Abstract in English:ABSTRACT The use of cover crop in agricultural fields has been well elucidated, especially regarding nitrogen fixation from legume crops and their function as weed protection. Furthermore, to cover crops can benefit the soil microbial community. This study aimed to evaluate and compare the benefits of mulching and cover cropping systems on soil microbial growth and activity, and their effects on plant mineral nutrition in pomelo (Citrus maxima ) and macadamia ( Macadamia integrifolia ) orchards. The treatments included: 1) control [Glyphosate herbicide (Roundup at 4 l per ha)], 2) manual weed control, 3) mulching with dead leaves from their respective trees (macadamia and pomelo), 4) millet, 5) faba bean, 6) millet + faba bean. All the treatments were applied for 120 days before soil and plant leaves were sampled for analyses. Plant mineral nutrition, soil microbial biomass C (MBC) and soil microbial biomass N (MBN); basal respiration (BRA), arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonization (COL); number of AMF spores (SPO) in soil; total organic carbon (TOC) and total nitrogen (TN) were evaluated. Plant nutrition was not altered by the treatments; however, the MBC, COL and SPO markedly increased in response to mulching and faba bean + millet treatments. Especially in macadamia soils, these treatments had a great response to soil microbiology. Significant negative correlations were also detected for the COL, SPO, BRA and TOC with the Nutrient Balance Index (NBI). These results indicate that in short-term the cover cropping system is useful to improve the soil microbial growth and AMF formation in soils of pomelo and macadam orchards.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Two hundred seventeen grass-finished Braford steers were assessed by ultrasonic scanning and subsequently harvested with their pistol hindquarters fabricated into boneless wholesale cuts. The Longissimus thoracis muscle area and subcutaneous fat depths were measured. The objectives of this study were: 1) to develop prediction equations for weights of the pistol hindquarter and high-value commercial cuts, and 2) to estimate sample size needed for experiments comparing pistol hindquarter retail product weight using either physically or ultrasonically measured carcass traits. Carcass measurements explained 44 % to 94 % of the variation in weights of individual cuts, whereas, measurements that were made using ultrasound explained 42 % to 90 % of the variation in the weights. Models used to predict the weight of pistol hindquarter retail product with carcass measures and ultrasound measures showed high coefficient of determination (R 2 = 0.92 and 0.97, respectively). Whether based on carcass or ultrasound measures, models used to estimate weight percentage of fat trimmed from the pistol hindquarter had lack of fit. In general, models for individual cuts weights that used traits measured with ultrasound as independent variables approached the accuracy of models using carcass traits. Thus, only slightly greater samples sizes were required to have equivalent power to detect differences in retail product weights using ultrasound measures. For experiments of equivalent power, differences in the number of animals required may be offset by avoiding costs for slaughter and fabrication.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Critical gaps exist in our understanding of the diagnostic reliability of subclinical mastitis tests in dromedary camels. Using a retrospective longitudinal cross-sectional approach, 191 lactating camels were randomly sampled from 47 camel herds to investigate at first the practicability of somatic cell count (SCC) and electrical conductivity (EC) tests as subclinical mastitis tests in camels through their validations by California mastitis test (CMT) score, and then through the subsequent employments of those objective means in assessing certain potential risk markers predisposing camels to this disease. Results indicate the reliability and validity of SCC test, in contrast to EC test, in distinguishing subclinical mastitic udders in camels, as demonstrated by the strong interrelationships ( r = 0.83 vs 0.12; R 2 = 0.80 vs 0.02), excellent agreement beyond chance (kappa coefficient = 0.76 vs 0.09) between SCC test and CMT scores, as well as by the high sensitivity of SCC test [Area Under Curve (AUC) = 0.94 vs 0.48] in distinguishing mastitic udders compared to the EC test. Based on the SCC test, the calculated overall prevalence rate for subclinical mastitis was 35 %, and the breed, parity, and lactation period were the only risk markers predisposing camels to subclinical mastitis. Collectively, it can be concluded that the objective SCC test possesses considerable diagnostic merit for early detection of subclinical mastitis in camels, while the EC test was non-satisfactory and non-diagnostic. Accordingly, it seems logical to base herd management decisions on SCC readings using the cut-off Log10SCC value of 5.67 (or SCC = 472.50 × 03 cells mL–1).
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT The hatchery is one of the most important segments of the poultry chain, and generates an abundance of data, which, when analyzed, allow for identifying critical points of the process . The aim of this study was to evaluate the applicability of the data mining technique to databases of egg incubation of broiler breeders and laying hen breeders. The study uses a database recording egg incubation from broiler breeders housed in pens with shavings used for litters in natural mating, as well as laying hen breeders housed in cages using an artificial insemination mating system. The data mining technique (DM) was applied to analyses in a classification task, using the type of breeder and house system for delineating classes. The database was analyzed in three different ways: original database, attribute selection, and expert analysis. Models were selected on the basis of model precision and class accuracy. The data mining technique allowed for the classification of hatchery fertile eggs from different genetic groups, as well as hatching rates and the percentage of fertile eggs (the attributes with the greatest classification power). Broiler breeders showed higher fertility (> 95 %), but higher embryonic mortality between the third and seventh day post-hatching (> 0.5 %) when compared to laying hen breeders’ eggs. In conclusion, applying data mining to the hatchery process, selection of attributes and strategies based on the experience of experts can improve model performance.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Traditional livestock productivity is hard to estimate, since it depends on a gamut of animal production indicators that are difficult to measure for many farms. Thus, we propose an analytical method for estimating productivity and understanding the importance of animal production indicators under different full-cycle cattle production systems in Brazil. To evaluate the impact of these indicators, equations were derived from a comutational model of herd evolution for estimating the output parameters of the system as follows: productivity per hectare (PH) and offtake rate (COR), as a function of the indicators; calving rate (CR), mating age (AM), age of slaughter (AS) and stocking rate (SR). For this analysis, twenty-seven scenarios (simulation data) of low to high productivity were used, resulting from the combination of the following factors and levels: 1) calving rate of 50, 65 and 80 %; 2) mating age of heifers of one, two and three, years of age; and 3) age at slaughter of one, two and three year old steers. The scenario with the highest impact for each parameter and the indicator of highest impact for each scenario were identified for the production conditions in the region. Under most scenarios, a reduction in mating age had a greater impact on the productivity indexes compared to a reduction in slaughter age. Appropriate management of available technologies enables farmers to compare the marginal impacts of specific indicators on full-cycle production systems for beef cattle.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Boron- B concentrations that cause deficiency and those that cause toxicity appear to be very similar, compared to other nutrients, which can complicate successful management of this element in soils. In this study, B adsorption onto two Oxisols from Brazil (Rhodic Eutroperox and Anionic Acroperox), two Alfisols (Natric Palexeralf and Aridic Paleustalf) and an Entisol (Xeric Torrifluvent) from the United States of America were evaluated. The samples were treated with sodium hypochlorite in order to remove soil organic matter. Both treated and untreated samples were used to determine B adsorption isotherms using different B concentrations (0-4.630 mmol L–1) and NaNO3 (0.05 M) as background electrolyte solution at pH 7. Boron adsorption envelopes were also measured using 0.463 mmol L–1 B at three ionic strengths (0.05, 0.1 and 1M) and NaNO3 as background electrolyte solutions at different pH values (3-12). The cation exchange capacity, specific surface area, free Al and Fe oxides, organic and inorganic carbon content, mineralogy and particle size distribution of the soils were also determined. The Langmuir isotherm and the constant capacitance model were fit to the B adsorption data and the parameters obtained were related to the chemical attributes by multiple linear regression equations. Boron maximum adsorption capacity (BMAC) and the complexation constant for the SH3BO4– inner-sphere complex (LogKB–) could be predicted under all experimental conditions. The Alc content was the main soil chemical attribute associated with the BMAC under the conditions evaluated and the LogKB–(int) in untreated and treated samples.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Sulfuric acid digestion analyses (SAD) provide useful information to environmental studies, in terms of the geochemical balance of nutrients, parent material uniformity, nutrient reserves for perennial crops, and mineralogical composition of the soil clay fraction. Yet, these analyses are costly, time consuming, and generate chemical waste. This work aimed at predicting SAD results from portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometry, which is proposed as a “green chemistry” alternative to the current SAD method. Soil samples developed from different parent materials were analyzed for soil texture and SAD, and scanned with pXRF. The SAD results were predicted from pXRF elemental analyses through simple linear regressions, stepwise multiple linear regressions, and random forest algorithm, with and without incorporation of soil texture data. The modeling was developed with 70 % of the data, while the remaining 30 % was used for validation through calculation of R2, adjusted R2, root mean square error, and mean error. Simple linear regression can accurately predict SAD results of Fe2O3 (R2 0.89), TiO2 (R2 0.96), and P2O5 (R2 0.89). Stepwise regressions provided accurate predictions for Al2O3 (R2 0.87) and Ki - molar weathering index (SiO2/Al2O3) (R2 0.74) by incorporating soil texture data, as well as for SiO2 (R2 0.61). Random forest also provided adequate predictions, especially for Fe2O3 (R2 0.95), and improved results of Kr - molar weathering index (SiO2/(Al2O3 + Fe2O3)) (R2 0.66), by incorporation of soil texture data. Our findings showed that the SAD results could be accurately predicted from pXRF data, decreasing costs, time and the production of laboratory waste.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT The hydroponic growth system is a convenient platform for studying whole plant physiology, especially for root morphological and nutritional analysis. However, we found that most hydroponic systems described in the literature are not suitable for citrus plants. In this study, a hydroponic system for citrus was designed, comprising three principal components: power and time switch, aeration and hydroponic culture. Herein, details of the protocol were described, including equipment setup, seed pregermination and cultivation, together with preparation and transfer of nutrient solution into hydroponics. In order to demonstrate the adaptability of the trifoliate orange plant to our hydroponic system, comparative tests between soil- and hydroponically-grown plants were carried out. The results showed that the plants grew normally and there were no obvious differences between soil- and hydroponically-grown plants. In addition, nutrient deficiency and transcriptional analysis were carried out to test the efficiency, functionality and suitability of our hydroponic system for the application of physiological and molecular analysis. The results, compared with previous studies, showed that our hydroponic system delivered superior performance as regards the physiological and molecular analysis. Taken together, we established the culture system which is best suited for the growth of trifoliate oranges under hydroponic conditions. The hydroponic system described in this paper is easily constructed and controlled at a low cost. It may serve a wide gamut of experimental purposes, especially root morphological and nutritional analysis of trifoliate oranges and the system is also adaptable to other citrus plants by varying the device size.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT The use of nitrification inhibitors (NIs; dicyandiamide - DCD) is an alternative to reduce oxidation of ammonium (NH4+-N) to nitrate (NO3–-N) in the soil, reducing NO3–-N losses from fertilization practices. Based on the hypothesis that DCD reduces conversion of NH4+-N to NO3–-N in tropical soils and inhibits ammonia oxidizing microorganisms (AOM) abundance, soils from the Piracicaba region, São Paulo, with different textures (sand, loam and clay) were incubated with ammonium sulphate (AS) and DCD. Contents of NH4+-N, NO3–-N, soil pH, and AOM abundance were quantified periodically. Ammonium sulphate increased AOM abundance in all soils, but AS+DCD presented AOM abundances similar to the control. During 90 days of incubation, the effectiveness of DCD in reducing NO3–-N production was 1.8, 86.4, and 145.6 mg kg–1, while the effectiveness of DCD in reducing AOM abundance was 1.2, 3.0 and 2.3 × 10–3 g soil–1 for sandy, loamy, and clayey soils, respectively. DCD effectiveness was greater in loamy and clayey soils due to the naturally low nitrification in sandy soils. Application of AS treated with DCD showed potential not only to reduce NO3–-N production in loamy and clayey soils, but also to decrease the soil nitrification rate. Overall, DCD was effective in reducing AOM abundance and conversion of NH4+-N to NO3–-N in loamy and clay soils evaluated here. The increase in clay content directly influences DCD effectiveness in reducing conversion of NH4+-N to NO3–-N.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Concerns about the negative effects of agriculture on soil physical quality and soil organic carbon (SOC) pools have spurred on the adoption of conservation tillage systems in tropical regions. This study aimed to evaluate the long-term impacts (16th year) of conventional (CT), minimum (MT) and no-tillage (NT) practices and different cover crops (sunn hemp and a bean/millet sequence) on soil physical properties and SOC content of a corn cultivated Ultisol in the northeast of Brazil. Soil bulk density (Bd), soil penetration resistance (SPR), soil aggregation, and total aggregate-associated carbon (C) (4-2 mm) were evaluated. Tillage practices exerted strong control on soil physical properties and total aggregate-C content but were influenced by cover crop species. Minimum tillage presented the lowest Bd, irrespective of cover crop, while NT with bean/millet sequence resulted in the lowest SPR. However, as regards soil aggregation and total aggregate-C, the results indicated that there were no differences between MT and NT, with both systems presenting greater mean weight diameter (MWD) and total aggregate-C content than CT. Total aggregate-C content in the 0.00-0.05 m soil layer in conservation tillage was increased by the adoption of a bean/millet sequence. Increased mechanical disturbance through CT practices was harmful to Bd, soil aggregation and SOC accrual. Overall, more conservative tillage practices and the proper choice of cover crops might yield greater soil quality. Low intensity of soil disturbances due to the adoption of MT favors soil aggregation and the accrual of SOC in weakly structured soils through increases in contact between organic and mineral particles while not causing significant destruction of soil aggregates.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Electromagnetic and ultrasonic flowmeters are high precision devices that can measure the water flow in pressurized irrigation networks. In these networks, the inadequate installation distance of flow control valves generates upstream disturbances which will increase measurement errors and reduce the accuracy of the equipment. Therefore, estimating these errors is important to establishing the correct installation distance of the hydraulic accessories and to ensuring the metrological reliability of the flowmeters. This work proposes a numerical study using Computational Fluid Dynamics to evaluate water flow behavior in pipes and estimate measurement errors caused by gate and butterfly valves in installation configurations found at pressurized irrigation networks. The numerical simulations were made for gate (15, 50 and 75 % closed) and butterfly (open and 30º closed) valves installed three and six diameters (3D and 6D) from the flowmeters. The numerical study with three-dimensional simulation allows for evaluating the flow behavior and estimating measurement errors correctly. According to the study, the installation configurations of the gate and butterfly valves change the flow velocity profile at different positions in the pipe, generating both positive and negative measurement errors at both flowmeters. Among the tested configurations, only the butterfly valve installed 3D and 6D from the electromagnetic flowmeter ensured the measurement accuracy required by ISO 4064.