ResearchPad - agricultural-workers https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Breeding practices and trait preferences of smallholder farmers for indigenous sheep in the northwest highlands of Ethiopia: Inputs to design a breeding program]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7865 The aim of this study was to identify breeding practices and trait preferences for indigenous sheep in three districts (Estie, Farta and Lay Gayient) located in the northwest highlands of Ethiopia. Questionnaire survey and choice experiment methods were used to collect data from 370 smallholder farmers. Respondents were selected randomly among smallholder farmers who own sheep in the aforementioned districts. A generalized multinomial logit model was employed to examine preferences for sheep attributes, while descriptive statistics and index values were computed to describe sheep breeding practices. Having the highest index value of 0.36, income generation was ranked as the primary reason for keeping sheep, followed by meat and manure sources. The average flock size per smallholder farmer was 10.21 sheep. The majority of the smallholder farmers (91%) have the experience of selecting breeding rams and ewes within their own flock using diverse criteria. Given the highest index value of 0.34, body size was ranked as a primary ram and ewe selection criteria, followed by coat color. Furthermore, choice modeling results revealed that tail type, body size, coat color, growth rate, horn and ear size have shown significant influences on smallholder farmers’ preference for breeding rams (P<0.01). The part-worth utility coefficients were positive for all ram attributes except ear size. For breeding ewes, mothering ability, coat color, body size, lambing interval, growth rate, tail type and litter size have shown significant effects on choice preferences of smallholder farmers (P<0.05). Moreover, significant scale heterogeneity was observed among respondents for ewe attributes (P<0.001). Overall, the results implied that sheep breeding objectives suitable for the northwest highlands of the country can be derived from traits such as linear body measurement, weight and survival at different ages, and lambing intervals. However, selection decisions at the smallholder level should not only be based on estimated breeding values of traits included in the breeding objective but instead, incorporate ways to address farmers’ preference for qualitative traits.

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<![CDATA[Soil health pilot study in England: Outcomes from an on-farm earthworm survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe56d5eed0c484e5b8f1

Earthworms are primary candidates for national soil health monitoring as they are ecosystem engineers that benefit both food production and ecosystem services associated with soil security. Supporting farmers to monitor soil health could help to achieve the policy aspiration of sustainable soils by 2030 in England; however, little is known about how to overcome participation barriers, appropriate methodologies (practical, cost-effective, usefulness) or training needs. This paper presents the results from a pilot #60minworms study which mobilised farmers to assess over >1300 ha farmland soils in spring 2018. The results interpretation framework is based on the presence of earthworms from each of the three ecological groups at each observation (20 x 20 cm x 20 cm pit) and spatially across a field (10 soil pits). Results showed that most fields have basic earthworm presence and abundance, but 42% fields may be over-worked as indicated by absence/rarity of epigeic and/or anecic earthworms. Tillage had a negative impact (p < 0.05) on earthworm populations and organic matter management did not mitigate tillage impacts. In terms of farmer participation, Twitter and Farmers Weekly magazine were highly effective channels for recruitment. Direct feedback from participants included excellent scores in trust, value and satisfaction of the protocol (e.g. 100% would do the test again) and 57% would use their worm survey results to change their soil management practices. A key training need in terms of earthworm identification skills was reported. The trade-off between data quality, participation rates and fieldwork costs suggests there is potential to streamline the protocol further to #30minworms (5 pits), incurring farmer fieldwork costs of approximately £1.48 ha-1. At national scales, £14 million pounds across 4.7 M ha-1 in fieldwork costs per survey could be saved by farmer participation.

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<![CDATA[Does caste determine farmer access to quality information?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c64490ad5eed0c484c2f4b8

This paper explores the social inclusiveness of agricultural extension services in India. We estimate the probability and frequency of farmers’ access to extension services and resulting changes in crop income across different caste groups. The literature suggests that caste-based social segregation manifests in various spheres of life, and perpetuates economic inequality and oppression. An econometric analysis of nationally-representative data from rural India verifies this with respect to the agricultural sector. Farmers belonging to the socially-marginalized castes are found to have a lower chance of accessing the public extension services, primarily due to their inferior resource-endowment status. Contacting extension agents at least once increased the average annual crop income by about 12 thousand Indian rupees per household, which is equivalent to 36% of the annual crop income of those without access to extension services. There exists significant impact heterogeneity. Farmers from the socially-marginalized castes hardly benefited from accessing the extension services. Based on these observations, we have developed a number of policy recommendations that could improve the social inclusiveness of agricultural development strategies in rural India.

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<![CDATA[Tree diversity and its ecological importance value in organic and conventional cocoa agroforests in Ghana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c42439cd5eed0c4845e080d

Cocoa agroforestry systems have the potential to conserve biodiversity and provide environmental or ecological benefits at various nested scales ranging from the plot to ecoregion. While integrating organic practices into cocoa agroforestry may further enhance these potentials, empirical and robust data to support this claim is lacking, and mechanisms for biodiversity conservation and the provision of environmental and ecological benefits are poorly understood. A field study was conducted in the Eastern Region of Ghana to evaluate the potential of organic cocoa agroforests to conserve native floristic diversity in comparison with conventional cocoa agroforests. Shade tree species richness, Shannon, Simpson’s reciprocal and Margalef diversity indices were estimated from 84 organic and conventional cocoa agroforestry plots. Species importance value index, a measure of how dominant a species is in a given ecosystem, and conservation status were used to evaluate the conservation potential of shade trees on studied cocoa farms. Organic farms recorded higher mean shade tree species richness (5.10 ± 0.38) compared to conventional farms (3.48 ± 0.39). Similarly, mean Shannon diversity index, Simpson’s reciprocal diversity index and Margalef diversity index were significantly higher on organic farms compared to conventional farms. According to the importance value index, fruit and native shade tree species were the most important on both organic and conventional farms for all the cocoa age groups but more so on organic farms. Organic farms maintained 14 native tree species facing a conservation issue compared to 10 on conventional cocoa farms. The results suggest that diversified organic cocoa farms can serve as reservoirs of native tree species, including those currently facing conservation concerns thereby providing support and contributing to the conservation of tree species in the landscape.

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<![CDATA[Association between pesticide exposure intensity and self-rated health among greenhouse vegetable farmers in Ningxia, China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c269776d5eed0c48470f987

Background

Self-rated health (SRH) has been shown to be a stronger comprehensive predictor of health status than the clinical record. Although an association between specific pesticide exposures and health conditions has been reported in different populations, data on the relationship between pesticides exposure intensity (PEI) and SRH in greenhouse farmers is scarce. The aim of the current study was to evaluate this association among vegetable greenhouse farmers in Yinchuan City, western China.

Methods

Three consecutive cross-sectional studies were conducted in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017. Face-to-face interviews by trained investigators, using questionnaires, were performed. PEI was calculated by a validated method and then categorized into high, middle and low groups. SRH was measured via a single ten-point scale question and then divided into excellent (score >5) and poor SRH (score ≤5). A multivariable logistic regression model was used to evaluate the association. Meanwhile, the dose-response and interaction effects were estimated.

Results

A steady association between high PEI and poor SRH (OR: 1.55, 95% CI: 1.05–2.28 in the full model) was identified. Although high PEI was significantly associated with poor SRH in males and the Han ethnicity group, no significant association was found with poor SRH in females or those of Hui ethnicity. Interaction effects of education level and frequency of breakfast with PEI were determined (Pinteraction = 0.04 and 0.02, respectively); synergistic enhanced effects for poor SRH were observed.

Conclusion

These findings indicate that high PEI might be associated with poor SRH among vegetable greenhouse farmers. A lower education level and never eating breakfast contributed to an increased likelihood of poor SRH in those with high PEI. The local government should be making great efforts to promote healthy behaviors and improve protection awareness.

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<![CDATA[How do Brazilian citizens perceive animal welfare conditions in poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23f272d5eed0c484046b5a

The aim of this study was to understand the perceptions of Brazilian citizens about the general conditions of animal welfare in the poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains. To reach this aim, an online survey was conducted. The analysis was based on descriptive statistics and three logistic regression models. Results of descriptive statistics showed that citizens in Brazil had mostly negative perceptions about the conditions of animal welfare in the poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains. Results of the logistic regression models showed that citizens with a background in agricultural/veterinary sciences, and citizens who reported a higher level of knowledge about poultry and dairy supply chains were more likely to perceive the general conditions of animal welfare in these two supply chains as being bad. Citizens who reported previous contact with poultry farms were also more likely to perceive the general conditions of animal welfare in the poultry supply chain as being bad. In addition, the perception that farmers are mainly focused on the economic aspect of farming and less on animal welfare, the perception that animals do not have a good quality of life while housed on farms, and the perception that animals are not adequately transported and slaughtered, negatively impact on perceptions about the general conditions of animal welfare in the poultry, beef, and dairy supply chains.

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<![CDATA[Lévy foraging patterns of rural humans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b498fb9463d7e0897c6e022

Movement patterns resembling Lévy walks, often attributed to the execution of an advantageous probabilistic searching strategy, are found in a wide variety of organisms, from cells to human hunter-gatherers. It has been suggested that such movement patterns may be fundamental to how humans interact and experience the world and that they may have arisen early in our genus with the evolution of a hunting and gathering lifestyle. Here we show that Lévy walks are evident in the Me’Phaa of Mexico, in Brazilian Cariri farmers and in Amazonian farmers when gathering firewood, wild fruit and nuts. Around 50% of the search patterns resemble Lévy walks and these are characterized by Lévy exponents close to 1.7. The other search patterns more closely resemble bi-phasic walks. We suggest potential generative mechanisms for the occurrence of these ubiquitous Lévy walks which can be used to guide future studies on human mobility. We show that frequent excursions and meanderings from pre-existing trails can account for our observations.

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<![CDATA[Climate variability, perceptions and political ecology: Factors influencing changes in pesticide use over 30 years by Zimbabwean smallholder cotton producers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b03d26f463d7e6e6b5b7906

Pesticides represent a potential public health hazard of note in farming communities. Accumulating evidence indicates that some pesticides used in agriculture act as hormone disrupters, with the potential to result in chronic health effects. Despite such a growing evidence base, pesticides remain the preferred method of pest control in agriculture worldwide. In many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, usage is on the increase. This qualitative study assessed changes in the usage of pesticides by Zimbabwean smallholder cotton farmers in the past 30 years. Farmers reported an increase in the usage of pesticides, specifically insecticides, since the early 1980s. An increase in pest populations was also reported. The findings suggested a bi-directional causal relationship between the increase in pest population and the increase in pesticide use. Factors which emerged to have collectively impacted on the changes include climate variability, limited agency on the part of farmers, power dynamics involving the government and private cotton companies and farmers’ perceptions and practices. An Integrated Pest Management Policy for Zimbabwe is recommended to facilitate integration of chemical controls with a broad range of other pest control tactics. Continuous farmer education and awareness raising is further recommended, since farmers’ perceptions can influence their practices.

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<![CDATA[Nutrition education improves dietary diversity of children 6-23 months at community-level: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial in Malawi]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc5a5

Background: Low dietary quality and quantity and inappropriate feeding practices can cause undernutrition. Poor nutritional status in early childhood is associated with growth faltering. The objective of the study was to assess the potential of community-based nutrition education to improve height-for-age z-scores in children 6–23 months of age.

Methods and Findings: We carried out a cluster-randomized-controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of nutrition education. A total of 24 Extension Planning Area Sections served as clusters. The selection criteria were: the position of the extension officer was staffed and the sections had been selected by the project for activities in its first project year. The sections were randomized into intervention and control restricted on mean height for age Z-score using baseline information. In the intervention area, food security activities and community-based nutrition education was implemented. The control area received food security activities only. At baseline (2011) and endline (2014), caregivers with a child below two years of age were enrolled. Data assessment included anthropometric measurements, interviews on socio-economic status, dietary intake and feeding practices. A difference-in-differences estimator was used to calculate intervention effects. A positive impact on child dietary diversity was observed (B (SE) = 0.39 (0.15), p = 0.01; 95%CI 0.09–0.68). There was a non-significant positive intervention effect on mean height-for-age z-scores (B (SE) = 0.17 (0.12), p = 0.15; 95%CI -0.06–0.41). Limitations: The 24h dietary recalls used to measure dietary diversity did not consider quantities of consumed foods. Unrecorded poor quality of consumed foods might have masked a potential benefit of increased child dietary diversity on growth.

Conclusions: Participatory community-based nutrition education for caregivers improved child dietary diversity even in a food insecure area. Nutrition education should be part of programs in food insecure settings aiming at ameliorating food insecurity among communities.

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<![CDATA[American and German attitudes towards cow-calf separation on dairy farms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbe4b

Public concerns regarding the quality of life of farm animals are often focused on specific practices such as separating the cow and calf immediately after birth. The available scientific literature provides some evidence in support of this practice (including reduced acute responses to separation when it does occur), as well as evidence of disadvantages (such as increased risk of uterine disease in cows). The aim of this study is to systematically examine public views around this practice. Specifically, this study analyzes the views of American and German citizens to separation of cow and calf at birth using a quantitative segmentation approach. Although the majority of participants opposed early separation, a small proportion of our sample supported the practice. According to participants’ preference for early and later separation and their evaluation of different arguments for both practices, three clusters were identified. US participants were more likely to support early separation compared to German participants. The arguments presented for and against both practices caused different reactions in the three clusters, but did not appear to sway the opinions of most participants. The results show considerable opposition to the practice of early separation in large parts of the sample and suggest that the dairy industry should consider approaches to address this concern.

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<![CDATA[Social network analysis of multi-stakeholder platforms in agricultural research for development: Opportunities and constraints for innovation and scaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb989

Multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) are seen as a promising vehicle to achieve agricultural development impacts. By increasing collaboration, exchange of knowledge and influence mediation among farmers, researchers and other stakeholders, MSPs supposedly enhance their ‘capacity to innovate’ and contribute to the ‘scaling of innovations’. The objective of this paper is to explore the capacity to innovate and scaling potential of three MSPs in Burundi, Rwanda and the South Kivu province located in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In order to do this, we apply Social Network Analysis and Exponential Random Graph Modelling (ERGM) to investigate the structural properties of the collaborative, knowledge exchange and influence networks of these MSPs and compared them against value propositions derived from the innovation network literature. Results demonstrate a number of mismatches between collaboration, knowledge exchange and influence networks for effective innovation and scaling processes in all three countries: NGOs and private sector are respectively over- and under-represented in the MSP networks. Linkages between local and higher levels are weak, and influential organisations (e.g., high-level government actors) are often not part of the MSP or are not actively linked to by other organisations. Organisations with a central position in the knowledge network are more sought out for collaboration. The scaling of innovations is primarily between the same type of organisations across different administrative levels, but not between different types of organisations. The results illustrate the potential of Social Network Analysis and ERGMs to identify the strengths and limitations of MSPs in terms of achieving development impacts.

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<![CDATA[Modeling the live-pig trade network in Georgia: Implications for disease prevention and control]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be04ea

Live pig trade patterns, drivers and characteristics, particularly in backyard predominant systems, remain largely unexplored despite their important contribution to the spread of infectious diseases in the swine industry. A better understanding of the pig trade dynamics can inform the implementation of risk-based and more cost-effective prevention and control programs for swine diseases. In this study, a semi-structured questionnaire elaborated by FAO and implemented to 487 farmers was used to collect data regarding basic characteristics about pig demographics and live-pig trade among villages in the country of Georgia, where very scarce information is available. Social network analysis and exponential random graph models were used to better understand the structure, contact patterns and main drivers for pig trade in the country. Results indicate relatively infrequent (a total of 599 shipments in one year) and geographically localized (median Euclidean distance between shipments = 6.08 km; IQR = 0–13.88 km) pig movements in the studied regions. The main factors contributing to live-pig trade movements among villages were being from the same region (i.e., local trade), usage of a middleman or a live animal market to trade live pigs by at least one farmer in the village, and having a large number of pig farmers in the village. The identified villages’ characteristics and structural network properties could be used to inform the design of more cost-effective surveillance systems in a country which pig industry was recently devastated by African swine fever epidemics and where backyard production systems are predominant.

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<![CDATA[Research priorities for harnessing plant microbiomes in sustainable agriculture]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcd1e

Feeding a growing world population amidst climate change requires optimizing the reliability, resource use, and environmental impacts of food production. One way to assist in achieving these goals is to integrate beneficial plant microbiomes—i.e., those enhancing plant growth, nutrient use efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance, and disease resistance—into agricultural production. This integration will require a large-scale effort among academic researchers, industry researchers, and farmers to understand and manage plant-microbiome interactions in the context of modern agricultural systems. Here, we identify priorities for research in this area: (1) develop model host–microbiome systems for crop plants and non-crop plants with associated microbial culture collections and reference genomes, (2) define core microbiomes and metagenomes in these model systems, (3) elucidate the rules of synthetic, functionally programmable microbiome assembly, (4) determine functional mechanisms of plant-microbiome interactions, and (5) characterize and refine plant genotype-by-environment-by-microbiome-by-management interactions. Meeting these goals should accelerate our ability to design and implement effective agricultural microbiome manipulations and management strategies, which, in turn, will pay dividends for both the consumers and producers of the world food supply.

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<![CDATA[Determining baselines for human-elephant conflict: A matter of time]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be02fb

Elephant crop raiding is one of the most relevant forms of human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Africa. Northern Botswana holds the largest population of African elephants in the world, and in the eastern Okavango Panhandle, 16,000 people share and compete for resources with more than 11,000 elephants. Hence, it is not surprising this area represents a HEC ‘hotspot’ in the region. Crop-raiding impacts lead to negative perceptions of elephants by local communities, which can strongly undermine conservation efforts. Therefore, assessing trends in conflict levels is essential to developing successful management strategies. In this context, we investigated the trend in the number of reported raiding incidents as one of the indicators of the level of HEC, and assessed its relationship to trends in human and elephant population size, as well as land-use in the study area. For each of these factors, we considered data spanning historical (since the 1970s) and contemporary (2008–2015) time frames, with the aim of comparing subsequent inferences on the drivers of crop raiding and predictions for the future. We find that the level of reported crop raiding by elephants in the eastern Panhandle appears to have decreased since 2008, which seems to be related to the reduction in agricultural land allocated to people in recent years, more than with human and elephant population size. We show that inferences regarding the drivers of HEC and predictions for the future are dependent on the time span of the data used. Although our study represents a first step in developing a HEC baseline in the eastern Panhandle, it highlights the need for additional multi-scale analyses that consider progress in conservation conflict to better understand and predict drivers of HEC in the region.

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<![CDATA[Community-based human–elephant conflict mitigation: The value of an evidence-based approach in promoting the uptake of effective methods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5bab0ee8fa60bdfdb7

Human–elephant conflict (HEC) is a serious threat to elephants and can cause major economic losses. It is widely accepted that reduction of HEC will often require community-based methods for repelling elephants but there are few tests of such methods. We tested community-based crop-guarding methods with and without novel chili-based elephant deterrents and describe changes in farmers’ willingness to adopt these methods following our demonstration of their relative effectiveness. In three separate field-trials that took place over almost two years (October 2005 –May 2007) in two villages adjacent to Way Kambas National Park (WKNP) in Indonesia, we found that community-based crop-guarding was effective at keeping Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) out of crop fields in 91.2% (52 out of 57), 87.6% (156 out of 178), and 80.0% (16 out of 20) of attempted raids. Once the method had been shown to be effective at demonstration sites, farmers in 16 villages around WKNP voluntarily adopted it during the July 2008 to March 2009 period and were able to repel elephants in 73.9% (150 out of 203) of attempted raids, with seven villages repelling 100% of attempted raids. These 16 villages had all experienced high levels of HEC in the preceding years; e.g. they accounted for >97% of the 742 HEC incidents recorded for the entire park in 2006. Our work shows, therefore, that a simple evidence-based approach can facilitate significant reductions in HEC at the protected area scale.

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<![CDATA[A farm-level precision land management framework based on integer programming]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdc9e1

Farmland management involves several planning and decision making tasks including seed selection and irrigation management. A farm-level precision farmland management model based on mixed integer linear programming is proposed in this study. Optimal decisions are designed for pre-season planning of crops and irrigation water allocation. The model captures the effect of size and shape of decision scale as well as special irrigation patterns. The authors illustrate the model with a case study on a farm in the state of California in the U.S. and show the model can capture the impact of precision farm management on profitability. The results show that threefold increase of annual net profit for farmers could be achieved by carefully choosing irrigation and seed selection. Although farmers could increase profits by applying precision management to seed or irrigation alone, profit increase is more significant if farmers apply precision management on seed and irrigation simultaneously. The proposed model can also serve as a risk analysis tool for farmers facing seasonal irrigation water limits as well as a quantitative tool to explore the impact of precision agriculture.

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<![CDATA[The future of veterinary communication: Partnership or persuasion? A qualitative investigation of veterinary communication in the pursuit of client behaviour change]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd7f

Client behaviour change is at the heart of veterinary practice, where promoting animal health and welfare is often synonymous with engaging clients in animal management practices. In the medical realm, extensive research points to the link between practitioner communication and patient behavioural outcomes, suggesting that the veterinary industry could benefit from a deeper understanding of veterinarian communication and its effects on client motivation. Whilst extensive studies have quantified language components typical of the veterinary consultation, the literature is lacking in-depth qualitative analysis in this context. The objective of this study was to address this deficit, and offer new critical insight into veterinary communication strategies in the pursuit of client behaviour change. Role-play interactions (n = 15) between UK cattle veterinarians and an actress experienced in medical and veterinary education were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Analysis revealed that, overall, veterinarians tend to communicate in a directive style (minimal eliciting of client opinion, dominating the consultation agenda, prioritising instrumental support), reflecting a paternalistic role in the consultation interaction. Given this finding, recommendations for progress in the veterinary industry are made; namely, the integration of evidence-based medical communication methodologies into clinical training. Use of these types of methodologies may facilitate the adoption of more mutualistic, relationship-centred communication in veterinary practice, supporting core psychological elements of client motivation and resultant behaviour change.

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<![CDATA[Agricultural Extension Messages Using Video on Portable Devices Increased Knowledge about Seed Selection, Storage and Handling among Smallholder Potato Farmers in Southwestern Uganda]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc882

To feed a growing population, agricultural productivity needs to increase dramatically. Agricultural extension information, with its public, non-rival nature, is generally undersupplied, and public provision remains challenging. In this study, simple agricultural extension video messages, delivered through Android tablets, were tested in the field to determine if they increased farmers’ knowledge of recommended practices on (i) potato seed selection and (ii) seed storage and handling among a sample of potato farmers in southwestern Uganda. Using a field experiment with ex ante matching in a factorial design, it was established that showing agricultural extension videos significantly increased farmers’ knowledge. However, results suggested impact pathways that went beyond simply replicating what was shown in the video. Video messages may have triggered a process of abstraction, whereby farmers applied insights gained in one context to a different context.

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<![CDATA[Outsourcing Agricultural Production: Evidence from Rice Farmers in Zhejiang Province]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc928

China has recorded positive growth rates of grain production for the past eleven consecutive years. This is a remarkable accomplishment given that China’s rapid industrialization and urbanization has led to a vast reduction of arable land and agricultural labor to non-agricultural sectors. While there are many factors contributing to this happy outcome, one potential contributing factor that has received increasing attention is the emergence of agricultural production outsourcing, a new rural institution that has emerged in recent years. This study aims to contribute to the limited but growing literature on agricultural production outsourcing in China. Specifically, this study analyzes factors affecting farmers’ decisions to outsource any or some production tasks using data from rice farmers in Zhejiang province. Results from a logistic model show that farm size and government subsidy encourages farmers to outsource while ownership of agricultural machines and land fragmentation have negative effects on farmers’ decisions to outsource production tasks. Results also showed that determinants of outsourcing decisions vary with the production tasks that farmers outsourced.

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<![CDATA[Estimating nutrient uptake requirements for soybean using QUEFTS model in China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf7a2

Estimating balanced nutrient requirements for soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr) in China is essential for identifying optimal fertilizer application regimes to increase soybean yield and nutrient use efficiency. We collected datasets from field experiments in major soybean planting regions of China between 2001 and 2015 to assess the relationship between soybean seed yield and nutrient uptake, and to estimate nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) requirements for a target yield of soybean using the quantitative evaluation of the fertility of tropical soils (QUEFTS) model. The QUEFTS model predicted a linear–parabolic–plateau curve for the balanced nutrient uptake with a target yield increased from 3.0 to 6.0 t ha−1 and the linear part was continuing until the yield reached about 60–70% of the potential yield. To produce 1000 kg seed of soybean in China, 55.4 kg N, 7.9 kg P, and 20.1 kg K (N:P:K = 7:1:2.5) were required in the above-ground parts, and the corresponding internal efficiencies (IE, kg seed yield per kg nutrient uptake) were 18.1, 126.6, and 49.8 kg seed per kg N, P, and K, respectively. The QUEFTS model also simulated that a balanced N, P, and K removal by seed which were 48.3, 5.9, and 12.2 kg per 1000 kg seed, respectively, accounting for 87.1%, 74.1%, and 60.8% of the total above-ground parts, respectively. These results were conducive to make fertilizer recommendations that improve the seed yield of soybean and avoid excessive or deficient nutrient supplies. Field validation indicated that the QUEFTS model could be used to estimate nutrient requirements which help develop fertilizer recommendations for soybean.

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