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[en] In agriculture (in the context of this paper, the terms “agriculture” and “farming” refer to only the farming of crops and exclude the farming of animals), smart farming and automated agricultural technology have emerged as promising methodologies for increasing the crop productivity without sacrificing produce quality. The emergence of various robotics technologies has facilitated the application of these techniques in agricultural processes. However, incorporating this technology in farms has proven to be challenging because of the large variations in shape, size, rate and type of growth, type of produce, and environmental requirements for different types of crops. Agricultural processes are chains of systematic, repetitive, and time-dependent tasks. However, some agricultural processes differ based on the type of farming, namely permanent crop farming and arable farming. Permanent crop farming includes permanent crops or woody plants such as orchards and vineyards whereas arable farming includes temporary crops such as wheat and rice. Major operations in open arable farming include tilling, soil analysis, seeding, transplanting, crop scouting, pest control, weed removal and harvesting and robots can assist in performing all of these tasks. Each specific operation requires axillary devices and sensors with specific functions. This article reviews the latest advances in the application of mobile robots in these agricultural operations for open arable farming and provide an overview of the systems and techniques that are used. This article also discusses various challenges for future improvements in using reliable mobile robots for arable farming.
[en] This study aims to measure the total factor productivity of the main govern orates of wheat production in Egypt during the time period 1990-2012 and decompose it into technical change, efficiency change and scale change. We used Global Malmquist TFP index as a non-parametric approach. The results indicated that the contribution of technical change component is more important than the efficiency change component. In fact technical change rose, 25.7%, while efficiency change presented a little decline, 3.7%. The decomposition of efficiency change indicated that the main problem of wheat production in Egypt was scale efficiency that worsened by 5.5%.
[en] Avena fatua and Descurainia sophia are two important annual weeds throughout winter rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) production systems in the semiarid region of Iran. Timely and more accurate control of both species may be developed if there is a better understanding of its emergence patterns. Non-linear regression techniques are usually unable to accurately predict field emergence under such environmental conditions. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the emergence patterns of A. fatua and D. sophia and determine if emergence could be predicted using cumulative soil thermal time in degree days (CTT). In the present work, cumulative seedling emergence from a winter rapeseed field during 3 years data set was fitted to cumulative soil CTT using Weibull and Gompertz functions. The Weibull model provided a better fit, based on coefficient of determination (R2sqr), root mean square of error (RMSE) and Akaike index (AICd), compared to the Gompertz model between 2013 and 2016 seasons for both species. Maximum emergence of A. fatua occured 70-119 days after sowing or after equals 329-426 °Cd, while in D. sophia it occurred 119-134 days after sowing rapeseed equals 373-470 °Cd. Both models can aid in the future study of A. fatua and D. sophia emergence and assist growers and agricultural professionals with planning timely and more accurate A. fatua and D. sophia control.
[en] Strategic management research has demonstrated the importance of firm- and industry structure as drivers of firm profitability. However, less is known about how firms´ geographical locations affect profitability. Applying a multi-level approach of hierarchical linear modeling we estimated firm-, industry-, and region-specific effects on profitability of 3,273 agri-food firms operating in different Spanish districts over the time span 2006-2013. The results reveal the dominance of firm-specific effects which contribute up to 48.8% to variance in firm profitability while the contribution of industry effects (0.8-4.2%), geographical location (0.1-1.8%), and year effects (0.1-2.5%) is rather small. Moreover, firm size, risk, and innovative activity turn out as significant profit drivers at the firm level. Although firm-effects outweigh industry- and region-specific factors, the results indicate that industry concentration as well as regional education and unemployment influence profitability. In addition, proximity to technological institutes as well as the degree of urbanization of the region in which a firm operates can be drivers of profitability. Hence, despite the superiority of firm effects the results indicate that agri-food managers should also consider possible advantages from location-based resources in order to ensure competitiveness.
[en] This study was conducted to determine the composition of cultured and wild Cichlasoma festae in Ecuador. The mean slaughter yield and dress-out were similar for cultured and wild specimens and the average fillet fat content for cultured fish was significantly higher compared to the wild fish. The pH, fillet color, drip loss and coked loss were similar between populations. Significant differences were found in protein, lipid and ash content in both studied populations. This study showed that saturated fatty acid (SFA) was higher than sum of monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) in both populations. Palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids had the maximum percentage of SFA, MUFA and PUFA respectively. In cultured and wild fish was also found to differ in the PUFA/SFA, docosahexaenoic acid/eicosapentaenoic acid, n-3/n-6 ratios and atherogenicity and thrombogenicity indices. Minerals included Ca, P, K, Mg, Zn, Fe, Cu and Mn. There were significant differences in the first six ones. The production system (cultured or wild) influences significantly most of the analyzed characteristics of carcass and flesh of C. festae. These results provide valued nutritional information of native species to produce sources of food with low-fat and high-protein, and safety food for the consumers in Ecuadorian country.
[en] The aim was to evaluate the prediction accuracy of pasture dry matter intake (PDMI) and milk yield (MY) predicted by the GrazeIn model using a database representing 124 PDMI measurements at paddock level and 2232 MY measurements at cow level. External validation of the model was conducted using data collected from a trial carried out with Holstein-Friesian cows (n=72) while grazed 28 paddocks and were managed in a 2×2 factorial design by considering two calving dates (CD), with different number of days in milk (DIM), early (E, 29 DIM) vs. middle (M, 167 DIM), and two stocking rates (SR), medium (M, 3.9 cows ha-1) vs. high (H, 4.8 cows ha-1), under a rotational grazing system. Cows were randomly assigned to four grazing scenarios (EM, EH, MM and MH). The mean observed PDMI of the total database was 14.2 kg DM cow-1 day-1 while GrazeIn predicted a mean PDMI for the database of 13.8 kg DM cow-1 day-1. The mean bias was −0.4 kg DM cow-1 day-1. GrazeIn predicted PDMI for the total database with a relative prediction error (RPE) of 10.0% at paddock level. The mean observed MY of the database was 23.2 kg cow-1 day-1 while GrazeIn predicted a MY for the database of 23.1 kg cow-1 day-1. The mean bias was –0.1 kg cow-1 day-1. GrazeIn predicted MY for the total database with a mean RPE of 17.3% at cow level. For the scenarios investigated, GrazeIn predicted PDMI and MY with a low level of error which made it a suitable tool for decision support systems.
[en] Body condition scoring (BCS) is an indirect measure of the level of subcutaneous fat; however, by measuring the subcutaneous fat thicknesses (SFT), the precision of the degree of fatness assessment is improved. The aims were: 1) to develop an alternative body fat scoring index (BFSI) based on ultrasonographic measurements; 2) to assess the agreement between BCS and the new index applied to Andalusian horses; 3) to adjust the BCS cut-off values (if necessary) for overweight and obesity in this breed. One hundred and sixty-six Andalusian horses were included in this cross sectional study. On each horse, BCS, body fat percentage (BF%) and ultrasonography of SFT at localized deposits were evaluated. According to BFSI five possible body categories were established. Only one horse (0.6%) was classified as emaciated, 9.0% as thin, 74.7% as normal, 11.4% as overweight and 4.2% as obese. Despite higher BCS and SFT values were observed compared to other breeds, most of the horses evaluated presented a normal body condition under the new BFSI. BCS and BFSI were significantly associated (p<0.001), however, the concordance was low (weighted Cohen’s kappa coefficient, 0.262 ± 0.071; p=0.004). Using BFSI, obese horses had significantly greater BF% than the rest of categories (p<0.001). BCS showed a good diagnostic accuracy for detection overweight (AUC = 0.759 ± 0.055; p<0.001) and obese (AUC = 0.878 ± 0.050; p=0.001) horses; redefining the cut-off values for overweight and obesity condition as 7.5/9 and 8.5/9 respectively in Andalusian horses.
[en] The bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ is a recent plant pathogen of several crops in Solanaceae and Apiaceae and is associated with economically important diseases. The bacterium is a carrot seed borne pathogen that can also be transmitted from potato mother tubers and by psyllid vectors. The psyllid Bactericera trigonica Hodkinson was described carrying CaLso associated with vegetative disorders in carrot and celery crops in Spain and its competence to transmit this phloem-limited bacterium among vegetables is currently being investigated. Here electrical penetration graphs showed that B. trigonica fed in the phloem of carrot and celery and probed the phloem in potato, but not in tomato plants. The bacterium was efficiently transmitted to carrot and celery plants when either single B. trigonica or groups of ten fed on these species. An inoculation access period of 24 hours was sufficient for a single B. trigonica to transmit the bacterium to carrot (67.8%), celery (21.1%) and eventually to potato and tomato (6.0%). Higher transmission rates were obtained with 10 individuals on celery (100%), carrot (80%), potato (10%) and tomato (10%). Bactericera trigonica laid eggs, and the hatched nymphs develop into adult on carrot and celery, but not on potato and tomato. CaLso was detected in 20% of the eggs laid by females carrying the bacterium. The results confirmed that B. trigonica is a vector of the bacterium to carrot and celery, and it is discussed the potential role of this psyllid in the transmission of the pathogen to potato and tomato plants.
[en] This paper is a first attempt to examine the role played by the geography on agrarian firms’ valuations. The geography was evaluated through the physical proximity from agrarian companies to other companies and to some strategic points which ease their accessibility to external economic agents. To get our purpose, we developed an empirical application on a sample of non-listed agrarian Spanish companies located in the region of Murcia over the period 2010-2015. We applied Discount Cash Flow methodology for non-listed companies to get their valuations. With this information, we used spatial econometric techniques to analyse the spatial distribution of agrarian firms’ valuations and model the behavior of this variable. Our results supported the assertion that agrarian firms’ valuations are conditioned by the geography. We found that firms with similar valuations tend to be grouped together in the territory. In addition, we found significant effects on agrarian firms valuations derived from the geographical proximity among closer agrarian companies and from them to external agents and transport facilities.
[en] Because of essential economic and ecological concerns, there is increased interest worldwide in developing wheat cultivars that are more efficient in utilizing nitrogen (N) and better suited to N limitations. The objective of the present investigation was to get information on the type of gene action controlling the inheritance of wheat low-N tolerance traits in order to start a breeding program for improving such traits. Six parents of contrasting low-N tolerance were crossed in a diallel fashion. Evaluation of 6 parents, 15 F1crosses and 15 F2 crosses was done using a randomized complete block design with three replications under two levels of soil N, i.e. low-N (0 kg N/ha) and high-N (180 kg N/ha).The magnitude of dominance variance inF2's for all studied traits was much greater than that of additive variance under both high N and low N, suggesting that selection should be postponed to later segregating generations in order to eliminate masking effects of dominance variance and take advantage of the additive variance for the improvement of nitrogen use efficiency and grain yield traits. Narrow-sense heritability (h2n) in F2's was generally of higher magnitude under low-N than high-N, suggesting that it is better to practice selection for studied nitrogen efficiency and grain yield traits under low-N conditions to obtain higher values of selection gain.