oliwin and durum wheat cv. Komnata were characterized by the highest yields in response to nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates calculated based on the N-min content of soil. An increase in the spring fertilizer rate by 40 kg N/ha in excess of the balanced N rate was not justified because it did not induce a further increase in the grain yield of common wheat and durum wheat. The grain yield of spelt cv. Schwabenkorn continued to increase in response to the highest rate of N fertilizer in spring (40 kg N/ha higher than the optimal rate). Intensified fungicide treatments improved grain yield in all Triticum species.
The objective of the current paper was to apply mixed models to adjust the growth curve of quail lines for meat and laying hens and present the rates of instantaneous, relative and absolute growth. A database was used with birth weight records up to the 148th day of female quail of the lines for meat and posture. The models evaluated were Brody, Von Bertalanffy, Logistic and Gompertz and the types of residues were constant, combined, proportional and exponential. The Gompertz model with the combined residue presented the best fit. Both strains present a high correlation between the parameters asymptotic weight (A) and average growth rate (k). The two strains presented a different growth profile. However, growth rates allow greater discernment of growth profiles. The meat line presented a higher growth rate (6.95 g/day) than the lineage for laying (3.65 g/day). The relative growth rate was higher for lineage for laying (0.15%) in relation to the lineage for meat (0.13%). The inflection point of both lines is on the first third of the growth curve (up to 15 days). All results suggest that changes in management or nutrition could optimize quail production.
An experiment was carried out to examine the effects of offering beef steers grass silage (GS) as the sole forage, lupins/triticale silage (LTS) as the sole forage, a mixture of LTS and GS at a ratio of 70:30 on a dry matter (DM) basis, vetch/barley silage (VBS) as the sole forage, a mixture of VBS and GS at a ratio of 70:30 on a DM basis, giving a total of five silage diets. Each of the five silage diets was supplemented with 2 and 5 kg of concentrates/head/day in a 5 x 2 factorial design to evaluate the five silages at two levels of concentrate intake and to examine possible interactions between silage type and concentrate intake. A total of 80 beef steers were used in the 122-day experiment. The GS was well preserved while the whole crop cereal/legume silages had high ammonia-nitrogen (N) concentrations, low lactic acid concentrations and low butyric acid concentrations For GS, LTS, LTS/GS, VBS and VBS/GS, respectively, silage DM intakes were 6.5, 7.0, 7.2, 6.1 and 6.6 (s.e.d. 0.55) kg/day and live weight gains were 0.94, 0.72, 0.63, 0.65 and 0.73 (s.e.d. 0.076) kg/day. Silage type did not affect carcass fatness, the colour or tenderness of meat or the fatty acid composition of the intramuscular fat in the longissimus dorsi muscle.
Sustainable ruminant production systems depend on the ability of livestock to utilize increased quantities of grazed herbage. The current study aimed to compare the effect of white clover (WC) inclusion and perennial ryegrass (PRG) ploidy on herbage dry matter (DM) production, plant morphology, nutritive value and biological nitrogen (N) fixation (BNF) under high N fertilizer use (250 kg N/ha) and high stocking rates (2.75 livestock units/ha). Four sward treatments (diploid-only, tetraploid-only, diploid-WC, tetraploid-WC) were evaluated over a full grazing season at a farmlet scale. White clover inclusion had a significant effect on herbage DM production, herbage growth rate, tiller density, organic matter digestibility, crude protein and BNF. Tetraploid swards had a lower tiller density, lower sward WC content and post-grazing sward height and increased organic matter digestibility and crude protein than diploid swards. White clover inclusion improved herbage DM production and nutritive value across a full grazing season, with tetraploid and diploid swards producing similar herbage DM yields across the year. Perennial ryegrass ploidy had an effect on WC morphology as plants in diploid-WC swards had narrower, longer stolons, fewer branches and more petioles than tetraploid-WC swards. The current study highlights the benefit of including WC in grass-based systems under a high N fertilizer regime and high stocking rate.
Integrated crop-livestock systems (ICLS) are currently promoted agricultural production systems that aim to use better resources through production integration and intensification. While this system reduces some risks, it adds complexity and new risks to businesses due to interdependence between the agricultural modules. To deal with these issues, integrated risk management is required to reduce the effects of risks and to take advantage of the opportunities of an ICLS. Generically, enterprise risk management (ERM) meets this need by proposing comprehensive and coherent risk management, instead of managing agricultural module risks individually. However, there is a need to customize the ERM approach to ICLS. Therefore, the current study aims to develop a method to manage risks for ICLS based on ERM, integrating the management of risks and aligning risk management with the strategic objectives. A literature review, a pilot study, interviews with experts, four case studies and 20 practitioners supported the method development and evaluation through three versions. As a result, the method identifies and relates risks through process mapping with a qualitative and quantitative analysis of their impacts, determines risk responses based on willingness to take risks, and helps identify processes to control, communicate and monitor the risks. The method also stimulates the implementation of ICLS in market-oriented farms, providing an approach to increase the chances of ICLS success. The main difference from previous research lies in the integrative management of multiple risks, the alignment of risks with strategy and the consideration that a risk might be considered an opportunity.
Non-decorticated sunflower meal (SFM) is a potential protein source for dairy cows with high-fibre content but high ruminal degradability. The effect of replacement of soybean meal (SBM) and wheat middlings (WM) with SFM on the intake, digestibility, microbial protein synthesis, nitrogen utilization and milk production of dairy cows was evaluated. Twelve Holstein cows were blocked by days in milk and distributed in three 4 x 4 Latin squares. Diets were formulated to be isonitrogenous and contained 550 g maize silage/kg dry matter (DM). Treatment diets were no SFM (CON) or 70, 140 and 210 g/kg DM of SFM replacing fixed mixture of SBM and WM (536 and 464 g/kg of the mixture, respectively). The inclusion of SFM in diet did not affect DM intake, but intake of rumen degradable protein increased linearly. Inclusion of SFM reduced or tended to reduce total-tract digestibility of non-fibre carbohydrate, total digestible nutrients and excretion of purine derivatives. Milk production, milk protein content and efficiency of nitrogen use for lactation were reduced with increasing levels of SFM in the diet. The use of non-decorticated SFM as a replacement for SBM-WM mixture in diet reduces performance and efficiency of nutrient use in lactating dairy cows. The outcome of the current study is attributed to reduced fibre digestibility in SFM hulls. Therefore, future studies should evaluate the use of decorticated SFM.
It is challenging to predict the changes in weed flora that may occur because of changes in global climate. Limited data are available on the effect of climate change and drought conditions on weed flora and their competitiveness in Southern Europe. Future predictions by scientists indicate reduced and untimely rainfall, along with increased temperatures in this region. Weeds possess a variety of developmental and physiological mechanisms, including senescing, increased leaf cuticular wax deposition, well-developed palisade parenchyma in the leaves, high root/shoot ratio, stomatal closure, peroxidase accumulation and symbiosis with endophytes that enable them to adapt to drought and high temperatures. Because of high adaptability of weeds to adverse environmental conditions, it can be assumed that under future warmer and drier environmental conditions, their growth will be favoured, while the competitiveness of vegetable crops against weeds will be decreased. It is important to highlight that the predicted decrease in overall rainfall levels throughout the year may lead to increased problems of herbicide residues (carryover effects) to following crops. The current paper provides an up-to-date overview of the adaptation mechanisms of weed species commonly found in Southern Europe, in order to expand the available knowledge regarding their response to drought and elevated temperatures. Emphasis is placed on revealing the effects of drought and increased temperatures on vegetable-weed competition and, most importantly, its effect on vegetable crop yield.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd) is a dicotyledonous annual species belonging to the family Amaranthaceae, which is nutritionally well balanced in terms of its oil, protein and carbohydrate content. Targeting-induced local lesions in genomes (the TILLING strategy) was employed to find mutations in acetolactate synthase (AHAS) genes in a mutant quinoa population. The AHAS genes were targeted because they are common enzyme target sites for five herbicide groups. Ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) was used to induce mutations in the AHAS genes; it was found that 2% EMS allowed a mutation frequency of one mutation every 203 kilobases to be established. In the mutant population created, a screening strategy using pre-selection phenotypic data and next-generation sequencing (NGS) allowed identification of a mutation that alters the amino acid composition of this species (nucleotide 1231 codon GTT -> ATT, Val -> Ile); however, this mutation did not result in herbicide resistance. The current work shows that TILLING combined with the high-throughput of NGS technologies and an overlapping pool design provides an efficient and economical method for detecting induced mutations in pools of individuals.
Winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is an important crop for human consumption and biofuel production and its production is increasing worldwide. It is generally assumed that cross-pollination by insects increases oilseed rape yield but testing of this has been restricted to a few rapeseed varieties and produced varying results. The present study determines whether cross-pollination benefits a number of oilseed rape varieties by comparing yield in the presence and absence of insects. Four rapeseed varieties (Sherlock, Traviata, Treffer and Visby) were used with ten individuals each in four pollination treatments: (1) supplementary hand-pollination, (2) open pollination with insects able to access the flowers, (3) wind pollination and (4) autonomous self-pollination. Across all four varieties, open and supplementary hand-pollination treatments resulted in higher fruit set, numbers of seeds per pod and seed yield compared with wind and self-pollination. The cross-pollination benefits, however, differed among rapeseed varieties: Treffer and Visby had a higher dependence on open (insects) and supplementary crosspollination than Sherlock and Traviata. Across all four varieties, seed weight compensated for reduced fruit set and was highest when plants were self-pollinated. The present results highlight the importance of considering varietal differences in crop pollination research. Information on the pollination requirements of crop varieties is required by farmers to optimize management decisions in a world of increasing agropollination deficits.
In the current regional-scale study, the model DSSAT CROPGRO was applied in order to simulate the cultivation of industrial tomato and to estimate the green water (GW), blue water (BW), blue water requirement (BWR) and water footprint (WFP) through a dual-step approach (with and without full irrigation). Simulation covered a period of 30 years for three climate scenarios including a reference period and two future scenarios based on forecast global average temperature increases of 2 and 5 degrees C. The spatial patterns of indicators relating to the whole territory of Puglia region (Southern Italy), characterized by the high evaporative demand of the atmosphere, are discussed and analysed. Considering the climatic pattern, the analysis was developed for three areas (Northern, Central and Southern). Future scenarios affected all indicators significantly, particularly the Northern area, characterized by higher temperature and rainfall anomalies. Under the A5 scenario, compared with the baseline, this area was forecast to have a large increase of BW (+30%) and reduction in yield (-20%). As a consequence, the BWR and WFP were predicted to increase dramatically, up to 40 and >65%, respectively. On the other hand, Central and Southern areas, with lower anomalies of temperature and rainfall, were forecast to be less vulnerable to climate change. The distributed analysis performed could be important for water policy, allowing most efficient allocation of scarce water resources and concentrating them where the WFP is lowest, or in other words, water use efficiency is highest.
A probabilistic crop forecast based on ensembles of crop model output (CMO) estimates offers a myriad of possible realizations and probabilistic forecasts of green water components (precipitation and evapotranspiration), crop yields and green water footprints (GWFs) on monthly or seasonal scales. The present paper presents part of the results of an ongoing study related to the application of ensemble forecasting concepts for agricultural production. The methodology used to produce the ensemble CMO using the ensemble seasonal weather forecasts as the crop model input meteorological data without the perturbation of initial soil or crop conditions is presented and tested for accuracy, as are its results. The selected case study is for winter wheat growth in Austria and Serbia during the 2006-2014 period modelled with the SIRIUS crop model. The historical seasonal forecasts for a 6-month period (1 March-31 August) were collected for the period 2006-2014 and were assimilated from the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecast and the Meteorological Archival and Retrieval System. The seasonal ensemble forecasting results obtained for winter wheat phenology dynamics, yield and GWF showed a narrow range of estimates. These results indicate that the use of seasonal weather forecasting in agriculture and its applications for probabilistic crop forecasting can optimize field operations (e.g., soil cultivation, plant protection, fertilizing, irrigation) and takes advantage of the predictions of crop development and yield a few weeks or months in advance.
Hailed as the single most important paper published on crop protection in the 20th century, Stern et al. in 1959 formed the conceptual basis for modern integrated pest management (IPM) worldwide. The ecological foundation for IPM envisioned by its authors is as valid today as in 1959. However, adoption by developing country farmers has been low and its advances short-lived. The present paper examines the concept of integration in IPM and criteria for determining whether its control tactics have been integrated harmoniously. The effects of local and regional landscape patterns on pests and on the design of IPM are reviewed, arguing that the agroecosystem must be understood and managed as a living system with the goal of enhancing and conserving agrobiodiversity and keeping ecosystem services intact. Key to IPM adoption is convincing farmers to integrate non-chemical alternatives (e.g. biological control, plant diversification) as primary management components and to apply pesticides judiciously and only after non-chemical components fail to manage pests effectively. Research, extension and policy changes are identified to increase the efficiency, adoption and sustainability of IPM on resource-limited farms. The over-arching challenge is devising communication and support systems that allow resource-limited farmers to try, adopt and sustain IPM that enhances yields and profits in light of the many uncertainties and challenges. Use of information technology, media development, crowdsourcing and rural sociology is advocated to connect farmers to the technical sources required to enhance yields and profits and reduce risks to them, the farming community and the environment.
The main objective of the present crop simulation study was to determine the impact of climate change on the winter wheat production of a dry area situated in north-east Austria (Marchfeld region) based on the CERES-Wheat crop-growth simulation model associated with global circulation models (GCMs). The effects of some of the feasible regional- and farm-based adaptation measures (management options) on crop yield and water and nitrogen (N) balance under the climate scenarios were simulated. Climate scenarios were defined based on the ECHAM5, HadCM3 and NCAR PCM GCM simulations for future conditions (2021-50) as described in the Special Report on Emission Scenarios A1B (Nakicenovic & Swart 2000). The potential development, yield, water demand and soil N leaching were estimated for winter wheat and all of the defined climates (including rising CO2 levels) and management scenarios (soil cultivation, windbreaks and irrigation). The results showed that a warming of 2 degrees C in the air temperature would shorten the crop-growing period by up to 20 days and would decrease the potential winter wheat yield on nearly all of the soil types in the region. Particularly, high-yield reductions were projected for light-textured soils such as Parachernozems. A change from ploughing to minimum tillage within the future scenario would lead to an increase of up to 8% of the mean yield of winter wheat. This effect mainly resulted from improved water supply to the crop, associated with higher soil water storage capacity and decrease of unproductive water losses. Hedgerows, which reduce the wind speed, were predicted to have particularly positive effects on medium and moderately fine-textured soils such as Chernozems and Fluvisols. With both management changes, regional mean-yield level can be expected to be +4% in comparison with no management changes in the future conditions. Compared with the baseline period, water demand for the potential yield of winter wheat would require 6-37 mm more water per crop season (area-weighted average). The highest water demand would be on medium-textured soils, which make up the largest amount of area in the study region. Additionally, the effects of snow accumulation near hedgerows would further increase the yield, but would also lead to higher N leaching rates. However, specific management options, such as minimum tillage and hedgerows, could contribute towards reducing the increasing water demand.
A total of 1180 1-day-old Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) chicks were used to investigate the effect of feathering rates on growth and slaughter traits. Feathering rates were classified based on the results of stepwise regression using numbers and lengths of both primaries and secondaries and tail length at 7 and 10 days of age as predictors. At 7 and 10 days old, number of primary feathers had phenotypically positive low correlations (rps) with body weight (BW), whereas number of secondaries had positive medium rps with BW at different ages. Lengths of primary, secondary and tail feathers had highly positive rps with BW traits at different ages. Results of stepwise multiple regressions indicated that BW at 14, 21 and 28 days of age can be predicted using lengths of secondary and tail feathers at 10 days old, number of secondaries at 7 days old and length of secondaries at 7 days old, respectively. Body weight at 35 days of age can be predicted using number of primaries, lengths of secondaries and tail at 10 days of age and number of secondaries at 7 days of age. Higher BWs were obtained in the fast-feathering class from 21 up to 35 days of age than in other groups, whereas the slow-feathering class had the lowest BW. Significant class differences were found for carcass weight, feather weight and dressing% favouring the fast-over the slow-feathering class. Therefore, early feathering rates improved BW at later ages and slaughter traits in Japanese quail.
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are constituents of wool and hair fibres and are believed to play an important role in determining the characteristics of the fibres. In the current study, a polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) approach was used to screen for variation in the ovine KAP15-1 gene (KRTAP15-1). Four PCR-SSCP banding patterns, representing four different variants (named A to D), were detected. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were found within the coding region and three of these were non-synonymous. The effect of this genetic variation on wool traits was investigated in 396 Merino x Southdown-cross sheep. Of the three variants found in these sheep (A, B and C), the presence of B was found to be associated with decreased wool yield, while C was associated with increased wool yield and decreased fibre diameter standard deviation. Sheep of genotype AC had a higher wool yield than those of genotype AA or AB.