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2023, Vol. 21, Special Issue 2

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  • Kirje
    A cost-effective imaging system for monitoring poultry behaviour in small-scale kenyan poultry sheds
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Morgan, J.D.K.; Peets, S.; Mashatise, E.
    The objective of this paper was to develop a low-cost prototype poultry behaviour imaging and analysis system for monitoring intensively-reared flocks suitable for small-scale Kenyan poultry sheds. An image processing and analysis programme was developed using Python programming language and the OpenCV image processing package. This was tested on overhead images of Ross 308 birds collected over a number of days using a Raspberry Pi V2 camera. A second experiment using toy-chicks was conducted with an angled camera (Wansview W3). Linear transformation (LT) and background subtraction (BS) methods were applied and compared for effectiveness at detecting yellow and brown toy-chicks on woodchip bedding. Perspective transformation (PT) was applied and evaluated for its ability to transform the angled images into two-dimensional views. In the first experiment, where white birds were detected against a dark background, LT object detection successfully detected 99.8% of birds in the sampled images. However, in the second experiment, the LT method was just 56.5% effective at detecting the yellow toy-chicks against the light-coloured background. In contrast, the BS method was more effective, detecting 91.5% of the yellow toy-chicks. The results showed that BS detection success was worse for yellow toy-chicks in the far section, detecting 83% as opposed to 100% of those in the near-section. Edge processing of the image processing algorithm was tested on a Raspberry Pi 3 series B+ computer. This prototype provides a solid foundation for further development and testing of low-cost, automated poultry monitoring systems capable of reporting on thermal comfort inferred from cluster index.
  • Kirje
    The role of energy management in the agricultural sector: key prerequisites and impacts
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Bumbiere, K.; Sereda, S.; Pubule, J.; Blumberga, D.
    Agriculture is one of the most energy-consuming sectors in the EU’s economy. Implementing sustainable agriculture to reduce GHG emissions and increase energy efficiency through energy management is a crucial strategy to tackle climate change. In this paper, the role of energy management in the agricultural sector is studied, and experiences from Europe and the world have been considered. Literature analysis regarding the chosen topic has been conducted, including the methodology of energy management plan development and its implementation in the case study of Latvia. Data from Latvia’s agricultural and other sectors have been analysed and compared. Latvia’s Inventory Report regarding GHG emissions in the agricultural sector was reviewed, and all emission sources in the agricultural sector were highlighted. The primary purpose of the study is to find out if energy management were introduced in an agricultural company, what would be the potential GHG emission, energy savings and additional advantages. Two companies working in Latvia were surveyed, and potential emission and energy consumption reduction measures in agriculture that would be applied to companies were developed. The research showed that by implementing the basic principles of energy management, it would be possible to reduce the average energy consumption by 17%. If measures are applied to reduce GHG emissions from agricultural companies, the average emissions would be reduced by 43%.
  • Kirje
    Feed efficiency indicators and hormones related to nutrient metabolism in intensive fattened lambs of sire rams of different sheep breeds in Latvia
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Trapina, I.; Kairisa, D.; Paramonova, N.
    The feed efficiency increase of each sheep indicates its profitability. Production costs and the environmental impact of animal husbandry are reduced as feed efficiency improves. The gastrointestinal tract is a source of hormones and is important in regulating feed intake and nutrient utilization. The study analyses the relationship between feed efficiency indicators and hormone levels in Latvian sheep breeds. After control fattening, blood samples were taken from 76 lambs, representatives of six Latvian breeds, for seven hormonal analyzes and seven feed efficiency indicators. Feed efficiency, Feed conversion ratio (FCR), Relative growth rate, Kleiber ratio (KR), Residual feed intake (RFI), Residual weight gain, and Residual intake were calculated from daily weight gain and amount of dry matter. Interbreed differences and relationships between indicators/hormones were identified. The best scores of feed efficiency were found for the lamb rams of the Dorper breed; the Latvian black-head was the second according to these indicators. The mean FRC for lambs was determined to be 5.13 ± 0.13 kg with a range of 2.98–10.15 kg; the mean KR was 18.11 ± 0.39 with a range of 8.78–26.88; the mean RFI was in the range of -0.51 to 0.42 kg. A statistically significant difference was found between the breeds for all feed efficiency indicators. Biochemical parameters (IGF-1, insulin, and glucose) were found to be in correlation with feed efficiency indicators. Our results show that Latvian sheep breeds differ in fattening performance. To improve breeds without crossing them, subsequent genetic analysis of breed differences is necessary.
  • Kirje
    Comparison of sire rams of the Latvian Dark-Head breed according to feed efficiency indicators as the beginning of genomic breeding research
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Trapina, I.; Kairisa, D.; Paramonova, N.
    In sheep (Ovis aries) farming, feed costs are the largest variable cost component. Breeders are showing an increased interest in breeding sire rams with improved feed efficiency characteristics because of the possibility that the offspring will have a higher value of this indicator. The result shows that for one ram, the progeny indicators tend to be variable. Currently, no marker has successfully explained enough of the variability of feed efficiency that they were used as part of a routine improvement program. The aim is to analyze feed efficiency indicators for lambs of sire rams of Latvian Dark-Head (LT; Latvijas tumšgalve) to identify sire rams producing lambs with potentially higher feed efficiency. Fattening data of 48 lambs from 13 sire rams were analyzed to determine the correlation of feed efficiency parameters. The average weight of lambs at birth was 4.08 ± 0.56 kg, while the average weight gain reached 47.43 ± 3.17 kg with an average fattening period of 73.27 ± 8.90 days. A strong and very strong correlation between the studied indicators of feed efficiency was revealed. The correlation between these indicators and live weight gain over for 60 days indicates their economic importance in meat production. Certain phenotypic and genotypic factors cause the influence on their value. The phenotypic influence may consist of environmental and external signs, but the genotypic influence is at the DNA level, which requires further study.
  • Kirje
    Diversified cropping systems for promoting the beneficial insects - ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Talgre, Liina; Eremeev, Viacheslav; Mäeorg, Erkki; Luik, Anne; Estonian University of Life Sciences. Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
    In agro-ecosystems ground beetles - carabids (Coleoptera: Carabidae) are important as generalist predators of invertebrate pests and weed seeds and as prey for larger animals. This way they contribute to biodiversity and influence the most important ecological processes. Impacts of crop management practices on the carabids are not well described. Carabids were studied in winter wheat which is one crop in the rotation experiment (barley undersown with clover-clover-winter wheat-pea-potato). Carabids were collected with pitfall trap during one week at the end of June 2022. In laboratory, their species was identified. Trapping of carabids during the spiking phase of winter wheat has shown significant differences in carabids activitydensity and diversity depending on five different cropping systems. In two conventional systems where pesticides were used the number of carabids was two times smaller in comparison with three organic systems. Activity-density and diversity of carabids was significantly higher in all organic systems and especially in Org II system where winter cover crops and composted manure where used for rotation diversification. The Shannon–Wiener index values, which takes into account the number of species and their relative abundance were 1.24–1.53 in conventional systems, but higher in diversified organic systems (1.60–1.78). Only in organic systems Org I and Org II there were very rare species present, like Acupalpus meridianus (Linnaeus) and Microlestes minutulus (Goeze). In diversified organic systems the higher activity-density and abundance of carabids could be explained by the diverse plant community as possible source for better food and microclimatic conditions.
  • Kirje
    Automatic Monitoring of dairy cows’ lying behaviour using a computer vision system in open barns
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Kurras, F.; Gravemeier, L.S.; Dittmer, A.; Kümper, D.; Jakob, M.
    Precision Livestock Farming offers opportunities for automated, continuous monitoring of animals, their productivity, welfare and health. The video-based assessment of animal behaviour is an automated, non-invasive and promising application. The aim of this study is to identify possible parameters in dairy cows’ lying behaviour that are the basis for a holistic computer vision-based system to assess animal health and welfare. Based on expert interviews and a literature review, we define parameters and their optimum in form of gold standards to evaluate lying behaviour automatically. These include quantitative parameters such as daily lying time, lying period length, lying period frequency and qualitative parameters such as extension of the front and hind legs, standing in the lying cubicles, or total lateral position. The lying behaviour is an example within the research context for the development of a computer vision-based tool for automated detection of animal behaviour and appropriate housing design.
  • Kirje
    Increasing the sustainability of vegetable crops production by using intercropping
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Lepse, L.; Zeipiņa, S.
    Some scientific reports support the idea of using plant interactions to promote the growth and yielding of vegetable crops. The plant interactions in vegetable production under intercropping conditions were investigated in ERDF funded project ‘Elaboration of environment-friendly crop growing technologies identified by the Green Deal and their implementation in horticultural production in Latvia (GreenHort)’ implemented in Latvia Institute of Horticulture with the aim to introduce strip cropping in the vegetable production. The investigations were carried out at the Institute of Horticulture, Latvia (57°03’44.6’’N, 22°54’53.2’’E), during the growing seasons of 2021 and 2022. The vegetable crops (carrots, cabbage, onions, and pumpkins) were grown in intercropping with agroecological service plants or aromatic plants as companion plants (white clover, marigolds, tagetes, lavender, sage, coriander). The investigated variants were compared with the control, where vegetable crops were grown in monoculture as usual. Each intercrop variant consists of 7 alternating rows (each 0.6 m wide) - 4 rows of service crop and 3 rows of vegetable. There was observed significant influence of the growing system on the plants productivity. The sharpest differences between variants were observed for cabbage - marigold, sage and lavender had a positive influence on the cabbage yield formation, but white clover had an extremely negative influence on the cabbage plant growth. White clover had a negative influence also on carrot and pumpkin productivity. Sage had a yield-promoting influence on the carrot crop. There was not found any significant influence of the agroecologial crops on onion productivity.
  • Kirje
    Carbon and nitrogen uptake in above- and below-ground biomass of cereal crops in the integrated farming system
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Rancane, S.; Lazdins, A.; Zusevica, A.; Zute, S.; Jansone, I.; Damskalne, M.; Zarina, L.; Korolova, J.; Maliarenko, O.
    A significant reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as technologies that ensure removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, are necessary to achieve the set goals for the transition to carbon neutrality. During the crop growth cycle, a significant amount of biomass is produced, and carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) are captured both by the harvested crop removed from the field and by residues left on the field. The trials were conducted to find out patterns between crop and residues while trying to figure out the amount of captured C and N. In this study data of the most widely grown cereal crops in Latvia are summarized. The data are representative, obtained in different agroclimatic conditions, they vary both by species and variety, by year and fertilizers applied. The mean amount of biomass from cereal crops left on the field was 1,070.9 g m-2 DM, besides, 906.7 g m-2 of that was made up of above-ground (AG) residues and 164.2 g m-2 of below-ground (BG) residues. On average, 471.8 g m-2 C and 14.3 g m-2 N were captured, including: 411.2 g m-2 C and 12.9 g m-2 N by AG residues; 60.7 g m-2 C and 1.4 g m-2 N by BG residues. Regularities between grain yield and residues were found, however, they were not very strong. The dataset should be enlarged to reduce uncertainty. As the data calculated from crop have a greater uncertainty, the GHG inventory should be calculated according to the average AG and BG biomass, which provide more accurate data.
  • Kirje
    Physiological and behavioural parameters of broiler chicks grown under different heating systems
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Ferraz, P.F.P.; Andrade, E.T.; Vilas Boas, R.B.; Yanagi Junior, T.; Andrade, R.R.; Becciolini, V.; Barbari, M.
    This study aimed to compare the internal environment, physiological variables, and behavioural responses of chicks under two different heating systems. The experiment was performed in two commercial broiler houses located in Brazil, where 28,000 male Cobb chicks were housed during the first three weeks of life. One of the broiler houses was heated by an industrial indirect-fired biomass furnace (S1). In addition, another heating system consisting of two furnaces for indirect heating of the air using biomass (wood) as fuel, built by hand with bricks, mud, and dung on an iron structure (S2), was tested. Measurements of the dry bulb temperature (tdb), dew point temperature (tdp), and relative air humidity (RH) were performed. Subsequently, the temperature-humidity index (THI) was calculated. In addition, the physiological variables of the respiratory rate (RR) and cloacal temperature (tcloacal) were measured three times a day (8:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 6:00 pm) in four chicks. The behaviours were grouped by dendrograms, in which the similarity of these data was qualified. During the second and third weeks of life, the THI values were below the recommended range. The RR and tcloacal data were below the recommended comfort values, which may be an indicator that the chicks were subjected to cold conditions. Regarding their behaviour, the chicks exhibited calm, feeding, and sleepy behaviours most of the time. Problems in the heating system inside the broiler house could be observed, possibly affecting the chicks’ thermal comfort and welfare, which consequently can result in productive and economic losses.
  • Kirje
    Measuring and alleviating drought stress in pea and lentil
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Prysiazhniuk, O.; Maliarenko, O.; Biliavska, L.; Voitovska, V.; Kononenko, L.; Klymovych, N.; Poltoretska, N.; Strilets, O.; Voievoda, L.
    Water deficit in the soil can cause drought stress in plants and drastically affect plant growth and crop yield. Therefore, early detection of drought stress in plants followed by the timely application of agronomic measures to alleviate plant conditions is crucial. This research aimed to study the agronomic practices that could reduce the sensitivity of pea and lentil to drought stress. The practices included (i) soil amendment with moisture retainer (hydrogel), (ii) seed treatment with a growth regulator to promote root formation, (iii) application of a biological formulation to boost soil mycorrhizal biota, and (iv) foliar application of micro fertilisers. The research was carried out in Ukraine in 2015−2020. Drought stress in plants was detected by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence with a portable fluorometer Floratest and calculating the ratio of variable to maximum fluorescence Fv/Fm of the photosystem. The content of proline, high values of which in vegetative organs point out to stress in plants, was determined by colorimetric analysis using ninhydrin. In pea, the incorporation of hydrogel (Aquasorb) and growth regulator (Mycofriend) combined with seed treatment (Kelpak SC) and foliar application of micro fertiliser (Biovit or Freya-Aqua Legumes) at BBCH 14 led to obtaining Fv/Fm values from 0.81 to 0.82. Similarly in lentil, the maximum value of Fv/Fm (0.67) was obtained with the application of all studied agronomic practices, with the correlation coefficient between yield and Fv/Fm at the flowering stage (BBCH 61) r = 0.97. In pea, the correlation between yield and Fv/Fm at the budding stage (BBCH 51) was r = 0.99. The content of proline in photosynthetic plant organs was species-specific; however, in the control treatment, where plants were exposed to drought, its maximum value was 1.10 μmol g-1 in pea and 1.40 μmol g-1 in lentil, while with the application of the proposed agronomic practices proline content was only 0.56 μmol g-1 in pea and 0.36 μmol g-1 in lentil. Obtained strong correlation between proline content in plant vegetative organs and the ratio of variable to maximum fluorescence Fv/Fm of the plant photosystem indicates that measurement of Fv/Fm with portable fluorometer might be an effective method of early identification of drought stress in pea and lentil.
  • Kirje
    Milk yield of cows in some European countries and the implementation of automatic milking systems
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Gaworski, M.
    The research study addresses the problem of implementing progress in agricultural production. This problem was developed on the basis of equipping farms with automatic milking systems (AMS). Different forms of progress can be identified on a dairy farm, including technical progress represented by AMS and biological progress expressed by milk yield of cows. The purpose of this research study was to compare whether the milk yield of cows in certain European countries meets the requirements for utilizing the milking potential of automatic milking systems. The study used information on the suggested amount of milk that an one-stall milking robot should milk per year. The second group of data was the annual milk yield of cows in the European Union countries and Great Britain. In eight countries, the annual milk yield of cows was in the range of 8,601–10,600 kg. It was found that in 2020, in these eight countries of the European Union, the milk yield of cows was at a level that meets the performance requirements of one-stall milking robot.
  • Kirje
    Comparing weight dynamics between urban and rural honey bee colonies in Latvia
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Komasilova, O.; Zacepins, A.; Kviesis, A.; Komasilovs, V.; Ozols, N.
    Beekeeping is an important agricultural industry in Latvia, which has an area of 64,589 km2 and is largely mixed forest. The natural foraging base does not provide the honey yield evenly throughout the whole season, thus the average honey yield in Latvia is about 20 kg per colony. The objective of this research was to compare the weight dynamics of colonies placed in rural and urban environments. As urban beekeeping is becoming more popular, it is important to understand whether there are enough foraging resources within the city for the bee colonies. To do this, the weight changes of ten honey bee colonies was remotely monitored and analysed during the summer period. Five colonies were located in the rural environment in Vecauce and five in the urban environment in Jelgava city. Colonies were assessed using the precision beekeeping approach and developed scale systems. It was concluded that for rural colonies in Vecauce, the main weight increase occurred in June - from 41.02 to 54.68 kg - which resulted in 94% of the total increase for the summer period. Data analysis from the urban apiary revealed that colonies increase weight during the entire monitoring period, indicating that there are foraging resources available throughout the summer period within the city.
  • Kirje
    Change in the carbon footprint of Iranians’ food consumption from 1961 to 2019: A decomposition analysis of drivers
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Bashiri, B.; Zehtabvar, M.; Gavrilova, O.; Vilu, Raivo
    The study investigates the role of three drivers: population, energy intake per capita, and dietary change on the carbon footprint of food consumption in Iran from 1961 to 2019. Iran was chosen for this analysis because the country has experienced a noteworthy population increase in the past century, and the imposed international sanctions have changed the economic welfare of the nation. Logarithmic Mean Division Index, along with data of FAOSTAT Food balance sheets and carbon footprint per item, were utilized to decompose the impacts of the drivers. The results demonstrated that the carbon footprint of food consumption in Iran increased by 1.6 during this period. We also found that population increase, and energy intake per capita were the main drivers of the carbon footprint of food consumption in Iran while diet change contributed negatively.
  • Kirje
    Volatile organic compounds and their generation in sourdough
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Lutter, Liis; Jõudu, Ivi; Andreson, Helena; Estonian University of Life Sciences. Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences. Chair of Food Science and Technology
    Sourdough technology is involved in bread making process for improving the sensory, rheological, nutritional and shelf life characteristics of bakery products. More than 540 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other flavour precursors belonging to the chemical classes, such as aldehydes, ketones, esters, acids, alcohols, terpenes and others, have been identified in sourdoughs and sourdough breads. The synthesis of VOCs is microbial species-specific, originating mainly from fermentation process. VOCs can be used as indicators to characterize microbial processes. Other additional sources of VOCs in sourdoughs are lipid oxidation and browning reactions, the latter of which occurs during the production of dried starter cultures. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the composition of VOCs and their effect on the sensory properties of sourdough bread, and to describe the most common extraction methods of VOCs used in the studies of sourdough and bread aroma profile. Long-term propagated sourdough VOCs have been less studied compared to volatiles found in bread crust and crumb or sourdoughs started with defined starter culture(s) due to their complexity and diversity in metabolic pathways, including sophistication of the analytical methodology of VOCs. The relation between sourdough microbiota and its volatile profile is not fully understood and therefore, their variability and precise role as a bread flavour enhancer is not yet known in detail.
  • Kirje
    The selection of maize parent lines within marker assisted selection (MAS) by crtRB1-3'TE marker for Steppe zone of Ukraine
    (Estonian University of Life Sciences, 2023) Prysiazhniuk, L.; Honcharov, Y.; Melnyk, S.; Kliachenko, O.
    Maize has a large genotypic diversity and a broad scale of economically important traits. Therefore, it is extremely important for breeding to obtain hybrids which can ensure high yield even under severe growing conditions, such as in Steppe zone of Ukraine. This study aimed to determine the optimal allele ratio by crtRB1-3'TE marker in parental components of maize modified hybrids. There were investigated four hundred sixteen maize hybrids which are modified hybrids of heterotic model (Iodent × Iodent) × Lancaster germplasm. SCA (specific combining ability) effects for grain yield and grain moisture content were calculated in maize hybrids with different allele combinations of crtRB1 gene. As results, the stable positive SCA effects were calculated for hybrids with allele combination (296 bp + 875 bp) × 543 bp × 296+875 bp during both 2019 and 2020 (1.23 and 0.99 t ha-1 , respectively). The lowest SCA effects for grain moisture content were obtained for modified hybrids with allele combination (543 bp × 543) × 296 + 875 bp both in 2019 and 2020 (-0.54 and -0.36%, respectively). The greatest influence SCA effects for grain yield had the interaction of allele combinations and year weather conditions (39%), the impact the allele combinations was 36%. The year weather conditions had the greatest impact on SCA effects for grain moisture content (44%), the allele combination (36%). Thus, it was determined that SCA effects for studied indicators of heterotic model (Iodent × Iodent) × Lancaster under contrasting weather condition are resulted from both genotypes of hybrid parents and favourable allele presence.