Advances in Agriculture The latest articles from Hindawi © 2017 , Hindawi Limited . All rights reserved. Potential of Sodom Apple (Solanum incanum L.) Fruit Extracts in the Management of Chilli Root Knot Disease in Nakuru County, Kenya Tue, 16 May 2017 00:00:00 +0000 Sodom apple (Solanum incanum L.) fruit extracts were tested for their potential to manage root knot disease caused by Meloidogyne spp. in chilli (Capsicum annuum L.). The effect of sodom apple fruit extracts at different concentrations on the plant height, leaf number, stem diameter, number of galls, and nitrogen and phosphorous levels in chilli infected with root knot nematodes was evaluated. The efficacy of sodom apple fruit extracts against the root knot nematodes was tested under glasshouse and field conditions. All treatment effects were determined by one-way ANOVA using SAS program (Version 9.3). Evaluation after treatment of plants with sodom apple fruit extracts showed that there was a significant difference () in plant heights, number of galls, leaf number, and nitrogen levels in chilli. In the field experiment, the highest mean heights were recorded in the 100% treatment (T1) during the first and third reading. Chilli plants that were treated with the sodom apple fruit extract had a significantly high number of leaves. In the greenhouse experiment, the positive control (T6) had the highest mean heights followed by the 50% treatment (T2). Our research results showed that sodom apple fruit extracts have nematicidal compounds with a potential to be used in the management of chilli root knot nematodes. Charei Munene Waweru, Japhet Mburugu Muthamia, and Daniel Otieno Otaye Copyright © 2017 Charei Munene Waweru et al. All rights reserved. Study on the Beekeeping Situation, the Level of Beekeepers Knowledge Concerning Local Honeybee Subspecies, Their Productive Characteristics, and Behavior in Eastern Amhara Region, Ethiopia Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:00:49 +0000 The study was undertaken in Amhara National Regional State, northeastern zones of Ethiopia in 2013/2014. The objectives of the study were to identify the existing local honeybees and their productive characteristics and behavior and generate baseline information for further research and development. Out of two zones, three potential districts have been purposively selected based on their potential. A total of 260 beekeepers personal interviewees were administered using structured and semi-structured questionnaires. The study was designed to address behavioral characteristics and productivities of different local honeybees. About 98.8% of interviewees were male and about 73.9% were at stages of literacy ranging from read and write to diploma level. Nearly 73.4% of beekeepers have more than 5 years of beekeeping experience. The average honeybee colony holding was 4.6 in highlands, 2.8 in mid altitude, and 2.7 in lowlands. About 34% of respondents harvest honey more than two times a year. Based on the honeybees individual color appearance, aggressiveness, and honey productivity, about 36.7% of the respondents have identified three local honeybee types, namely, brown red, black, and mixed. Brown red colored honeybee ecotype has been selected as best due to their better honey production, low aggressiveness, and relatively high reproductive swarming tendency. Tessema Aynalem Abejew and Zeleke Mekuriaw Zeleke Copyright © 2017 Tessema Aynalem Abejew and Zeleke Mekuriaw Zeleke. All rights reserved. Cadmium Toxicity Affects Phytochemicals and Nutrient Elements Composition of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:15:34 +0000 Lettuce varieties Bombilasta BBL and Italian 167 were treated with different concentrations of cadmium (0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 mg/L) in a nutrient film technique (NFT) system to study its toxicity on phytochemicals and nutrient elements. Antioxidants analysis which employed DPPH and FRAP, flavonoids, phenolic, vitamin C, malondialdehyde (MDA), and proline indicated significant effects of Cd treatment on the varieties tested. Different concentration levels of Cd lead to positive interactions in FRAP, phenolic, and MDA but no significant effect in flavonoids, vitamin C, and proline. Contents of macro- and microelements in the varieties were significantly affected with increase in the toxicity levels of Cd in all nutrient elements tested with interactions exhibited for iron, manganese, and zinc. Sani Ahmad Jibril, Siti Aishah Hassan, Che Fauziah Ishak, and Puteri Edaroyati Megat Wahab Copyright © 2017 Sani Ahmad Jibril et al. All rights reserved. Integrating Characterization of Smallholders’ Feeding Practices with On-Farm Feeding Trials to Improve Utilization of Crop Residues on Smallholder Farms Sun, 12 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0000 This study characterized wheat straw feeding practices in smallholder farms using cross sectional survey and the results informed the design of an experiment to improve the nutritive value of wheat straw with urea and yeast culture treatment. Three diets tested in 49 days’ feeding trial were farmers’ rainy season feeding practice (FP), addition of urea to wheat straw at the time of feeding (USWS), and 14 days’ incubation of straw with urea (UTWS). Yeast culture (15 g/day) was mixed with commercial dairy meal at the point of feeding. Survey data identified farmers’ strategies in utilizing crop residues of which most important were improving storage facility (77.6%), adding molasses (54.5%), and buying a shredding machine (45.1%). On-farm feeding trial showed that intake was higher for UTWS than () for USWS while milk yield was higher with FP than () with UTWS or USWS but not different () between UTWS and USWS. Results imply that farmers feeding practices of crop residues may be improved for dairy cows’ feeding and therefore UTWS could be used to support maintenance and milk production during dry season. Improving farmers feed storage facilities and training on incubation of wheat straw for dairy cattle feeding were recommended. B. O. Kashongwe, B. O. Bebe, P. A. Ooro, P. K. Migwi, and T. A. Onyango Copyright © 2017 B. O. Kashongwe et al. All rights reserved. Awareness of Health Implications of Agrochemical Use: Effects on Maize Production in Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipality, Ghana Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0000 This study assessed factors that affect awareness of health implications of agrochemical use and its effects on maize production in Ejura-Sekyedumase Municipality of Ashanti Region, Ghana. One hundred and fifty-four (154) maize farmers were randomly sampled from the municipality. The study used awareness indicators to estimate an index representing farmers’ awareness levels of health implications of agrochemical use. An ordered logit compliment with multivariate linear regression model was used to identify the drivers of farmers’ awareness level of health implications of agrochemical use. Also, a multivariate linear regression model was used to analyze the effects of health implications of agrochemical use on maize output. On average, the respondents have the moderate awareness level of health implications of agrochemical use (0.578). The awareness level was significantly explained by education, the number of children in school, ownership of TV/radio, experience in agrochemicals use, and farm size. The multivariate linear regression results showed that awareness levels of health implications of agrochemical use increase maize output. It is therefore recommended that interventions aimed at increasing farmers’ awareness levels of health implications of agrochemicals use should focus on educating farmers through interactive radio discussion and training sessions on the field and incorporate safety use of agrochemical in our educational curriculum. Franklin N. Mabe, Kwadwo Talabi, and Gideon Danso-Abbeam Copyright © 2017 Franklin N. Mabe et al. All rights reserved. Conservation and Improvement Strategy for Fogera Cattle: A Lesson for Ethiopia Ingenious Cattle Breed Resource Mon, 06 Feb 2017 12:32:35 +0000 The paper is initiated to design appropriate conservation strategies and breeding scheme for Fogera cattle breed that will be used as a guide for other Ethiopian indigenous cattle breed. Two types of data, on-farm and on-station, were used; the on-farm data was collected from three districts, namely, Fogera, Dera, and Bahir Dar Zuria; those are expected as the home of the breed. A total of 150 farmers, which are knowledgeable and having at least one cattle of Fogera phenotype in their herd, were purposively selected and interviewed. Additionally, farmer’s focus group discussion (FGD) was conducted to capture the historical background, population, and distribution of the breed. SPSS (version 16) and index method was used to analyze the quantitative and scoring data’s, respectively. A meeting at national and regional level was also conducted to evaluate the existing conservation strategy and to identify the major stakeholders for the strategy. The main reasons to conserve Fogera breed are due to presence of interrelated constraints, presence of unique traits of the breed, better attitude of farmers, and decreasing population trend of the breed. Community-based in situ conservation strategy, to ensure the participation of the community, was designed for the breed. With the conservation strategy, related activities like feed development, animal health interventions, market linkage, and development of cooperatives will be implemented to improve the working environment. The stakeholders that are identified as an actor in the strategy should realize their honest participation for the sustainability of conservation and improvement of the breed. Assemu Tesfa, Dilip Kumar, Solomon Abegaz, and Getinet Mekuriaw Copyright © 2017 Assemu Tesfa et al. All rights reserved. Influence of Lime and Phosphorus Application Rates on Growth of Maize in an Acid Soil Wed, 11 Jan 2017 07:00:54 +0000 The interactive effects of lime and phosphorus on maize growth in an acid soil were investigated in a greenhouse experiment. A completely randomized design with 12 treatments consisting of four lime levels, 0, 2, 10, and 20 t ha−1, in a factorial combination with three phosphorus rates, 0, 30, and 100 kg ha−1, was used. Maize was grown in pots for six weeks and its heights and dry matter yield were determined and soils were analyzed for available P and exchangeable acidity. Liming significantly reduced the exchangeable acidity in the soils. The effect of lime on available P was not significant but available P increased with increasing P rates. There was a significant effect of lime, P, and P by lime interactions on plant heights and dry matter. Without lime application, dry matter increased with increasing P rates but, with lime, dry mattes increased from 0 to 30 kg P ha−1 but declined from 30 to 100 kg P ha−1. The highest dry matter yield (13.8 g pot−1) was obtained with a combined 2 t ha−1 of lime with 30 kg P ha−1 suggesting that lime application at low rates combined with moderate amounts of P would be appropriate in this soil. Peter Asbon Opala Copyright © 2017 Peter Asbon Opala. All rights reserved. Allelopathic Effect of Echinochloa colona L. and Cyperus iria L. Weed Extracts on the Seed Germination and Seedling Growth of Rice and Soyabean Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0000 The present study was undertaken to assess the allelopathic effect of Echinochloa colona L. and Cyperus iria L. in relation to the germination and primary growth of Oryza sativa L. (rice) and Glycine max L. (soyabean). Effects of dichloromethane (DCM) and double distilled water soluble (DDW) fractions of E. colona L. and C. iria L. root and aerial part extracts reduced germination and suppressed early seedling growth of rice and soyabean. With increase in extract concentration from 1 to 100 mg/mL, a gradual decrease in seed germination and seedling length occurred. The highest growth of G. max seedling was recorded in DDW fraction of E. colona aerial part extract at 1 mg/mL concentration with 94% germination and the lowest length was found in DCM fraction of C. iria root extract at 100 mg/mL concentration with 65% germination. In O. sativa, the highest length was noted at 1 mg/mL concentration in DDW fraction of E. colona aerial part extract with 82% germination and the lowest length was found in DCM fraction of C. iria and E. colona root extracts with germination 57% and 62%, respectively, at 100 mg/mL concentration. The results suggested that these weeds had good allelopathic potential which reduces germination and plant growth. Neha Chopra, Geeta Tewari, Lalit M. Tewari, Brij Upreti, and Naveen Pandey Copyright © 2017 Neha Chopra et al. All rights reserved. A Mixed Integer Programming Poultry Feed Ration Optimisation Problem Using the Bat Algorithm Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:06:41 +0000 In this paper, a feed ration problem is presented as a mixed integer programming problem. An attempt to find the optimal quantities of Moringa oleifera inclusion into the poultry feed ration was done and the problem was solved using the Bat algorithm and the Cplex solver. The study used findings of previous research to investigate the effects of Moringa oleifera inclusion in poultry feed ration. The results show that the farmer is likely to gain US0.89 more if Moringa oleifera is included in the feed ration. Results also show superiority of the Bat algorithm in terms of execution time and number of iterations required to find the optimum solution as compared with the results obtained by the Cplex solver. Results revealed that there is a significant economic benefit of Moringa oleifera inclusion into the poultry feed ration. Godfrey Chagwiza, Chipo Chivuraise, and Christopher T. Gadzirayi Copyright © 2016 Godfrey Chagwiza et al. All rights reserved. Enhancing Growth of Vigna radiata in the Presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biopolymer and Metarhizium anisopliae Spores Mon, 12 Dec 2016 09:12:22 +0000 Exopolysaccharide producing Pseudomonas aeruginosa NCIM 2945 (PANCL) belonging to gamma-proteobacterium and entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae MCC 1129 (MAMCC) belonging to Ascomycota were studied for their morphological features biochemical characteristics and plant growth promotion ability. Optimum growth of PANCL was recorded after 24 h at temperature 30°C and pH 7.0. Gram-negative PANCL appeared as white in color, one mm size, circular, opaque, and nonconsistent elevated colonies with entire margin. It has utilized dextrose, fructose, maltose, and sorbitol as carbon source and produced acid in the medium. PANCL was sensitive to Polymyxin B (300 µgm/disc) followed by Neomycin (30 µgm/disc), Gentamycin (10 µgm/disc), and Chloramphenicol (30 µgm/disc). PANCL has secreted extracellular lipase, amylase, protease, and exopolysaccharides (EPS). Another fungal strain MAMCC sporulated after 168 h at temperature 30°C and pH 7.0. MAMCC has septate-white mycelium and bears dirty green colored spores. Growth of MAMCC was enhanced in the presence of Neem and Karela-Amla oil (0.1 mL each). Extracellular polysaccharide produced by PANCL and spores of MAMCC promoted growth of dicotyledon Vigna radiata (Mung) individually as well as in consortium. Considerable increase in dry weight of Vigna radiata was recorded. Thus, reported PANCL and MAMCC strains have promoted growth Vigna radiata and may be a solution for sustainable agriculture. Bhagwan N. Rekadwad, Chandrahasya N. Khobragade, Vishnu G. Jadhav, and Siddheswar U. Kadam Copyright © 2016 Bhagwan N. Rekadwad et al. All rights reserved. Response of the Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Cultivar Gregory to Interactions of Digging Date and Disease Management Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:16:15 +0000 Digging date can have a major impact on pod yield, market grade characteristics, and economic return of peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and can be influenced by environmental conditions and disease management. In 17 experiments from 2003 to 2012, economic return of peanut was determined over 5 digging dates spaced 1 week apart beginning in early to mid-September through mid-October. Linear, quadratic, and cubic relationships for economic return versus days after peanut emergence were observed in 3, 6, and 4 experiments, respectively, with no response to digging date observed in 4 experiments. In a second experiment from 2005 to 2012, relationships among canopy defoliation and economic return for peanut at 3 digging dates with 3 fungicide regimes were variable, although increasing the number of fungicide sprays decreased canopy defoliation and increased economic return for later digging dates. Applying a single late-season spray of fungicide as a rescue treatment reduced canopy defoliation in 4 of 8 years and affected economic value in 2 of 8 years. David L. Jordan, Barbara B. Shew, and P. Dewayne Johnson Copyright © 2016 David L. Jordan et al. All rights reserved. Development and Life History of Sitophilus zeamais (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on Cereal Crops Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:11:41 +0000 The maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), is one of the most destructive pests of stored cereals. Knowledge of the life history and biology is important to the development of an integrated pest management program. Investigation was carried out on developmental biology of S. zeamais on four main cereal crops, maize, rice, sorghum, and millet, under laboratory conditions. Egg incubation, oviposition periods, and larval instar development were not different significantly among the food hosts. Number of eggs laid varied significantly among the cereal grains; mean fecundity was highest on maize () and lowest on millet (). Number of immature (larva and pupa) and adult stages varied significantly among the cereal grains. There exist four larval instars with a varied mean head capsule width, with a mean total instar larval developmental period of 23.1, 22.2, 22.2, and 21.6 d on maize, rice, sorghum, and millet, respectively. There was linear relationship and significant correlation between the stages of larval development and head capsule width. The mean developmental period from egg to adult varied, being highest on maize (34.7 d) and lowest on sorghum (33.5 d). James Adebayo Ojo and Adebayo Amos Omoloye Copyright © 2016 James Adebayo Ojo and Adebayo Amos Omoloye. All rights reserved. Community Perception on Beekeeping Practices, Management, and Constraints in Termaber and Basona Werena Districts, Central Ethiopia Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:13:22 +0000 Adequate forage availability coupled with favorable and diversified agroclimatic conditions of Ethiopia creates environmental conditions conducive to the growth of over 7000 species of flowering plants which have supported the existence of large number of bee colonies in the country. Despite its potential of honey production, the contribution of apiculture to state GDP is far below its expectation and not well estimated yet. The objective of this study was to assess community perception in beekeeping management and constraints in central Ethiopia. 384 household heads were randomly selected from eight sentinel kebeles. Semistructured questionnaire, in-depth interview, and focus group discussions were employed to gather data. Chi-square () test was used to determine association. Three beekeeping management systems, namely, traditional, transitional, and modern beekeeping, were documented. Beekeeping was reported to create job opportunity for landless men and women for their livelihood and needs low capital to start. Significant difference () in beekeeping management activities between two districts was reported. Even though honey production is increasing, the trends of transferring traditional beekeeping to modern beekeeping practice showed a decline. Training and building capacity for hive management, colony feeding, and honey harvesting should be put in place in order to improve honey production. Abadi Berhe, Abebe Asale, and Delenasaw Yewhalaw Copyright © 2016 Abadi Berhe et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Nitrogen Application on Growth and Ethanol Yield of Sweet Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] Varieties Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:08:21 +0000 A study was carried out in two locations, Ilorin (8° 29′ N; 4° 35′ E; about 310 m asl) and Ejiba (8° 17′ N; 5° 39′ E; about 246 m asl), at the Southern Guinea Savannah agroecological zone of Nigeria to assess the effect of nitrogen fertilizer on the growth and ethanol yield of four sweet sorghum varieties (NTJ-2, 64 DTN, SW Makarfi 2006, and SW Dansadau 2007). Five N fertilizer levels (0, 40, 80, 120, and 160 kg ha−1) were used in a 4 × 5 factorial experiment, laid out in split-plots arrangement. The application of nitrogen fertilizer was shown to enhance the growth of sweet sorghum as observed in the plant height, LAI, CGR, and other growth indices. Nitrogen fertilizer application also enhanced the ethanol yield of the crop, as variations in growth parameters and ethanol yield were observed among the four varieties studied. The variety SW Dansadau 2007 was observed as the most promising in terms of growth and ethanol yield, and the application of 120 kg N ha−1 resulted in the best ethanol yield at the study area. Oluwatoyin Olugbemi and Yekeen Abiola Ababyomi Copyright © 2016 Oluwatoyin Olugbemi and Yekeen Abiola Ababyomi. All rights reserved. Rate and Timing Effects of Growth Regulating Herbicides Applications on Grain Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) Growth and Yield Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:25:31 +0000 Dicamba and 2,4-D are among the most common and inexpensive herbicides used to control broadleaf weeds. However, different studies have pointed the risk of crop injury and grain sorghum yield reduction with postemergence applications of 2,4-D. No research data on grain sorghum response to 2,4-D or dicamba exists in the Southeastern United States. Consequently, a study was conducted to investigate crop growth and yield response to 2,4-D (100, 220, and 330 g acid equivalent ha−1) and dicamba (280 g acid equivalent ha−1) applied on 20 to 65 cm tall sorghum. Greater stunting resulted from 2,4-D applied at 330 g acid equivalent ha−1 or below 45 cm tall sorghum whereas lodging prevailed with 2,4-D at 330 g acid equivalent ha−1 and dicamba applied beyond 35 cm tall crop. Regardless of local environmental conditions, 2,4-D applied up to 35 cm tall did not negatively impact grain yield. There was a trend for yields to be somewhat lower when 2,4-D was applied on 45 or 55 cm tall sorghum whereas application on 65 cm tall sorghum systematically decreased yields. More caution should be taken with dicamba since yield reduction has been reported as early as applications made on 35 cm tall sorghum for a potentially dicamba sensitive cultivar. Thierry E. Besançon, Ranjit Riar, Ronnie W. Heiniger, Randy Weisz, and Wesley J. Everman Copyright © 2016 Thierry E. Besançon et al. All rights reserved. Prospects of Organic Farming in Bhutan: A SWOT Analysis Mon, 25 Jul 2016 14:27:36 +0000 A study was conducted to investigate the prospects of organic agriculture (OA) in Bhutan from the experts’ perspective, particularly the SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) aspect. Thirty-five Bhutanese experts were interviewed. The strengths of OA were (i) good alignment of the principles of OA with Bhutan’s development philosophy, (ii) strong policy and political support, (iii) pristine environment, (iv) OA practices similar to traditional farming, and (v) compatibility of OA with the local farming knowledge. The major weaknesses were (i) a lack of awareness of the benefits of OA, (ii) lack of incentives, (iii) shortage of farm labor, (iv) small and irregular supply of organic product, (v) lack of clarity in policy, (vi) limited plant protection materials, and (vii) a lack of coordination between agencies. Opportunities were (i) a huge regional and global organic market, (ii) promoting healthy lifestyle, (iii) sustainable use of resources, (iv) lowering dependence on food and input imports, (v) development of local organic manure suppliers, (vi) creating seed sovereignty, (vii) conserving local crops, (viii) building soil fertility, (ix) introducing premium price for organic products, and (x) addressing unemployment. Threats included (i) increasing incidences of pests and diseases, (ii) decline in sources of organic manure, and (iii) limited sources of organic manures and fertilizers. Sonam Tashi and Kesang Wangchuk Copyright © 2016 Sonam Tashi and Kesang Wangchuk. All rights reserved. Genetic Diversity among Sugarcane Genotypes Based on Qualitative Traits Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:39:42 +0000 The study was conducted during 2012/2013 at Wonji Sugar Estate, Ethiopia, to estimate the extent of morphological diversity among sugarcane germplasm based on 16 qualitative traits. Four hundred sugarcane genotypes grouped in 20 locations were considered. Phenotypic frequency distributions of the characters were analyzed and Shannon-Weaver diversity index () was computed using the phenotypic frequencies. Results indicated that the variation in within locations was larger than the diversity observed between locations. The value of for all sample genotypes ranged from 0.43 to 0.98 with a mean of 0.87. Considerable phenotypic diversity was observed among the germplasm studied. This information can be used for establishing proper identity of the accessions, strategic conservation of these germplasm resources, and future improvement work of the sugarcane crop. This is the first study to report phenotypic diversity of local and exotic sugarcane genotypes in Ethiopia. Esayas Tena Gashaw, Firew Mekbib, and Amsalu Ayana Copyright © 2016 Esayas Tena Gashaw et al. All rights reserved. Influence of Cultivar on the Postharvest Hardening of Trifoliate Yam (Dioscorea dumetorum) Tubers Thu, 16 Jun 2016 10:02:25 +0000 The influence of cultivar on the postharvest hardening of Dioscorea dumetorum tubers was assessed. 32 cultivars of D. dumetorum tubers were planted in April 2014, harvested at physiological maturity, and stored under prevailing tropical ambient conditions (19–28°C, 60–85% RH) for 0, 5, 14, 21, and 28 days. Samples were evaluated for cooked hardness. Results showed that one cultivar, Ibo sweet 3, was not affected by the hardening phenomenon. The remaining 31 were all subject to the hardening phenomenon at different degree. Cooked hardness increased more rapidly in cultivars with many roots on the tuber surface compared to cultivars with few roots on the tuber surface. When both the characteristics flesh colour and number of roots on tuber surface were associated, cooked hardness in cultivars with yellow flesh and many roots increased more rapidly than in cultivars with white flesh and many roots, whereas cooked hardness in cultivars with yellow flesh and few roots increased more slowly than in cultivars with white flesh and few roots. Accessions collected in high altitude increased more rapidly compared to accessions collected in low altitude. The cultivar Ibo sweet 3 identified in this study could provide important information for breeding program of D. dumetorum against postharvest hardening phenomenon. Christian Siadjeu, Emmanuel Akdowa Panyoo, Gabriel Mahbou Somo Toukam, Joseph Martin Bell, Benoit Nono, and Gabriel Nama Medoua Copyright © 2016 Christian Siadjeu et al. 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.