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Agriculture, Volume 7, Issue 9 (September 2017)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Optimal Cultivation Pattern to Increase Revenue and Reduce Water Use: Application of Linear Programming to Arjan Plain in Fars Province
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 73; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090073
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 31 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
Because the available water resources of the Arjan plain region in Iran do not fully meet the watering requirements for plants in farmlands, the crops suffer from water stress, a situation that causes them to wilt. The aim of this study is to
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Because the available water resources of the Arjan plain region in Iran do not fully meet the watering requirements for plants in farmlands, the crops suffer from water stress, a situation that causes them to wilt. The aim of this study is to develop a water resources planning model that helps decision-makers determine an appropriate cultivation pattern, optimize the exploitation from surface water resources, and specify the method of allocating water across different farm crops to minimize the detrimental effects of water shortage. Through investigating various models of water resources planning and properties along with the governing conditions for each of these models, the linear programming model was selected as a suitable option due to its simplicity and practical applicability to water resource allocation planning. The model was run for a five-year period by considering gradual variations through the determination of the most appropriate exploitation pattern from the available water resources (surface and groundwater). Results reveal that the negative water balance can be improved gradually as positive, where it will reach +20 million m3 per year in 2040 from the current deficit of 236 million m3 with an 8% increased net profit. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Low-Input Maize-Based Cropping Systems Implementing IWM Match Conventional Maize Monoculture Productivity and Weed Control
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 74; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090074
Received: 13 July 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
Conventional Maize Monoculture (MM), a dominant Cropping System in South-Western France, is now questioned for environmental reasons (nitrate leaching, pesticide use and excessive irrigation). Three low-input Cropping Systems (CS) using diverse weeding strategies (MMLI, a Low-Input MM implementing ploughing, a combination
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Conventional Maize Monoculture (MM), a dominant Cropping System in South-Western France, is now questioned for environmental reasons (nitrate leaching, pesticide use and excessive irrigation). Three low-input Cropping Systems (CS) using diverse weeding strategies (MMLI, a Low-Input MM implementing ploughing, a combination of on-row spraying and in-between row cultivation and cover crops; MMCT, Conservation Tillage MM implementing chemical control and cover crops; Maize-MSW, maize managed similar to MMLI but rotated with soybean & wheat) were compared to a reference system (MMConv, a conventional MM with tillage and a high quantity of inputs). Potential of Infestation of weeds (PI), weed biomass and crop production of these CS were compared during the first five years after their establishment. Yields were also assessed in weed-free zones hand-weeded weekly in 2014 and 2015. Weed communities did not drastically differ among CS. PI and weed biomass were higher in MMCT, especially for Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.Beauv. and were comparable between MMConv, MMLI and Maize-MSW. Analysis of covariance between CS and weed biomass did not reveal a significant interaction, suggesting that weed biomass affected yield similarly among the CS. Comparison between weedy and weed-free zones suggested that weeds present at maize maturity negatively affected yields to the same extent for all four CS, despite having different weed biomasses. Grain yields in MMConv (11.3 ± 1.1 t ha−1) and MMLI (10.6 ± 2.3 t ha−1) were similar and higher than in MMCT (8.2 ± 1.9 t ha−1. Similar yields, weed biomasses and PI suggest that MMLI and Maize-MSW are interesting alternatives to conventional MM in terms of weed control and maize productivity and should be transferred to farmers to test their feasibility under wider, farm-scale conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Crop Production Intensification)
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Open AccessArticle An Eco-Egalitarian Solution to the Capitalist Consumer Paradox: Integrating Short Food Chains and Public Market Systems
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 76; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090076
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
Presently, alternative agri-food networks are in a renaissance, utilizing an economy of proximity to compete against transnational agri-business and food distributors. While this is positive ecologically and socioeconomically, the overreliance on market mechanisms in short food chains has led to class distinctions in
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Presently, alternative agri-food networks are in a renaissance, utilizing an economy of proximity to compete against transnational agri-business and food distributors. While this is positive ecologically and socioeconomically, the overreliance on market mechanisms in short food chains has led to class distinctions in food distribution and consumption. The result has been a capitalist consumer paradox exacerbating inequality in the alternative agri-food networks. To resolve this inequality, we focused on how public policy can leverage state investment in public markets to reduce or overcome the capitalist consumer paradox in short food chains. To clarify our argument, we began by examining the benefits of short food chains in the urban food system. Then, we explained how type of consumption and policy regime effect food access. After this, we utilized Mexico City and New York City’s public market systems as representative of an alternative policy regime and the effects of moving away from state-oriented development. We concluded by describing possible conflicts and complements to the integration of public markets into short urban food chains. Full article
Open AccessArticle Near Infrared Spectrometry for Rapid Non-Invasive Modelling of Aspergillus-Contaminated Maturing Kernels of Maize (Zea mays L.)
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 77; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090077
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 30 August 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
Aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus spp. produce carcinogenic metabolites that contaminate maize. Maize kernel absorbance patterns of near infrared (NIR) wavelengths (800–2600 nm) were used to non-invasively identify kernels of milk-, dough- and dent-stage maturities with four doses of Aspergillus sp. contamination. Near infrared spectrometry (NIRS)
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Aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus spp. produce carcinogenic metabolites that contaminate maize. Maize kernel absorbance patterns of near infrared (NIR) wavelengths (800–2600 nm) were used to non-invasively identify kernels of milk-, dough- and dent-stage maturities with four doses of Aspergillus sp. contamination. Near infrared spectrometry (NIRS) spectral data was pre-processed using first derivative Savitzky-Golay (1d-SG) transformation and multiplicative scatter correction on spectral data. Contaminated kernels had higher absorbance between 800–1134 nm, while uninoculated samples had higher absorbance above 1400 nm. Dose and maturity clusters seen in Principal Component Analysis (PCA) score plots were due to bond stretches of combination bands, CH and C=O functional groups within grain macromolecules. The regression model at 2198 nm separated uninoculated and inoculated kernels (p < 0.0001, R2 = 0.88, root mean square error = 0.15). Non-invasive identification of Aspergillus-contaminated maize kernels using NIR spectrometry was demonstrated in kernels of different maturities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fluorescence and Reflectance Sensor Comparison in Winter Wheat
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 78; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090078
Received: 4 August 2017 / Revised: 3 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
Nitrogen (N) is the most important macronutrient in plant production. For N application, legislation requirements have raised, and the purchasing costs have increased. Modern sensors can help farmers to save costs, to apply the right quantity, and to reduce their impact on the
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Nitrogen (N) is the most important macronutrient in plant production. For N application, legislation requirements have raised, and the purchasing costs have increased. Modern sensors can help farmers to save costs, to apply the right quantity, and to reduce their impact on the environment. Two spectrometers and one fluorescence sensor have been used on a vehicle sensor platform for N detection in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) field trials over three years. The research fields were divided into plots, and the N input ranged from 60 to 180 kg N ha−1 in six levels. The OSAVI (optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index) showed a similar value pattern to the NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) and the CropSpec index for the investigated factors. The red-edge inflection point (REIP) index showed high correlations to N (indicated by r2 between 0.6 and 0.8), especially in June and July. The developed models from the fluorescence indices FERARI, NBIR, FLAV, and the spectrometer indices CropSpec and HVI show high correlations (r2 = 0.5–0.8) to yield and may be used for future yield predictions. The Multiplex Research™ fluorescence sensor (Force-A, Orsay, France) was the most convenient sensor with a simple measurement method and a non-proprietary file output. The implementation into existing agricultural vehicle networks is still necessary, being able to use it on a farm for online N recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Agricultural System)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Effect of High Pressure Processing on the Microbial Inactivation in Fruit Preparations and Other Vegetable Based Beverages
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 72; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090072
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 30 August 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to review the effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure Processing (HPP) on the safety of different fruit derivatives (juices, nectars, jams, purees, pastes…), considering the types established in the European legislation and some other vegetable-based beverages (mainly juices
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The purpose of this study is to review the effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure Processing (HPP) on the safety of different fruit derivatives (juices, nectars, jams, purees, pastes…), considering the types established in the European legislation and some other vegetable-based beverages (mainly juices and smoothies). The main inactivation processes and mechanisms on microorganisms are reviewed. Studies have revealed that HPP treatment is capable of destroying most microorganisms, depending on the application conditions (amplitude of the pressure, duration time, temperature, and the mode of application), the properties of the fresh and processed fruit/vegetables (pH, nutrient composition, water activity, maturity stage), and the type of microorganisms or viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Processing Technologies for Agricultural Products)
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