ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0181.v2
Subject: Engineering, Marine Engineering Keywords: Floating farming; sustainable farming; Integrated farming; Multilevel Floating Farm
Online: 15 April 2021 (13:38:39 CEST)
The exponential growth of population and the consistent food demand has compelled humanity to seek alternatives to traditional farming and innovative technologies to increase production. Exploring offshore for natural resources and alleviating pressure on land has been an ongoing research field, especially in the energy and aquaculture sector. However, the idea of floating farming is still in its infancy and requires significant innovations. The work presented here shed further light on this area by proposing a comprehensive model of ‘Integrated, multicultural, Multileveled Floating Farm (MFF).’ Various aspects of planning, design, constructions and operations of such MFF are discussed. An integrated waste management system is proposed to improve sustainability. The conceptual design and associated financial analysis demonstrated that such integration of various modes of farming could be profitable and sustainable at the same time. The cost estimation and profit analysis are presented in the context of Singapore, and a conservative approach is followed for the calculation. However, the model can easily be extended for application in other countries.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0620.v1
Subject: Keywords: Digital twin; Precision Livestock Farming; digitosome; Digital cohort; animal farming
Online: 29 January 2021 (12:48:12 CET)
Digital twin technology is already improving efficiencies and reducing costs across multiple industries and sectors. As the earliest adopters, space technology and manufacturing sectors have made the most sophisticated gains with automobile and natural resource extraction industries following close behind with recent investments in digital twin technology. The application of digital twins within the livestock farming sector is the next frontier. The possibilities that this technology may fuel are nearly endless as digital twins can be used to improve large-scale precision livestock farming practices, machinery and equipment usage, and the health and well-being of a wide variety of farm animals. Currently, many pioneers of digital twins in livestock farming are already applying sophisticated AI technology to monitor both animals and environment around the clock, which leads to a better understanding of animal behavior and distress, disease control and prevention, and smarter business decisions for the farmer. Mental and emotional states of animals can be monitored using recognition technology that examines facial features such as ear postures and eye white regions. Used with modeling, simulation and augmented reality technologies, digital twins can help farmers build more energy-efficient housing structures, predict heat cycles for breeding, discourage negative behaviors of livestock, and potentially much more. As with all disruptive technological advances, the implementation of digital twin technology will demand a thorough cost and benefit analysis by individual farms. Digital twin application will need to overcome challenges and accept limitations that arise. However, regardless of these issues, the potential of digital twins promises to revolutionize livestock farming in the future.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0226.v1
Subject: Engineering, Construction Keywords: vertical farming; zero acreage farming; university; sustainability; economics; climate change
Online: 11 October 2018 (04:05:17 CEST)
The world is facing several global issues such as food and energy crisis, climate change and greenhouse gases emissions. To subdue these issues, many entities from academia and industries have innovated alternate techniques of performing regular activities which cause such problems. One of these innovations is the introduction of vertical and zero acreage farming in the field of sustainability. These carry the potential to solve one of the most important affairs of food security in most countries of the world. But, this technology has been in its nascent stage for many years. This paper uses a comprehensive framework proving the feasibility of initiating vertical farming on university campuses to feed the staff and students, which could also set an example to the rest of the world into using this technique on a wider scale. The study chose Huazhong University of science and technology (HUST) in Wuhan city, China for accessing the return on investment and food sufficiency if vertical farming is implemented. Using Central Limit Theorem, a statistical model was developed, and various scenarios were analyzed. The results indicated that if a separate vertical farm is constructed, the breakeven can be achieved in a range of 10-20 depending on parameters such as type of operation, number of floors and amount of vegetation. The study has shown that the use of vertical farming cannot only bring in revenue for the campus but also aid in mitigating climate change.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201708.0053.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Microeconomics And Decision Sciences Keywords: dairy farming; sustainability; organic farming; technology acceptance model; structural equation modeling
Online: 14 August 2017 (06:27:08 CEST)
The goal of the study was to assess the farmers’ acceptance of three sustainable production strategies, namely ‘Agro-forestry’, ‘Alternative protein source’ and ‘Prolonged maternal feeding’. Data on the acceptance of these strategies were collected by a survey of dairy farmers in six EU countries (AT, BE, DK, FI, IT, UK). An extended version of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) was applied by means of Structural Equation Modelling to testing various hypotheses on attitudes and intentions of dairy farmers towards these novel production strategies, as well as the influence of organic practices and collaborative behaviours along the supply chain. We found that the most preferred strategy - across all countries - was soy substitution by alternative protein sources. We also found that the intention to adopt a sustainable production strategy may derive from the influence of opinions (and behaviours) of relevant others, showing the role of interactions among farmers and other stakeholders in the adoption of innovations. Finally, the perceived usefulness of all investigated strategies is higher for organic farmers, while collaborative patterns reduce the impact of subjective norm on usefulness and overall acceptance. Our findings should encourage policy makers to consider the important role of supply chain management practices, including collaboration, to enhance the sustainability of dairy farming systems.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0058.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Digital Agriculture; Precision Livestock Farming; Smart Farming; Artificial Intelligence; Sensors; Big Data
Online: 2 November 2022 (11:11:06 CET)
Sensor enabled big data and Artificial Intelligence platforms has the potential to address global socio-economic trends related to the livestock production sector through advances in the digitization of precision livestock farming. The increased interest in animal welfare, the likely reduction in the number of animals in relation to population growth in the coming decade and the growing demand for animal proteins pose an acute challenge to prioritizing animal welfare on the one hand while maximizing the efficiency of production systems on the other. To stimulate a sustainable, digital, and resilient recovery of the agricultural and livestock industrial sector, there is an urgent need for testing and develop new ideas and products such as wearable sensors. By validating and demonstrating a fully functional wearable sensor prototype within an operational environment on the livestock farm that includes a miniaturized animal-borne biosensor and an artificial intelligence (AI) based data acquisition and processing platform, the unmet current needs can be fulfilled. The expected quantifiable results from wearable biosensors will demonstrate that the digitization technology can perform acceptably within the performance parameters specified by the agricultural sector and under operational conditions, to measurably improve livestock productivity and health. There is a need for a multimodal, digitized, automated biosensor and health monitoring platform containing AI algorithms for optimized stress and disease prediction in farm animals. An experimental development of non-invasive wearable and wireless physiological sensor networks that can be deployed in agricultural environments would allow for real-time extraction and integration of physiological data and display on decision support dashboards for livestock workers. By testing the effectiveness of the system in generating meaningful longitudinal data for further research into physiological and behavioral characteristics of farm animals, novel insights about animal welfare can be developed. The successful implementation of the digital wearable sensor networks would provide actionable real-time information on animal health status and can be deployed directly on the livestock farm, which will strengthen the green and digital recovery of the economy due to the significant innovation potential. Continuous monitoring of animal health and physiological functioning promotes more environmentally and socially acceptable developmental pathways. Once demonstrated, the portable animal health monitoring platform will close a critical gap in digitized livestock farming and position the agricultural industry as a frontrunner in the sector of farm animal monitoring and measurement systems. The multimodal wearable sensor-driven AI approach is expected to significantly improve the effectiveness of livestock decision support systems and the selection of resilient animals for the next generation and provide predictive data for end-users in livestock farming.
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0056.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Precision Livestock Farming; Digital Agriculure; Smart Farming; In Ovo Sexing; Big Data; Artificial Intelligence
Online: 2 November 2022 (11:03:44 CET)
Current commercial, pre-commercial, and experimental in ovo techniques for the sex determination of fertilised eggs employ either minimally invasive biomolecular assays (extracting fluid via a small laser-drilled window in the eggshell, for detection of genetic or hormonal biomarkers), analysis of volatile compounds emitted from the eggshell, visible imaging, and reflectance or transmission spectroscopic analysis exploiting molecular optical fluorescence, polarisation, and scattering phenomena, including various combinations of these modalities. , to date no endeavour employing the NIR and FTIR based spectroscopic techniques has resulted in a commercially sustainable solution to the egg sexing problem. Besides achieving only subpar performance in overall accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity, the least invasive of the current state-of-the-art optical methods still requires, creating a transmission window (fenestration) of 12–15 mm diameter through to the mammillae layer of the shell, proximal to the external shell membrane, which can affect the incubation or post-hatch development viability of up to 10% of incubated eggs. Multimodal solution combining Raman spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging has strong prospects to overcome the hard barriers existing before the perfection of a non-invasive in-line process for high reliability and rapid throughput for sex determination of eggs within 3 days of incubation. The method for sexing of chicken embryos needs to take a multipronged approach in collecting and analyzing spectral data that points to biomarkers using the machine learning approaches to look for nanomolar to picomolar concentrations of these in the fluid.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0445.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: data mining; predictive analytics; Internet of Things; peasant farming; smart farming system; crop production prediction
Online: 31 January 2022 (10:58:30 CET)
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can greatly benefit from machine learning techniques and Artificial Neural Networks for data mining and vice versa. In the agricultural field, this convergence could result in the development of smart farming systems suitable for use as decision support systems by peasant farmers. This work presents the design of a smart farming system for crop production, which is based on low-cost IoT sensors and popular data storage services and data analytics services on the Cloud. Moreover, a new data mining method exploiting climate data along with crop production data is proposed for the prediction of production volume from heterogeneous data sources. This method was initially validated using traditional machine learning techniques and open historical data of the northeast region of the state of Puebla, Mexico, which were collected from data sources from the National Water Commission and the Agri-food Information Service of the Mexican Government.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0489.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: Agriculture; Copernicus initiative; Farming; Food traceability; Organic Farming; Rice; Rice paddy fields; Water Management; Sentinels
Online: 20 May 2021 (12:32:52 CEST)
Whereas a vast literature exists on satellite-based mapping of rice paddy fields in Asia, where most of the global production takes place, little has been produced so far that focuses on the European context. Detection and mapping methods that work well in the Asian context will not offer the same performances in Europe, where different seasonal cycles, environmental contexts, and rice varieties make distinctive features dissimilar to the Asian case. In this context, water management is a key clue; watering practices are distinctive for rice with respect to other crops, and within rice there exist diverse cultivation practices including organic and non-organic approaches. In this paper, we focus on satellite-observed water management to identify rice paddy fields cultivated with a traditional agricultural approach. Building on established research results, and guided by the output of experiments on real-world cases, a new method for analysing time series of Sentinel-1 data has been developed, which can identify traditional rice fields with a high degree of reliability. This work is a part of a broader initiative to build space-based tools for collecting additional pieces of evidence to support food chain traceability; the whole system will consider various parameters, whose analysis procedures are still at their early stages of development.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0456.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: social farming; farming for health; inclusive model; migrants inclusion; ethics; innovation; social service; vulnerable people
Online: 29 February 2020 (08:55:22 CET)
The agricultural sector, even though it has been greatly reduced and is in constant transformation, continues to be of strategic importance. Although it does not represent a quantitatively relevant employment sector, the dynamics are interesting because they reflect the structural, economic and social transformations that are affecting the sector in recent years; there is a growing need for external labour that corresponds to a massive recourse of foreigners to work. Innovative approaches are required to explore the capacity of social farming to create a sustainable and inclusive workplace for migrant. The overall methodological approach of the paper seeks to synthesize fieldwork research and qualitative interviewing to validate the Italian inclusive model. To do this, we have selected four experiences of Italian social agriculture in which migrants are included.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0478.v1
Online: 27 April 2020 (04:34:38 CEST)
Riverbed farming (RbF) has emerged as an alternative form of agriculture. This farming supports the poor and marginalized farmers to adapt to climate change, especially in the degraded lands because of floods and flood-induced riverbank erosions every year. The government and non-government organizations (GOs/NGOs) have supported and built capacities of farmers to adopt this as an effective adaptation strategy in the region. This study aims to analyze the determinants of riverbed farming at the household level mainly in Deukhuri valley of Western Terai, Nepal. A total of 150 households were selected randomly for the study in Sisahaniya rural municipality for the household survey. The determinants of the adoption of riverbed farming have been analyzed utilizing independent variables such as age, gender, education, occupation, ethnicity, family size, and others. Education and occupation are positively significant for the adoption of riverbed farming whereas the family size is negatively significant. Agriculture is the main occupation in the area and education helped them to understand the concept and procedure of RbF as alternative farming in the degraded lands. However, not all the family members have actively contributed to the RbF. This is an interesting study that could be expanded with the support of GOs/NGOs.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0359.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Organizational Economics & Management Keywords: contract farming; broiler producers; economic sustainability
Online: 24 March 2020 (11:58:03 CET)
This review has been realized within the agribusiness sector and experiments the Transaction Cost Theory a branch of the New Institutional Economy which explain market failure caused by many factors. Transaction costs are associated with carrying a transaction between buyers and sellers. This study has been conducted between 2014 and 2017; and has collected data from 11 broiler producers in Jezzine, Lebanon, about: Production costs, capital investment, revenues, land tenure, access to infrastructure, and information about the contract. The propensity score matching method is used to compare the effect of participating in contract farming and to solve the hypotheses, which say: There is a positive relationship between contract farming and the economic benefits of broiler producers and the development of the broiler sector in Jezzine District. Findings from farmer’s interviews indicated that sustainability, guaranteed price, risk reduction, credit facilities and technical aids are the main reasons for signing a contract. In contrast, Farmers have expressed problems concerning the contractors’ responsibilities such as delay in payment and delivery. Also, when prices are high, it was argued that farmers were selling the products in the open market.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0280.v1
Subject: Keywords: Thaumatin, sweet protein, molecular farming, natural sweeteners
Online: 11 December 2020 (12:56:40 CET)
There are currently worldwide efforts to reduce sugar intake due to the various adverse health effects linked with the overconsumption of sugars. Artificial sweeteners have been used as an alternative to nutritive sugars in numerous applications; however, their long-term effects on human health remain controversial. This led to a shift in consumer preference towards non-caloric sweeteners from natural sources. Thaumatins are a class of intensely sweet proteins found in arils of the fruits of the West-African plant Thaumatococcus danielli. Thaumatins’ current production method through aqueous extraction from this plant and uncertainty of the harvest from tropical rainforests limits its supply while the demand is increasing. Despite successful recombinant expression of the protein in several organisms, no large-scale bioproduction facilities exist. We present preliminary process design, process simulation, and economic analysis for a large-scale (50 metric tons/year) production of thaumatin II variant by several different molecular farming platforms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0088.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: YOLOv2; transfer learning; pig farming; object detection
Online: 4 September 2020 (07:59:03 CEST)
Generic object detection is one of the most important and flourishing branches of computer vision and has real-life applications in our day to day life. With the exponential development of deep learning-based techniques for object detection, the performance has enhanced considerably over the last 2 decades. However, due to the data-hungry nature of deep models, they don't perform well on tasks which have very limited labeled dataset available. To handle this problem, we proposed a transfer learning-based deep learning approach for detecting multiple pigs in the indoor farm setting. The approach is based on YOLO-v2 and the initial parameters are used as the optimal starting values for train-ing the network. Compared to the original YOLO-v2, we transformed the detector to detect only one class of objects i.e. pigs and the back-ground. For training the network, the farm-specific data is annotated with the bounding boxes enclosing pigs in the top view. Experiments are performed on a different configuration of the pen in the farm and convincing results have been achieved while using a few hundred annotated frames for fine-tuning the network.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0104.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Bale highlands; livestock; methane emissions; mixed farming
Online: 5 October 2018 (15:39:30 CEST)
The study was conducted in the potential mixed farming areas of Bale highland to estimate livestock methane emissions. Using multi-stage purposive sampling, 156 households of the three wealth groups were selected based on their livelihood assets as described under methodology. Structured questionnaires, focus group discussions, key informants interview and field visits were the employed methods during the study. Feed nutrient balance was estimated based on the demand and supply while the livestock methane emissions were estimated according to the IPCC guidelines. Descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA tests were used to analyze the data. Cattle were the dominant (84.25%) livestock owned by the households. The estimated enteric CH4 emission rate from mature cattle, growing cattle, sheep >1 year, sheep ≤ 1 year, horse and donkey were significantly (P<0.001) higher for the better wealth group while mature cattle (69.78%) shared the highest rate. Though, higher emission rates credited to the large number of animals in the area, cattle stay crucial to the livelihoods of the households, beside the major sources of CH4. In conclusion, the estimated CH4 emissions should be focus areas of interventions. Therefore, proper husbandry and quality feed supply and promotion of farm level livestock technologies should be practiced wisely to increase productivity and protect the environment from emissions of the livestock sector.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0224.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Accounting Keywords: Climate change; contract farming; coping; adaptation strategies; Zimbabwe
Online: 15 September 2022 (08:27:58 CEST)
The literature on contract farming and climate change in Zimbabwe has blind spots in relation to the study of contract farming as a climate change response. While the literature on contract farming and climate change abounds, such literature is lacking when it comes to the exploration of how contract farming can facilitate climate change coping and adaptation strategies by smallholder farmers. This paper fills this gap. It draws on in-depth interviews with 10 contracted and 10 non-contract farmers who were engaged through face-to-face in-depth interviews in the Chipinge South Constituency. It found that contract farming does not only boost productivity, but it also enables farmers to positively respond to the ravages of climate change, and therefore, it should be supported and encouraged. Future research should explore more viable and sustainable way through which the state, instead of private sector actors, should be at the centre of contract farming.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0336.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: agroecological farming; discourse analysis; mountain conservation; sustainable adoption
Online: 18 August 2022 (10:03:28 CEST)
Agroecological approaches are increasingly recommended for providing context-specific and sustainable solutions to issues confronting farming communities by enabling consorting the socioeconomic and ecological constraints on the farm. This study is the first attempt to test this argument based on the issue with sustaining adoption of soil erosion control measures among smallholder farmers producing Coffea arabica on the Rwenzori Mountain in Uganda. Here, the adoption of soil erosion control measures remains a challenge despite the increasing efforts through conventional agricultural advisory services in local governments. We contrast the elements of agroecology with the local discourses to identify if it would provide a panacea for sustaining adoption of soil erosion control measures. Results indicate that the agroecology elements harmonize with the local discourses on soil erosion control adoption in contrast to the conventional approach promoted through the agricultural advisory services. Drawing conclusions on the implication of this finding, we argue that, indeed, consideration of the agroecology elements at all stages in the process of soil erosion control would foster sustained adoption of soil erosion control measures.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0093.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: tobacco control; tobacco farming; FCTC; Indonesia; public health
Online: 6 July 2022 (09:00:28 CEST)
The Indonesia’s Tobacco Excise Sharing Fund (DBHCHT) policy mandates that part of the fund should be allocated for tobacco crop diversification – reducing the farmers’ reliance on tobacco industry as well as implementing Article 17 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). However, very little is known on practical implication of this fund on tobacco farmers livelihood. We collected primary data from key stakeholders in four main tobacco producing municipalities. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis with NVivo 12. Numbers of challenges on DBHCHT utilization remained at sub-national levels. The sub-optimal use of DBHCHT could partly be explained by: (i) constantly changing central government regulation; (ii) farmers’ unawareness of DBHCHT regulation; (iii) the delay in DBHCHT allocation; and (iv) supply and demand mismatch. Although Indonesia has not been a part of the FCTC ratification, the DBHCHT mandate is in line with the FCTC article 17, i.e., promoting economically viable alternatives for tobacco farmers. This study concluded that DBHCHT utilization needs to go a long way to void this mandate given the challenges at sub-national level. Therefore, this study recommends more technical and practical regulations involving multisectoral stakeholders and the use of DBHCHT to facilitate financial needs of crop diversification.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0231.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: vegetation indices; precision farming; hybrid; phenotyping; remote sensing
Online: 17 May 2022 (12:47:44 CEST)
Abstract: Early assessment of crop development is a key aspect of precision agriculture. Shortening the time of response before a deficit of irrigation, nutrients and damage by diseases is one of the usual concerns in agriculture. Early prediction of crop yields can increase profitability in the farmer's economy. In this study we aimed to predict the yield of four maize commercial hybrids (Dekalb7508, Advanta9313, MH_INIA619 and Exp_05PMLM) using remotely sensed spectral vegetation indices (VI). A total of 10 VI (NDVI, GNDVI, GCI, RVI, NDRE, CIRE, CVI, MCARI, SAVI, and CCCI) were considered for evaluating crop yield and plant cover at 31, 39, 42, 46 and 51 days after sowing (DAS). A multivariate analysis was applied using principal component analysis (PCA), linear regression, and r-Pearson correlation. In the present study, highly significant correlations were found between plant cover with VIs at 46 (GNDVI, GCI, RVI, NDRE, CIRE and CCCI) and 51 DAS (GNDVI, GCI, NDRE, CIRE, CVI, MCARI and CCCI). The PCA indicated a clear discrimination of the dates evaluated with VIs at 31, 39 and 51 DAS. The inclusion of the CIRE and NDRE in the prediction model contributed to estimate the performance, showing greater precision at 51 DAS. The use of RPAS to monitor crops allows optimizing resources and helps in making timely decisions in agriculture in Peru.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202111.0372.v1
Online: 20 November 2021 (20:09:47 CET)
Countries in West Africa are adversely affected by climate change (erratic rainfall and rising temperature) resulting in floods, desertification, drought and sea level rise. These events are anticipated to have negative impacts on agricultural development on the continent, ultimately, contributing to food insecurity and environmental degradation. This implies that the production capacity of agrarian communities is unable to meet the food demand of the growing urban population. Can sustainable and innovative urban farming technology such as aquaponics achieve food security as well as sustainable development in countries vulnerable to climate change? This study uses inferential statistic to examine the plant growth performance in micro-scale aquaponics and specific growth rate per day (SGR) for the fish growth performance vis-à-vis conventional urban farming production. A quantitative analysis use to examine the barriers to adoption based on survey of (five) urban aquaculture practitioners in Lagos, Nigeria. Literature review was use to assess the economic feasibility of a small-scale aquaponics system in developing countries based on Net-Discounted Beneﬁt-Cost Rate (DBCR). The results suggest that aquaponics can improve food security through fish and vegetable production and it is likely that urban farming practitioners will adopt the technology if support mechanism are in place. Aquaponics systems present a novel opportunity to promote environmental conservation as well as sustainable food production and consumption in urban areas in Western Africa if adequate financial credit and knowledge transfer is provided.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201806.0399.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Economics Keywords: consumer perception; environment; health; income level; organic farming
Online: 25 June 2018 (16:40:48 CEST)
In the field of agricultural food production, the transition between organic and inorganic farming methods has been an issue of much debate. The debate, on one hand, stresses the urgency for the transition in order to preserve environment and health; and, on the other hand, emphasizes the pressure of maintaining food production for a large growing population. Thus, the dilemma is how to find an agricultural system that would balance between obtaining food security and ensuring a safe sustainably environment-friendly food production system. This article focuses on the debate, in the context of Bangladesh, and questions whether it is the proper time, and stage in the development process, to attempt the transition from inorganic conventional food production methods to organic food production methods. This article contemplates why the organic rice market is not expanding in Bangladesh, and attempts to explain the slow growth of the market through the two main factors of income constraint and lack of awareness among people about the environmental and health detriments of inorganic farming methods. The study is exploratory in nature, and finds that it is not mainly the lack of awareness but the income constraint that can be principally attributed to the slow expansion of the organic rice market in Bangladesh. Through exploring consumers’ awareness about organic farming methods and their demand for organic products, this study shows how income as the major constraint, besides price, affects consumers demand for organic and inorganic rice in Bangladesh. Income being identified as the major barrier reveals the potential of the organic rice market to grow in the future, as Bangladesh continues its journey towards becoming a middle-income country.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0331.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: milk lactose; automatic milking system; smart farming; dairy cows
Online: 15 September 2020 (04:51:45 CEST)
In this study pH, temperature of the contents of the forestomach of cows and cow activity were measured using specific smaXtec boluses manufactured for animal care. Rumination time, body weight, milk yield, milk fat/protein ratio, milk lactose, milk somatic cell count, milk electrical conductivity and conception of concentrates were registered with the help of Lely Astronaut® A3 milking robots. The following parameters were obtained: base excess in blood, partial carbon dioxide pressure, partial oxygen pressure, bicarbonate, hydrogen potential, total carbon dioxide carbon, base excess in extracellular fluid, sodium, calcium, potassium, packed cell volume, chlorides, hemoglobin concentration and lactate. According to the concentration of lactose in milk, cows were grouped into two groups: group 1 - milk lactose <4.70% (n = 20), group 2 - milk lactose ≥ 4.70% (n = 15). Data of cows were also divided by milk fat and protein ratio: F/P<1.2 (class 1), F/P=1.2 (class 2) and F/P>1.2 (class 3). According our results we can conclude that inline registered milk lactose concentration can be used as indicator for the health status of fresh dairy cows. Cows with higher lactose concentration (≥ 4.70%) developed more activity (54.47%) and had less risk of mastitis (lover milk EC, and SCC) and metabolic disorders according to F/P. Cows with higher lactose concentration showed higher glucose concentrations. Low level of lactose can be used as indicator of mastitis (milk SCC ≥ 100 thousand/ml) and metabolic disorders according to F/P.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0417.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: adaptation physiology; sensors; precision livestock farming; wearable animal sensors
Online: 19 July 2020 (18:27:52 CEST)
Despite recent scientific advancements, there is a gap in the use of technology to measure signals, behaviors, and processes of adaptation physiology of farm animals. Sensors present exciting opportunities for sustained, real-time, non-intrusive measurement of farm animal behavioral, mental, and physiological parameters with the integration of nanotechnology and instrumentation. This paper critically reviews the sensing technology and sensor data-based models used to explore biological systems such as animal behavior, energy metabolism, epidemiology, immunity, health, and animal reproduction. The use of sensor technology to assess physiological parameters can provide tremendous benefits and tools to overcome and minimize production losses while making positive contributions to animal welfare. Of course, sensor technology is not free from challenges; these devices are at times highly sensitive and prone to damage from dirt, dust, sunlight, colour, fur, feathers, and environmental forces. Rural farmers unfamiliar with the technologies must be convinced and taught to use sensor-based technologies in farming and livestock management. While there is no doubt that demand will grow for non-invasive sensor-based technologies that require minimum contact with animals and can provide remote access to data, their true success lies in the acceptance of these technologies by the livestock industry.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0370.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: organic farming; persistent organic pollutants; crops; peasant farmers; education
Online: 20 July 2018 (04:09:42 CEST)
Organic farming products are fast gaining acceptance from consumers all over the world due to the perceived belief that they are safe for human consumption. In recent years, there has been an increase in the levels of persistent organic and inorganic pollutants in the environment. These pollutants may be found in materials such as sewage sludge, treated wastewater, farmyard manure (human and animal feaces and urine) that are used for organic farming. The present review examined through literature the presence of these emerging pollutants in crops that are cultivated from farming activities practicing organic farming. The review highlighted and documented various pollutants that may be found in crops due to non-compliance with legislation establishing organic farming. The need to develop a robust method for identifying safe products from organic farming was highlighted. The impact of non-compliance and lack of proper education on the peasant farmers practicing backyard farming was also enumerated.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0405.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: agriculture; agrivoltaic; Canada; energy policy; farming; Alberta; photovoltaic; solar energy
Online: 26 October 2022 (09:19:37 CEST)
As Alberta increases solar power generation, land use conflicts with agriculture increase. A solution that enables low-carbon electricity generation and continued (in some cases increased) agricultural output is the co-locating of solar photovoltaics and agriculture: agrivoltaics. This study reviews policies that impact the growth of agri-voltaics in Alberta. Solar PV-based electricity generation is governed by three regula-tions based on system capacity. In addition, agrivoltaics falls under various legisla-tions, frameworks, and guidelines for land utilization. These include Land Use Frame-work, Alberta Land Stewardship Act, Municipal Government Act, Special Areas Dis-position, Bill 22 and other laws/policies all of which are reviewed in the context of agrivoltaics. Several policies are recommended to support rapid diffusion of agrivolta-ics. First, open access research into agrivoltaics, which not only will help optimize agrivoltaic systems for the region, but also coupled with public education is expected to galvanize social acceptability of large-scale PV deployment. Clearly defining and categorizing agrivoltaic technology, developing agrivoltaic standards, making agri-voltaic technology-friendly regulations/frameworks and developing programs and pol-icies to incentivize agrivoltaic deployment over conventional PV will all accelerate dif-fusion. Through these measures, Alberta can achieve conservation and sustainability in food and energy sector while simultaneously addressing the renewable energy and climate-related goals.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0437.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: Mixed farming; Household resilience; livelihood insecurity; Diversification; structural equation model
Online: 27 December 2021 (15:51:04 CET)
Poor households are more likely less resilient under climate change, risks of productive assets, social-related shocks, and decline of land productivity. The ability to deal with household resilience against poverty under the uncertain condition of risk is limited in the highlands of Ethiopia. The study aims to identify determinants of household resilience to livelihood insecurity under the crop-livestock mixed farming systems in Goncha district, Northwest highlands of Ethiopia. Primary data were collected by conducting face-to-face interviews among 280 households using structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, Kruskal-Wallis test and structural equation modeling were used to analyse the data. The results disclosed that sustainable management of the farming systems, cultivation of more fertile farmland, saving performance, diversification of income-earning activities, intensification of livestock husbandry practices, access to irrigation, and familiarity with practical technologies were found to be significant determinants at p<0.001 to household resilience of smallholder farmers. Social network development and tree plantation were explained household resilience to livelihood insecurity at P<0.01 and P<0.1 significant levels, respectively. The study concluded that scaling up sustainable management of the farming system and practical technologies, enhancing saving behavior, promoting income diversification, and intensifying agroforestry are significant for household resilience to livelihood insecurity of smallholders across agro-ecologies.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0149.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography Keywords: Farm fragmentation; Land fragmentation; cattle farming; agricultural productivity; Northern Ireland
Online: 9 October 2021 (13:47:08 CEST)
Farm fragmentation is the occurrence of numerous and often discontinuous land parcels associated with a single farm. Farm fragmentation is considered to be a defining feature of Northern Ireland’s (NI) agricultural landscape, influencing agricultural efficiency, productivity, and the spread of livestock diseases. Despite this, the full extent of farm fragmentation in cattle farms is not well understood, and little is known of how farm fragmentation either influences, or is influenced by, different animal production types. This study describes and quantifies farm fragmentation metrics for cattle enterprises in NI, presented separately for dairy and non-dairy production types. We find that 35% of farms consist of five or more fragments, with larger farms associated with greater levels of farm fragmentation, fragment dispersal and contact with contiguous farms. Moreover, this was particularly evident in dairy farms, which were over twice the size of farms associated with non-dairy production types, with twice as many individual land parcels and twice as many fragments. We hypothesise that the difference in farm fragmentation and farm size between dairy and non-dairy production types is associated with the recent expansion of dairy farms after the abolition of the milk quota system in 2015, which may have driven the expansion of dairy farms via the acquisition of land. The high levels of land fragmentation, fragment dispersal and contiguous contact observed in NI cattle farms may also have important implications for agricultural productivity and epidemiology alike. Whilst highly connected pastures could facilitate the dissemination of disease, highly fragmented and parcellised land could also hamper productivity via diseconomies of scale, such as preventing the increase of herd sizes or additionally, adding to farm costs by increasing the complexity of herd management.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0319.v1
Online: 16 August 2021 (10:56:10 CEST)
Climate risk is one of the confronting factors in Indian agriculture. To overcome this distrust, a large number of sensors can be installed in the fields,The extensive IoT platform can process the data sent by these sensors.The Data stream can be processed in real-timeusing Fuzzylogic, to offer smart solution. Network coding can enhance throughput and security. Thus reducing human interaction and improve efficiency.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0262.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: IoT; Smart Farming; sensor data; agricultural; Fuzzy logic; Network coding
Online: 11 August 2021 (14:09:12 CEST)
Climate risk is one of the confronting factors in Indian agriculture. To overcome this distrust, a large number of sensors can be installed in the fields,The extensive IoT platform can process the data sent by these sensors.The Data stream can be processed in real-timeusing Fuzzylogic, to offer smart solution. Network coding can enhance throughput and security. Thus reducing human interaction and improve efficiency.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0293.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: precision dairy farming; milk progesterone; production; reproduction; automatic milking system
Online: 14 July 2020 (05:48:53 CEST)
The aim of the instant study was to evaluate relative inline progesterone dynamic changes according to parity and status of reproduction and to estimate the relationship with productivity in dairy cows by inline milk analysis system (IMAS) Herd Navigator. According to a progesterone assay, cows were divided into three periods: postpartum, after insemination, and pregnancy. In the first stage of the postpartum period (0-29 days), the progesterone level in milk was monitored every 6 days. The second stage of the postpartum period (30-65 days) lasted until cows were inseminated. In the third period (0-45 days) after cows were inseminated, progesterone scores were distributed according to whether or not cows became pregnant. The stability of progesterone dynamics was monitored in the last study period (45-90 days). For milk progesterone detection, the fully automated real-time progesterone analyzer Herd Navigator (Lattec I/S. Hillerød. Denmark) was used in combination with a DeLaval milking robot (DeLaval Inc., Tumba, Sweden). The highest progesterone concentration in multiparous cows ranged from 1.08% (11-17 days postpartum) to 34.89% higher than that in cows of the first parity. The lowest progesterone concentrations in the milk of all cows were estimated during the first 5 postpartum days and between 18 and 23 days after calving. Peak milk progesterone concentrations were evaluated in the first stage of the experiment on days 24-29 after calving. In the 30-65-day period after calving, the level of milk progesterone was 2.02-2.08 times higher than that in the 24-29-day postpartum period. After insemination, the level of progesterone in milk increased by 10.77-22.54% compared with the level from cows on days 30-65 after calving. A higher (12.88%) concentration of progesterone in milk was evaluated in multiparous cows compared with that from cows of the first parity. In pregnant cows, milk progesterone within 0-45 days after insemination was 23.88% (in multiparous cows) and 32.54% (in primiparous cows) higher than that in non-pregnant cows. On days 31–35 after insemination, pregnant cows had higher milk progesterone levels, which can predict pregnancy success. According to our study results, we can suggest that an inline progesterone concentration determined by inline milk analysis system Herd Navigator and changes in its dynamics correlate with different reproductive statuses and milk yield of cows. Pregnant cows 11–15 days after insemination have higher milk progesterone levels, what positively, associated with a successful pregnancy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0563.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Prunus dulcis; almond agroecosystem; sustainable management; metabarcoding; phytopathogenic fungi; organic farming.
Online: 29 December 2022 (15:04:13 CET)
A comparative study of organic and conventional farming systems was conducted in almond orchards to determine the effect of management practices on their fungal and bacterial communities. Soils from two orchards under organic (OM) and conventional (CM), and nearby nonmanaged soil (NM) were analyzed and compared. Several biochemical and biological parameters were measured (soil pH, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen, organic material, total phosphorous, total DNA, and fungal and bacterial DNA copies). Massive parallel sequencing of regions from fungal ITS rRNA and bacterial 16S genes was done to characterize their diversity in the soil. We report a larger abundance of bacteria and fungi in soils under OM, with a more balanced fungi:bacteria ratio, compared to bacteria-skewed proportions under CM and NM. The fungal phylum Ascomycota corresponded to around the 75% relative abundance in the soil, whereas for bacteria, the phyla Proteobacteria, Acidobacteriota and Bacteroidota integrated around 50% of their diversity. Alpha diversity was similar across practices, but beta diversity was highly clustered by soil management. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSE) identified bacterial and fungal taxa associated to each type of soil management. Analyses of fungal functional guilds revealed 3-4 times larger abundance of pathogenic fungi under CM compared to OM and NM treatments. Among them, the genus Cylindrocarpon was more abundant under CM and Fusarium under OM.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0456.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: Chagga; water infrastructures; water management; sustainable farming; social complexity; community collaboration
Online: 23 December 2022 (09:00:41 CET)
Since the second half of the second millennium AD, water management among the Chagga people of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has involved community collaboration in the construction, ownership and management of water infrastructure. Chagga settlement on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro transformed the landscape significantly to reflect an agrarian society characterised by decentralised forms of socio-political and economic organisation. Such organization involved conception, construction, and post-construction management of water distribution systems, constituting high-level socio-political complexity. The study employs ethnography, archaeological surveys and GIS to document water infrastructures on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. We conclude that community collaboration was key in management of the water infrastructure and by extension, agriculture, which sustained Chagga and chiefdoms for centuries.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0316.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Precision farming; Early crop-type mapping; Sentinel-2; Random Forest; SVM
Online: 17 January 2022 (10:54:10 CET)
Crop-type mapping is an important intermediate step for cost-effective crop management at the field level, as an overview of all fields with a particular crop type can be used for monitoring or yield forecasting, for instance. Our study used a data set with 2400 fields and corresponding satellite observations from the federal state of Bavaria, Germany. The study classified corn, winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beet, potato, and winter rapeseed as the main crops grown in Upper Bavaria. We additionally experimented with a rejection class "Other", which summarised further crop types. Corresponding Sentinel-2 data included the normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and raw bands from 2016 to 2018 for each selected field. The influence of raw bands compared to NDVI was analysed and the classification algorithms, i.e. support vector machine (SVM) and random forest (RF), were compared. The study showed that the use of an index should be critically questioned and that raw bands provided a wider spectral bandwidth, which significantly improved the mapping of crop types. The results underline the use of RF with raw bands and achieved overall accuracies (OA) of up to 92%. We also predicted crop types in an unknown year with significantly different weather conditions and several months before the end of the growing season. Thus, the influence of climate anomalies and the accuracy depending on the time of prediction were assessed. The crop types of a test site and year without labels could be determined with an OA of up to 86%. The results demonstrate the usefulness of the proof-of-concept and its readiness for use in real applications.
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Wheat; yield; triple-super-phosphate; sulfur; nitrogen; micro-dosing, precision-farming
Online: 21 July 2021 (08:22:32 CEST)
This research was specifically aimed at assessing the influence of sulfur in triple-super phosphate (TSP) on wheat yield. From the results, wheat showed response to sulfur (S) from gypsum (in 67%); and nitrogen (N) from urea in about 100% (of 24 sites). Based on this N was found to be the most limiting element to wheat production followed by sulfur, and then by phosphorus. TSP is tested to contain agronomically up to 2-6% by weight of S. However, wheat didn’t show response to S impurity supplied in the form of TSP. Though, not statistically significant, it is observed that there have always been yield increments by certain percent due to S from TSP in 8 out of 10 target sites, which is depicted in the increasing trends of yield response curves. From this it is learnt that, the benefits of the accidental/incidental application of such high analysis fertilizers can be many-folds in the quality attributes of wheat, if the soils of such investigation at the same time would contain significant amount of organic matter (OM). Indeed, such analysis would be vital in varietal specific nutrient requirement studies in precision-farming and/or in categorizing soils into fertility gradients and fertilizer recommendation domains.
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: vertical farming; controlled environment agriculture; plant factories; biostimulant; microbiome; hydroponics; aeroponics
Online: 28 May 2021 (11:07:33 CEST)
Vertical farming (VF) is a potential solution for the production of high-quality, accessible, and climate-friendly nutrition for growing urban populations. However, to realize VF’s potential as a sustainable food source, innovative technologies are required to ensure that VF can be industrialized on a massive scale and extended beyond leafy greens and fruits into the production of food staples or row crops. A major obstacle to the economic and environmental sustainability of VF is the lighting energy consumed. While technological advances have improved the energy efficiency of VF lighting systems, there has been insufficient research into biostimulation as an approach to reduce energy needs. We conducted a controlled trial to investigate the application of a phycocyanin-rich Spirulina extract (PRSE) as a biostimulant in hydroponically grown, vertically farmed lettuce (Lactuca sativa and Salanova®). PRSE application reduced the time from seeding to harvest by 6 days, increased yield by 12.5%, and improved quality including color, taste, texture, antioxidant flavonoid levels and shelf life. Metagenomic analysis of the microbial community of the nutrient solution indicated that PRSE increased the overall bacterial diversity including raising the abundance of Actinobacteria and Firmicutes and reducing the abundance of potentially pathogenic bacteria. This preliminary study demonstrates that microalgae-derived biostimulants may play an important role in improving the economic and environmental sustainability of VF.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202001.0121.v1
Subject: Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Neuroscience Keywords: unmanned aerial vehicles; smart farming; precision agriculture; technological frames; case study
Online: 12 January 2020 (14:48:29 CET)
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are one of the most promising innovative technologies invented in recent years to promote precision agriculture and smart farming. UAVs can not only reduce labor requirements but also increase production output, reduce the use of pesticides, and protect the environment. However, previous studies on agricultural UAVs have mostly focused on technical problems such as software and hardware design. Few studies have examined users’ behaviors in the implementation process. On the basis of Orlikowski and Gash’s technological frames, this study explored the participants’ cognition and expectation of farmers, pesticide, sprayers, and agriculture officials, who are three key groups of stakeholders involved in the application of UAVs to pesticide spraying, regarding agricultural UAVs and examined how the conflicts between their cognition and expectation influenced the choice of using pesticide spraying UAVs. The conclusions of this study contributed to supplement the content and broaden the scope of application of technological frame theory and provided a crucial reference for the promotion of agricultural UAVs in practice.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0041.v1
Subject: Engineering, Construction Keywords: Food security; Urban farming; Fish protein; RAS; Land; Water; Sub-Sahara Africa
Online: 5 October 2022 (12:30:37 CEST)
The urban population in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa, is rapidly increas-ing. As towns and cities grow, so does the demand for fish protein. While flow-through aqua-culture can provide fresh, healthy and nutritious fish protein, it is plagued by extensive land re-quirement as well as effluent discharge, thus, unsuitable for city regions. Alternatively, small-scale Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) could improve food and nutritional security (FNS), livelihoods as well as reduce environmental degradation in urban areas despite land and water constraints. The question however remains - what are the key technical, business and managerial issues, surrounding small-scale RAS in urban farming? This study reviews the RAS prototype of the Sustainable Aquaponics for Nutritional and Food Security in Urban Sub-Saharan Africa (SANFU) II project based on mass balance and stock density, relevant for fish survival and/or availability as well as net cash-flow analyses. The results suggest that small-scale RAS are technically and financially viable only with family labor having proper aquaculture monitoring and management skills. Furthermore, access to adequate equipment and inputs as well as electricity for the recirculating system are crucial. Urban innovation actors will adopt RAS if operations are profitable given that family labor is employed.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0496.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: carbon farming; carbon foot printing; low carbon agriculture; carbon sequestration; carbon economy
Online: 25 August 2021 (15:01:05 CEST)
Carbon farming is a capable strategy for more sustainable production of food and other related products. It seeks to produce the diverse array of natural farming methods and marketable products simultaneously. In agroforestry system, carbon sequestration is done by incorporating carbon dioxide (CO2) into plant biomass via photosynthesis. Carbon is, thus, stored in reserves of above-ground biomass, such as timber or branches, and below-ground biomass such as roots, or organic carbon in the soil. In addition to the significance of carbon sequestration in climate change mitigation, soil organic carbon (SOC) is an imperative indicator for the soil health as well as fertility. The change in SOC can explain whether the land use pattern degrades or improves the soil fertility. SOC, found in the soil in the form of soil organic matter (SOM), helps to improve soil health either directly or indirectly. Its direct consequence is related to the process of mineralization. Further, agroforestry is highly capable of generating huge amounts of bio-mass. In fact, agroforestry is believed to be particularly suitable for replenishment of SOC. Therefore, efforts should be made to convince farmers for their resource-use efficiency and soil conserving ability in order to get maximum benefits out of agriculture. According to food and agriculture organization (FAO,) agriculture, forestry, and other land use practices account for 24% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and total global livestock emissions of 7.1 gigatons of CO2-equivalent per year, representing 14.5% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions. Agroforestry system that deliberately integrates trees and crops with livestock in the agricultural production could potentially increase carbon sequestration and decrease GHG emission from the terrestrial ecosystems, thus, helping in global climatic change mitigation. This study, therefore, aimed at clarification about carbon farming, modifications in carbon cycle and carbon sequestration during agricultural development in addition to benefits of agroforestry.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0364.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: Poultry behaviour; target tracking; deep learning; precision livestock farming; poultry production systems.
Online: 16 May 2021 (22:43:58 CEST)
The world's growing population is highly dependent on animal agriculture. Animal products provide nutrient-packed meals that help to sustain individuals of all ages in communities across the globe. As the human demand for animal proteins grows, the agricultural industry must continue to advance its efficiency and quality of production. One of the most commonly farmed livestock is poultry and their significance is felt on a global scale. Current poultry farming practices result in the premature death and rejection of billions of chickens on an annual basis before they are processed for meat. This loss of life is concerning regarding animal welfare, agricultural efficiency, and economic impacts. The best way to prevent these losses is through the individualistic and/or group level assessment of animal on a continuous basis. On large-scale farms, such attention to detail was generally considered to be inaccurate and inefficient, but with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) assisted technology individualized and per-herd assessments of livestock are possible and accurate. Various studies have shown cameras linked with specialized systems of AI can properly analyze flocks for health concerns, thus improving the survival rate and product quality of farmed poultry. Building on the recent advancements, this review explores the aspects of AI in the detection, counting and tracking of the poultry in commercial and research-based applications.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0476.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Organic Farming; Sustainable Agriculture; Ecosystem Services; Life Cycle Assessment; EU Green Deal
Online: 18 November 2020 (12:39:42 CET)
The European Union green deal has proposed the “organic farming action plan” to render this farming system more sustainable for climate mitigation and adaptation and to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs). While this policy instrument is fundamental to reach sustainable agriculture, there is still no agreement on what sustainable agriculture is and how to measure it. This opinion paper proposes an ecosystem-based framework on the crop life-cycle to determine the balance between economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainability to support decision-making.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201810.0514.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: acrylamide; free asparagine; agriculture; organic farming; cultivars; cultivar selection; cereal production; cereals
Online: 23 October 2018 (03:57:10 CEST)
For cereals grown under organic conditions, information on levels of free asparagine (free Asn) as a precursor to acrylamide (AA) formation, is almost completely lacking. This study investigated the impact of organically grown cereal species and cultivars of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), winter spelt (Triticum aestivum ssp. spelta), winter rye (Secale cereale), winter einkorn (Triticum monococcum) and winter emmer (Triticum dicoccum) on the level of free Asn with simultaneous consideration of grain yields and flour qualities over three growing seasons (2005–2006, 2006–2007 and 2007–2008) in Southwest Germany. Additionally, the relation of free Asn and AA was investigated. Heritability revealed how strongly the level of free Asn was linked to the genotype. In this context free Asn of species and cultivars grown at a second location in Southern Germany were analysed. The level of free Asn was significantly influenced by species and within species by cultivars. Rye was found to exhibit the highest free Asn amount (52 mg 100 g−1), followed by einkorn (32 mg 100 g−1), emmer (16 mg 100 g−1) wheat (10 mg 100 g−1) and spelt (8 mg 100 g−1), which showed the overall lowest free Asn content. Hence, replacing rye with spelt in food products would lead to an 85% reduction of free Asn in raw material. Within species, cultivars differed in their levels of free Asn by up to 67% for wheat, 55% for spelt and 33% for rye. Year also had a significant impact as almost all samples were significantly higher in their level of free Asn in 2008 compared to 2006 and 2007. Rye was most significantly affected by year as the level of free Asn varied by up to 32% between years. In contrast, wheat and spelt were only affected minimally by year. A high heritability was found for wheat (0.79) and spelt (0.91) concerning locations in 2008, meaning that the level of free Asn is mainly determined by the genotype and less influenced by environmental conditions. In contrast, heritability was low for wheat (0.23) but high for spelt (0.71) and rye (0.67) regarding years. As for organically grown cereals the relation between free Asn and AA formation was never investigated before. Correlation of both parameters was calculated. There was also a close correlation between free Asn and AA. Across species and years, the amount of free Asn correlated with the AA content in heated flour with R2 = 0.69***. Thus, free Asn can serve as an indicator for AA formation during processing. In conclusion, the level of free Asn can be highly influenced by proper selection of species and cultivars under organic growing conditions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0036.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: foraging activity; food exploitation; sugar nectar concentration; tropical species; meliponiculture; bee farming
Online: 3 July 2018 (11:08:42 CEST)
Stingless bee beekeeping provides new opportunities to improve the incomes of many households in Malaysia through the sale of honey and other bee products. While Heterotrigona itama is one of the most commonly cultured species of stingless bees, its behavior is not very well understood. Hence, we conducted this study to investigate the behavior of H. itama in exploiting food sources by ascertaining the nectar sugar concentration preferred by the bee. We also aimed to determine the preferred distance of food source from the bee hive. Our results suggest that H. itama prefers high sugar concentrations of 35% and above, and they would fly up to 7 m from the hive to collect food. We discuss how nectar concentration and food distance influence the number of bees exploiting food sources and the overall foraging pattern of H. itama.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0119.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Agroecology; Bio-economic farm models; Crop Syst; Aqua Crop; Organic farming; sustainable development
Online: 7 July 2022 (09:12:26 CEST)
Nations of the world have seen unprecedented changes in climate variables in recent decades. But it is unclear to what extent climate change has impacted and will impact food systems in some developing regions, and how policymakers can frame an approach to encouraging adaptation and advancing climate-smart agriculture. Many studies attempting to link agroecology to climate change adaptation do so without understanding the potential of Agroecology not only to mitigate climate change – which is the weak response – but to reverse its impact and ‘climate proof’ our food systems. By modeling the near and far future impacts of climate change on crop production, we showed how climate will impact crop production under two crop production systems (agroecology and non-agroecology production systems). The overarching aim is to derive sustainable development strategies and lessons for policymakers and climate researchers - essential components of environment and Agricultural development. Using case studies from Nigeria, we observed that transitioning to agroecology, even at the farm level also transforms farm designs, thereby affecting their overall food and nutrition status. The result showed that the use of agroecology management practices not only reduces the impact of climate change in the near future but will also lead to increased crop yield in the future. The finding suggests that to feed the over 400 million projected population of Nigeria by 2050, the use of agroecological practices will be a better alternative to the conventional farming methods. To advance the use of agroecological farming methods, governments at every level in Nigeria need to mainstream organic agriculture in national government policies. This is important as it will not only address climate change impacts but also hunger and poverty.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0021.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: vertical farming; controlled environment; lettuce cultivars; anthocyanin; light quality; LEDs; light recipe; stomata
Online: 1 June 2022 (13:17:55 CEST)
Indoor crop cultivation systems such as vertical farms or plant factories necessitate artificial lighting. Light spectral quality can affect plant growth and metabolism and, consequently, the amount of biomass produced and the value of the produce. Conflicting results on the effects of light spectrum in different plant species and cultivars make it critical to implement a singular lighting solution. In this study we explored the response of green and red leaf lettuce cultivars (’Aquino’, CVg, or ‘Barlach’, CVr, respectively) to long-term blue-enriched light application (WB). Plants were grown for 30 days in a growth chamber with optimal environmental condi-tions (temperature: 20°C, relative humidity: 60%, ambient CO2, Photon Flux Density (PFD) of 260 µmol m-2 s-1 over an 18-h photoperiod). At 15 days after sowing (DAS) white spectrum LEDs (WW) were compared to WB (λPeak = 423 nm) maintaining the same PFD of 260 µmol m-2 s-1. At 30 DAS, both lettuce cultivars resulted adapted to the blue light variant, though the adaptive re-sponse was specific to the variety. Rosette weight, light use efficiency and maximum operating efficiency of PSII photochemistry in the light, Fv/Fm’, were comparable between the two light treatments. Significant light quality effect was detected on stomatal density and conductance (20% and 17% increase under WB, respectively, in CVg) and, on the modified anthocyanin re-flectance index (mARI) (40% increase under WB, in CVr). Net photosynthesis response was gen-erally stronger in CVg compared to CVr; e.g. net photosynthetic rate, Pn, at 1000 µmol m-2 s-1 PPFD increased from WW to WB by 23% in CVg, compared to 18% in CVr. Results obtained suggest the occurrence of distinct physiological adaptive strategies in green and red pigmented lettuce cultivars to adapt to the higher proportion of blue light environment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0430.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: agriculture; agrivoltaic; Greater Golden Horseshoe; Canada; energy policy; farming; Ontario; photovoltaic; solar energy
Online: 27 December 2021 (13:52:09 CET)
Well-intentioned regulations to protect Canada’s most productive farmland restrict large-scale so-lar photovoltaic (PV) development. The recent innovation of agrivoltaics, which is the co-development of land for both PV and agriculture, makes these regulations obsolete. Burgeoning agrivoltaics research has shown agricultural benefits including increased yield for a wide range of crops, plant protection from excess solar energy and hail, improved water conservation while maintaining agricultural employment and local food supplies. In addition, the renewable electricity generation decreases greenhouse gas emissions while increasing farm revenue. As Canada in general, and Ontario in particular, is at a strategic disadvantage in agricultural without agrivoltaics, this study investigates the policy changes necessary to capitalize on the benefits of using agrivoltaics in Ontario. Land use policies in Ontario are reviewed. Then, three case studies (peppers, sweet corn and winter wheat) are analyzed for agrivoltaic potential in Ontario. These results are analyzed in conjunction with potential policies that would continue to protect the green-belt of the Golden Horseshoe, while enabling agrivoltaics in Ontario. Four agrivoltaic policy areas are discussed: increased research and development, enhanced education/public awareness, mechanisms to support Canada’s farmers converting to agrivoltaics and using agrivoltaics as a potential source of trade surplus with the U.S.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0368.v1
Subject: Keywords: Precision Livestock Farming; Sensors; Animal Ethics; Animal Welfare; Society; Sustainability; Human-animal relationships
Online: 16 July 2021 (11:27:24 CEST)
The demand for animal products is expected to continue to rise, which requires the development of efficient livestock farming systems. Environmental, societal and economic concerns regarding this industry are however accumulating, addressing the large resource demand, pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions and health concerns that the livestock industry is responsible for. Precision livestock farming systems allow the continuous automatic monitoring of various physiological, behavioural and phenotypic parameters of animals in order to increase productivity and animal welfare while controlling and minimizing the environmental impact. There is a high potential for digital farming to be the solution for responsibly and ethically feeding the growing and urbanizing population. However, many problems and concerns are still present in this developing industry and remain relatively unaddressed, starting with the ethical aspects in regard to the animal, including its objectification, human-animal relationships and welfare and ending with the societal implications of this digitalization. Concrete frameworks, inter-disciplinary studies and global legislation need to be put in place in order to ensure the safety and protection of the animals, farmer and society. Here, implications of digital farming for the animals, farmers, society and the planet are critically reviewed with the future outlook of digital farms.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201908.0306.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: fisheries; fish farming; demersal fish; sea trout; stock collapse; three-mile fishing limit
Online: 29 August 2019 (05:39:29 CEST)
Salmon farming has been blamed for the collapse of the sea trout (Salmo trutta) fishery in Loch Maree on Scotland’s west coast despite the absence of any direct evidence. Stocks of west coast demersal marine fish, especially around the Clyde Estuary have also declined over a similar time span. The decline of these marine fish stocks can be attributed to the removal of the “three-mile fishing limit” in 1984 by UK Government legislation. Sea trout inhabit the same inshore waters as targeted demersal fish and can be caught as by-catch. Comparisons of the decline of demersal species and the sea trout from Loch Maree and the west coast show a high degree of correlation. Stocks of whiting (Merlangius merlangus) from inshore waters have found to consist of small fish which mirrors the stock makeup of the Loch Maree sea trout stock.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0041.v1
Subject: Engineering, General Engineering Keywords: ecological farming system; dynamic numerical simulation; evaporative cooling system; treated wastewater; temperature; humidity
Online: 2 May 2018 (12:56:15 CEST)
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is significantly dependent on desalinated water and groundwater resource, which is expensive and highly energy intensive. Despite the scarce water resource, only 54% of the recycled water was reused in 2015. In this study, an “Oasis” complex comprised of Sustainable Farming Compartments (SFCs) was proposed for reusing treated wastewater to decrease the ambient temperature of the SFC via an evaporative cooling system. A prototype SFC with half the original scale (width = 1.8 m, depth = 1.5 m, front height = 1.2 m back height = 0.9 m) was designed, built, and tested in an environmentally controlled laboratory and field site to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of the SFC under the climatic conditions in Abu Dhabi. Based on the experimental results, the temperature drops obtained from the SFC in the laboratory and field site were 5 ̊C at initial relative humidity of 60% and 7- 15 ̊C at initial relative humidity of 50%, respectively. An energy simulation using dynamic numerical simulations was performed in comparison to the results of the experiment. The energy-based dynamic simulation shows good agreement with the experimental results. The total power consumption of the SFC system was approximately three and a half times lower than that of an electrical air conditioner.
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: additive manufacturing; agriculture; agrivoltaic; distributed manufacturing; farming; gardening; open hardware; photovoltaic; recycling; solar energy
Online: 27 September 2021 (11:03:32 CEST)
There is an intense need to optimize agrivoltaic systems. This article describes the invention of a new testing system: the parametric open source cold-frame agrivoltaic system (POSCAS). POSCAS is an adapted gardening cold-frame used in cold climates as it acts as a small greenhouse for agricultural production. POSCAS is designed to test partially transparent solar photovoltaic (PV) modules targeting the agrivoltaic market. It can both function as a traditional cold frame, but it can also be automated to function as a full-service greenhouse. The integrated PV module roof can be used to power the controls or it can be attached to a microinverter to produce power. POSCAS can be placed in an experimental array for testing, agricultural and power production. It can be easily adapted for any type of partially transparent PV module. An array of POSCAS systems al-lows for testing agrivoltaic impacts from the percent transparency of the modules by varying the thickness of a thin film PV material or the density of silicon-based cells, and various forms of optical enhancement, anti-reflection coatings and solar light spectral shifting materials in the back sheet. All agrivoltaic variables can be customized to identify ideal PV designs for a given agricultural crop.
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: volunteered geographic information; agricultural intensification; sustainability; smart farming; citizen science; SDGs; decision support tool
Online: 24 August 2020 (02:56:48 CEST)
Traditional agricultural extension services rely on extension workers, especially in countries with large agricultural areas. In order to increase adoption of sustainable agriculture, the recommendations given by such services must be adapted to local conditions and be provided in a timely manner. The AgroTutor mobile application was built to provide highly specific and timely agricultural recommendations to farmers across Mexico and complement the work of extension agents. At the same time, AgroTutor provides direct contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, either by advancing their implementation or providing local data systems to measure and monitor specific indicators such as the proportion of agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture. The application is freely available and allows farmers to geo-locate and register plots and the crops grown there, using the phone’s in-built GPS, or alternatively, on top of very high-resolution imagery. Once a crop and some basic data such as planting date and cultivar type have been registered, the app provides targeted information such as weather, potential and historical yield, financial benchmarking information, data-driven recommendations as well as commodity price forecasts. Farmers are also encouraged to contribute in-situ information, e.g., soils, management, and yield data. The information can then be used by crop models, which, in turn, would send tailored results back to the farmers. Initial feedback from farmers and extension agents has already improved some of the app’s characteristics. More enhancements are planned for inclusion in the future to increase the app’s function as a decision support tool.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202001.0096.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: ph sensors; reticulorumen; blood gas; automatic milking system; real-time monitoring; precision livestock farming
Online: 10 January 2020 (10:08:05 CET)
We hypothesized possibility that inline registered reticulorumen pH can be as biomarker of cows reproduction and health status. Aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship of reticulorumen pH with biomarkers from automatic milking system (AMS) and some blood parameters and determinate reticulorumen pH as biomarker of cows reproduction and health status. According to cows reproductive status the cows were classified as belonging to the following four groups: 15-30 d. postpartum; 1-34 d. after insemination; 35 d. after insemination (non-pregnant); 35 d. after insemination (pregnant). According reticulorumen pH assay experimental animals were divided into four classes: 1) pH<6.22 (5.3% of cows), 2) pH - 6.22-6.42 (42.1% of cows), 3) pH - 6.42-6.62 (21.1% of cows), 4) pH >6.62 (10.5% of cows). Rumination time, body weight, milk yield, milk fat – protein ratio, milk lactose, milk somatic cell count (SCC), milk electrical conductivity of all quarters of udder were registered with the help of Lely Astronaut® A3 milking robots. The pH, temperature of the contents of cow reticulorumens and cow activity were measured using specific smaX-tec boluses. Blood gas parameters were analyzed using a blood gas analyzer (EPOC, Canada). We found that pregnant cows has higher reticulorumen pH during insemination time, comparing with non-pregnant. Cows with lower reticulorumen pH has lowest milk fat – protein ratio, and lactose concentration, and highest SCC. Cows with lowest reticulorumen pH has lowest blood pH. With increase reticulorumen pH, increases blood potasium and hematocrit, decreases CO2, saturation and sodium.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201907.0207.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: crop intensification; energy balance; North East Hill Region; organic farming; soil health; water productivity
Online: 18 July 2019 (09:06:21 CEST)
Organic farming has positive, impact on environment, soil health, and healthy food quality. Worldwide demand for organic foods is increasing by leaps and bounds in recent years. The present investigation was undertaken during 2014 to 2018 to evaluate the effect of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) co-culture with maize (Zea mays L.) on productivity enhancement over prevailing maize-fallow system, and to assess the feasibility of inclusion of short duration winter crops after maize with appropriate residue management practices on productivity and soil health. The experiment comprised of six cropping systems in main plot and three soil moisture conservation (SMC) measures options in sub plot. Results indicated that the inclusion of second crop in place of fallow and cowpea co-culture with maize increased average maize grain yield by 6.2 to 23.5% as compared to that of maize-fallow (MF). Use of maize stover mulch (MSM) + weed biomass mulch (WBM) increases maize grain yield by 19.1 and 6.5% over those of MSM and no mulch (NM), respectively. Various soil moisture conservation (SMC) measures had significant (p=0.05) effect on crop yields and water productivity. Double cropping system had significantly (p=0.05) higher amount of soil available NPK, soil organic carbon (SOC), microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and dehydrogenase activity (DHA) at 0-15 cm and at 15-30 cm depth than those under MF. The SWC measures of MSM+WBM had significantly higher available N, SOC, and MBC by 5.5, 4.8 and 8.1% than those under NM, respectively. Correspondingly, soils under MSM and MSM+WBM had 2.24 and 2.99% lower bulk density (ρb) in 0-15 cm and 2.21 and 2.94% lower ρb in 15-30 cm than that of NM. The energy use efficiency (EUE) was significantly higher under MCV (7.90%) over rest of the cropping sequences. MSM+WBM and MSM recorded 25.1 and 16.6% higher net energy over NM, respectively. The net return (INR 159.99×103/ha) and B:C ratio (2.86) were significantly higher with MCV system followed by MCR cropping sequence. MSM+WBM had significantly higher net return (INR 109.44×103/h), B:C ratio (2.46) over those under MSM (INR 97.6×103/h) and NM (INR 78.61×103/h). Overall the cowpea co-culture with maize and inclusion of short cycle winter crops along with MSM+WBM in maize-based cropping systems was found productive in terms of crop and water, profitable, energy efficient and sustained the soil health.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201803.0107.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: fire management; human activities; participation; firewood; charcoal; grazing; water; honey; farming; community forest association
Online: 12 June 2018 (11:20:43 CEST)
This paper proposes an Integrated Fire Management (IFM) framework that can be used to support communities and resource managers in finding effective and efficient approaches to prevent damaging fires, as well as maintain desirable fire regimes in Kenya. Designing and implementing an IFM approach in Kenya calls for a systematic understanding of the various uses of fire and the underlying perceptions and traditional ecological knowledge of the local people. The here proposed IFM framework allows an evaluation of the risks posed by fires, while balancing them with their beneficial ecological and economic effects, and thus developing effective fire management approaches. A case study of the proposed IFM framework was conducted in Gathiuru Forest that is part of the larger Mt. Kenya Forest Ecosystem. Focus group discussions were held with key resource persons, primary and secondary data on socio-economic activities were studied, fire and weather records were analyzed and the current fire management plans were consulted. Questionnaires were used to assess how the IFM is implemented in the Gathiuru Forest Station. The results show that the proposed IFM framework is scalable and can be applied in places with fire-dependent ecosystems as well as in places with fire-sensitive ecosystems in Kenya. The effectiveness is dependent on the active participation, formulation and implementation of the IFM activities by the main stakeholder groups (Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and the Community Forest Associations (CFA)). The proposed IFM framework helps in implementing cost-effective approaches to prevent damaging fires and maintain desirable fire regimes in Kenya.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201802.0006.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Sociology Keywords: climate-smart agriculture; adoption; small-scale irrigation farming; household income; Chinyanja Triangle; Southern Africa
Online: 1 February 2018 (09:33:20 CET)
This article concerns the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice and its influence on household income in the Chinyanja Triangle. Chinyanja Triangle is a region that experiences mid-season dry spells and an increase in occurrences of drought due to low and erratic rainfall patterns which is attributed largely to climate variability and change. This poses high agricultural production risks, which aggravate poverty and food insecurity. For this region, adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice is very important. Through a binary logistic and ordinary least squares regression, the article determines factors that influence the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice and its influence on income among smallholder farmers. The results show that off-farm employment, access to irrigation equipment, access to reliable water sources and awareness of water conservation practices, such as rainwater harvesting have a significant influence on the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming. On the other hand, the farmer’s age, distance travelled to the nearest market and nature of employment negatively influenced the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming decisions. Ordinary least squares regression results showed that the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice has a significant positive influence on agricultural income. We therefore conclude that to empower smallholder farmers to quickly respond to climate variability and change, practices that will enhance adoption of small-scale irrigation farming in the Chinyanja Triangle are critical as this will significantly impact on agricultural income.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0414.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: agriculture; agrivoltaic; climate policy; Canada; energy policy; farming; land use; photovoltaic; solar energy; renewable energy
Online: 23 January 2023 (12:16:00 CET)
Canada has committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by increasing the non-emitting share of electricity generation to 90% by 2030. As solar energy costs have plummeted, agrivoltaics (co-development of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and agriculture) provide an economic path to these goals. This study quantifies agrivoltaic potential in Canada by province using geographical information system analysis of agricultural areas and numerical simulations. Systems modeled would enable conventional farming of field crops to continue (and potentially increase yield) by using bifacial PV for single-axis tracking and vertical system configurations. Between a quarter (vertical) to more than one third (single axis tracking) of Canada’s electrical energy needs can be provided solely by agrivoltaics using only 1% of current agricultural lands. These results show that agrivoltaics could be a major contributor to sustainable electricity generation and provide the ability for Canada to render the power generation sector net zero/GHG emission free. It is clear that the potential of agrivoltaic-based solar energy production in Canada far outstrips current electric demand and can thus be used to electrify and decarbonize transportation, heating, expand economic opportunities by powering the burgeoning computing sector, and export green electricity to the U.S. to help eliminate their dependence on fossil fuels.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0008.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Sustainable dryland farming; clay soil amendment; soil water use; organic matter; enzyme activity; nutrient turnover
Online: 1 March 2022 (08:27:33 CET)
Degraded soils causing from natural and human affects are universal in arid and semi-arid regions all over the world. Bentonite and humic acid (BHA) are increasingly being tested to remediate these degraded lands with potential benefits on crop production and soil health. The objective of this paper was to determine the residual effects four to five years after a one-time BHA application at six rates on (i) dynamic changes in soil properties, and (ii) oat crop productivity parameters, in a dryland farming ecosystem. With increasing rates of one-time BHA application, soil profile water storage displayed a piecewise linear increase plus plateau, whereas soil electrical conductivity, pH and bulk density were all reduced significantly (P < 0.05) in the 0-20 cm and 20-60 cm layers. The improved soil environments gave rise to an increased activity of soil enzymes urease, invertase and catalase that respectively reached the peak values of 97%, 37% and 32% at the rates of 21 to 24 Mg BHA ha-1. These conversely boosted soil nutrient turnover, leading to a 40% higher soil available P. Compared with the control treatment, application of BHA at the estimated optimum rate (roughly 24 Mg ha-1) increased grain yield by 20%, protein yield by 62%, water use efficiency by 41%, and partial factor productivity of N by 20%. Results of this study showed for the first time that a one-time BHA application would be a new and effective strategy to combat land degradation, drought, and promote a sustainable soil micro-ecological environment in dryland agroecosystem under a varying climate scenario.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0243.v1
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: digital farming; remote sensing; land management; multispectral image processing; land cover mapping; agricultural field boundary
Online: 14 December 2021 (15:01:03 CET)
This paper considered the issue of agricultural fields boundary recognition in satellite images. A novel algorithm based on the aggregated history of vegetation index data obtained via open satellite data, Sentinel-2, was proposed. The proposed algorithm included several basic steps, namely the detection of parcel regions on aggregated index data; the calculation of aggregated edge maps; the segmentation of parcel regions using the edges obtained; the computation of connected components and their contour extraction. In this paper, we showed that the use of aggregated vegetation index data and boundary maps allow for much more accurate agricultural field segmentation compared to the instant vegetation index approach. The quality of segmentation within regions of Russia and the Ukraine was estimated. The dataset that was used and Python implementation of the proposed algorithm were provided.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0758.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: precision agriculture; agriculture 4.0; digital agriculture; smart farming; industry 4.0; sustainability; innovation; bibliometrics; science mapping.
Online: 31 May 2021 (12:01:58 CEST)
: The agriculture sector is one of the backbones of many countries’ economies and its processes have been changing in order to enable technological adoption to increase productivity, quality, and sustainable development. In this research, we present a theoretical reflection through a scientific mapping of the adoption of precision techniques and breakthrough technologies in agriculture, the so-called Precision Agriculture (PA) and Agriculture 4.0 (A4.0). To do this, we used 4,694 documents from the Web of Science database to perform a Bibliometric Performance and Network Analysis (BPNA) of the literature with the support of the PICOC protocol and the SciMAT software. Our findings present 22 strategic themes related to Digital Agriculture (DA) such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Climate-smart Agriculture (CSA) among others, and the thematic network structures of the motor themes and the thematic evolution structure of the field of the study over time. In addition, our results discuss the main challenges and opportunities of DA. Our findings have the potential to provide insights for practitioners and researchers in decision-making and pave the way for future works.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201909.0090.v2
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Fusarium head blight; Fusarium species; soil minerals; ergosterol; mycotoxins; organic farming; sowing value; winter wheat
Online: 9 October 2019 (05:38:12 CEST)
Growing acreage and changing consumer preferences cause increasing interest in the cereal products originating from organic farming. Lack of results of objective test, however, does not allow drawing conclusions about the effects of cultivation in the organic system and comparison to currently preferred conventional system. Field experiment was conducted in organic and conventional fields. Thirty modern cultivars of winter wheat were sown. They were characterized for disease infection including Fusarium head blight, seed sowing value, the amount of DNA of the six species of Fusarium fungi as well as concentration of ergosterol and trichothecenes in grain. The intensity Fusarium head blight was at a similar level in both systems. However, Fusarium colonization of kernels expressed as ergosterol level or DNA concentration was higher for the organic system. It did not reflect in an increased accumulation of trichothecenes in grain, which was similar in both systems, but sowing value of organically produced seeds was lower. Significant differences between analyzed cropping systems and experimental variants were found. The selection of the individual cultivars for organic growing in terms of resistance to diseases and contamination of grain with Fusarium toxins was possible. Effects of organic growing differ significantly from the conventional and grain obtained such way can be recommended to consumers. There are indications for use of particular cultivars bred for conventional agriculture in the case of organic farming, and the growing organic decreases plant stress resulting from intense fertilization and chemical plant protection.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0326.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Deepfake; Animal Welfare; Animal Emotions; Artificial Intelligence; Digital Farming; Animal Based Measures; Emotion Modeling; Livestock Health
Online: 14 July 2021 (11:49:38 CEST)
Deepfake technologies are known for the creation of forged celebrity pornography, face and voice swaps, and other fake media content. Despite the negative connotations the technology bears, the underlying machine learning algorithms have a huge potential that could be applied to not just digital media, but also to medicine, biology, affective science, and agriculture, just to name a few. Due to the ability to generate big datasets based on real data distributions, deepfake could also be used to positively impact non-human animals such as livestock. Generated data using Generative Adversarial Networks, one of the algorithms that deepfake is based on, could be used to train models to accurately identify and monitor animal health and emotions. Through data augmentation, using digital twins, and maybe even displaying digital conspecifics where social interactions are enhanced, deepfake technologies have the potential to increase animal health, emotionality, sociality, animal-human and animal-computer interactions and thereby animal welfare, productivity, and sustainability of the farming industry.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0302.v1
Subject: Keywords: Africa/Ghana; climate change; farming/farmers; food security; gender inequality; global South/North; hunger; justice; land
Online: 24 June 2020 (14:31:37 CEST)
Can investing in women’s agriculture increase productivity? This paper argues that it can. We assess climate impacts and gender bias on women’s production in the global South and North and challenge the male model of agricultural development to argue further that women’s farming approaches can be more sustainable. Level-based analysis (global, regional, local) draws on literature review, including authors’ published longitudinal field research in Ghana and the United States. Women farmers are shown to be undervalued and to work harder, with fewer resources, for less compensation; gender bias challenges are shared globally while economic disparities differentiate; breaches of distributive, gender, and intergenerational justices as well as compromise of food sovereignty affect women everywhere. We conclude that investing in women’s agriculture needs more than standard approaches of capital and technology investment. Effective ‘investment’ would include systemic interventions into agricultural policy, governance, education, and industry; be directed at men as well as women; and use gender metrics, e.g. quotas, budgets, vulnerability and impacts assessments, to generate assessment reports and track gender parity in agriculture. Increasing women’s access, capacity, and productivity cannot succeed without men’s awareness and proactivity. Systemic change can increase productivity and sustainability.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201709.0098.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Geoinformatics Keywords: farming-pasture ecotone; TM image; remote sensing; vegetation cover factor; scale conversion; land use; high resolution image
Online: 21 September 2017 (16:33:49 CEST)
The key to simulating soil erosion is to calculate the vegetation cover (C) factor. Methods that apply remote sensing to calculate C factor at regional scale cannot directly use the C factor formula. That is because the C factor formula is obtained by experiment, and needs the coverage ratio data of croplands, woodlands and grasslands at standard plot scale. In this paper, we present a C factor conversion method from a standard plot to a km-sized grid based on large sample theory and multi-scale remote sensing. Results show that: 1) Compared with the existing C factor formula, our method is based on the coverage ratio of croplands, woodlands and grasslands on a km-sized grid, takes the C factor formula obtained from the standard plot experiment and applies it to regional scale. This method improves the applicability of the C factor formula, and can satisfy the need to simulate soil erosion in large areas. 2) The vegetation coverage obtained by remote sensing interpretation is significantly consistent (paired samples t-test, t = −0.03, df = 0.12, 2-tail significance p < 0.05) and significantly correlated with the measured vegetation coverage. 3) The C factor of the study area is smaller in the middle, southern and northern regions, and larger in the eastern and western regions. The main reason for that is the distribution of woodlands, the Hunshandake and Horqin sandy lands and the valleys affected by human activities. 4) The method presented in this paper is more meticulous than the C factor method based on the vegetation index, improves the applicability of the C factor formula, and can be used to simulate soil erosion on large scale and provide strong support for regional soil and water conservation planning.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0466.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: farm animal; pig; livestock production; global warming; climate change; economic risk assessment; economic impact; resilience; livestock farming; adaptation
Online: 29 December 2021 (12:23:22 CET)
Economic risks for livestock production are caused by volatile commodities and market conditions, but also by environmental drivers like increasing uncertainties due to weather anomalies and global warming. These risks impact the gross margin of farmers and can stimulated investment decisions. For confined pig and poultry production, farmers can reduce the environmental impact by implementing specific adaptation measures to reduce heat stress. A simulation model driven by meteorological data was used to calculate heat stress impact as a projection for 2030. For a business-as-usual livestock building, the indoor climate for several adaptation measures was calculated. The weather-related value-at risk quantified the economic risks caused by global warming and the stochastic component of the weather. The results show that only energy-saving adaptation measures to reduce the inlet air temperature are appropriate to reduce the economic risk to the level of the year 1980. The efficiency of other adaptation measures to reduce heat stress is distinctly lower. The results in this study can support the decision making of farmers concerning adaptation management and investments. It can inform agricultural policy design as well as technological development.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0498.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy & Fuel Technology Keywords: Cattle farming; COVID-19 pandemic; economic point of view; food safety; HOMER; hybrid system; smallholder; thin-film coating
Online: 21 September 2020 (07:32:51 CEST)
This paper reports on the optimization of thin-film coating assisted self-sustainable off-grid hybrid power generation systems for cattle farming in rural areas of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a lower middle-income country with declining rates of poverty among its 160 million people due to persistent economic growth in conjunction with balanced agricultural improvements. Most of the rural households adopt a mixed farming system by cultivating crops and simultaneously rearing livestock. Among the animals raised, cattle are considered as the most valuable asset for the small/medium-scale farmers in terms of their meat and milk production. Currently, along with the major health issue, the COVID-19 pandemic is hindering the world’s economic growth and has thrust millions into unemployment; Bangladesh is also in this loop. However, natural disasters such as COVID-19 pandemic and floods, largely constrain rural smallholder cattle farmers from climbing out of their poverty. In particular, small and medium-scale cattle farmers face many issues that obstruct them from taking advantage of market opportunities and imposing a greater burden on their families and incomes. An appropriate measure can give a way to make those cattle farmers’ businesses both profitable and sustainable. Optimization of thin-film coating assisted self-sustainable off-grid hybrid power generation system for cattle farming is a new and forward-looking approach for sustainable development of the livestock sector. In this study, we design and optimize a thin-film coating assisted hybrid (photovoltaic-battery-generator) power system by using the Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Resources (HOMER, Version 3.14.0) simulation tool. An analysis of the results has suggested that the off-grid hybrid system is more feasible for small and medium-scale cattle farming systems with long-term sustainability to overcome the significant challenges faced by smallholder cattle farmers in Bangladesh.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201905.0115.v1
Subject: Engineering, Other Keywords: family farming; agroecology; rural settlements; circle of sustainability; agricultural ecology; Paulo Freire; participant research; land reform; generating themes
Online: 9 May 2019 (13:05:59 CEST)
In the Brazilian Amazon, rural settlements are increasingly isolated by large-scale production farms, jeopardizing their sustainability and the good living of family farmers. Works were carried out in settlements to measure sustainability. However, the majority does not consider the participation and the collectively of those involved. In this way, we propose to evaluate, in a collective and participatory way, the sustainability and good living of the SDP São Paulo Rural Settlement, of the northern Amazon of Mato Grosso. We used the didactic-pedagogical method Circle of Sustainability, developed from five points: 1st - circle of investigation of generating themes; 2nd - circle of the history of the subject world; 3rd - circle of diagnosis of rural settlements; 4th - circle of exchange of knowledge; and 5th - circle of sustainable perceptions and narratives. The historical, socioeconomic and cultural characterization of the settlement allowed us to understand how sustainability and good living are being built in the settlement history process. Sustainability and good living are dialectical processes, are under construction, in movement.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0142.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Other Keywords: Urban Agriculture; Urban Farming; Hardscape; Hydroponics; Aquaponics; Human Health; Food Waste; Public Private Partner-ship (PPP), Greenhouse Gas Emission Avoidance; Income Supplement; Nepal
Online: 9 January 2023 (06:43:18 CET)
This paper responds to the research question, “can urban farming help Nepali cities become more sustainable”? Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, urban residents have begun to realize that food transported from long distances could not always be reliable. Urban farming can help produce fresh food locally and avoid long-distance transportation, and refrigeration. This practice also helps reduce greenhouse gases through plant carbon use efficiency (CUE). Urban farming not only helps city-dwellers towards achieving self-reliance in food production but also in vegetation carbon dynamics (VCD) while supporting the circular economy. Urban farming consists of edible landscapes, which can also be an aesthetic public space. As urban lands command higher prices than agricultural land, urban farming usually happens on residential yards, roofs, balconies, community gardens, and dedicated areas in public parks. Rainwater harvesting, and redirecting can help irrigate urban farms which can be part of rain gardens. The national census of 2021 (CBS 2022, p5) identifies that 66 percent of Nepal’s population live in urban areas. However, the World Bank (2018), shows that only 21 of Nepal’s population was projected to live in urban areas in 2021. It is not debatable that the urbanization process in Nepal is on the rise. Thus, urban agriculture can play an important role to supplement the residents’ food needs. Many cities in Nepal have already successfully adapted to urban farming where residents grow food on their building site, balconies, and rooftop often growing plants on pots, vases, and other types of containers. The UN-Habitat, with the support of European Union and local agencies, has published a rooftop farming training manual (2014) showing the feasibility of urban farming in Nepal.The paper discusses how Public Private Partnership (PPP) can promote urban agriculture and make the process more effective and attractive to urban farming households. It also analyzes how a PPP approach also facilitates the use of better technology, advisory support, and use of research extension activities. This paper draws on literature review, secondary data (e.g., from National Census Nepal 2021) and authors’ professional experiences related to best practices in the areas to analyze the benefits and challenges related to urban farming in Arizona, USA. The paper will provide recommendations for Nepali cities to maximize the benefit provided by urban farming. It is expected to be useful to Nepali policy makers, and government agencies, and nonprofit organizations which promote sustainability, and organic farming.