The Journal of Agricultural Science

Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1469-5146
Print ISSN: 0021-8596
Publications
AGGs in grain yield of 26 bread wheat genotypes released in Spain during the 20th century. Each point was obtained by averaging data of eight environments and three blocks per environment. Breeding periods are identified with triangles for local landraces, diamonds for initial cultivars, squares for intermediate cultivars and circles for modern cultivars. The broken line indicates the gain between intermediate and modern cultivars.
Description of the genotypes used in the study and the breeding periods to which they belong
Relationship between the RGG for yield and the average daily minimum temperatures from sowing to heading . Each point corresponds to one of eight experiments identified as follows: squares, Burgos; diamonds, Albacete; triangles, Lleida and circles, Cordoba. Open and solid symbols correspond to experiments conducted in 2006 and 2007, respectively.  
A collection of 26 wheat genotypes widely grown in Spain during the 20th century was evaluated in eight contrasting environments in order to quantify breeding achievements in yield and associated traits. From 1930 to 2000, yield increased at a rate of 35·1 kg/ha/yr or 0·88%/yr, but estimations of relative genetic gain (RGG) were environment-dependent. RGG estimated for yield were positively associated with the average minimum daily temperatures from sowing to heading in the testing environments (R 2 = 0·81; P < 0·01). The number of grains/spike and the number of spikes/m2 increased at a rate of 0·60%/yr and 0·30%/yr, respectively, while grain weight remained unchanged. The present study detected two main episodes of yield improvement during the century. The first one coincided with the introduction, during the 1950s, of the first improved cultivars derived from intra-specific crosses, which increased the yield of landraces by 30% due to an increase of c. 58% in the number of grains/spike, accompanied by a 16% reduction in grain weight. These initial cultivars (termed ‘old-bred’ in a previous study by Sanchez-Garcia et al. 2012) exhibited a higher harvest index (HI), increased from 0·25 to 0·40, but maintained the same aboveground biomass at maturity as the landraces (despite reducing both plant height and the number of tillers/plant) due to increases in the proportion of tillers bearing spikes. The second yield gain occurred after the introduction, in the early 1970s, of semi-dwarf germplasm from CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) and some French cultivars. This new germplasm further reduced plant height, improved HI up to 0·45 and increased the number of tillers/plant while maintaining their rate of fertility, thus resulting in a yield gain of c. 37%. The cultivars released during the last decade of the century did not contribute to significant yield improvements.
 
The effect of high temperatures (above 25°C) on starch concentration and the morphology of starch granules in the grains of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were studied. Wheat plants of cultivars Yangmai 9 (weak-gluten) and Yangmai 12 (medium-gluten) were treated with high temperatures for 3 days at different times after anthesis. The results showed that the starch concentration of grains given a heat-shock treatment above 30°C were lower than those developing at normal temperature in both cultivars. High temperature lowered starch concentration due to the decrease of amylopectin. Under the same temperature, the effect of heat shock from 6 to 8 days after anthesis (DAA) was the greatest, whereas from 36 to 38 DAA the effect was the least. The effects of high temperatures after anthesis on starch-pasting properties were similar to those on starch concentration, especially after 35-40°C treatments. The size, shape and structure of starch granules in wheat grains (determined by electron microscopy) after heat shock were visibly different from the control. When given heat shock during development, the starch granules in mature wheat grains were ellipsoid in shape and bound loosely with a protein sheath in Yangmai 9, while they were damaged and compressed with fissures in Yangmai 12, indicating the differences in resistance to high temperature between cultivars. Ratios of large (type-A) and small (type-B) starch granules significantly decreased under heat shock, which limited the potential sink size for dry matter deposition in the grain.
 
In recent years, simulation models have been used as a complementary tool for research and for quantifying soil carbon sequestration under widely varying conditions. This has improved the understanding and prediction of soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics and crop yield responses to soil and climate conditions and crop management scenarios. The goal of the present study was to estimate the changes in SOC for different cropping systems in West Africa using a simulation model. A crop rotation experiment conducted in Farakô-Ba, Burkina Faso was used to evaluate the performance of the cropping system model (CSM) of the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) for simulating yield of different crops. Eight crop rotations that included cotton, sorghum, peanut, maize and fallow, and three different management scenarios, one without N (control), one with chemical fertilizer (N) and one with manure applications, were studied. The CSM was able to simulate the yield trends of various crops, with inconsistencies for a few years. The simulated SOC increased slightly across the years for the sorghum-fallow rotation with manure application. However, SOC decreased for all other rotations except for the continuous fallow (native grassland), in which the SOC remained stable. The model simulated SOC for the continuous fallow system with a high degree of accuracy normalized root mean square error (RMSE)=0·001, while for the other crop rotations the simulated SOC values were generally within the standard deviation (s.d.) range of the observed data. The crop rotations that included a supplemental N-fertilizer or manure application showed an increase in the average simulated aboveground biomass for all crops. The incorporation of this biomass into the soil after harvest reduced the loss of SOC. In the present study, the observed SOC data were used for characterization of production systems with different SOC dynamics. Following careful evaluation of the CSM with observed soil organic matter (SOM) data similar to the study presented here, there are many opportunities for the application of the CSM for carbon sequestration and resource management in Sub-Saharan Africa.
 
An inventory of topsoil soil organic carbon (SOC) content in household farms was performed in a village from a red earth region in Jiangxi Province, China in 2003. In this region, the farmland managed by each household is fragmented, consisting of several plots of land that are not necessarily adjacent to each other. A statistical analysis of SOC variation with land use and household management type, and with crop management practices was conducted. Plot size ranged from 0·007 to 0·630 ha with a mean of 0·1 ha, and SOC content ranged from 1·72 to 25·2 g/kg, varying widely with a variety of land management and agricultural practices, arising from individual household behaviours. The mean SOC content in plot size <0·1 ha was 20% lower than in plot size ⩾0·1 ha. SOC of dry crop plots was 70% lower than that in rice paddies, and SOC of plots contracted from the village was almost double that of plots leased from other householders. Moreover, a 30% increase in SOC was observed with green manure cultivation, and a 55% increase under triple cropping. The difference in SOC levels between the least and most favourable cases of household land management and agricultural practice was up to 150%. The results suggest that policies targeted at crop management alone may not deliver the expected SOC benefits if household land management is also not improved.
 
Economics of rice production with simplified cultivation technologies in farmers' fields of Fujian and Hunan Provinces of China (1 Yuan=£0·09, 1 Nov 2010)
Grain yield (t/ha) of rice with simplified cultivation technologies in experimental fields
Simplified cultivation technologies for rice have become increasingly attractive in recent years in China because of their social, economical and environmental benefits. To date, several simplified cultivation technologies, such as conventional tillage and seedling throwing (CTST), conventional tillage and direct seeding (CTDS), no-tillage and seedling throwing (NTST), no-tillage and direct seeding (NTDS) and no-tillage and transplanting (NTTP), have been developed in China. Most studies have shown that rice grown under each of these simplified cultivation technologies can produce a grain yield equal to or higher than traditional cultivation (conventional tillage and transplanting). Studies that have described the influences of agronomic practices on yield formation of rice under simplified cultivation have demonstrated that optimizing agronomy practices would increase the efficiencies of simplified cultivation systems. Further research is needed to optimize the management strategies for CTST, CTDS and NTST rice which have developed quickly in recent years, to strengthen basic research for those simplified cultivation technologies that are rarely used at present (such as NTTP and NTDS), to select and breed cultivars suitable for simplified cultivation and to compare the practicability and effectiveness of different simplified cultivation technologies in different rice production regions.
 
Maize is one of the most important agricultural crops in Croatia, and was selected for research of the effect of climate warming on yields. The Decision Support System for the Agrotechnology Transfer model (DSSAT) is one of the most utilized crop–weather models in the world, and was used in this paper for the investigation of maize growth and production in the present and future climate. The impact of present climate on maize yield was studied using DSSAT 4.0 with meteorological data from the Zagreb–Maksimir station covering the period 1949–2004. Pedological, physiological and genetic data from a 1999 field maize experiment at the same location were added. The location is representative of the continental climate in central Croatia. The linear trends of model outputs and the non-parametric Mann–Kendall test indicate that the beginning of silking has advanced significantly by 1·4 days/decade since the mid-1990s, and maturity by 4·5 days/decade. It also shows a decrease in biomass by 122 kg/ha and in maize yield by 216 kg/ha in 10 years. Estimates of the sensitivity of maize growth and yield in future climates were made by changing the initial weather and CO2 conditions of the DSSAT 4.0 model according to the different climatic scenarios for Croatia at the end of the 21st century. Changed climate suggests increases in global solar radiation, minimal temperature and maximal temperature (×1·07, 2 and 4°C, respectively), but a decrease in the amount of precipitation (×0·92), compared with weather data from the period 1949–2004. The reduction of maize yield was caused by the increase in minimal and maximal temperature and the decrease in precipitation amount, related to the present climate, is 6, 12 and 3%, respectively. A doubling of CO2 concentration stimulates leaf assimilation, but maize yield is only 1% higher, while global solar radiation growth by 7% increases evapotranspiration by 3%. Simultaneous application of all these climate changes suggested that the maize growth period would shorten by c. 1 month and maize yield would decrease by 9%, with the main reason for maize yield reduction in Croatia being due to extremely warm conditions in the future climate.
 
Successful crop production depends initially on the availability of high-quality seed. By 2050 global climate change will have influenced crop yields, but will these changes affect seed quality? The present review examines the effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperature during seed production on three seed quality components: seed mass, germination and seed vigour. In response to elevated CO2, seed mass has been reported to both increase and decrease in C3 plants, but not change in C4 plants. Increases are greater in legumes than non-legumes, and there is considerable variation among species. Seed mass increases may result in a decrease of seed nitrogen (N) concentration in non-legumes. Increasing temperature may decrease seed mass because of an accelerated growth rate and reduced seed filling duration, but lower seed mass does not necessarily reduce seed germination or vigour. Like seed mass, reported seed germination responses to elevated CO2 have been variable. The reported changes in seed C/N ratio can decrease seed protein content which may eventually lead to reduced viability. Conversely, increased ethylene production may stimulate germination in some species. High-temperature stress before developing seeds reach physiological maturity (PM) can reduce germination by inhibiting the ability of the plant to supply the assimilates necessary to synthesize the storage compounds required for germination. Nothing is known concerning the effects of elevated CO2 on seed vigour. However, seed vigour can be reduced by high-temperature stress both before and after PM. High temperatures induce or increase the physiological deterioration of seeds. Limited evidence suggests that only short periods of high-temperature stress at critical seed development stages are required to reduce seed vigour, but further research is required. The predicted environmental changes will lead to losses of seed quality, particularly for seed vigour and possibly germination. The seed industry will need to consider management changes to minimize the risk of this occurring.
 
Geographic distribution of gluten-strength groups in landraces from the Mediterranean Basin. The colours inside the circles indicate the percentage of entries with outstanding (SDS 5 11), very high (10 < SDS < 11), high (9 4 SDS 4 10), medium (7 4 SDS < 9) and low (SDS < 7) SDS-values. The size of the circles is proportional to the number of entries from each country according to Table 1 (colour version is available online).  
Cluster analysis based on Glu-A1c (null allele) frequency in modern varieties and by country for landraces.  
The allelic composition at five glutenin loci was assessed by one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (1D SDS-PAGE) on a set of 155 landraces (from 21 Mediterranean countries) and 18 representative modern varieties. Gluten strength was determined by SDS-sedimentation on samples grown under rainfed conditions during 3 years in north-eastern Spain. One hundred and fourteen alleles/banding patterns were identified (25 at Glu-1 and 89 at Glu-2/Glu-3 loci); 0·85 of them were in landraces at very low frequency and 0·72 were unreported. Genetic diversity index was 0·71 for landraces and 0·38 for modern varieties. All modern varieties exhibited medium to strong gluten type with none of their 13 banding patterns having a significant effect on gluten-strength type. Ten banding patterns significantly affected gluten strength in landraces. Alleles Glu-B1e (band 20), Glu-A3a (band 6), Glu-A3d (bands 6 + 11), Glu-B3a (bands 2 + 4+15 + 19) and Glu-B2a (band 12) significantly increased the SDS-value, and their effects were associated with their frequency. Two alleles, Glu-A3b (band 5) and Glu-B2b (null), significantly reduced gluten strength, but only the effect of the latter locus could be associated with its frequency. Only three rare banding patterns affected gluten strength significantly: Glu-B1a (band 7), found in six landraces, had a negative effect, whereas banding patterns 2 + 4+14 + 15 + 18 and 2 + 4+15 + 18 + 19 at Glu-B3 had a positive effect. Landraces with outstanding gluten strength were more frequent in eastern than in western Mediterranean countries. The geographical pattern displayed from the frequencies of Glu-A1c is discussed.
 
Average physical, financial, labour and managerial measures
Physical, financial, labour and managerial measures across net margin performance quartiles: all farms
Physical, financial, labour and managerial measures across net margin performance quartiles: conventional farms
Price, output, costs and margins (pence per litre) across full samples and net margin performance groups
Per farm loan account, current liabilities and net worth by net margin performance groups
The UK dairy sector has undergone considerable structural change in recent years, with a decrease in the number of producers accompanied by an increased average herd size and increased concentrate use and milk yields. One of the key drivers to producers remaining in the industry is the profitability of their herds. The current paper adopts a holistic approach to decomposing the variation in dairy profitability through an analysis of net margin data explained by physical input-output measures, milk price variation, labour utilization and managerial behaviours and characteristics. Data are drawn from the Farm Business Survey (FBS) for England in 2007/08 for 228 dairy enterprises. Average yields are 7100 litres/cow/yr, from a herd size of 110 cows that use 0·56 forage ha/cow/yr and 43·2 labour h/cow/yr. An average milk price of 22·57 pence per litre (ppl) produced milk output of £1602/cow/yr, which after accounting for calf sales, herd replacements and quota leasing costs, gave an average dairy output of £1516/cow/yr. After total costs of £1464/cow/yr this left an economic return of £52/cow/yr (0·73 ppl) net margin profit. There is wide variation in performance, with the most profitable (as measured by net margin per cow) quartile of producers achieving 2000 litres/cow/yr more than the least profitable quartile, returning a net margin of £335/cow/yr compared to a loss of £361/cow/yr for the least profitable. The most profitable producers operate larger, higher yielding herds and achieve a greater milk price for their output. In addition, a significantly greater number of the most profitable producers undertake financial benchmarking within their businesses and operate specialist dairy farms. When examining the full data set, the most profitable enterprises included significantly greater numbers of organic producers. The most profitable tend to have a greater reliance on independent technical advice, but this finding is not statistically significant. Decomposing the variation in net margin performance between the most and least profitable groups, an approximate ratio of 65:23:12 is observed for higher yields: lower costs: higher milk price. This result indicates that yield differentials are the key performance driver in dairy profitability. Lower costs per cow are dominated by the significantly lower cost of farmer and spouse labour per cow of the most profitable group, flowing directly from the upper quartile expending 37·7 labour h/cow/yr in comparison with 58·8 h/cow/yr for the lower quartile. The upper quartile's greater milk price is argued to be achieved through contract negotiations and higher milk quality, and this accounts for 0·12 of the variation in net margin performance. The average economic return to the sample of dairy enterprises in this survey year was less than £6000/farm/yr. However, the most profitable quartile returned an average economic return of approximately £50 000 per farm/yr. Structural change in the UK dairy sector is likely to continue with the least profitable and typically smaller dairy enterprises being replaced by a smaller number of expanding dairy production units.
 
This research develops a mixture regression model that is shown to have advantages over the classical Tobit model in model fit and predictive tests when data are generated from a two step process. Additionally, the model is shown to allow for flexibility in distributional assumptions while nesting the classic Tobit model. A simulated data set is utilized to assess the potential loss in efficiency from model misspecification, assuming the Tobit and a zero-inflated log-normal distribution, which is derived from the generalized mixture model. Results from simulations key on the finding that the proposed zero-inflated log-normal model clearly outperforms the Tobit model when data are generated from a two step process. When data are generated from a Tobit model, forecasts are more accurate when utilizing the Tobit model. However, the Tobit model will be shown to be a special case of the generalized mixture model. The empirical model is then applied to evaluating mortality rates in commercial cattle feedlots, both independently and as part of a system including other performance and health factors. This particular application is hypothesized to be more appropriate for the proposed model due to the high degree of censoring and skewed nature of mortality rates. The zero-inflated log-normal model clearly models and predicts with more accuracy that the tobit model.
 
Male-sterile, female-fertile plants were used to produce hybrid soybean seed. Manual cross-pollination using male-sterile plants to produce large quantities of hybrid seed is difficult and time-consuming because of the low success rate in cross-pollination. Insect pollinators may be suitable vectors to transfer pollen, but the most suitable vector for pollen transfer from the male parent to the female parent has not been identified for soybean. The objective of the present study was to evaluate seed-set on four male-sterile, female-fertile soybean lines by using alfalfa leafcutting bees (Megachile rotundata (F.)) and honey bees (Apis mellifera (L.)) as pollinators. Seed-set was evaluated in summers 2003 and 2005 near Ames, Iowa, USA and in summers 2003, 2004, and 2005 near Wooster, Ohio, USA. Neither the effect of pollinator species nor the interaction effect of pollinator speciesxlocation was significant for any year. Honey bees performed similarly to alfalfa leafcutting bees at both locations. The results indicated significant differences for seed-set among male-sterile lines, suggesting preferential pollination. Male-sterile lines, ms1 (Urbana) and ms2 (Ames 2), had higher cross-pollinated seed-set compared to ms6 (Ames 1), and ms6 (Corsoy 79). At the Ames location, ms1ms1 (Urbana) plants had the highest seed-set (50·16 seeds per male-sterile plant in 2005). At the Wooster location, ms1ms1 (Urbana) plants also had the highest seed-set (92·04 seeds per male-sterile plant) in 2005. Costs and local conditions need to be addressed to support the choice of either pollinator species as a pollination vector to produce hybrid soybean seed.
 
The ability of subjectively assessed body condition scores, direct measurements of backfat depth, and an objective body condition index (based on the size/weight relationship), to predict the proportion of chemical fat in the body of the live sheep was investigated in three groups of Merino ewes. All three techniques possessed a similar, and practically acceptable ability to predict the proportion of chemical fat in the fleece-free empty body. However, both live weight and fleece-free empty body weight possessed similar predictive powers, and the method of choice in any particular situation could thus be determined by the availability of weighing facilities and the need for speed, objectivity and for minimizing interference with the experimental animals.(Received September 28 1971)
 
1. Worker bees learnt the colour of their hive in the close vicinity to their hive entrance and took little or no notice of colours above the lower brood chamber. They orientated to a colour below the entrance more than to a colour above. They did not learn combinations of colours. 2. They distinguished between certain symbols placed immediately above the hive entrance. 3. They learnt the height of their hive and the height of its entrance above ground. 4. More worker bees and drones from queenright colonies drifted to queenless than to queenright colonies. Drones expelled from queenright colonies did not drift to queenless colonies.
 
This study was established to quantify the uptake of ¹⁵N-labelled nitrogen (urea) applied in the first and second years of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) and browntop (Agrostis capillaris L.) seed crops, and the availability of the residual fertilizer N to a subsequent wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crop under field conditions in Canterbury, New Zealand. Total recovery of ¹⁵N-labelled nitrogen fertilizer was approximately 100% when fertilizer was applied to the grass seed crops in spring. At harvest in year 1, grass straw and seed contained 34–47% and 6–15% of the applied N respectively; 27–35% remained in the soil (0–150 mm depth). Recovery of ¹⁵N in straw and soil was higher in fescue and ryegrass than in browntop, but recovery in roots was lower. At harvest in year 2, most of the 15N was present in the soil (30–37%) with only small amounts in the seed (0·7–1·0%), straw (3·6–4·9%) and roots (5·2–12·7%). In year 3, 2·5–3·5% of the residual ¹⁵N was recovered in the wheat and 18–26% in soil. Losses of ¹⁵N were minimal until ploughing after the second harvest, when there was an apparent loss of 11–35% of the fertilizer N applied. Losses were not directly associated with the fertilizer but indirectly following release of fertilizer N previously immobilized in plant roots and soil microorganisms. Small losses also occurred directly from autumn-applied N, probably through leaching. Despite these losses, overall there was an accumulation of fertilizer N in the soil organic pool, suggesting that ryegrass fescue and browntop seed crops have a role in contributing to the N fertility of the soil.
 
Nitrogen-15 enriched ammonium sulphate was applied to micro-plots in a field in which two leguminous (white clover and peas) and two non-leguminous (ryegrass and winter wheat) crops were grown to produce ¹⁵N-labelled crop residues and roots during 1993/94. Nitrogen benefits and recovery of crop residue-N, root-N and residual fertilizer-N by three succeeding winter wheat crops were studied. Each crop residue was subjected to four different residue management treatments (ploughed, rotary hoed, mulched or burned) before the first sequential wheat crop (1994/95) was sown, followed by the second (1995/96) and third wheat crops (1996/97), in each of which residues of the previous wheat crop were removed and all plots were ploughed uniformly before sowing. Grain yields of the first sequential wheat crop followed the order: white clover > peas > ryegrass > wheat. The mulched treatment produced significantly lower grain yield than those of other treatments. In the first sequential wheat crop, leguminous and non-leguminous residues supplied between 29–57% and 6–10% of wheat N accumulated respectively and these decreased with successive sequential crops. Rotary hoed treatment reduced N benefits of white clover residue-N while no significant differences in N benefits occurred between residue management treatments in non-leguminous residues. On average, the first wheat crop recovered between 29–37% of leguminous and 11–13% of non-leguminous crop residues-N. Corresponding values for root plus residual fertilizer-N were between 5–19% and 2–3%, respectively. Management treatments produced similar effects to those of N benefits. On average, between 5 to 8% of crop residue-N plus root and residual fertilizer-N was recovered by each of the second and third sequential wheat crops from leguminous residues compared to 2 to 4% from non-leguminous residues. The N recoveries tended to be higher under mulched treatments especially under leguminous than non-leguminous residues for the second sequential wheat crop but were variable for the third sequential wheat crop. Relatively higher proportions of leguminous residue-N were unaccounted in ploughed and rotary hoed treatments compared with those of mulched and burned treatments. In non-leguminous residue-N, higher unaccounted residue-N occurred under burned (33–44%) compared with other treatments (20–27%).
 
Journal of Agricultural Science, Vol. 2, No. 1, March 2010, all in two files, part II
 
Differences in development among wheat cultivars are not only restricted to photoperiod and vernalization responses. When both requirements are fully satisfied differences may still arise due to earliness per se. It is not clear at present to what extent this trait is ‘ intrinsically ’ expressed (a constitutive trait) independently of the environmental conditions so that it might be selected under any thermal condition or if it may be altered to the extent of showing a crossover interaction with temperature in which the ranking of wheat genotypes may be altered. The present study assessed the influence of temperature on the intrinsic earliness for lines of diploid wheat characterized for their differences in a major gene for intrinsic earliness, but also possibly differing in their genetic background for other factors controlling this polygenic trait. To do so the lines were grown individually in two temperature regimes (16 and 23 xC) under long days having previously been fully vernalized. Multiple comparisons analyses were carried out among lines of the same allelic group for the Eps-Am1 gene. Results indicated that within each group there were lines that did not differ in their earliness per se, others differed but without exhibiting any linertemperature interaction and finally different types of interaction were shown, including cases where the ranking of lines was altered depending on the growing temperature. It is thus possible that the selection of a genotype based on its earliness per se in an environment might not represent the same performance in another location where temperature varied significantly.
 
Effect of potassium and magnesium infusions on the partitioning of magnesium absorption between the rumen (Q) and a post-ruminal site (O).  
Sixteen 2-year old female sheep were fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulae at Johnstone Memorial Laboratory, Lincoln University during 1989–90. They were offered, at 2 hourly intervals, a pelleted concentrate diet (900 g/day) and chaffed lucerne hay (100 g/day). In a split-plot experiment they were infused, intraruminally and at four rates, with potassium (providing 16, 26, 36 or 46 g K/kg food DM/day) and magnesium (providing 1·3, 1·8, 2·3 or 3·1 g Mg/kg food DM/day) within a Latin square design and with the liquid and solid phase markers ⁵¹ chromium EDTA and ¹⁴¹ cerium chloride. Net absorption of Mg before and after the duodenum was estimated from dietary intake, duodenal flow and urinary and faecal excretion of Mg. Increasing K intake resulted in a decline in net absorption of Mg from the entire digestive tract, supporting data in the literature. Increasing K intake from 16 to 46 g/kg DM decreased urinary Mg excretion by between 0·14 and 0·30 g/day, the extent of which was independent of the level of Mg intake. At high K intake Mg absorption from the rumen was reduced, the amount absorbed ranging from 0·07 g Mg/day at intakes of 1·3 g Mg/day and 46 g K/kg DM/day to 0·66 g Mg/day at intakes of 3·1 g Mg/day and 16 g K/kg DM/day. However, at high K intake, and when Mg absorption from the rumen was reduced, net Mg absorption from sites distal to the rumen was increased to an extent which suggested compensatory absorption. Increase in K intake was associated with a consistent reduction in plasma Mg concentration which was independent of Mg intake. Increases in Mg intake resulted in increases in Mg absorption and plasma Mg concentration at all rates of K intake in direct proportion to rate of intake. The reduction in Mg absorption from the rumen at high K intake was associated with an increase (0·3 units) in pH of rumen digesta.
 
In four field experiments, the effects of single nitrogen (N) applications at planting on yield and nitrogen uptake of potato (Solanumtuberosum L.) was compared with two or three split applications. The total amount of N applied was an experimental factor in three of the experiments. In two experiments, sequential observations were made during the growing season. Generally, splitting applications (up to 58 days after emergence) did not affect dry matter (DM) yield at maturity and tended to result in slightly lower DM concentration of tubers, whereas it slightly improved the utilization of nitrogen. Maximum haulm dry weight and N content were lower when less nitrogen was applied during the first 50 days after emergence (DAE). The crops absorbed little extra nitrogen after 60 DAE (except when three applications were given). Soil mineral N (05 g/m2. The efficiency of N utilization, i.e. the ratio of the N content of the crop to total N available (initial soil mineral N+deposition+net mineralization) was 0·45 for unfertilized controls. The utilization of fertilizer N (i.e. the apparent N recovery) was generally somewhat improved by split applications, but declined with the total amount of N applied (range 0·48 indicated that some nitrate can be washed below 60 cm soil depth due to dispersion during rainfall. The current study showed that the time when N application can be adjusted to meet estimated requirements extends to (at least) 60 days after emergence. That period of time can be exploited to match the N application to the actual crop requirement as it changes during that period.
 
CaCl #-P against Olsen P for soils above and below pH 5n8 and soils receiving N as (NH % ) # SO % . Note : in (a) open symbols are data from the laboratory liming experiment and in (b) closed symbols are data from the laboratory liming experiment.
The relationship between CaCl #-P (open symbols) and Olsen P (closed symbols) and soil pH following the liming of
This study compared phosphorus (P) speciation and the relationship between bicarbonate extractable (Olsen) P and 0.01 M CaCl2 extractable P (a measure of potentially mobile P) in soils from plots of the Park Grass experiment started in 1856 at IACR-Rothamsted, UK and with and without nitrogen as (NH4)2SO4 and with and without calcium carbonate (CaCO3, lime). A point, termed the change point, was noted in Olsen P, above which 0.01 M CaCl2-P increased at a greater rate per unit increase in Olsen P than below this point. Previous findings have shown a change point for soils with a pH>5.8 at 56 mg Olsen P/kg and at 120 mg Olsen P/kg for soils below this pH. Soils given (NH4)2SO4 annually since 1856 and with lime periodically since 1903 mostly had a pH between 3.7 to 5.7, some of these (NH4)2SO4 treated soils were limed to pH 6.5 and above from 1965. Irrespective of their pH in 1991/92 all the soils had a similar change point (120 mg Olsen P/kg) to that found for other soils with pH5.8) where there was less exchangeable Al to be precipitated. This was confirmed with solid-state 31P nuclear magnetic resonance, which indicated that for soils of similar total P concentration and pH, there was twice as much amorphous Al-P in soils given (NH4)2SO4 compared with those without. Changes in pH as a result of applications of (NH4)2SO4 or lime can greatly change the concentration of potentially mobile P due to the effects on Al solubility. Although there was less potentially mobile P in soils with pH<5.8 than in soils above this pH, it is usually advised in temperate regions to maintain soils about pH 6.5 for arable crops.
 
Rumen biohydrogenation of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is a significant limitation on any attempt to manipulate the PUFA content of ruminant products (meat or milk). This study examined rumen biohydrogenation of PUFA, the effects of PUFA on other aspects of rumen metabolism and fatty acid flow to and digestion in the small intestine of steers fed on different sources of lipid. Animals were fed ad libitum on grass silage and one of four concentrates (60:40 forage:concentrate on a dry matter basis) containing differing sources of lipid: megalac (rich in C16:0; M), linseed (rich in C18:3n-3; L), fish oil (rich in C20:5n-3 and C22:6n-3; FO) and a mixture of linseed/fish oil (LFO). Diets were formulated so that total dietary oil intake was approximately 60 g/kg of the DM intake, approximately half of which was from the experimental test oil. Rumen NH3-N (P = 0?09) and total VFA concentrations (P = 0?007) were higher on L, FO and LFO compared to M. Dry matter intakes did not differ across treatments and averaged 7?2 kg/day. Intake and flow of fatty acids to the duodenum was 323, 438, 344 and 381 (S.E.M. 9?1; P
 
Improved assessment methods for agriculture production systems are needed to identify the risks andopportunities related to global changes in climate, markets and policies, and the consequences of alternativeoptions of coping with and mitigating the changes. This paper presents the AGRISIMU modelling frameworkdeveloped for ex-ante assessment of alternative policy and management options meant to support farms andagrifood sector adapt to climate change, maintain biodiversity and reduce nutrient emissions under Finnishconditions. The modelling framework represents a novel approach to the integration of data and output fromseveral existing models like a dynamic regional sector model of Finnish agriculture, a farm-level optimisationmodel, a dynamic crop growth simulation model and models describing the nutrient dynamics in agriculturalsystems and a hydrological rainfall-runoff model. The framework is particularly aimed for Nordic conditions andto serve as an assessment tool that considers multiple factor and scale interactions.
 
Reproductive problems among dairy animals are one of the major causes of loss in dairy sector. These problems can be tackled by imparting appropriate knowledge to the livestock owners. An attempt was made to measure the knowledge of livestock owners by developing a knowledge test on reproductive problems of dairy animals. The study was undertaken in Karnal district of Haryana state, India. Data were solicited from 300 livestock farmers who had at least one milch animal at the time of investigation. In addition to developing schedules for socio-economic variables, a knowledge test was also developed for measuring knowledge construct. Data were solicited on scientific treatment of affected dairy animals and 59.54% knowledge was observed on reproductive traits. Study indicates that majority of livestock farmers adopted scientific methods for treating their animals.Respondents’ age, extension contact and milk production were positively and significantly correlated with knowledge. Therefore, imparting quality practical training and periodical assessment of performance of lay inseminators for improving their skills and knowledge regarding estrus detection and insemination needs to be emphasized. Extension machinery has to be an ideal bridge between research/development institutions and dairy farmers for their catalytic effect (Meena & Malik, 2009). Extensive awareness programs are needed for inculcating scientific outlook among livestock farmers on these complex problems. Easy accessibility of veterinary hospital at village level can reduce the adoption of indigenous technical knowledge in treatment of these complex problems.
 
Production function on panel data: whole farm cotton output as a function of inputs Variable Coefficients P < Intercept 19464 ns P < 01
The study reported presents the findings relating to commercial growing of genetically-modified Bt cotton in South Africa by a large sample of smallholder farmers over three seasons (1998/99, 1999/2000, 2000/01) following adoption. The analysis presents constructs and compares groupwise differences for key variables in Bt v . non-Bt technology and uses regressions to further analyse the production and profit impacts of Bt adoption. Analysis of the distribution of benefits between farmers due to the technology is also presented. In parallel with these socio-economic measures, the toxic loads being presented to the environment following the introduction of Bt cotton are monitored in terms of insecticide active ingredient (ai) and the Biocide Index. The latter adjusts ai to allow for differing persistence and toxicity of insecticides. Results show substantial and significant financial benefits to smallholder cotton growers of adopting Bt cotton over three seasons in terms of increased yields, lower insecticide spray costs and higher gross margins. This includes one particularly wet, poor growing season. In addition, those with the smaller holdings appeared to benefit proportionately more from the technology (in terms of higher gross margins) than those with larger holdings. Analysis using the Gini-coefficient suggests that the Bt technology has helped to reduce inequality amongst smallholder cotton growers in Makhathini compared to what may have been the position if they had grown conventional cotton. However, while Bt growers applied lower amounts of insecticide and had lower Biocide Indices (per ha) than growers of non-Bt cotton, some of this advantage was due to a reduction in non-bollworm insecticide. Indeed, the Biocide Index for all farmers in the population actually increased with the introduction of Bt cotton. The results indicate the complexity of such studies on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of GM varieties in the developing world.
 
Stratification of respondents and cotton plots
Comparison of cotton-related costs, revenue and gross margin per acre between plots of Bunny variety and other non-Bt cotton varieties
The present paper explores the 'farmer' effect in economic advantages often claimed for Bt cotton varieties (those with the endotoxin gene from Bacillus thuringiensis conferring resistance to some insect pests) compared to non-Bt varieties. Critics claim that much of the yield advantage of Bt cotton could be due to the fact that farmers adopting the technology are in a better position to provide inputs and management and so much of any claimed Bt advantage is an artefact rather than reflecting a real advantage of the variety per se. The present paper provides an in-depth analysis of 63 non-adopting and 94 adopting households of Bt cotton in Jalgaon, Maharashtra State, India, spanning the seasons 2002 and 2003. Results suggest that Bt adopters are indeed different from non-adopters in a number of ways. Adopters appear to specialize more on cotton (at least in terms of the land area they devote to the crop), spend more money on irrigation and grow well-performing non-Bt varieties of cotton (Bunny). Taking gross margin as the basis for comparison, Bt plots had 2.5 times the gross margin of non-Bt plots in both seasons. If only adopters are considered then the gross margin advantage of Bt plots reduces to 1.6 times that of non-Bt plots. This is still a significant advantage and could well explain the popularity of Bt in Maharashtra. However, it is clear that great care needs to be taken with such comparative studies.
 
Relationship between embryo perimeter and (a) seedling mass at the fourth-leaf stage and (b) area of the first leaf in glasshouse experiments. Points represent all combinations of eight genotypes and three seed sizes (n l 24). 
This work evaluated the effect of seed size and morphology on the development and biomass of durum wheat seedlings. Three different seed-grading sizes selected by sieving were used in glasshouse experiments, and a set of three developmental and 23 biomass-related indices were measured on eight genotypes, at two moisture levels. The influence of seed size on seedling development was studied at high and low temperatures (22/12 °C, and 15/5 °C day/night temperatures, respectively), in growth chambers. The area of the seed and the area of the embryo were the seed morphological traits most affected by seed size. Seed size was strongly associated with seedling development and seedling biomass until the complete extension of the first two leaves, at the fourth leaf stage. The rate of first-leaf growth and the area of the first leaf were the developmental and biomass traits, respectively, most sensitive to seed-grading size.
 
The rate of leaf appearance of barley varies substantially with time of sowing. This variation has been related to both the length and the rate of change of photoperiod at the time of plant emergence. An outdoor pot experiment was conducted to test if rate of change of photoperiod directly affects phasic development and rate of leaf emergence of spring barley. Two photoperiod-sensitive cultivars (Bandulla and Galleon) were subjected to five photoperiod regimes: two constant photoperiods, of 14 and 15·5 h, and three different rates of change of photoperiod of c . 2, 9 and 13 min/day from seedling emergence to awn initiation. Photoperiod treatments significantly affected the duration from seedling emergence to awn initiation in both cultivars. Rate of change of photoperiod did not affect the rate of development towards awn initiation independently of the absolute daylength it produced. Although Bandulla had a longer duration than Galleon at any photoperiod regime, the cultivars did not vary in their sensitivity to photoperiod. When this phase was divided into the leaf initiation (LI) and spikelet initiation (SI) phases, it was evident that the sensitivity to photoperiod was not constant, being in general higher during the SI than during the LI phase. However, the magnitude of the change in sensitivity was cultivar-dependent, indicating that sensitivity to photoperiod during the different phases could be under independent genetic control. Final numbers of primordia (leaves together with maximum spikelet number) were negatively affected by increasing photoperiods, but once again, there was no evidence of any effect of the rate of change of photoperiod which was independent of the average photoperiod. Both cultivars showed similar sensitivities for final leaf number but maximum spikelet number was more sensitive to photoperiod in Galleon than in Bandulla. Highly significant linear relationships between leaf number and thermal time were found for all combinations of cultivars and photoperiod regimes (r ² > 0·98). The rate of leaf appearance (RLA) was similar for both cultivars (c. 0·0185 leaves/°Cd) and did not alter during plant development or in response to the change in photoperiod at awn initiation. The range in RLA was greater for Galleon (0·0170–0·0205 leaves/°Cd) than for Bandulla (0·0173–0·0186 leaves/°Cd). Neither of these cultivars exhibited a significant relationship between rate of leaf emergence and photoperiod or rate of change of photoperiod. The lack of significant relationships between RLA and length or rate of change of photoperiod is in contrast with previous reports using time of sowing as a main treatment.
 
This review is focusing on the parameters affecting the quality of pistachio during hot-air drying process. Accordingly,the various common existing processing methods are reviewed extensively using the current literature to investigate thelatest developments in this regard. The findings revealed that both of the type of method used as well as the parameterscontrolling the drying rate, have different impacts on final product’s quality.The study concluded that the sun drying method has the best final quality as well as to lowest energy cost. This studyprovides a guide for the food technologist to the select the optimum method by which the best quality can be produced andminimum energy can be spent.
 
The difficulties in the semi-arid regions of East Africa where cattle exist during the dry season on forage with a very low nitrogen content is discussed.A description is given of the layout and methods used in an experiment designed to investigate the nitrogen metabolism of Bos taurus and B. indicus type cattle fed on rations that simulate the decline in the nutrient content of forage and the lack of free water during the dry season. We wish to acknowledge the special assistance given by Mr J. B. Drummond and Mr L. Boundford in the design and construction of the metabolic stalls used in this experiment; also the willing help of the staff of the Animal Husbandry and General Analytical Chemistry Divisions, in particular that of Nelson Mwangi who cared for the experimental animals and Chege Mugane who carried out a major proportion of the analytical determinations.Our thanks are also due to the Director of B.A.A.F.R.O. for providing the facilities available for this study and for allowing us to publish the results.
 
The effects of infection with T. vivax in mid- or late pregnancy on food intake and utilization, liveweight changes, abortion rate and lamb growth rate were investigated in West African Dwarf ewes at lbadan, Nigeria in 1990. Rate of liveweight gain by ewes infected during mid-pregnancy (IMH) was16 g/day compared with 33 and 37 g/day for the uninfected ewes offered medium (CM) or high (CH) plane diets. Although digestibility coefficients were not affected, intake of digestible organic matter was higher in CH ewes than in IMH and CM ewes. Nitrogen retention at mid-pregnancy on a metabolic size basis was higher in CH ewes than in CM and IMH ewes. Lamb birth weight and survival rate were lower in infected ewes. Ewes infected in mid-pregnancy (IMH) and in late pregnancy (ILH) had mean birth weights of 1·4 and 1·0 kg compared with CM and CH ewes, which had mean birth weights of 1·9 and 2·0 kg respectively. Observed survival rates were 63, 15, 75 and 80% for lambs nursed by IMH, ILH, CM and CH ewes respectively. During the first 6 weeks postpartum, lamb growth rate in all groups did not differ. However, during weeks 7–12 postpartum, lambs nursed by IMH ewes had significantly lower growth rates. Weaning weight was also lower in lambs from IMH (5·0 kg) dams than in lambs from CM and CH dams (7·1 kg). Infection during late pregnancy was more severe and all infected ewes lost weight due to reduced feed intake and fever. T. vivax infection in sheep is responsible for reproductive wastage, abortion, poor lamb growth and ewe mortality.
 
Twenty Holstein cows were split into two equal groups to test the effect of daily move to a previously ungrazed strip after morning milking (MA) or afternoon milking (AA) on herbage intake, grazing behaviour, rumen characteristics and milk production using a randomized block design with three periods of 14 days each. Milking took place at 06.00 and 16.00 h. The chemical composition of grass was similar between treatments, but an interaction between treatment and time of sampling was found in all variables except acid detergent lignin (ADL). The most pronounced differences existed in sugar content. Grass sugar content was greatest following afternoon milking. However, the difference in sugar content in grass was much larger in MA (158 v 114 g/kg dry matter (DM) at 16.00 and 06.00 h, respectively) than in AA (147 v 129 g/kg DM at 16.00 and 06.00 h, respectively). Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) was significantly higher at 06.00 h than at 16.00 h (469 v 425 g/kg DM) in AA, but was equal between morning and afternoon in MA (453 g/kg DM). Herbage intake, determined using the n-alkane technique, did not differ between treatments. Grazing behaviour observed using IGER graze recorders were similar between treatments, except for ruminating time, bite rate and the number of ruminations and boli per period of the day. However, interactions between treatment and time in grazing behaviour variables were found. Grazing time was longer and number of bites was greater following allocation to a new plot (after milking in the morning in MA or milking in the afternoon in AA) when compared to allocation to the same plot after the subsequent milking per treatment (after milking in the afternoon or morning in MA and AA, respectively). In comparison to AA, grazing time in MA was more evenly distributed during the day but lower during the night. The combined effects of differences in grazing behaviour and chemical composition of the grass between treatments in different periods of the day probably caused higher intake of sugars in AA, resulting in a significantly higher non-glucogenic to glucogenic volatile fatty acid ratio (NGR) in the rumen in AA than MA. Milk fat content was lower in MA than AA, but milk production and milk protein and lactose content did not differ. In conclusion, time of allocation to a fresh plot altered the distribution of grazing behaviour variables over the day, and affected NGR and milk fat content, but herbage intake and milk production were not changed
 
The influence of different drying conditions on the chemical composition, physical properties, in vitro organic matter degradability and fermentation kinetics of forages was investigated using young and old grass (Lolium perenne) samples (harvested on 15 June and 9 July 1992 at Lelystad, The Netherlands) and young and old maize (Zea mays cv. Scana) stem samples (harvested on 19 August and 30 September 1991 at Lelystad). The samples were either freeze-dried with a maximum sample temperature of 10 °C, dried in a vacuum at 20 °C or air-dried at 30, 50, 70 and 105 °C. The different drying methods had little effect on ash, acid detergent fibre (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), crude fibre and crude protein (CP) contents and in vitro degradation of the forage samples. However, some effects were found for sugars and phenolic acids. The neutral detergent fibre (NDF) content in protein-rich samples and the fermentation kinetics in rumen fluid differed significantly according to drying method. In samples dried other than by freeze-drying, proteins were bound to the NDF content and in some cases an effect on the amount of soluble sugars was also seen. Physical properties of the samples were determined by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and differences were found between freeze-dried materials and those dried at 70 °C. The influence of age on the maize samples was very pronounced, whereas it had little effect on the characteristics of the grass samples, with the exception of a decreased CP content and an increased sugar content after acid hydrolysis.
 
Farm development in the Netherlands between 1980 and 2005 on logarithmic scale (source: CBS, http://www.cbs.nl). NGE means Nederlandse Grootte-Eenheid (Dutch Size Unit) and is an economic standard that is used to describe farm size. NGE is based on the balance per animal or per hectare of crops. In 2005, 1 NGE equals a gross margin of e1400.  
Schematic display of the constructed wetlands at the Lankheet Estate.
The Pearl concept: agricultural research should remain focused on the cutting edge of economy and society. Attention for the environment is considered a societal precondition.  
Dutch agriculture has undergone significant changes in the past century, similar to many countries in the European Union. Due to economies of scale and in order to remain economically profitable, it became necessary for farmers to increase farm size, efficiency and external inputs, while minimizing labour use per hectare. The latter has resulted in fewer people working in the agricultural sector. Consequently, Dutch society gradually lost its connection to agricultural production. This divergence resulted in a poor image for the agricultural sector, because of environmental pollution, homogenization of the landscape, outbreaks of contagious animal diseases and reduced animal welfare. Although the general attitude towards agriculture seems to have improved slightly in recent years, there is still a long way to go in regaining this trust. In order to keep the Dutch countryside viable, farmers are considered indispensable. However, their methods of production should match the demands of society in terms of sustainability. This applies both to farming systems that are used in a monofunctional way (production only) and to multifunctional farming systems. For researchers involved in development of these farming systems, this requires new capabilities; contrary to the situation in the past, citizens and stakeholder groups now demand involvement in the design of farming systems. In the current paper, it is suggested that, besides traditional mainstream agriculture, other alternative farming systems should be developed and implemented. Hence, Dutch agricultural research should remain focused on the cutting edge of economy and society. Despite all efforts, not all of these newly developed systems will acquire a position within the agricultural spectrum. However, some of the successful ones may prove extremely valuable.
 
Wheat yield and grain nitrogen concentration (GNC; mg N/g grain) are frequently negatively correlated. In most growing conditions, this is mainly due to a feedback process between GNC and the number of grains/m2. In Mediterranean conditions, breeders may have produced cultivars with conservative grain set. The present study aimed at clarifying the main physiological determinants of grain nitrogen accumulation (GNA) in Mediterranean wheat and to analyse how breeding has affected them. Five field experiments were carried out in north-eastern Spain in the 2005/06 and 2006/ 07 growing seasons with three cultivars released at different times and an advanced line. Depending on the experiment, source-sink ratios during grain filling were altered by reducing grain number/m2 either through pre-anthesis shading (unshaded control or 0.75 shading only between jointing and anthesis) or by directly trimming the spikes after anthesis and before the onset of the effective grain filling period (un-trimmed control or spikes halved 7–10 days after anthesis). Grain nitrogen content (GN content ; mg N/grain) decreased with the year of release of the genotypes. As the number of grains/m2 was also increased by breeding there was a clear dilution effect on the amount of nitrogen allocated to each grain. However, the increase in GN content in old genotypes did not compensate for the loss in grain nitrogen yield (GNY) due to the lower number of grains/m2. GN content of all genotypes increased (increases ranged from 0.13 to 0.40 mg N/grain, depending on experiment and genotype) in response to the post-anthesis spike trimming or pre-anthesis shading. The degree of source-limitation for GNA increased with the year of release of the genotypes (and thus with increases in grain number/m2) from 0.22 (mean of the four manipulative experiments) in the oldest cultivar to 0.51 (mean of the four manipulative experiments) in the most modern line. It was found that final GN content depended strongly on the source-sink ratio established at anthesis between the number of grains set and the amount of nitrogen absorbed at this stage. Thus, Mediterranean wheat breeding that improved yield through increases in grain number/m2 reduced the GN content by diluting a rather limited source of nitrogen into more grains. This dilution effect produced by breeding was further confirmed by the reversal effect produced by grain number/m2 reductions due to either pre-anthesis shading or post-anthesis spike trimming.
 
A centenary review presents an opportunity to ponder over the processes of concept development and give thought to future directions. The current review aims to ascertain the ontogeny of current concepts, underline the connection between ideas and people and pay tribute to those pioneers who have contributed significantly to modelling in animal nutrition. Firstly, the paper draws a brief portrait of the use of mathematics in agriculture and animal nutrition prior to 1925. Thereafter, attention turns towards the historical development of growth modelling, feed evaluation systems and animal response models. Introduction of the factorial and compartmental approaches into animal nutrition is noted along with the particular branches of mathematics encountered in various models. Furthermore, certain concepts, especially bioenergetics or the heat doctrine, are challenged and alternatives are reviewed. The current state of knowledge of animal nutrition modelling results mostly from the discernment and unceasing efforts of our predecessors rather than serendipitous discoveries. The current review may stimulate those who wish for greater understanding and appreciation.
 
The canopy development, radiation absorption and its utilization for biomass production in response to irrigation at different growth stages of three Kabuli chickpea ( Cicer arietinum L.) cultivars was studied on a Wakanui silt loam soil in Canterbury, New Zealand (43°38S, 172°30E). The study also aimed at quantifying the yield potential of the crop under varying irrigation regimes and sowing dates. Green area duration (GAD), intercepted radiation ( F i ), radiation use efficiency ( U ) and total intercepted PAR were significantly ( P <0·001) increased by irrigation. Total dry matter (TDM) yield was more strongly correlated ( R ² =0·69–0·83) with GAD than seed yield ( R ² =0·60–0·69). Accumulation of TDM was highly related to intercepted PAR. Fully irrigated November-sown crops had a final U of 1·46 g DM/MJ PAR. The unirrigated crop had a U of only 0·92 g DM/MJ PAR. The U tended to decrease with delayed sowing. Averaged over the 2 years, irrigation increased seed yield by 74–124% and trends were similar for TDM yield. Seed yield was doubled in November-sown chickpeas (4·6 t/ha) and cv. Sanford produced 14 and 16% more seed than cvs Dwelley and B-90 respectively. Full irrigation from emergence to physiological maturity always gave the highest seed yield (>4·7 t/ha), and there was no indication of a critical period of sensitivity to water stress. Based on results collected in the first growing season a simple model relating seed yield to radiation interception, U and HI was made. Results from the second growing season were then used as a simple verification to test the accuracy of predictions. The results suggest that these varieties have the potential to yield more than 4·5 t/ha of seed in Canterbury.
 
The photothermal response of three Kabuli chickpea ( Cicer arietinum L.) cultivars, at different growth stages, to eight irrigation treatments in 1998/99 and four irrigation treatments in 1999/2000 was studied on a Wakanui silt loam soil in Canterbury, New Zealand (43°38S, 172°30E). The rate of development from emergence to flowering (e-f) and sowing to harvest maturity were strongly and positively associated ( R ² =0·87, P <0·001) with mean temperature during those periods. All phenological stages considered (sowing to emergence, e-f, flowering to podding, podding to physiological maturity and physiological maturity to harvest maturity) depended upon accumulated thermal time ( T t ) above a base temperature ( T b ) of 1 °C. An accurate prediction of time of flowering was made based on an accumulated mean T t requirement of 629 °Cdays from e-f ( R ² =0·91, P <0·001). Fully irrigated crops had higher maximum dry matter accumulation (maxDM; 1093 g/m ² ), duration of exponential growth (DUR; 99 days), weighted mean absolute growth rate (WMAGR; 12·2 g/m ² per day) and maximum crop growth rate (MGR; 17·1 g/m ² per day). In 1998/99 the positive response of maxDM and MGR depended on a significant ( P <0·01) interaction between irrigation and sowing date. The maxDM during the season was highly correlated with DUR and MGR ( R ² =0·79 and 0·65). It is concluded that to maximize chickpea biological yield in the dry season of the cool-temperate subhumid climate of Canterbury, irrigation should extend across all phenological stages.
 
The present study was conducted from 1998 to 2000, to evaluate seasonal water use and soil-water extraction by Kabuli chickpea (Cicerarietinum L.). The response of three cultivars to eight irrigation treatments in 1998/99 and four irrigation treatments in 1999/2000 at different growth stages was studied on a Wakanui silt loam soil in Canterbury, New Zealand. Evapotranspiration was measured with a neutron moisture meter and water use efficiency (WUE) was examined at crop maturity. Water use was about 426 mm for the fully irrigated treatment and at least 175 mm for the non-irrigated plants. There was a significant correlation (P<0·001) between water use and biomass yield (R2=0·80) and water use and seed yield (R2=0·75). There were also highly significant (P<0·001) interacting effects of irrigation, sowing date and cultivar on WUE and the trend was similar to that for seed yield. The estimated WUE ranged from 2213 kg seed yield/ha per mm water use.
 
The experimental design of the field experiment.
Feeding strategy (kg dry matter/cow per day) on the four farms
The relationship between the neutral detergent fibre (NDF) content in the dung dry matter and the proportion of dry weight of dung pats disappeared (PDD) (a) without a cage and (b) with a cage of four farms with different feeding strategies (2, conventional (CONV) ; $, integrated (INT); m, intensive organic (ORGI); &, extensive organic (ORGE)) on an old (open symbols) and a new (closed symbols) grassland sward. Mean and standard deviation of four replicates are shown.
The relationship between herbage yield around the uncaged dung pats (R2) and a human smell test of dung from four farms with different feeding strategies (&, extensive organic (ORGE); 2, conventional (CONV); m, intensive organic (ORGI); $, integrated (INT)) on an old (open symbols) and a new (closed symbols) grassland sward. Mean and standard deviations of four replicates are shown.
Proportion of dung disappeared (on dry weight basis; S.E. in parentheses, n=4) of the four different dung treatments on an old and a new grassland sward, with and without cages
Fresh cattle dung from four farms with different feeding strategies was used to create artificial dung pats in a continuously grazed pasture in order to compare the rejection of herbage growing around the pats, the effect on undisturbed herbage growth under cages and pat decomposition. The first farm was an extensive organic farm (ORGE) with young steers grazing on a biodiverse sward. The second was an intensive organic farm (ORGI) with dairy cattle grazing on a grass/clover sward during the day and fed low-protein forages indoors. The third dung used was from an integrated farm (INT), where the feeding strategy was aiming for high dung quality by including straw in the diet. The fourth examined dung was from a conventional farm (CONV) aiming for a high milk production per cow, where fertilized grazed grass was the main component of the diet. A human smell test was performed to rank the odour of the four dungs. After 6 weeks of continuous grazing with dairy cattle, herbage yield around INT pats tended to be lowest, whilst undisturbed herbage yield in and around caged INT pats was highest ( P <0·05). Therefore, it could be concluded that rejection was lowest for INT. The CONV pats gave highest rejection ( P <0·05). However, herbage yield around the dung pats under grazing showed no significant correlation with both the human smell test and the contents of total-N and sugar in the rejected herbage. The feeding strategy had a significant effect on the decomposition of dung pats under the cages. After 6 weeks, the most liquid and least fibrous dung (CONV) showed highest decomposition ( P <0·05), whilst decomposition of the most solid and fibrous dung (ORGE) tended to be lowest. However, no relationship was found between the decomposition of dung and the rejection of herbage around the dung pats. When combining a number of parameters determined in the experiment and comparing them using index figures for dung quality in terms of rejection, herbage growth and decomposition, the index figures of ORGI (102) and especially INT (113) were above average (100), while those of ORGE (94) and CONV (90) were below average. The difference between ORGI and INT might be explained by the addition of straw to the diet in the latter. The study showed that there are possibilities to improve dung quality by altering feeding strategy.
 
As with any measurement procedure, the performance of a subjective classification procedure must be evaluated. Observers have to be trained and their performance has to be assessed, preferably on a regular basis, to guarantee sufficient consistency and accuracy of classification results. The current paper is a study of observer performance where observers were asked to classify the gait of cows from video recordings. Gait was classified in nine ordered categories (ranging from 1=normal gait to 9=severely abnormal gait) and also as a continuous fraction by putting a mark on a paper strip (the left end corresponding to 0=normal gait and the right end to 1=severely abnormal gait). The use of statistical models and methodology for analysis of these visual scores is demonstrated and discussed. Observers were assessed by comparing their classification results with the results of an expert. Models and methodology take proper account of typical features of the data, i.e. the fact that data are discrete scores or continuous scores with an upper and lower bound, the variance heterogeneity and non-linearity of model terms that arises from this, and the dependence between repeated classifications of videos of the same cow. Results of the analyses are summarized in simple tables and plots. These are useful tools to indicate possible flaws in judgement of an observer, that may be corrected by further training. When a high standard is developed, which usually takes the form of the opinion of one or more experts, this methodology can be applied prior to any experiment where responses are ordered subjective scores.
 
On the Abu-Ghraib Experiment Station, milk production was investigated in 31 Awassi ewes of different ages and 12 newly imported Hungarian Merino ewes, two years old, together with the effect of age, lactation period, number of lambs born and reared and stage of lactation on milk production in the Awassi ewes. The relationships between milk production, birth weight and weaning weight of lambs were also investigated. First-lactation milk yield during the suckling period (90 days) based on 12 h milking interval was 114·58 kg in the Merino and 75·29 kg in the Awassi. Age had no significant effect on milk production in Awassi ewes although first-lactation yield was lower than that from subsequent lactations. Ewes that produced and nursed twins gave significantly more milk than ewes that produced and nursed single lambs. Milk yield in Merino and Awassi ewes increased with the decrease of milking interval from 12 to 4 h. The correlation coefficients between milk yield during 12 and 4 h were positive and significant. Correlation coefficients between birth and weaning weights and milk production were positive in both breeds. The correlation coefficient between weaning weight and milk production was 0·78 in the Awassi ( P <0·01) and 0·65 in the Merino ( P <0·05). The multiple correlation coefficient between weaning weight and birth weight and milk production was 0·67 in the Awassi and 0·43 in the Merino.
 
A semi-controlled environment study was conducted from May to September 1996 in Wageningen, The Netherlands, to investigate the interaction between growth and development in bambara groundnut (Vignasubterranea) and the influence of photoperiod on dry matter partitioning. The experimental design was a split-plot with four photoperiods (10·5, 11·8, 13·2 and 14·5 h/d) and two light treatments: unshaded and shaded (42% light reduction). The selection used was from Botswana. The dates of 50% flowering and 50% podding were determined, and samples of plants were harvested at 22, 36, 50, 64, 78, 92, 106 and 120 days after sowing. Total dry matter production was 41% lower in the shaded treatment than in the unshaded treatment, but the rates of progress from sowing to flowering and flowering to podding decreased by only 3 and 12% respectively. This suggests that growth and development in bambara groundnut are largely independent. Photoperiod influenced dry matter partitioning indirectly, through its influence on the onset of podding. There were, however, no strong direct photoperiod effects on dry matter partitioning, either before or after the onset of podding.
 
Relationship between time to heading and the length of the exposure to long-day cycles in wheat (circles) and barley (squares). Solid lines were fitted by linear (barley) or tri-linear models (wheat). Parameters of the regression are shown in the inset table.
Days from sowing to maximum number of primordia or terminal spikelet initiation for wheat and barley, respectively (open symbols) and from then to heading (closed symbols) v. the length of the exposure to long-day cycles in wheat (circles) and barley (squares). Solid lines were fitted by linear regression.
The present study was designed to analyse the effect of the length of exposure to a long photoperiod imposed c . 3 weeks after sowing in spring wheat ( cv . UQ189) and barley ( cv . Arapiles) to (i) establish whether the response to the number of cycles of exposure is quantitative or qualitative, (ii) determine the existence of a commitment to particular stages well before the stage has been observable, and (iii) study the interrelationships between the effects on final leaf number and phyllochron when the stimulus is provided several days after seedling emergence. Both wheat and barley seemed to respond quantitatively to the number of long-day cycles they were exposed to. However, wheat showed a requirement of approximately 4 long-day cycles to be able to produce a significant response in time to heading. The barley cultivar used in the study was responsive to the minimum length of exposure. The response to extended photoperiod cycles during the stem elongation phase was due to the ‘memory’ photoperiod effects being related, in the case of wheat, to the fact that the pre-terminal spikelet appearance phase saturated its photoperiod response well before that stage was reached. Therefore, the commitment to the terminal spikelet appearance in wheat may be reached well before this stage could be recognized. As the response in duration to heading exceeded that of the final leaf number, and the stem elongation phase responded to memory effects of photoperiod, the phyllochron of both cereals was responsive to the treatments accelerating the average phyllochron when exposed to longer periods of long days. The response in average phyllochron was due to a switch from bi-linear to linear models of leaf number v . time when the conditions were increasingly inductive, with the phyllochron of the initial (6–8) leaves being similar for all treatments (within each species), and from then on increased.
 
Field scale variability in the grain yield of barley in 1989 was investigated in 62 field plots in a Dutch polder area, and compared to soil- and simulation-type characteristics. Total grain mass varied between 3409 and 6019 kg/ha, and grain moisture content between 131 and 14·7%. Soil profile descriptions and soil characteristics were used as basic input data for simulations. Soil water flow was simulated at 119 locations with the LEACHM model, for the purpose of quantifying spatial variability in transpiration deficits in the growing season. Both soil- and simulation-type characteristics were translated from point values to spatial averages for the harvested fields, using kriging. Kriged characteristics were correlated with yields, and used to construct transfer functions. Simulated transpiration deficits during sensitive crop development phases showed negative correlations with grain yield. Transfer functions explained at maximum 68·2% of the variance in the yields.
 
Results from the four seed yam experiments at Ekwuloko and Edeke. Figures are back-transformed means and standard deviations.
Summary of labour inputs for the seed yam trials.
Labour (person-hours) divided into activity groups of land clearing (includes packing of material), planting (includes construction of heaps), staking, weed control (includes application of herbicide) and harvesting & post-harvest. Figures are proportions of
Results of a production-function multiple regression applied to the yield per stand data from the Ekwuloko and Edeke seed yam plots.
Gross margins of the four Ekwuloko seed yam experiments based on actual and imputed labour costs.
Yarn minisett technique (YMT) has been promoted throughout West Africa since the 1980s as a sustainable means of producing clean yarn planting material, but adoption of the technique is Often reported as being patchy at best. While there has been much research Oil the factors that influence adoption of the technique, there have been no attempts to assess its economic viability under 'farmer-managed' as distinct from 'on station' conditions. The present paper describes the results of farmer-managed trials employing the YMT (white yarn: Dioscorea rotundata) at two villages in Igalaland, Kogi State, Nigeria. One of the villages (Edeke) is on the banks of the River Niger and represents it specialist yarn environment, whereas the other village (Ekwuloko) is inland, where farmers employ a more general cropping system. Four farmers were selected in each of the two villages and asked to plant a trial comprising two varieties of yam, their popular local variety its well its another variety grown in other parts of Igalaland, and to treat yarn setts (80-100 g) with either woodash or insecticide/nematicide + fungicide mix (chemical treatment). Results suggest that while chemical sett treatment increased yield and hence gross margin compared with woodash, if household labour is costed then YMT is not economically viable. However, the specialist yarn growers of Edeke were far more positive about the use of YMT as they tended to keep the yarn seed tubers for planting rather than sell them. Thus, great care needs to be taken with planning adoption surveys on the assumption that all farmers should adopt a technology.
 
The great majority of the fibre-type arrays from the backs of eighty Merino lambs were Plain (including Coarse Plain); Plateau and other arrays also occurred. In most samples no medulla could be seen in the pre-natal parts of halo-hairs examined in benzene, but the presence of medullary substance was demonstrated. All HH were shed and apparently replaced by fine fibres. The shape of the tip curls of early CT fibres in some samples altered with age, apparently by 'setting' in a line of yolk. HH grades ranged from I to VII and there were probable strain differences in grade and medullation. A total of 599 primary and 2595 secondary follicles and their fibres were identified by dissection. Primary follicles contained HH, SS, Sk, or early CT fibres, secondary follicles only CT or Hi. Sickle fibres commonly occupied most of the PL follicles except where the array was Plateau.
 
Proportion of total magnesium present in the 30 000 g supernatant fraction of ruminal and caecal digesta as estimated from the maximum likelihood prediction equation at pH 5, 6, 7 and 8 for sheep offered a range of diets.
Rumen and caecal digesta were collected, under anaesthetic, from eight sheep offered either hay, pelleted concentrate or pasture at the Johnston Memorial Laboratory, Lincoln University during 1991. Subsamples of digesta were incubated at 39°C for 1 h after adjustment of pH within the range 0.5-12 by the addition of H₂S0₄ or NaOH. The samples were centrifuged at 30 000 g for 30 min and magnesium (Mg) concentration measured in the 30 000 g supernatant fraction and in total digesta to assess Mg solubility. In rumen digesta Mg solubility declined from 0.86 at pH 5 to 0.30 at pH 7 and differences in response between diets were small. Magnesium solubility in caecal digesta was generally higher than in ruminal digesta, and particularly at pH values > 6. At pH 7 the difference was twofold. Moreover, differences were observed between diets in the rate of decline in solubility in caecal digesta with increasing pH. At pH 5, 0.90 of Mg from hay and concentrate diets was soluble compared with only 0.8 for pasture. At pH 7 Mg solubility in caecal digesta from hay and concentrate fed animals was almost double that from pasture fed animals (0.64 and 0.62 v. 0.36, respectively). The implications of the findings for Mg homoeostasis in ruminants are discussed.
 
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars with increased water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentrations were evaluated under controlled environment conditions. The growth and carbon partitioning of these cultivars was compared with standard cultivars during vegetative growth. The high WSC cultivars had shoot growth rates that were not significantly different from the standard cultivars, confirming that the extra WSC in these cultivars was not made available through reductions in yield potential. The extra WSC stored in these cultivars coincided with lower concentrations of neutral detergent fibre in the dry matter. When the cultivars were grown in hydroponic solution the high WSC cultivars Aurora and Ba10727 were found to also have less root mass and a lower root[ratio]shoot ratio than the standard cultivars. However, this trait was not consistent across all high WSC cultivars with Cariad having the same root[ratio]shoot ratio as the standard cultivars at the end of the experiment. The reduction in the root mass of the cultivars Aurora and Ba10727 was far greater than necessary to provide the extra carbon stored as WSC in these cultivars. The implications of these results for the breeding of cultivars of perennial ryegrass with increased WSC concentrations are discussed. Australian Dairy Research and Development Corporation
 
Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of supplementation of a control diet of barley grain and barley straw containing 4 mg copper (Cu)/kg dry matter (D.M.) either with 5 mg molybdenum (Mo)/kg D.M. or with 500 or 800 mg iron (Fe)/kg D.M. on puberty, fertility and oestrous cycles of cattle. Puberty occurred normally in control, Fesupplemented and control animals on a restricted intake whereas it was delayed by 12 and 8 weeks respectively by Mo supplementation. This effect of Mo was not due to the low Cu status since this was equally low in the Fe-supplemented animals, nor was it due to the reduced growth rate since puberty occurred normally in control animals that had a similar live-weight gain. A significant reduction in the pulsatile release of luteinizing hormone was observed within 11 weeks of the Mo supplementation and before any of the other clinical signs were evident, suggesting that Mo may be affecting puberty by altering the release of luteinizing hormone either directly or indirectly. Mo supplementation significantly reduced the percentage conception rate to 12–33% compared with 57–80% in control and Fe-supplemented animals. This effect was not dependent on the rate of live-weight gain which was standardized across the different treatments at approximately 0·6 kg/day. Within 12 weeks of the replacement of dietary Fe by Mo a lower conception rate occurred; replacing dietary Mo by Fe led to a normal conception rate within 12 weeks without any accompanying changes in Cu status or in the rate of live-weight gain. The plasma Mo concentrations, however, changed significantly during these alterations in dietary supplementation. The pre-ovulatory peak height of luteinizing hormone was significantly lower in animals on the Mo-supplemented diet compared with control and Fe-supplemented animals, but the administration of LHRH did not alter the conception rate. More Mo-supplemented animals failed to ovulate following prostaglandin induced synchronization in comparison with the other treatments, and by the 84th week a significantly greater number of Mo-supplemented animals (12/18) had become anoestrous compared with the other groups (2/30). Cu repletion of these anoestrous Mo animals for a period of 20 weeks did not result in resumption of normal oestrous cycles, but ovulation and oestrus were induced by progesterone and LHRH treatment. Results in the latter part of the study indicated that Mo caused superovulation. These data show that Mo supplementation delayed the onset of puberty, decreased the conception rate and caused anovulation and anoestrus in cattle without accompanying changes in Cu status or in live-weight gain. It is suggested that these effects of Mo are associated with a decreased release of luteinizing hormone that might be due to an altered ovarian steroid secretion.
 
Top-cited authors
Egil Robert Orskov
  • James Hutton Institute
E.-C. Oerke
  • University of Bonn
Herbert Steingass
  • University of Hohenheim
Colin L Morgan
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
S.G. Sommer
  • University of Southern Denmark