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[en] The aim of this paper was to analyze the segregation of some polymorphisms in three genes (CAPN1, CAST and DGAT1) related to meat quality in the Lidia cattle breed and some of its main lineages. To that effect, 119 individuals from the Lidia breed were analyzed. Although the association between the polymorphisms and the phenotype has never been demonstrated in this breed, the absence of fixed genotypes for these polymorphisms in the studied population makes the Lidia cattle a good candidate to develop selection objectives. The clear differentiation among lineages for most of the genes studied reinforces the high reproductive isolation presented in the Lidia cattle as revealed by previous studies on the structure of the population within the Lidia breed using microsatellite markers. Considering both issues in the design of breeding schemes will be necessary to save the lineages and not to lose this valuable genetic resource. Finally, it would be necessary to carry out an in depth search for new polymorphisms in genes associated with meat quality and to perform needed association analyses between the SNPs segregating in Lidia cattle and traits of economic interest.
[en] Cooperatives are especially important in current agri-food markets. These companies have responded to the current demand requirements with greater market orientation strategies to attract and satisfy customers. To do so, cooperatives have adopted different collaboration alternatives. In Spain, the most common alliance between cooperatives is materialised in second-level cooperatives, which are cooperatives integrated by at least two first-level cooperatives. The aim of this study was to analyse the interaction effects between first- and second level agri-food cooperatives on their productive growth and its components. To get this purpose, a Cobb-Douglas specification with spatial econometrics techniques was applied to evaluate this relationship. We included a spatial connectivity matrix to establish the interconnection among cooperatives of first- and second-level. Our results show a positive interaction effect highlighting the importance of these alliances on the productivity growth in the agri-food sector. The scarce amount of empirical papers explaining how second-level cooperatives influence the performance of first-level cooperatives shows the relevance of our study.
[en] The coffee market is distinguished for being volatile and uncertain in terms of domestic and international prices. Arabica and Robusta coffee are produced in 23 provinces of Ecuador. A decade-long decline of coffee production prompted the Ecuadorian government to launch a public program for replanting coffee trees towards the end of 2011. A grower’s decision to enter, remain in or exit the coffee sector is based on fluctuating profits from each year’s harvest sale. We analyzed the hypothesis whereby the coffee grower’s decision to leave the sector is explained by volatile and uncertain prices. This paper aimed to evaluate the coffee sector with an application of Real Option Analysis for the period 2002-2012. We also defined entry (H) and exit (L) prices for Arabica and Robusta coffee for the analyzed period. Our findings revealed high H and L prices encourage growers to leave the sector for the most part of the analyzed period. High H and L prices resulted from high variable cost due to increasing wages for farm workers. The Ecuadorian government is developing a policy to help growers make production more efficient, encouraging them to remain in the sector in the long run.
[en] The decomposition and burning of straw results in serious environmental pollution, and research is needed to improve strategies for straw collection to reduce pollution. This work presents an integrated design of multi-functional rice combine harvester that allows grain harvesting and straw baling. This multi-functional combine harvester could reduce the energy consumption required for rice harvesting and simplify the process of harvesting and baling. The transmission schematic, matching parameters and the rotation speed of threshing cylinder and square baler were designed and checked. Then the evaluation of grain threshing and straw baling were tested on a transverse threshing cylinders device tes rig and straw square bales compression test rig. The test results indicated that, with a feeding rate of 3.0 kg/s, the remaining straw flow rate at the discharge outlet was only 1.22 kg/s, which indicates a variable mass threshing process by the transverse threshing cylinder. Then the optimal diameter, length and rotating speed of multi-functional combine harvester transverse threshing cylinder were 554 mm, 1590 mm, and 850 r/min, respectively. The straw bale compression rotating speed of crank compression slider and piston was 95 r/min. Field trials by the multi-functional combine harvester formed bales with height×width×length of 40×50×54-63 cm, bale mass of 22.5 to 26.0 kg and bale density 206 to 216 kg/m3. This multi-functional combine harvester could be used for stem crops (such as rice, wheat and soybean) grain harvesting and straw square baling, which could reduce labor cost and power consumption.
[en] Farmers’ views on research and extension services (RES) included in the Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System are rarely investigated. This study analyses the relationship between key factors of innovation behaviour (market orientation, learning orientation, and innovation attitude) and the use of RES through structural equation modelling, focusing on small-scale agricultural holdings. Market orientation and learning orientation appear to be positively correlated, confirming that synergies between both factors provide a background for innovativeness. Learning orientation and farm-holders’ education level, improve knowledge exchange and make the agriculture innovation process more inclusive. However, farmers’ innovation attitude is not clearly correlated with the use of RES. Motivations about “the will to do innovations” are represented by a construct that does not appear to have a determinant effect as a mediator in farmer’s decisions about using RES.
[en] The development of chickpea cultivars with high quality grains for human consumption is an important objective in breeding programs. Genotype and environment effects on seed quality traits (sensorial, nutritional and physical) were studied in chickpea dry grain. Twenty genotypes were grown in winter and spring sowings over two campaigns in four different locations in southern Spain. Significant differences were observed in oil, acid detergent fiber (ADF) and protein content between sowing times (S). In winter, oil and ADF content were higher, while protein content was lower. Although, in general, highly significant variation was detected for genotype (G), environment (E) and single interactions (GE, GS and ES), the genotype effect was stronger for ADF, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), oil, starch and protein content, and for physical and sensory traits (r2>27%). In contrast, environment played an important role in variation in the content of amylose and amylopectin (r2=71.7%). No high relationships were found between the sensory and nutritional or physical characteristics studied. In general, our results suggest a high genetic gain for seed quality in nutritional, physical and sensory traits in chickpea. Genotypes with good seed sensory quality should be selected in the final stages of the breeding program, because it is not feasible to evaluate very large numbers of samples. However, in some cases, moderate correlations were found between sensory and either nutritional or physical traits. Therefore, indirect selection to increase the frequency of genes for sensory traits in an early stage should be considered.
[en] The objective of the present work was to evaluate the extent of Cd- and Cu-induced oxidative stress and the antioxidant response triggered in the halophyte species Atriplex halimus after metallic trace elements exposure. Plants were treated for one month with Cd2+ or Cu2+ (400 µM) in the absence or presence of 200 mM NaCl in the irrigation solution. The interaction between salinity and heavy metal stress was analyzed in relation to plant growth, tissue ion contents (Na+, K+ and Mg2+), oxidative damage and antioxidative metabolism. Data indicate that shoot and root weight significantly decreased as a consequence of Cd2+- or Cu2+-induced stress. Metallic stress leads to unbalanced nutrient uptake by reducing the translocation of K+ and Mg2+ from the root to the shoot. The levels of malondialdehyde increased in root tissue when Cd, and especially Cu, were added to the irrigation solution, indicating that oxidative damage occurred. Results showed that NaCl gave a partial protection against Cd and Cu induced toxicity, although these contaminants had distinct influence on plant physiology. It can be concluded that salinity drastically modified heavy metal absorption and improved plant growth. Salinity also decreased oxidative damage, but differently in plants exposed to Cd or Cu stress.
[en] Interest in the preservation of endangered breeds such as the Blanca Andaluza goat, has increased and some steps should be therefore taken to ensure it. The study was designed to determine the seasonal reproductive pattern of Blanca Andaluza bucks, and whether this affects the quality of their semen and its freezability over the year. Seven bucks were used and their body weight, testicular weight, plasma testosterone concentration and fresh sperm quality determined every week. The collected sperm was cryopreserved and stored; it was then thawed and the same sperm quality variables measured every fortnight. High plasma testosterone concentrations were recorded during the summer and autumn, and low concentrations were recorded during winter and spring (p<0.001). No differences were seen between seasons in terms of the percentage of bucks ejaculating, the percentage of active bucks, or ejaculate volume. However, the sperm concentration, the total number of sperm per ejaculate, and the values for most fresh sperm variables were lower during the winter period (at least p<0.05). After freezing-thawing, the quality of winter-collected sperm was better, in some respects, than that of summer-collected sperm (at least p<0.05). These results reveal that Blanca Andaluza bucks show seasonal reproductive activity in terms of their plasma testosterone concentration, but no clear change in their sexual behaviour between seasons was observed. The values of fresh sperm variables also vary over the year, reaching their lowest during winter. However, after freezing-thawing, winter-collected sperm is of overall better quality than sperm collected during the summer. (Author)
[en] Two experiments were conducted to verify whether the time of day at which a milk sample is collected and the possible carryover in the milking system may affect pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAG) levels and, consequently, the pregnancy test results in dairy cows. In experiment one, we evaluated the effect of time of day at which the milk sample is collected from 51 cows. In experiment two, which evaluated the possible occurrence of carryover in the milk meter milking system, milk samples from 94 cows belonging to two different farms were used. The samples were subjected to pregnancy test using ELISA methodology to measure PAG concentrations and to classify the samples as positive (pregnant), negative (nonpregnant), or suspicious (recheck). We found that the time of milking did not affect the PAG levels. As to the occurrence of carryover in the milk meter, the PAG levels of the samples collected from Farm-2 were heavily influenced by a carryover effect compared with the samples from Farm-1. Thus, milk samples submitted to a pregnancy test can be collected during the morning or the evening milking. When the sample is collected from the milk meters, periodic equipment maintenance should be noted, including whether the milk meter is totally drained between different animals’ milking and equipment cleaning between milking is performed correctly to minimize the occurrence of carryover, thereby avoiding the effect on PAG levels and, consequently, the pregnancy test results. Therefore, a single milk sample can be used for both milk quality tests and pregnancy test.
[en] Wine is a traditional beverage with a saturated market, in which consumers are open to innovation. In this context, an innovative experience was launched to create a new natural sparkling red wine with a view to diversifying production and studying its acceptance. This paper uses an original acceptance model for new foods called the Cognitive-Affective-Normative (CAN) model. The model was tested on a sample of 500 Spanish consumers in a real-world test context and explains 64.1% of the intention to consume the new wine. The results showed the importance of the cognitive factor in consumer intention. In particular, sensory and price benefits were found to be the key criteria explaining the intention to consume (41.34%). The results also confirmed the usefulness of expanding the factors that determine new food acceptance to include the emotional and normative dimensions of consumer behaviour. The social norm (18.54%) and affective factors (4.2%) contributed to the explanation of the underlying reasons influencing consumers’ assessments of the product. It is proposed that efforts focus on new visual, olfactory and taste-related sensations with a view to producing an appetising product that offers good value for money. Research and development institutes should innovate towards products that highlight these sensations. Therefore, attention should be drawn to the importance of acting on potential consumers’ reference groups and membership groups, with a view to involving them in recommending the product. Managers should focus on measuring and influencing social opinion, working on marketing communication to achieve acceptance.