Scientia Agricola, Volume: 70, Issue: 4, Published: 2013
  • Effectiveness of horizontal air flow fans supporting natural ventilation in a Mediterranean multi-span greenhouse Agricultural Engineering

    López, Alejandro; Valera, Diego Luis; Molina-Aiz, Francisco Domingo; Peña, Araceli

    Abstract in English:

    Natural ventilation is the most important method of climate control in Mediterranean greenhouses. In this study, the microclimate and air flow inside a Mediterranean greenhouse were evaluated by means of sonic anemometry. Experiments were carried out in conditions of moderate wind (≈ 4.0 m s-1), and at low wind speed (≈ 1.8 m s-1) the natural ventilation of the greenhouse was supplemented by two horizontal air flow fans. The greenhouse is equipped with a single roof vent opening to the windward side and two side vents, the windward one being blocked by another greenhouse close to it, while the leeward one is free of obstacles. When no fans are used, air enters through the roof vent and exits through both side vents, thus flowing contrary to the thermal effect which causes hot air to rise and impairing the natural ventilation of the greenhouse. Using fans inside the greenhouse helps the air to circulate and mix, giving rise to a more homogeneous inside temperature and increasing the average value of normalized air velocity by 365 %. These fans also increase the average values of kinetic turbulence energy inside the greenhouse by 550 % compared to conditions of natural ventilation. As the fans are placed 4 m away from the side vents, their effect on the entrance of outside air is insufficient and they do not help to reduce the inside temperature on hot days with little wind. It is therefore recommended to place the fans closer to the side vents to allow an additional increase of the air exchange rate of greenhouses.
  • Combined use of ionophore and virginiamycin for finishing Nellore steers fed high concentrate diets Animal Science And Pastures

    Nuñez, Amoracyr José Costa; Caetano, Mariana; Berndt, Alexandre; Demarchi, João José Assumpção de Abreu; Leme, Paulo Roberto; Lanna, Dante Pazzanese Duarte

    Abstract in English:

    Zebu cattle fed high concentrate diets may present inconsistent performance due to the occurrence of metabolic disorders, like acidosis. The isolated use of ionophores and virginiamycin in high grain diets can improve animal performance and reduce the incidence of such disorders, but recent studies suggested that their combination may have an additive effect. Thus, 72 Nellore steers, 389 ± 15 kg initial body weight (BW), were confined and fed for 79 days to evaluate the combination of virginiamycin and salinomycin on performance and carcass traits. Animals were allocated to a randomized complete block design by BW, in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments, with two concentrate levels (73 and 91 %) and two virginiamycin levels (0 and 15 mg kg-1), and salinomycin (13 mg kg-1) included in all diets. The interaction was not significant (p > 0.05). Dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG), gain-to-feed ratio (G:F), starch consumed, and fecal starch content were higher (p < 0.05) for the 91 % concentrate treatment. These animals also had higher (p < 0.05) hot carcass weight and dressing percentage. Virginiamycin-treated animals showed lower DMI, but ADG and G:F did not differ (p > 0.05) between treatments. Starch consumed and estimated dietary net energy for maintenance (NEm) and gain (NEg) were higher (p < 0.05) for virginiamycin-treated animals, with no substantial effects on carcass traits. The inclusion of virginiamycin in finishing diets containing salinomycin reduced DMI while maintaining ADG and improving NEm and NEg, suggesting an additive effect of virginiamycin and ionophores, but without affecting carcass quality.
  • Feeding restriction impairs milk yield and physicochemical properties rendering it less suitable for sale Animal Science And Pastures

    Fruscalso, Vilmar; Stumpf, Marcelo Tempel; McManus, Concepta Margaret; Fischer, Vivian

    Abstract in English:

    Feed shortages are relatively frequent in subtropical pasture-based dairy production systems. The effect of feed restriction on milk yield and physical-chemical traits was evaluated in this study. The experiment was carried out in Brazil's south region. Treatments consisted of control and restricted diet. Six multiparous and six primiparous cows, with 499 ± 47.20 kg body weight (BW), at mid-lactation (188 ± 124 days in milk), producing 19.35 ± 4.10 kg of milk were assigned to two groups, balanced for parity, each group receiving a different sequence of the dietary treatments for 56 days, in a crossover design. Diet nominated as control included 8 kg DM 100 kg BW-1 of Bermuda grass var. Tifton pasture (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.), 5.00 kg of concentrate and 2.50 kg of Tifton hay per day. The restriction diet consisted of 50 % of the quantity offered in the control diet. Milk production and physicochemical composition were evaluated. Feed restriction reduced milk production by 40 %, body condition score by 5 %, milk magnesium by 14.3 %, lactose by 1.7 %, titratable acidity by 10 % and stability to the ethanol test by 9 % and it tended to increase (7 %) milk potassium content. No changes were found for the remaining characteristics. Since feed restriction is quite frequent in Brazil's extensive dairy production systems, our concern is that besides decreased milk production, changes can occur in the physiochemical attributes of the milk, mainly a reduction in the stability to the ethanol test, which may increase the volume of milk rejected by the industry.
  • Herbage accumulation and grazing losses on Mulato grass subjected to strategies of rotational stocking management Animal Science And Pastures

    Silveira, Márcia Cristina Teixeira da; Silva, Sila Carneiro Da; Souza Júnior, Salim Jacaúna de; Barbero, Leandro Martins; Rodrigues, Carlindo Santos; Limão, Veridiana Aparecida; Pena, Karine da Silva; Nascimento Júnior, Domicio do

    Abstract in English:

    Grazing management strategies affect not only herbage accumulation but also the efficiency of grazing. This study aimed to evaluate herbage accumulation (leaf, stem and dead material), grazing efficiency and losses of mulato grass (a Brachiaria ruziziensis × Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu hybrid) subjected to strategies of rotational stocking management. Treatments consisted of combinations between two post-grazing heights (15 and 20 cm) and two pre-grazing conditions (95 % and maximum canopy light interception (LI)) assigned to experimental units (1200-m² paddocks) according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement and a randomized complete block design, with four replications. The experiment was carried out from Jan 2008 to Mar 2009. Season of the year influenced almost all studied variables, resulting in a common pattern of response that was determined by pre- and post-grazing management targets. Herbage accumulation was greater on swards managed at 95 %, with higher accumulation of leaves and lower accumulation of stem and dead material in relation to those managed at maximum LI (99 %) during the entire experimental period. On the other hand, herbage removal by grazing was larger on swards managed at 99 % LI, which was compensated for by the smaller number of grazing cycles and larger losses due to grazing under those circumstances. Under rotational stocking, the pre-grazing LI of 95 % and post-grazing height of 20 cm resulted in efficient grazing and high producing leafy pastures, highlighting the potential of Mulato grass pastures for animal production.
  • Mulch materials in processing tomato: a multivariate approach Biometry, Modeling And Statistics

    Moreno, Marta María; Moreno, Carmen; Tarquis, Ana María

    Abstract in English:

    Mulch materials of different origins have been introduced into the agricultural sector in recent years alternatively to the standard polyethylene due to its environmental impact. This study aimed to evaluate the multivariate response of mulch materials over three consecutive years in a processing tomato (Solanum lycopersicon L.) crop in Central Spain. Two biodegradable plastic mulches (BD1, BD2), one oxo-biodegradable material (OB), two types of paper (PP1, PP2), and one barley straw cover (BS) were compared using two control treatments (standard black polyethylene [PE] and manual weed control [MW]). A total of 17 variables relating to yield, fruit quality, and weed control were investigated. Several multivariate statistical techniques were applied, including principal component analysis, cluster analysis, and discriminant analysis. A group of mulch materials comprised of OB and BD2 was found to be comparable to black polyethylene regarding all the variables considered. The weed control variables were found to be an important source of discrimination. The two paper mulches tested did not share the same treatment group membership in any case: PP2 presented a multivariate response more similar to the biodegradable plastics, while PP1 was more similar to BS and MW. Based on our multivariate approach, the materials OB and BD2 can be used as an effective, more environmentally friendly alternative to polyethylene mulches.
  • Quality of pitaya fruit (Hylocereus undatus) as influenced by storage temperature and packaging Crop Science

    Freitas, Sérgio Tonetto de; Mitcham, Elizabeth Jeanne

    Abstract in English:

    Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) is an exotic non-climacteric fruit that reaches its best eating quality when harvested ripe, decreasing thereafter during storage. Our objectives were to determine the best combination of storage temperature and use of perforated plastic bags to maintain the postharvest quality of the fruit. Fruits were stored at 5, 7, or 10 ºC with and without a perforated plastic bag for 20 days, followed by five days at 20 ºC without the bag for shelf-life determination. Storage at 5 ºC, followed by 7 ºC maintained better visual appearance of the pitaya fruit after 20 days, by reducing decay incidence and severity, and maintaining greener bracts compared with fruit stored at 10 ºC. Pitaya fruit stored at 5 ºC without a perforated plastic bag showed no decay after storage and shelf-life. In general, higher temperatures and the use of a perforated plastic bag increased decay incidence, as well as decay severity after storage and shelf-life conditions. At all temperatures, fruit stored in a perforated plastic bag had lower weight loss during storage. After shelf-life, weight loss was highest in fruit stored at higher temperatures. Storage of fruits at 5 ºC resulted in minor chilling injury symptoms in the outer flesh tissue, close to the peel. Storage at 5 ºC without a perforated plastic bag was the best condition to maintain the postharvest quality of the pitaya fruit.
  • Simple procedure for nutrient analysis of coffee plant with energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF) Note

    Tezotto, Tiago; Favarin, José Laércio; Paula Neto, Ana; Gratão, Priscila Lupino; Azevedo, Ricardo Antunes; Mazzafera, Paulo

    Abstract in English:

    Nutrient analysis is used to estimate nutrient content of crop plants to manage fertilizer application for sustained crop production. Direct solid analysis of agricultural and environmental samples by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF) was chosen as alternative technique to evaluate the simultaneous multielemental quantification of the most important essential elements in coffee (Coffea arabica L.) plants. Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry and certified reference materials made from leaves were used to calibrate and check the trueness of EDXRF method for the determination of the concentration of several nutrients in coffee leaves and branches. Fluorescence spectrometry proved to be advantageous and presented low cost as loose powder samples could be used. Samples collected from a field experiment where coffee plants were treated with excess of Ni and Zn were used to verify the practical application of the method. Good relationships were achieved between certified values and data obtained by EDXRF, with recoveries ranging from 82 to 117 %.
  • Does crotalaria (Crotalaria breviflora) or pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) inter-row cultivation in restoration plantings control invasive grasses? Review

    César, Ricardo Gomes; Brancalion, Pedro Henrique Santin; Rodrigues, Ricardo Ribeiro; Oliveira, Aretha Medina dos Santos; Alves, Marcelo Corrêa

    Abstract in English:

    Alternative methods to control invasive fodder grasses are necessary to reduce the use of herbicides in forest restoration, which has been carried out primarily in riparian zones. We sought to investigate if inter-row cultivation of crotalaria (Crotalaria breviflora DC) or pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duschene ex. Poir) with native tree species is an efficient strategy to control invasive fodder grasses in restoration plantings. We tested five treatments in a randomized block design, namely (1) control of brachiaria grass (Urochloa decumbens (Stapf.) Webster) with glyphosate in the implementation and post-planting grass control of the reforestation, (2 and 3) glyphosate use in the implementation and inter-row sowing of crotalaria (2) or pumpkin (3), and control of brachiaria by mowing in the post-planting phase, (4 and 5) mowing in the implementation and inter-row sowing of crotalaria (4) or pumpkin (5), and control of brachiaria by mowing in the post-planting phase. Post-planting grass control was carried out four and nine months after tree seedling planting. Throughout 13 months, we evaluated the percentage of ground cover by brachiaria grass, pumpkin production, and native tree seedling mortality, height and crown cover. The exclusive use of glyphosate, without inter-row sowing of pumpkin or crotalaria showed the most favorable results for controlling brachiaria grass and, consequently, for tree seedling development. Hence, inter-row cultivation of green manure or short-lived crop species is not enough to control invasive grasses in restoration plantings, and complementary weeding is necessary to reduce the highly competitive potential of C4 grasses for supporting native species seedlings growth.
  • Soil health: looking for suitable indicators. What should be considered to assess the effects of use and management on soil health? Review

    Cardoso, Elke Jurandy Bran Nogueira; Vasconcellos, Rafael Leandro Figueiredo; Bini, Daniel; Miyauchi, Marina Yumi Horta; Santos, Cristiane Alcantara dos; Alves, Paulo Roger Lopes; Paula, Alessandra Monteiro de; Nakatani, André Shigueyoshi; Pereira, Jamil de Moraes; Nogueira, Marco Antonio

    Abstract in English:

    Soil Health refers to the ecological equilibrium and the functionality of a soil and its capacity to maintain a well balanced ecosystem with high biodiversity above and below surface, and productivity. To understand and use soil health as a tool for sustainability, physical, chemical, and biological properties must be employed to verify which respond to the soil use and management within a desired timescale. Attributes with a rapid response to natural or anthropogenic actions are considered good indicators of soil health. Among the physical indicators, soil texture, aggregation, moisture, porosity, and bulk density have been used, while among chemical indicators total C and N, mineral nutrients, organic matter, cation exchange capacity, among others are well established. However, most of them generally have a slow response, when compared to the biological ones, such as microbial biomass C and N, biodiversity, soil enzymes, soil respiration, etc., in addition to macro and mesofauna. Thus, a systemic approach based on different kinds of indicators (physical, chemical and biological) in assessing soil health would be safer than using only one kind of attribute. Many human activities have caused desertification, loss of biodiversity, disruption of aggregates, loss of organic matter and nutrients, among others. Today, it is imperious to maintain soil health and productivity with increasing emphasis on reforestation and recuperation of degraded areas through the use of organic amendments, reintroduction of plants, soil fauna and microorganisms. This review focused on an integrative view on indicators of soil health to be used as tools for prediction of sustainability in production systems.
  • Use of non-hyperaccumulator plant species for the phytoextraction of heavy metals using chelating agents Review

    Souza, Lucas Anjos; Piotto, Fernando Angelo; Nogueirol, Roberta Corrêa; Azevedo, Ricardo Antunes

    Abstract in English:

    Soil contamination by heavy metals is a challenge faced by many countries, and engineering technologies to solve this problem are expensive and can cause negative impacts on the environment. One way to minimise the levels of heavy metals in the soil is to use plants that can absorb and accumulate heavy metals into harvestable parts, a process called phytoextraction. Typical plant species used in research involving phytoextraction are heavy metal hyperaccumulators, but plants from this group are not good biomass producers and grow more slowly than most species; thus, they have an important role in helping scientists understand the mechanisms involved in accumulating high amounts of heavy metals without developing symptoms or dying. However, because of their slow growth, it is not practical to use these species for phytoextraction. An alternative approach is to use non-hyperaccumulator plants assisted by chelating agents, which may improve the ability of plants to accumulate more heavy metals than they would naturally. Chelating agents can be synthetic or organic acids, and the advantages and disadvantages of their use in improving the phytoextraction potential of non-hyperaccumulator plants are discussed in this article. We hope to draw attention to ways to improve the phytoextraction potential of non-hyperaccumulator plants that produce a large amount of biomass and to stimulate more research on phytoextraction-inducing substances.
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