Advances in Agriculture The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2016 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Analysis of Plant Breeding on Hadoop and Spark Thu, 12 May 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Analysis of crop breeding technology is one of the important means of computer-assisted breeding techniques which have huge data, high dimensions, and a lot of unstructured data. We propose a crop breeding data analysis platform on Spark. The platform consists of Hadoop distributed file system (HDFS) and cluster based on memory iterative components. With this cluster, we achieve crop breeding large data analysis tasks in parallel through API provided by Spark. By experiments and tests of Indica and Japonica rice traits, plant breeding analysis platform can significantly improve the breeding of big data analysis speed, reducing the workload of concurrent programming. Shuangxi Chen, Chunming Wu, and Yongmao Yu Copyright © 2016 Shuangxi Chen et al. All rights reserved. Postharvest Handling Practices and Treatment Methods for Tomato Handlers in Developing Countries: A Mini Review Wed, 11 May 2016 14:05:55 +0000 Tomato production has increased in recent years due to the economic and nutritional importance of the crop. This increase is made possible by the numerous research advances made along the entire value chain. However, scientific research has been focussed mainly on production whilst neglecting postharvest issues. Tomato producers have therefore enjoyed good harvests in recent times, though the good harvests of those from developing countries do not translate into profit as most are lost after harvest. From this study, it was revealed that the postharvest quality and shelf life of the fruit in part will depend on some postharvest handling practices and treatments carried out after harvest. Handling practices like harvesting, precooling, cleaning and disinfecting, sorting and grading, packaging, storing, and transportation played an important role in maintaining quality and extending shelf life. Using appropriate postharvest treatments like refrigeration, heat treatment, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), and 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) and calcium chloride (CaCl2) application was also vital. It was concluded by this study that the quality of the harvested fruit can be maintained and shelf life extended by using appropriate postharvest handling practices and treatment methods. Failure to adhere to these practices will result in a high amount of loss. Isaac Kojo Arah, Gerald K. Ahorbo, Etornam Kosi Anku, Ernest Kodzo Kumah, and Harrison Amaglo Copyright © 2016 Isaac Kojo Arah et al. All rights reserved. Determinants of Yam Postharvest Management in the Zabzugu District of Northern Ghana Tue, 05 Apr 2016 12:46:33 +0000 Postharvest loss reduction has received attention in many policy documents across nations to ensure global food security, particularly in developing countries. Many researchers have examined various options for reducing postharvest losses. We contribute our quota to this scientific discourse by using a different approach. We argue that the human element of managing postharvest loss is central and therefore poses the question of what are the characteristics of the farmer who manages postharvest losses better. We examine this question by using a cross section of yam farmers in the Zabzugu district in Northern Ghana and generate a proportional variable called postharvest management, which measures how effective a farmer works to reduce storage losses. We then use a fractional logistic regression model to examine the determinants of postharvest management. A significant result is that subsistence farmers manage postharvest losses better than commercial farmers. Characteristically, the farmer who effectively manages postharvest losses is a young, subsistence farmer, living in or close to a district capital with fewer household members, has attained formal education, and produces more yam. Efforts to reduce postharvest losses require the provision of access roads to remote towns or providing effective storage techniques and training on postharvest management practices. Isaac Gershon Kodwo Ansah and Bright K. D. Tetteh Copyright © 2016 Isaac Gershon Kodwo Ansah and Bright K. D. Tetteh. All rights reserved. Influence of Cultural and Pest Management Practices on Performance of Runner, Spanish, and Virginia Market Types in North Carolina Thu, 24 Mar 2016 11:38:34 +0000 Virginia market type peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) cultivars are grown primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia in the US, although growers in these states often plant other market types if marketing opportunities are available. Information on yield potential and management strategies comparing these market types is limited in North Carolina. In separate experiments, research was conducted to determine response of runner, Spanish, and Virginia market types to calcium sulfate and inoculation with Bradyrhizobium at planting, planting and digging dates, planting patterns, and seeding rates. In other experiments, control of thrips (Frankliniella spp.) using aldicarb, southern corn rootworm (Diabrotica undecimpunctata Howardi) using chlorpyrifos, eclipta (Eclipta prostrata L.) using threshold-based postemergence herbicides, and leaf spot disease (caused by the fungi Cercospora arachidicola and Cercosporidium personatum) fungicide programs was compared in these market types. Results showed that management practice and market types interacted for peanut pod yield in only the planting date experiment. Yield of runner and Virginia market types was similar and exceeded yield of the Spanish market type in most experiments. Bridget R. Lassiter, David L. Jordan, Gail G. Wilkerson, Barbara B. Shew, and Rick L. Brandenburg Copyright © 2016 Bridget R. Lassiter et al. All rights reserved. A Comparative Evaluation of the Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Composted Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia L.) with Pine Bark Growing Media in Tobacco (Nicotiana tabucum L.) Seedling Production Sun, 28 Feb 2016 13:59:57 +0000 The search for suitable organic growing media substitutes for pine bark based media combinations has been prompted by concerns over high costs and lack of availability to smallholder farmers coupled with increasing demand for soilless media in Zimbabwe. A trial was conducted for 12 weeks to investigate the suitability of tea tree compost-based substrates for tobacco seedling production as a substitute of the traditional pine bark growing media. The use of composted tea tree growing media in float trays significantly () increases the bulk density of the media by 23–59% when compared with pine bark media. The cation exchange capacity of the native pine bark growing media was 14 to 95% lower than that for the composted tea tree media. The use of the composted tea as media for tobacco seedling nursery reduced seed germination by 10–37%, seedling stem height by 4–34%, and seedling stem girth by 6–175%. While the nutrient holding and supplying potential of the growing media in seedling production is important for normal seedling growth, its effect on seedling growth vigor is less important than that exerted by the presence of suitable physical conditions in the media. Johnson Masaka, Noel Chimwanda, Ignatius Chagonda, and Misheck Chandiposha Copyright © 2016 Johnson Masaka et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of Paclobutrazol Application Time and Variety on Growth, Yield, and Quality of Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) Tue, 26 Jan 2016 08:25:24 +0000 An experiment was set up to investigate the effect of time of paclobutrazol application and variety on growth, yield, and quality of potato in a greenhouse at 34°C (±3) and 21°C (±3) day and night temperatures, respectively, with 60% relative humidity. The experiment was set up as a 2 × 4 factorial design in a CRD with 3 replications. The first factor was potato variety and the levels were BP1 and Diamond. The second factor was paclobutrazol application time and the levels were 28 (Days After Planting) DAP, 35 DAP, and 42 DAP and no paclobutrazol applied (control). Early application of paclobutrazol reduced stem length, number of tubers per plant, and sugar content of potato; furthermore, it increased starch content and yield compared to late application and no paclobutrazol treatments. Early application of paclobutrazol at 28 DAP is recommended in high temperature zones as it increased the yield by 108% and quality of potato. Ottilia Mabvongwe, Brenda T. Manenji, Munyaradzi Gwazane, and Misheck Chandiposha Copyright © 2016 Ottilia Mabvongwe et al. All rights reserved. An Assessment of Factors Influencing Forest Harvesting in Smallholder Tobacco Production in Hurungwe District, Zimbabwe: An Application of Binary Logistic Regression Model Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:30:01 +0000 Deforestation is one of the major effects posed by the smallholder tobacco farming as the farmers heavily depend on firewood sourced from natural forest for curing tobacco. The research aims at assessing the factors that influence the harvesting of natural forest in the production of tobacco. Data is collected through the structured questionnaire from 60 randomly selected farmers. Binary logistic regression model is used to explain the significance of factors influencing natural forest harvesting. Results show that farmer experience, tobacco selling price, and agricultural training level negatively affect the harvesting of natural forests (to obtain firewood) for curing tobacco significantly (). However, gender, size of the household, tobacco yield, and level of education are insignificant () in influencing natural forest harvesting. Though farmers are exploiting the environment and at the same time increasing foreign currency earning through tobacco production, there is therefore a need to put in place policies that encourage sustainable forest product utilization such as gum plantations, subsidizing price of coal, and introducing fees, as well as penalties or taxes to the offenders. Chipo Chivuraise, Tafireyi Chamboko, and Godfrey Chagwiza Copyright © 2016 Chipo Chivuraise et al. All rights reserved. Nutritional Value and Utilization of Yams (Dioscorea steriscus) by Residents of Bindura Town High Density Suburbs, Zimbabwe Tue, 19 Jan 2016 12:59:26 +0000 The objective of this study was to assess utilization levels, availability, nutritional value, and magnitude of sales by vendors of Dioscorea steriscus by residents of Bindura. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select respondents. Data were subjected to Chi-square, logistic regression, and correlation to determine the effects of demographic determinants on utilization of D. steriscus. Questionnaires were used to collect data. Results show that education status and period of stay significantly affect the consumption of D. steriscus (). It was also observed that consumption is frequent between lunch and supper (47%) compared to breakfast. D. steriscus has high iron (6.8%), ash (2.06%), and CF (16.8%) contents but it is low in protein (0.83%). Irrespective of gender of respondent, suburb of residence, size of family, period of stay, education level, employment status, and source of income, respondents will grow D. steriscus for use as food supplement (odds ratio = 0.475). The period of stay () and education level () positively affect the growing of D. steriscus. D. steriscus can be used as source of energy and can also be used possibly for medicinal purposes. Further study is required on possibility of phytochemicals and cytotoxic components to justify its use. S. Washaya, J. F. Mupangwa, and E. Muranda Copyright © 2016 S. Washaya et al. All rights reserved. Maize Residue as a Viable Substrate for Farm Scale Cultivation of Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) Wed, 30 Dec 2015 09:18:10 +0000 In the search for alternatives to sawdust as growing media in commercial mushroom cultivation, three organic substrates obtainable as crop residue, maize husk, maize cob, and maize stalk, with each being supplemented with rice bran, were evaluated as growth media for the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus (Kummer). For the tested alternatives to sawdust, the harvested weight of fruiting bodies that sprouted on a kilogram maize husk media per crop (32.99 g) was the highest. Sawdust media supported significantly () heavier fruiting bodies (42.18) than the maize residues. The peak mushroom harvests for the various substrates were obtained between the first and seventh fruiting body flushes. The biological efficiency of the substrates, which measured usable nutrients indicated that maize stalk supplemented with rice bran, was 39% compared to that of the sawdust media (60%). The maize husk media and the maize cob media had biological efficiencies of 32% and 9.5%, respectively. These results indicate that two of the tested growing media (maize stalk or husk) produced mushrooms with yield characteristics that were comparable to the well-used sawdust in the cultivation of oyster mushrooms. The environmental and economic parameters involved in the use and carting of sawdust make these on-farm crop residues a viable alternative for mushroom cultivation in especially nonforest zones of Ghana. Abena O. Adjapong, Kwame D. Ansah, Faustina Angfaarabung, and Henry O. Sintim Copyright © 2015 Abena O. Adjapong et al. All rights reserved. Morphoagronomic Characterization of Tomato Plants and Fruit: A Multivariate Approach Tue, 17 Nov 2015 12:29:11 +0000 Consumers in the fresh fruit market choose fruits mainly following criteria related to the external appearance. However, the introduction of new material for planting depends on the productive capacity of the plant as well as on the formation of fruit that meets consumer desires. Given the above, the objective of this study was to morphoagronomically characterize tomato genotypes using multivariate statistics. The genotype seedlings (Ellus, Black Mauri, Green Zebra, Green Tomato, Pomodoro Marmande, Pomodoro Fiorentino, Pitanga, and Black Krim) were transplanted 30 days after sowing. The morphoagronomic characterization of the genotypes was carried out by evaluating plants and fruits. The data were analyzed using descriptive analysis, namely, position and variability measurements. In addition, a multivariate cluster analysis and a principal component analysis were carried out for plant and fruit attributes. The cluster and principal component analyses were efficient in characterizing plants and/or fruits of different tomato genotypes. Such efficiency enhances result interpretation and proposed inferences, with applied relevance for the producers. The genotype Ellus has a combination of morphoagronomic plant and fruit traits superior to other genotypes. Such superior traits enable a high productivity. Aniela Pilar Campos de Melo, Paulo Marçal Fernandes, Fábio Venturoli, Carlos de Melo Silva-Neto, and Aurélio Rubio Neto Copyright © 2015 Aniela Pilar Campos de Melo et al. All rights reserved. Efficacy of Cow Urine as Plant Growth Enhancer and Antifungal Agent Thu, 05 Nov 2015 07:53:56 +0000 The present study was conducted to determine antifungal activity of three different concentrations (5, 10, and 15%) of cow urine against three fungal pathogens (Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani, and Sclerotium rolfsii) isolated from infected plants of Methi and Bhindi that showed symptoms of damping off and wilting disease by poison food technique. The extent of growth of test fungi in plates poisoned with cow urine was lesser when compared with the control plates. Among these concentrations cow urine at 15% concentration was most effective. When the three fungal organisms were compared, maximum growth suppression was observed in Fusarium oxysporum (78.57%) at 15% concentration of cow urine followed by Rhizoctonia solani (78.37%) and Sclerotium rolfsii (73.84%). Finally we concluded that the cow urine has antifungal activities and the inhibitory activity can be used in the control of fungi. The nutritional effect of cow urine on plant growth was also tested with Trigonella foenum-graecum (Methi) and Abelmoschus esculentus (Bhindi) plants and the chlorophyll and protein content was also estimated. Savita Jandaik, Preeti Thakur, and Vikas Kumar Copyright © 2015 Savita Jandaik et al. All rights reserved. Tolerance of Glyphosate-Resistant Maize to Glyphosate Plus MCPA Amine Is Influenced by Dose and Timing Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:38:43 +0000 There is little information on tolerance of glyphosate-resistant maize to glyphosate plus MCPA amine as influenced by dose and timing under Ontario environmental conditions. A total of seven field trials were conducted at various locations in Ontario, Canada, in 2011–2013 to evaluate tolerance of field maize to tank mixes of glyphosate (900 g a.e./ha) plus MCPA amine (79, 158, 315, 630, 1260, 2520, or 5040 g a.e./ha) at either the 4- or 8-leaf stage. The predicted dose of MCPA amine that caused 5, 10, and 20% injury was 339, 751, and 1914 g a.e./ha when applied to 4-leaf maize but only 64, 140, and 344 g a.e./ha when applied to 8-leaf maize, respectively. The predicted dose of MCPA amine that caused 5, 10, and 20% reduction in shoot dry weight of maize was 488, 844, and 1971 g a.e./ha when applied to 4-leaf maize and only 14, 136, and 616 g a.e./ha when applied to 8-leaf maize, respectively. The predicted dose of MCPA amine that caused 5, 10, and 20% yield reduction was 2557, 4247, and >5040 g a.e./ha when applied to 4-leaf maize and 184, 441, and 1245 g a.e./ha when applied to 8-leaf maize, respectively. Based on these results, glyphosate plus MCPA amine applied at the manufacturer’s recommended dose of 630 g a.e./ha applied to 4-leaf maize has potential to cause injury but the injury is transient with no significant reduction in yield. However, when glyphosate plus MCPA amine is applied to 8-leaf maize it has the potential to cause significant injury and yield loss in maize. Nader Soltani, Kris McNaughton, Chris L. Gillard, Robert E. Nurse, and Peter H. Sikkema Copyright © 2015 Nader Soltani et al. All rights reserved. Factors That Influence Technical Efficiency of Sorghum Production: A Case of Small Holder Sorghum Producers in Lower Eastern Kenya Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:16:42 +0000 Majority of the rural households in Kenya depend on agriculture as a source of food and livelihood. Agricultural productivity has been declining due to many factors resulting in increased food insecurity in the country. Consequently, there is a renewed interest in promoting drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum which thrives in the arid and semiarid lands of the developing world. However, performance of sorghum production among the smallholder farmers has still remained low. This study was thus carried out to identify factors that influence technical efficiency of sorghum production among smallholder farmers in Machakos and Makindu districts of the lower eastern Kenya. Collected data on farm and farmer characteristics were analysed by use of descriptive statistics and Tobit model. Result highlights show that technical efficiency was influenced positively by formal education level of the household, experience in sorghum farming, membership in farmers associations, use of hired labour, production advice, and use of manure. Surprisingly household size, meant to enhance labour, had a negative influence. To increase technical efficiency, efforts should focus on improving information flows on agronomic practices. Farmers should also be encouraged to form and actively participate in various farmers associations, which enhance learning and pooling of labour resources, hence improving technical efficiency. Evaline Chepng’etich, Sospeter Onchoke Nyamwaro, Eric Kiprotich Bett, and Kwena Kizito Copyright © 2015 Evaline Chepng’etich et al. All rights reserved. Fine Screening for Resistance to Cold-Induced Sweetening in Potato Hybrids Containing Solanum raphanifolium Germplasm Tue, 23 Jun 2015 09:47:16 +0000 Potato is an indispensable part of human food. Many wild and cultivated potato relatives have been screened to find the best germplasm to improve productivity and quality, but only a small sample of the available biodiversity has been exploited. Most wild relatives are self-incompatible diploids. Genetic variability exists within and among populations, even within a species. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out fine screening to identify individuals carrying traits of interest. This study was carried out to quantify phenotypic variability for resistance to cold-induced sweetening, an important processing trait. Five families were evaluated for potato chip (crisp) color following cold storage of tubers harvested from four greenhouse trials and one field trial. The families were generated by crossing a single diploid clone to five plants from one accession of the wild potato relative Solanum raphanifolium. Analysis of variance revealed that resistance against cold-induced sweetening was dependent on family and trial. This study underscores the importance of fine screening to select individuals in potato accessions for use in potato improvement. Arfan Ali and Shelley Jansky Copyright © 2015 Arfan Ali and Shelley Jansky. All rights reserved. Soil Fertility in relation to Landscape Position and Land Use/Cover Types: A Case Study of the Lake Kivu Pilot Learning Site Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:42:15 +0000 This study determined the change and distribution of land-uses/covers along the landscape, and evaluated the nutrient status of the top soil layer in the Lake Kivu Pilot Learning Site (LKPLS) benchmarked micro-catchments. Soil physical and chemical properties were quantified using triplicate soil samples collected from each land-use/cover at two depths (0–15 and 15–30 cm) in three LK PLS Learning Innovation Platform (IP) sites (Bufundi in Uganda, Mupfuni-Shanga in D.R. Congo, Gataraga in Rwanda). Small scale agriculture has increased in all the benchmarked micro-catchments at the expense of other land-uses/covers. In the settlement areas land-use/cover distribution along the landscape varied across sites and countries; the major one being eucalyptus woodlots, wetland, and perennials and annuals crops in Bufundi; annuals and perennials crops in Mupfuni-Shanga; and annuals crops in Gataraga. Perennial crops tended to occur at the footslope and valley bottoms, while the annuals occurred at the upper backslopes and summits. Available P and K were relatively higher and C/N ratio (7.28) was the lowest in Mupfuni Shanga. Annual crops had the lowest available P and N across site (). The key nutrients N, P and K were below the critical values for plant growth for Bufundi. Majaliwa Mwanjalolo Jackson-Gilbert, Tenywa Makooma Moses, Karuturi P. C. Rao, Bernard Musana, Fungo Bernard, Bahiga Leblanc, Jumaine Mkangya, Kuule Muke, Kamugisha Rick, Kizza Charles Luswata, Nampijja Josephine, Sebuliba Esther, Nandozi Carol, Barasa Bernard, Azanga Ekaka, Sospeter Onchoke Nyamwaro, Mugabo Josephat, Buruchara Robin, Fatunbi Oluwole, Karume Katcho, and Adewale Adekunle Copyright © 2015 Majaliwa Mwanjalolo Jackson-Gilbert et al. All rights reserved. Growth and Blood Parameters of Weaned Crossbred Beef Calves Fed Forage Kale (Brassica oleracea spp. acephala) Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:01:30 +0000 Forty lightweight calves ( kg) were randomly distributed to four treatments: (Control) low nutritive value pasture and hay plus 1 kg d−1 of rolled barley; (Pasture) management intensive pasture; (Haylage) timothy haylage; and (Kale) 50% timothy haylage −50% kale pasture. Blood samples were analysed for thyroid hormones, liver enzymes, glucose, cholesterol, total proteins (TP), albumin, globulins, and urea-N. At the end of the trial, the Pasture group was the heaviest with  kg BW and 1.54 kg ADG. Final BW and ADG were similar for the Kale and Haylage groups. Blood T3 was higher for Kale than for the other groups. The T3/T4 ratio was greater for Control at the end of the experiment. There were no treatment differences for T4, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH), cholesterol, and glucose. Blood urea-N was lower for Kale and higher for Pasture; however albumin concentrations were greater for Pasture and similar for other treatments. Except for the Control group, calves had a lower concentration of circulating globulins at the end than at the beginning of the experiment. This study showed that Kale could be fed to backgrounding calves without detrimental effects on performance. Y. Chorfi, Y. Couture, G. F. Tremblay, R. Berthiaume, and D. Cinq-Mars Copyright © 2015 Y. Chorfi et al. All rights reserved. Combining Ability and Gene Action Estimates of Eight Parent Diallel Crosses of Chickpea for Ascochyta Blight Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:34:04 +0000 Ascochyta blight resistance was studied in half-diallel cross involving eight genotypes of chickpea at seedling and adult stages. The disease was rated in the greenhouse with a modified scale from 0 to 100%. The diallel analysis was performed on 28 F1 and their F2. The results were analyzed with the Hayman and Griffing methods. The general combining ability is most important for two generations, is highly significant for the two stages, and is more important than specific combining ability. This result reflects a strong preponderance of additive effects and epistasis additive × additive with respect to dominance effects in this material for the two generations, which shows the predominance of additive versus dominance. Estimates of heritability are very high. The additive effects have the highest value indicating the importance of this component for resistance to Ascochyta. For seedling stage, the negative sign of F for both generations indicates that there are much more recessive alleles that affect resistance to the disease. In adult stage, F is positive in both generations and shows more dominant alleles that control plant reaction to pathogen. H2 is positive in both generations which show that dominant genes are acting mostly towards the susceptibility. Mohamed Labdi, Samia Ghomari, and Samia Hamdi Copyright © 2015 Mohamed Labdi et al. All rights reserved. Staying or Leaving? Analyzing the Rationality of Rural-Urban Migration Associated with Farm Income of Staying Households: A Case Study from Southern Ethiopia Wed, 14 Jan 2015 13:05:37 +0000 The research aims at analyzing the effect of rural-urban migration and remittances on farm income of rural households supported by a case study conducted in Southern Ethiopia. Using two-step estimations to measure the effect of outmigration, migrant sending families have gained higher farm income. In this regard, rural outmigration has been found to be a survival and income diversification strategy in the study area. Beneberu Assefa Wondimagegnhu Copyright © 2015 Beneberu Assefa Wondimagegnhu. All rights reserved. Nitrogen Efficiency and Nutrient Absorption by a Sorghum-Oats Forage Succession Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:38:16 +0000 Balance between nutrient uptake by the crop and the amount of applied fertilizer is desired in a production system, and this measurement can predict the nutrient use efficiency. The present study aimed to evaluate nitrogen- (N-) use and recovery efficiency and extraction of N, phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) by sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and black oat (Avena strigosa) forages under nitrogen fertilization in three consecutive crop cultivation. The experiment was carried out at Federal Technological University of Paraná (UTFPR), Dois Vizinhos, Paraná, Brazil, in Rhodic Hapludox soil. Treatments included 0, 37.5, 75, 150, 225, 300, and 375 kg N ha−1 applied to sorghum in the summer seasons of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012, intercalated by, respectively, 0, 40, 80, 120, 160, 200, and 240 kg N ha−1 applied to black oat in the winter/2011. Forage production, N, P, and K extraction, and N recovery efficiency were determined through samplings during the crop cycle. The highest sorghum forage production and N and K extraction were under 230 to 300 kg N ha−1, which was around 190 kg N ha−1 for black oat. The values of N recovery, efficiency, and N-use physiological efficiency were higher under lower N rates for both crops. Based on this, about 150 kg N ha−1 is recommended to obtain good sorghum forage production with higher N efficiency levels, which is about 120 kg N ha−1 for black oat. Rasiel Restelatto, Paulo Sergio Pavinato, Laércio Ricardo Sartor, Suelen Maria Einsfeld, and Fernanda Paula Baldicera Copyright © 2015 Rasiel Restelatto et al. All rights reserved. Response of Short Duration Tropical Legumes and Maize to Water Stress: A Glasshouse Study Wed, 31 Dec 2014 06:20:01 +0000 The study was conducted as a pot experiment in the tropical glasshouse to evaluate the response of grain legumes (Phaseolus vulgaris, Vigna unguiculata, and Lablab purpureus) in comparison to maize (Zea mays) and estimate their potential and performance. Two experiments were established using completely randomized design. Physiological measurements (stomatal conductance, photosynthetic activities, and transpiration rates) were measured using LCpro instrument. Scholander bomb was used for the measurement of plant cell water potential. Significant difference was observed in different plant species with increase of different water regimes. Among the legumes, L. purpureus showed better response in water stressed conditions. At the beginning, in dry watered treatment the photosynthetic rate was below 0 µmol m−2 s−1 and in fully watered condition it was 48 µmol m−2 s−1. In dry treatment, total dry weight was 10 g/pot and in fully watered condition it was near to 20 g/pot in P. vulgaris. The study concludes that water stress condition should be taken into consideration for such type of crop cultivation in arid and semiarid regions. Hossain Sohrawardy and Md. Lokman Hossain Copyright © 2014 Hossain Sohrawardy and Md. Lokman Hossain. All rights reserved. Impacts of Improved Switchgrass and Big Bluestem Selections on Yield, Morphological Characteristics, and Biomass Quality Wed, 17 Dec 2014 08:49:04 +0000 Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii V.) are promising warm-season grasses for biomass production. Understanding the morphological and quality-related traits of these grasses can guide breeders in developing strategies to improve yield and quality for bioindustrial applications. Elite selections were made in Southern Quebec from four promising varieties of switchgrass and one of big bluestem. Biomass yield, morphological characteristics, and selected quality traits were evaluated at two sites in 2011 and 2012. Significant variation was detected for all measured characteristics, with differences varying by site and year. In some cases the selection process modified characteristics including increasing height and reducing tiller mortality. Switchgrasses reached a similar tiller equilibrium density in both years of 690 m−2 and 379 m−2 at a productive and marginal site, respectively. Differences in yield were pronounced at the marginal site, with some advanced selections having a higher yield than their parent varieties. Switchgrass yields were generally greater than those of big bluestem. A delayed spring harvest date greatly reduced yield but reduced moisture content and slightly increased cellulose concentration. Big bluestem had a higher cellulose content than switchgrass, likely due to greater stem content. Erik Delaquis, Roger Samson, Philippe Seguin, Arif Mustafa, and Huguette Martel Copyright © 2014 Erik Delaquis et al. All rights reserved. Reducing Runoff Loss of Applied Nutrients in Oil Palm Cultivation Using Controlled-Release Fertilizers Sun, 07 Dec 2014 12:14:36 +0000 Controlled-release fertilizers are expected to minimize nutrient loss from crop fields due to their potential to supply plant-available nutrients in synchrony with crop requirements. The evaluation of the efficiency of these fertilizers in tropical oil palm agroecological conditions is not yet fully explored. In this study, a one-year field trial was conducted to determine the impact of fertilization with water soluble conventional mixture and controlled-release fertilizers on runoff loss of nutrients from an immature oil palm field. Soil and nutrient loss were monitored for one year in 2012/2013 under erosion plots of 16 m2 on 10% slope gradient. Mean sediments concentration in runoff amounted to about 6.41 t ha−1. Conventional mixture fertilizer posed the greatest risk of nutrient loss in runoff following fertilization due to elevated nitrogen (6.97%), potassium (13.37%), and magnesium (14.76%) as percentage of applied nutrients. In contrast, this risk decreased with the application of controlled-release fertilizers, representing 0.75–2.44% N, 3.55–5.09% K, and 4.35–5.43% Mg loss. Meanwhile, nutrient loss via eroded sediments was minimal compared with loss through runoff. This research demonstrates that the addition of controlled-release fertilizers reduced the runoff risks of nutrient loss possibly due to their slow-release properties. A. Bah, M. H. A. Husni, C. B. S. Teh, M. Y. Rafii, S. R. Syed Omar, and O. H. Ahmed Copyright © 2014 A. Bah et al. All rights reserved. Comparative Effects of Different Fertilizer Sources on the Growth and Nutrient Content of Moringa (Moringa oleifera) Seedling in a Greenhouse Trial Sun, 30 Nov 2014 09:41:47 +0000 A greenhouse experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of NPK, poultry manure, and organomineral fertilizer on the growth and nutrient concentration of Moringa oleifera leaves. The experimental design was completely randomized design (CRD) with four treatments replicated three times. Data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics and ANOVA at . Growth parameters measured include number of leaves per plant, plant height (cm), and stem girth (mm). The application of poultry manure increased the height, number of leaves, and stem girth of moringa compared to the application of NPK and organomineral fertilizer while the control had the least growth. Poultry manure, NPK, and organomineral fertilizer were 66%, 62%, and 39% higher in number of leaves than the control at eight weeks after planting. The application of poultry manure significantly increased the nutrient content of moringa leaves compared to other sources of fertilizer applied. The results shows that the application of poultry manure significantly improved the growth and nutrient content of moringa; however, further field trial is suggested. S. O. Dania, P. Akpansubi, and O. O. Eghagara Copyright © 2014 S. O. Dania et al. All rights reserved. Effect of Fertilizer Types on the Growth and Yield of Amaranthus caudatus in Ilorin, Southern Guinea, Savanna Zone of Nigeria Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:03:44 +0000 Field experiment was carried out at the Teaching and Research Farm of Kwara State University, Malete, Ilorin, to evaluate the effect of compost, organomineral, and inorganic fertilizers on the growth and yield of Amaranthus caudatus as well as its residual effects. Amaranthus was grown with compost Grade B (unamended compost), organomineral fertilizer Grade A (compost amended with mineral fertilizer), and NPK 15-15-15 and no fertilizer (control). All the treatments except control were applied at the rate of 100 kg N/ha. The results indicated that the Amaranthus yield of 18.9 t/ha produced from Grade A was significantly () higher than 17.6 t/ha obtained from NPK fertilizer. Residual effect of Amaranthus growth parameters such as plant height, number of leaves, and yield values obtained from Grade A was also significantly () higher than that of NPK, compost, and control values. Thus, organomineral fertilizer could be used in cultivation of Amaranthus caudatus in Ilorin and in similar type of soil in similar agroecology. Olowoake Adebayo Abayomi and Ojo James Adebayo Copyright © 2014 Olowoake Adebayo Abayomi and Ojo James Adebayo. All rights reserved. Assessment of Pig Production and Constraints in Mecha District, Amhara Region, Northwestern Ethiopia Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:57:59 +0000 The study was undertaken in Mecha District, Amhara National Regional State, Northwestern Ethiopia, in 2012/2013. The objectives of the study were to assess production purpose and management practices of pig and to identify constraints and generate baseline information for further research and development. From the district, 6 Kebeles (name of local administration in Ethiopia) were identified and from each Kebele 15 households were selected making the number of respondents 90. A pretested semistructured questionnaire was employed for collecting data through interview and face to face discussion with the pig owners including key informant group discussion and secondary sources. Multivisits to study sites were also made to observe the feeding, housing, and other pig management practices. The results indicated that the purpose of pig production is mainly targeted for additional income and profit for the household in which pigs are sold for external markets as pork is not consumed by local community. Results indicate that pig keepers were farmers or nonfarmers with small land holding and people engaged in other types of work. The major feed source for pig was grazing, followed by crop residue feeding and supplementing with household and agricultural by-products. Pigs are kept in house at least for the night, though the pig house was not separated by age or physiological stage. The most important constraints of pig production in the study area were feed shortage, poor access to veterinary services, and poor market linkage. Yeshambel Mekuriaw and Bimrew Asmare Copyright © 2014 Yeshambel Mekuriaw and Bimrew Asmare. All rights reserved. Managing Soil Biota-Mediated Decomposition and Nutrient Mineralization in Sustainable Agroecosystems Thu, 13 Nov 2014 11:42:18 +0000 Transformation of organic residues into plant-available nutrients occurs through decomposition and mineralization and is mediated by saprophytic microorganisms and fauna. Of particular interest is the recycling of the essential plant elements—N, P, and S—contained in organic residues. If organic residues can supply sufficient nutrients during crop growth, a reduction in fertilizer use is possible. The challenge is synchronizing nutrient release from organic residues with crop nutrient demands throughout the growing season. This paper presents a conceptual model describing the pattern of nutrient release from organic residues in relation to crop nutrient uptake. Next, it explores experimental approaches to measure the physical, chemical, and biological barriers to decomposition and nutrient mineralization. Methods are proposed to determine the rates of decomposition and nutrient release from organic residues. Practically, this information can be used by agricultural producers to determine if plant-available nutrient supply is sufficient to meet crop demands at key growth stages or whether additional fertilizer is needed. Finally, agronomic practices that control the rate of soil biota-mediated decomposition and mineralization, as well as those that facilitate uptake of plant-available nutrients, are identified. Increasing reliance on soil biological activity could benefit crop nutrition and health in sustainable agroecosystems. Joann K. Whalen Copyright © 2014 Joann K. Whalen. All rights reserved. Foliar Sprays of Citric Acid and Malic Acid Modify Growth, Flowering, and Root to Shoot Ratio of Gazania (Gazania rigens L.): A Comparative Analysis by ANOVA and Structural Equations Modeling Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:58:08 +0000 Foliar application of two levels of citric acid and malic acid (100 or 300 mg L−1) was investigated on flower stem height, plant height, flower performance and yield indices (fresh yield, dry yield and root to shoot ratio) of Gazania. Distilled water was applied as control treatment. Multivariate analysis revealed that while the experimental treatments had no significant effect on fresh weight and the flower count, the plant dry weight was significantly increased by 300 mg L−1 malic acid. Citric acid at 100 and 300 mg L−1 and 300 mg L−1 malic acid increased the root fresh weight significantly. Both the plant height and peduncle length were significantly increased in all applied levels of citric acid and malic acid. The display time of flowers on the plant increased in all treatments compared to control treatment. The root to shoot ratio was increased significantly in 300 mg L−1 citric acid compared to all other treatments. These findings confirm earlier reports that citric acid and malic acid as environmentally sound chemicals are effective on various aspects of growth and development of crops. Structural equations modeling is used in parallel to ANOVA to conclude the factor effects and the possible path of effects. Majid Talebi, Ebrahim Hadavi, and Nima Jaafari Copyright © 2014 Majid Talebi et al. All rights reserved. Weed Control in White Bean with Various Halosulfuron Tankmixes Mon, 27 Oct 2014 08:53:14 +0000 Four field trials were conducted over a three-year period (2011–2013) in southwestern Ontario to evaluate the level of weed control provided by various halosulfuron tankmixes applied preplant incorporated (PPI) in white bean. Trifluralin, s-metolachlor, halosulfuron, and imazethapyr applied alone or in combination caused 4% or less visible injury 1 and 4 weeks after emergence (WAE) in white bean. Trifluralin, s-metolachlor, halosulfuron, and imazethapyr applied PPI provided 80–96%, 84–95%, 83–100%, and 75–92% control of redroot pigweed; 19–28%, 30–40%, 97–99%, and 73–84% control of common ragweed; 94–96%, 63–82%, 96–100%, and 96–100% control of common lambsquarters; 14-15%, 12–35%, 100%, and 96–97% control of wild mustard; and 96–97%, 95–97%, 53–56%, and 80–82% control of green foxtail, respectively. The two- and three-way tankmixes of halosulfuron with trifluralin, s-metolachlor, or imazethapyr provided 85–100% control of redroot pigweed, 90–98% control of common ragweed, 97–100% control of common lambsquarters, 100% control of wild mustard, and 93–98% control of green foxtail. Weed density, weed biomass and white bean seed yields reflected the level of visible weed control. Nader Soltani, Robert E. Nurse, Christy Shropshire, and Peter H. Sikkema Copyright © 2014 Nader Soltani et al. All rights reserved. Microscopic Evaluation of Leaves of Memecylon umbellatum Burm Tue, 07 Oct 2014 06:30:23 +0000 Objective. Aim of present work is to perform the microscopic evaluation and physicochemical analysis and to explore the morphology parameters of Memecylon umbellatum Burm leaves. Methods. Fresh, dried and desiccated powdered leaf samples were studied for their morphology, microscopy, organoleptic characters, and an assortment of other WHO recommended methods for standardisation. Results. The microscopy revealed the dorsiventral nature of the leaf. Midrib showed presence of nonlignified phloem, lignified xylem with well-defined xylem fibers, vessels, and parenchyma. Presence of Phloecentric vascular bundles surrounded by endodermis and crystal sheath. Well-defined patches of collenchyma were observed above and below the vascular bundles in the midrib area. Trichomes are mostly absent and stomata (anomocytic) were observed on both epidermal surfaces. Conclusions. It can be concluded that the microscopic analysis and pharmacognostic parameters can serve as tool for developing standards for proper authentication, quality, and purity of Memecylon umbellatum Burm leaves. Suresh G. Killedar, Harinath N. More, and Sameer J. Nadaf Copyright © 2014 Suresh G. Killedar et al. All rights reserved. Screening of Pearl Millet F1 Hybrids for Heat Tolerance at Early Seedling Stage Thu, 02 Oct 2014 07:32:50 +0000 Ten pearl millet genotypes selected on the basis of response to supra-optimal temperature tolerance were crossed in a half-diallel mating system. The 45 hybrids produced were tested along with parents for heat tolerance and related traits at seedling stage. Field screening and laboratory screening techniques were simultaneously used for the evaluation of hybrids and their parents. Heat tolerance was measured as seedling thermotolerance index (STI) and seed to seedling thermotolerance index (SSTI) under field conditions, but membrane thermostability (MTS) in the laboratory. The hybrid H77/29-2 CVJ-2-5-3-1-3 showed highest STI value followed by H77/833-2 96AC-93. The genotype H77/833-2 96AC-93 had the highest worth for SSTI. These three indices were highly correlated among themselves. STI values were invariably high, whereas SSTI has lower values, as it also covers the effect of under soil mortality (USM). It was seen that the heat tolerance indices STI and SSTI were not showing any perceptible pooled correlation with developmental traits except germination and emergence rate. Based on our results, it could be suggested that membrane thermostability (MTS) may be used for screening large number of genotypes. Field based indices STI and SSTI may be used for evaluation of hybrids and varieties before they are released. Ashok Kumar Yadav, Rajesh Kumar Arya, and M. S. Narwal Copyright © 2014 Ashok Kumar Yadav et al. All rights reserved.