Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Scientia Agricola]]> vol. 72 num. 5 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Effect of partial soil wetting on transpiration, vegetative growth and root system of young orange trees]]> The wetted area fraction is a factor critical to the success of drip irrigation. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of partial soil wetting on transpiration, vegetative growth and root system of young orange trees. The experiment was carried out in a greenhouse where plants were grown in 0.5 m3boxes internally divided into compartments. The wetting of 12 % of soil area was tested on two types of soil cultivated with ‘Valencia’ orange trees grafted onto Rangpur lime and ‘Swingle’ citrumelo rootstocks. Transpiration was determined in 40 plants. Water extraction and root density were evaluated in the compartments. Transpiration is reduced by restriction in wetted soil area, and such reduction is influenced by the number of days after the beginning of partial irrigation, atmospheric evaporative demand and plant phenological stage. Mean transpiration of plants with partial irrigation was equivalent to 84 % of the mean transpiration of plants with 100 % of wetted soil area in the period studied. However, after 156 days of imposing partial irrigation there was no difference in transpiration between treatments. Plant acclimation was caused by an increase in root concentration in the irrigated area. After a period of acclimation, if the entire root system is wetted, soil water extraction becomes proportional to the percentage of wetted area after a short period of time. Despite the reduction in transpiration, there was no difference between treatments with 12 % and 100 % of wetted soil area in terms of vegetative growth. <![CDATA[Energy balance and evapotranspiration of melon grown with plastic mulch in the Brazilian semiarid region]]> Melon plants (Cucumis melo L.) are grown in the state of Rio Grande do Norte (RN), the largest producer of melons in Brazil, with plastic mulch and agrotextiles. Studies of crop evapotranspiration (ET) under these conditions are required to ensure adequate irrigation. This study aimed to determine the crop coefficients (Kc) of irrigated melon plants grown with mulch and agrotextiles in the region of Mossoró, RN, based on the Bowen Ratio Energy Balance (BREB) method. Two experiments were conducted at different times during the 2009/2010 season in a melon producing area (4°59'52" S, 37°23'09" W, and 54 m elevation) to define ET and Kc. Due to the plastic cover and reduced precipitation during the experiments, the Kc obtained by the BREB method was considered the basal Kc - KcbBREB. The results were compared with the Kcb from the FAO 56 Bulletin. There was close agreement between BREB and FAO ET measurements (12 % underestimation by the FAO method for the entire crop season), with sizeable differences only during the initial phenological stage. The mean KcbBREB values of the two field campaigns were 0.26, 0.96 and 0.63 for the initial, midseason and late stages, respectively. The high KcbBREB value in the initial growth phase may be related to the effect of the plastic mulch and agrotextiles on the energy balance at the surface. The relationship between KcbBREB and fc had high correlation, making possible an estimation of the melon Kcb based on the level of crop ground cover. <![CDATA[Model-predicted ammonia emission from two broiler houses with different rearing systems]]> Ammonia (NH3) emissions from broiler production can affect human and animal health and may cause acidification and eutrophication of the surrounding environment. This study aimed to estimate ammonia emissions from broiler litter in two systems of forced ventilation, the tunnel ventilation (TV) and the dark house (DH). The experiment was carried out on eight commercial broiler houses, and the age of the birds (day, d), pH and litter temperature were recorded. Broilers were reared on built-up wood shaving litter using an average flock density of 14 bird m–2. Temperature and relative humidity inside the broiler houses were recorded in the morning during the grow-out period. A factorial experimental design was adopted, with two types of houses, four replicates and two flocks with two replicates each. A deterministic model was used to predict ammonia emissions using the litter pH and temperature, and the day of grow-out. The highest litter temperature and pH were found at 42 d of growth in both housing systems. Mean ambient air temperature and relative humidity did not differ in either system. Mean model predicted ammonia emission was higher in the DH rearing system (5200 mg NH3 m−2h−1 at 42 d) than in the TV system (2700 mg NH3m−2 h−1 at 42 d). TV presented the lowest mean litter temperature and pH at 42 d of growth. In the last week of the broilers’ grow-out cycle, estimated ammonia emissions inside DH reached 5700 mg m−2h−1 in one of the flocks. Ammonia emissions were higher inside DH, and they did not differ between flocks. Assuming a broiler market weight in Brazil of close to 2 kg, ammonia emissions were equivalent to 12 g NH3 bird-marketed−1. Model-predicted ammonia emissions provided comprehensible estimations and might be used in abatement strategies for NH3 emission. <![CDATA[Purified cellulose, soybean hulls and citrus pulp as a source of fiber for weaned piglets]]> Dietary fiber is an important component, which has a direct effect on intake, digestion, and absorption of nutrients; and also alters intestinal microbiota and morphology according to solubility. One digestibility trial and one performance experiment were performed to evaluate the effects of sources of fiber in diets for 21 day weaned piglets. The experimental diets used in both trials consisted of a control diet and diets with purified cellulose, soybean hulls or citrus pulp as a main source of dietary fiber. To evaluate the digestibility of nutrients (Assay 1), the total feces and urine collection method was used. The fiber sources did not affect nutrient digestibility, except for soluble fiber, which increased with the inclusion of citrus (Citrus sinensisL.) pulp. To evaluate performance, morphophysiology and microbiology of the digestive tract of weaned piglets, a total of 32 castrated male piglets was used. Slaughter of animals was implemented at 35 and 50 days of age. The use of soybean (Glycine max L.) hulls and citrus pulp in diets increased the number of goblet cells and the density of villi in the jejunum. The viscosities of stomach and cecum contents increased due to the addition of citrus pulp. Soybean hulls and the citrus pulp included in diets reduced the occurrence of E. coli in the small intestines of piglets slaughtered at 35 days of age. Among the fiber sources, purified cellulose in piglet diets promotes better performance of animals, due to the modulation of the small intestine microbiota, with lower E. coli occurrence resulting in higher villus density. <![CDATA[Four-way data analysis within the linear mixed modelling framework]]> Cultivars have to be evaluated under different crop management systems across agro-ecosystems and years using multi-environment trials (MET) before releasing them to the market. Frequently, data collected in METs are arranged according to cultivar (G), management (M), location, (L) and year (Y) combinations in a four-way G x M x L x Y data table that is highly unbalanced for cultivars across locations and time. Therefore, we present the restricted maximum likelihood method (REML) for linear mixed models (LMM) with a factor analytic variance-covariance matrix for assessing cultivar adaptation to crop management systems and environments based on unbalanced datasets. Such a multi-environmental trial system has been in operation in Poland for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in the form of the Post-registration Variety Testing System (PVTS). This study aimed to illustrate the use of LMM in the analysis of unbalanced four-way G x M x L x Y data. LMM analysis provided adjusted means of grain yield for 51 winter wheat cultivars bred in different regions in Europe, tested across 18 trial locations and seven consecutive cropping seasons in two crop management intensities. The application of the four-way LMM with a factor analytic variance-covariance matrix is a complementary and effective tool for evaluating the unbalanced G x M x L x Y table. Cultivars tested had different adaptive responses to the Polish agro-ecosystems separately for each of the crop management intensities. Wide adaptation in both crop management systems was exhibited by cultivars Mulan and Jenga bred in Germany. <![CDATA[Traditional Eastern Spanish varieties of tomato]]> Despite the importance of traditional varieties of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) as sources of variation in breeding programs and varieties targeted to high-price quality markets that value their exceptional organoleptic quality, little is known regarding the structure of these materials at the morphological level. In this study, a collection of 166 populations (137 of them during two years) of traditional varieties of tomato from the east coast of Spain has been characterized using 41 descriptors. The characterization revealed a considerable variation. The segregation observed in several populations (28 %) suggests that apart from the configuration as population varieties, the high variation present in these landraces may be partially due to possible seed mixing and spontaneous cross-pollination. Only nine fruit descriptors were required to represent the variation present in the collection analyzed. It seems that after spontaneous cross-pollinations, farmers applied strong selection to a small number of traits, though even in these traits a high level of variation is maintained. The variation observed may hinder clear recognition by the consumer, an attribute required for the consolidation of quality markets. Additionally, a registry of these materials as conservation varieties would be complicated considering the actual levels of variation. Therefore, a varietal depuration would be interesting in order to promotein situ conservation of these resources. Finally, the high levels of variation in the intra-varietal scale may justify the collection and maintenance of more populations of the same variety as the risk of conserving duplicates would not be so high. <![CDATA[Composting sewage sludge with green waste from tree pruning]]> Sewage sludge (SS) has been widely used as organic fertilizer. However, its continuous use can cause imbalances in soil fertility as well as soil-water-plant system contamination. The study aimed to evaluate possible improvements in the chemical and microbiological characteristics of domestic SS, with low heavy metal contents and pathogens, through the composting process. Two composting piles were set up, based on an initial C/N ratio of 30:1, with successive layers of tree pruning waste and SS. The aeration of piles was performed by mechanical turnover when the temperature rose above 65 ºC. The piles were irrigated when the water content was less than 50 %. Composting was conducted for 120 days. Temperature, moisture content, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), carbon and nitrogen contents, and fecal coliforms were monitored during the composting. A reduction of 58 % in the EC of the compost (SSC) compared with SS was observed and the pH reduced from 7.8 to 6.6. There was an increase in the value of cation exchange capacity/carbon content (CEC/C) and carbon content. Total nitrogen remained constant and N-NO3- + N-NH4+ were immobilised in organic forms. The C/N ratio decreased from 25:1 to 12:1. Temperatures above 55 ºC were observed for 20 days. After 60 days of composting, fecal coliforms were reduced from 107 Most Probable Number per gram of total solids (MPN g−1) to 104 MPN g−1. I one pile the 103 MPN g−1 reached after 90 days in one pile; in another, there was recontamination from 105 to 106 MPN g−1. In SSC, helminth eggs were eliminated, making application sustainable for agriculture purposes. <![CDATA[Minjingu phosphate rock availability in low-pH highly weathered soil as affected by added salts]]> Concentrations and identity of ions in the soil solution may affect soil phosphorus (P) reactions and P availability. In this study, the magnitude of these reactions was evaluated following the application of Minjingu phosphate rock (MPR) combined with chloride and carbonate salts of Na and Ca within an incubation experiment. Twenty-one days later NaOH-P and HCl-P were determined. This investigation was undertaken with the aim of identifying the role of Ca-ion activity in the liquid phase on the solubilization of MPR and formation of insoluble Ca-P phases. The increase in pH was higher with Na2CO3 than with CaCO3, while both CaCl2 and NaCl resulted in slight decreases in pH. The dissolution of MPR was higher overall when MPR was applied singularly than for the combined application of the phosphate rock with salts of calcium or sodium after 60 days of incubation. Dissolution of MPR decreased as levels of CaCO3 or CaCl2 increased but the decrease was more pronounced in CaCO3-treated than in CaCl2-treated soils. Ca-ion activity in the liquid phase is the main factor responsible for the insolubilization of MPR and the formation of insoluble Ca-P phases (HCl P). The formation of Ca-P solid phases increased with the concentration of Ca-ions, and was governed by the pH and nature of the accompanying anion. For soils with low levels of exchangeable cations and where liming is a recommended intervention measure, Ca from lime will form insoluble P phases and reduce the dissolution of PR and P availability to plants. <![CDATA[24-h variation in soil respiration after a long dry season in a Sudano-Sahelian region]]> Soil respiration is a major component of the global carbon cycle which links ecosystems and the atmosphere. To evaluate the reaction of soil respiration after wetting, during a dry period, soil respiration and associated environmental factors were measured over a 24-h period, during the dry season in North Cameroon after wetting the soil. Over 24-h, soil respiration rates followed a quadratic curve during the day coming close to linear at night, while soil temperature and moisture together explained at least 73 % of the variations during the 24-h observed. These soil respiration rates increased during the morning, peaked between 11h00 and 13h00 and then decreased gradually to the minimum around 06h00. These observations were used to propose a method for estimating mean daytime and nighttime soil respiration after wetting the soil. The method proposed in this study has the advantage of being based on a small number of measurements and is, therefore, easier to implement for monitoring 24-h soil respiration after the first rains following a long dry period. <![CDATA[Cashew cultivation in Guinea-Bissau – risks and challenges of the success of a cash crop]]> In recent decades a boom in cashew (Anacardium occidentale)cultivation has taken place in Guinea-Bissau, leading to the replacement of traditional slash-and-burn agriculture by a cash crop. As a result, the country is currently one of the world’s largest producers of raw cashew nuts and the cashew sector has acquired enormous importance in Guinea-Bissau’s economy. Changes induced by the cashew boom at social and environmental levels are yet to be analyzed and understood. The present study provides an account of the process of cashew expansion in Guinea-Bissau, reviews the current situation and discusses its future prospects. The cashew tree was introduced into the country by the Portuguese in the XIXth century, but only effectively expanded in the mid-1980s. It is largely cultivated by small farmers around villages and also plays a role in land ownership, since land tenure practices are linked to the planting of trees. The effects of this cashew boom on habitat fragmentation, fire regimes and biodiversity are still to be assessed. On the other hand, the spread of pests and diseases is becoming a problem. Strong dependence on a single cash crop also renders the country vulnerable to market fluctuations, entailing risks to local producers and the national economy. In the medium term, losses of export earnings can occur, which may impact the living standards and food security of Bissau-Guineans both in urban and rural areas.