Climate challenges and agriculture

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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The Government presented in July 2009 a White Paper on climate challenges and agriculture (Report No. 39 (2008-2009)) to the Storting. The Governments proposal enlarges on and supplements the White Paper on Norways ambitious climate policy (see Report No. 34 (2006?2007) to the Storting) in relation to agriculture. Sustainable and climate-friendly production of sufficient food and energy for the worlds population is a major challenge. All sectors, agriculture included, are expected to contribute to emission mitigation measures and other measures to ensure positive contribution to reduction of the worlds emission of greenhouse gases. In the new White Paper the Government consider emission and uptake of greenhouse gases in the agriculture sector in Norway, and the adaption and instruments necessary for robust, climate-adapted agriculture in the future.

Author(s): Jon Olav Brunvatne

Nutrition consultation in zoo animals using ration calculation

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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In our nutrition consultation service, computer aided ration calculation is employed to check feed rations for pet animals as well as livestock in order to diagnose possible nutritional impact on certain health problems and to optimize rations. For some species specialised software is available and employed. Otherwise, if specialised software is lacking, mostly table calculation programs such as MS Excel are used to compare energy and nutrient intake with the recommended intake. The same approach is used when rations of exotic and zoo animals are scrutinised. Based on data sets from common databases of feedstuffs and information from literature, nutrient composition of feedstuffs is adjusted to species specific values whenever possible, for example data for the apparent digestibility of dry matter and / or proximates in that species are used to estimate the energy content of the diet. The nutrient supply of the actually fed ration is compared with the requirement. If necessary, the composition and/or the amount of used feedstuffs are changed in order to fit better to the species specific and individual needs as well as the preconditions of the zoo (availability of the feedstuffs). Even though requirement figures are limited in various species and approximation is often necessary, formulating recommendations that way often proves effective, especially in case of frequent monitoring and adaptation of the diet if required. To exemplify, the approach will be displayed at The paper using a case of weight loss necessity in rhinos and a check-up of mineral supply in elephants.

Author(s): B. Dobenecker, F. Wendel, C. Gohl, N. Kowaleski, A. Knieriem

Managing zoo diet information; what do we need from the next generation software?

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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There is a gap within the current suite of animal records software provided by International Species Information System (ISIS); the facility to record diet notes is currently available within the Animal Records Keeping System (ARKS) but as a free text box, it can completed with varying attention to detail. Bespoke software designed for the zoo community could i) ensure diet information is stored in a rigorous, standardised format, ii) be linked with animal stock numbers, allowing comparison with food purchasing/accounts, iii) be used for diet formulation, permitting the exchange of true diet data ? the nutrients that are being offered and consumed in specific quantities, not just a list of the food ingredients involved, iv) allow easy collation of diets used for many species at a single collection thereby fulfilling criteria for legal purposes or professional accreditation. Furthermore, diet information for a single species held in many collections could be easily collated, providing a useful research tool for producing zoo husbandry guidelines; it could also be a valuable educational tool. All of this information is essential for advancing our understanding and improvement of captive animal husbandry. Pragmatic reasons for using a customised diet management programme include legislative drivers (e.g. zoo licence and or accreditation requirements to keep diet records), plus economic incentives (e.g. the facility to check the quantity of food that should be fed matches what is being ordered). A number of programmes currently in use offer some of the functionality described, but no single one can do all of the above. Also, with no investment or management evident, all of these programmes are becoming technically obsolete and incompatible with modern technology. this paper will make a case for why we should work together to design and build the next generation software.

Author(s): Andrea L. Fidgett

AGRONOMIC CHARACTERIZATION OF TEPARY BEAN ACCESSIONS IN LIMPOPO (SOUTH AFRICA)

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius) is an annual legume originating from South America and produced in many countries particularly in central and south America. In South Africa, it is grown mainly in Limpopo (in the Sekhukhune area) by small-holder farmers for human consumption. Also, the bean is useful for improving soil fertility through biological nitrogen fixation and is highly tolerant to moisture stress. During digestion, the bean releases sugar slowly, enabling especially diabetic patients to retain protein in the body without risking an increase in body sugar levels. However, there are no commercial cultivars of tepary bean in South Africa and farmers utilize unimproved landraces. Therefore this study was designed to (i) assess and characterize the variability in the local tepary bean germplasm and (ii) identify similar accessions or potential parental material for future genetic enhancement of the crop. It was hypothesized that significant variability in terms of quantitative traits existed among the accessions. The information would be critical for initiating a tepary bean improvement program in South Africa that aims to develop high yielding commercial cultivars adapted to the local agro-ecological conditions. Using a population of 80 local accessions of tepary bean planted in unreplicated observation plots at the University of Limpopo Experimental Farm in 2009, six quantitative traits namely pod clearance, pod length, number of pods per plant, number of seeds per plant, plant height and 100-seed weight as well as three qualitative traits (seed color, hylum color and growth habit) of the crop were scored in the study. The germplasm was uniform in terms of the three qualitative traits. In contrast, the germplasm showed significant variability in terms of the quantitative traits and was classified into eight distinct groups each of which can be isolated as a pure genetic line (genotype). These pure lines will be evaluated further for grain yield on a field basis in the target production areas so as to identify superior lines that may be proposed for release as commercial cultivars or subjected to further genetic improvement.

Author(s): K.G. MBELEMBE, I.K. MARIGA, E.T. GWATA

A New Program for Education in Small to Medium Scale Northern Agriculture

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Sep 2017

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Very little of the agricultural education currently available in Canada is aimed at meeting the needs of either new or established small or medium scale farmers working in more northern, and marginal, agricultural areas of the country. Further, areas with this type of farming are widely distributed across Canada, spreading thousands of kilometers from the southern Yukon, in the west, to the Labrador in the east, and from southern Northwest Territories, in the north, to the Thunder Bay area in the south. None of these areas is large enough, in itself, to support an agricultural educational institution, and the distances between areas, along with different area priorities, have made collaboration difficult, thus far. In addition, extension services in these areas have been reduced or eliminated. To begin to address this gap in opportunities to study small-scale and northern agriculture, we have designed and implemented a full-credit, multi-pedagogical course involving a fourweek field trip, independent study, and an applied service-learning project. this paper highlights preliminary results of a pilot run of this course, which provides a group of 12 Canadian university students an opportunity to examine models of successful small-scale agriculture in northern Canada, Iceland, Estonia, Finland, and Norway. It is our intention that this course will develop into a larger distance education and student exchange program that will facilitate opportunities for collaboration between students, faculty, and community members in northern Canada and northern Europe to study and address issues related to small and medium scale agriculture in northern regions.

Author(s): Margaret Johnston, Julie Rosenthal and William Wilson

EFFECT OF FREEZING PRESERVATION ON COOKING QUALITY AND CYANOGENS CONTENT OF FRESH CASSAVA ROOTS

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Aug 2017

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The consumption of fresh cassava roots is strongly affected by its short shelf life and the presence of cyanogenic glycosides compounds (CNp) that are toxic to humans and animals. A study was carried out to determine the effect of freezing preservation on cooking quality and CNp content of fresh cassava roots. Fresh cassava roots were frozen at -20oC and the pH, color change, the cooking time and cyanogens content were measured during a period of one month. Two varieties were used: a sweet variety (Munhassa) and a bitter variety (Nkussi). No significant changes were observed on pH and color of peeled frozen cassava roots after freezing. The cooking time was significantly reduced by 30% after one week of freezing. The CNp content was significantly decreased on both two varieties after one week of freezing, from 36,12 to 14,49 mg HCN/Kg dry weight on the sweet variety and from 1011,63 to 313,4 mg HCN/Kg dry weight on the bitter variety. From this work it can be concluded so far that preservation of cassava roots by freezing can be an alternative to increase the shelf life of fresh cassava roots.

Author(s): L. MAGAIA, J. NUVUNGA, J. da C. FRANCISCO, L. TIVANA

Implementation of a new weakly allergenic regime for callitrichids and other new world monkeys; preventive and curative effects concerning the Wasting Marmoset Syndrome and digestive sensibility.

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Aug 2017

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Since August, 2007 a callitrichid diet excluding most common allergens was implemented in Asson zoo, giving evidence that these monkeys were intolerant to their old diet. Since 2004 the thirty callitrichids were fed a gluten-free diet comprising a home-made mix of six ingredients, fruits, protein-snack and feline hypoallergenic soya croquettes. It has been suspected for years that callitrichids develop allergies and food intolerances: gluten has been pointed out, specifically as taking part in the aetiology of the Marmoset Wasting Syndrome (WMS *), but Assons collection was prone to chronic diarrhoea despite excluding gluten. Therefore the new diet set up in the zoo since 2007 excludes any food potentially containing intolerance factors (lactose, gluten), or allergens (seeds, nuts, soya, casein), and thus a great majority of industrial products and artificial aromas as well as many food complements because of their excipients). At first a home-made pulp was implemented, associated with a complement elaborated for the occasion. A probiotic/prebiotic/enzyme complex was added once a week. We changed the feline croquettes for others containing no soya. In parallel, that pulp (stripped of the callitrichids complement) was integrated into Saimiris diet, these being also, though more rarely, prone to diarrhoeas. After a 20 month follow-up of this new food plan, a second transition allowed to replace the domestic pulp by an industrial one. Indeed use of powder-based foodstuffs is a saving of time for zoo personnel. This complete diet formulated for New World Monkeys is also intended for Marmosets when associated with a food complement produced by the same supplier. Appetence and not needs directs the animals choice, so it is through balanced tests of increasingly severe restrictions in the choice of raw materials (appetence problems being added to the multitude of foodstuffs forbidden due to intolerances or allergies) that the final diet could be accepted by all those species. Other difficulties occurred, like lack of mash volume compared to ingest capacity, because of a too much concentrated foodstuff with first experiments. The new diet was accompanied from the very start of food transition (which lasted for one month) by the disappearance of digestive disorders, in spite of climatic vagaries (premature temperature drop and increased humidity mid-August 2007). Nevertheless this year an antihelminthic infestation confounded the study. Finally the diet change brought successfully results since it stopped the chronic diarrhoea. Birth rate has been kept and monkeys seems healthy, which has been indeed confirmed by blood samples revealing that unlike two years ago, callitrichids present no more signs of anaemia. Moreover, the recent industrial version, being ready to use only by adding water, is precisely balanced and easy to use, a real improvement compared to the old diet. Last but not least food supply is well known, since animals consume the mash entirely. This new diet highlights that certain callitrichids are sensitive to other allergens than gluten: the next step is to examine which of these allergens is(are) the root cause(s). In the meantime, a ration stripped of the most common allergens, and not only gluten, seems to be the best solution.

Author(s): Morgane Byrne

ASSESSMENT OF PIGEON PEA (Cajanus cajan L.) ?BASED INTERCROPPING SYSTEM WITH MAIZE IN RUSTENBURG, S.A.

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Aug 2017

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Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) is one of the newly introduced crops in South Africa. It had been known in some African countries like, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique as a cash crop. Pigeon peas had been grown successfully under dryland conditions as a monocrop with low production inputs. Pigeon pea is a legume crop, its roots nodules enrich the soil by adding about 40kgN/ha back to the soil. Pods are used for human consumption and as a fodder for feeding animals. The pods contain about 19-28% protein. A dryland pigeon pea based intercrop trial was established during 2008/2009 at Agricultural Research Council Experimental farm to assess the compatibility and intercropping advantages of non-inoculated pigeon pea and maize. Trial design was randomized complete block design (RCBD) in factorial consisting of two pigeon pea cultivar (ICEAP 00360 and ICPL 87091), two open pollinated maize Variety (Zim 423 and Zim 523), and three intercropping intervals (Simultaneously planted intercrop; maize planted 20 DAP and 30 DAP of pigeon pea) and included are two monocropping of Maize and pigeon pea, replicated four times. Variables measured were maize and pigeon pea grain yield, pod yield and land equivalent ratio (LER) was computed. Data were analyzed using Genstat 3.5 while means were separated using least significant different (LSD) at P? 0.05. Grain yield of maize cultivars was significantly different between intercropping interval and maize cultivars. Maize grain yields were high when maize was planted simultaneous with pigeon peas, this accounted for 6719 kg ha-1 grain yield. Maize grain yields were lowered when planted 20 days after pigeon peas but better than when planted 30 days after pigeon peas. ZIM 523 had good grain yields across intercropping intervals dates as compared to ZIM 423. Pod yield varied between intercropping interval and pigeon pea cultivars, thus pod yield was high in the 20DAP intercropping, followed by the 30 DAP intercropping. Cultivar(s) x intercropping intervals interaction were significant at P?0.05 across variables. Pod yields were lower at simultaneously planted intercrops compared to when intercropped at 20DAP and 30DAP. Cultivar ICEAP 00360 yielded best in intercropping compared to ICPL 87091. Pigeon grain yield differed significantly between intercropping interval and cultivars. Higher yields were observed when pigeon pea was intercropped at 20 DAP. LER revealed intercrop advantage with ratios ranging from 1.19 to 2.53 except for when pigeon pea was intercropped at 30DAP, where LER was lower than 1 across maize cultivar.

Author(s): N.D. NGOBENI, N.M. BUTHELEZI

The cognitive foundations of farmers attitudes towards conservation practices as a basis for policy and extension

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Aug 2017

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In order for soil degradation to be halted and conservation schemes and extension efforts to succeed, it has become clear that we must understand farmers motivations with respect to the adoption of soil conservation measures. Many researchers acknowledge the role that farmers attitudes play in the adoption of soil conservation and, hence, the impact of attitude on the success of policy instruments and extension efforts. However, attitudes of farmers towards specific conservation behaviours have seldom been investigated. Rather, researcher relies on a general and often missspecified and hence wrongly assessed measure of farmers attitudes. This has been despite the progress that attitude-behaviour research has received in the field of sociopsychology on the one hand and the success of such research on other areas such as food consumption, health behaviour and leisure choice on the other hand. Partly driven by the results of some noteworthy review papers on the factors influencing adoption of soil conservation practices ? which revealed that most classic adoption variables in fact are mostly insignificant ? recent literature has seen a renewed interest in attitudinal variables as determinants of conservation behaviour. Most of these studies, however, still use a directly assessed measure of attitude. While this research is valuable in itself, it provides limited scope for intervention by means of policy instruments and extension effort. This paper reports on a study that was conducted in Belgium to elicit the cognitive foundations of farmers attitudes towards three soil conservation measures. The expectancy value method was used to identify the behavioural beliefs behind farmers attitudes. The results can be very useful in three domains: (i) for formulating policy instruments; (ii) for improving extension efforts and (iii) for developing conservation practices. The results show, for instance, that the use of subsidies will at this moment only induce a temporary intention to adopt conservation practices, since farmers attitudes, which are a more reliable indicator of a behaviour change are not affected by the presence of a subsidy scheme. Further, the results show that the nonadoption of soil conservation practices, which is regarded by many researchers as irrational behaviour, is in fact very rational. Indeed, farmers systematically overestimate the probability of negative consequences, while underestimating the probability of positive consequences.

Author(s): E. Wauters

To colour or not to colour the role of carotenoids in animal ornamentation and health

Life and Agriculture Sciences Journal (LASJ), Volume 2, Jul 2017

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Research on carotenoid as the pigments responsible for the brightest colouration of potentially sexually-selected traits in birds has been intense in the last years. For all animals, carotenoids must have a dietary origin as only photosynthetic organisms are able to synthesize them. The incorporation of carotenoids before final deposition in feathers depends on access to carotenoid-rich foods, foraging ability and specific abilities to absorb them through the gut. Carotenoids, none-the-less, have been assumed to be generally limiting in the environment. As a refinement of this potentially limiting status of the carotenoids, a trade-off between their ornamental properties and their physiological functions, particularly an anti-oxidant role, has also been assumed by most authors. Although this assumption mainly stems from medical literature and there is little actual evidence for this in wild birds, it is replicated in a majority of papers dealing with carotenoids in birds. It has been well established, particularly through experiments in captivity, that birds need to ingest a minimal amount of carotenoids to colour their plumage or other integumentary parts. However, demonstrations that carotenoids are utilized for strictly physiological functions are scant. Current evidence derives from captive-bird trials. As an example, female birds significantly reduce their circulating levels of carotenoids at a time when they form carotenoid-rich egg-yolks. The questions whether carotenoids are mobilized from storing organs or the blood during food shortages or in stressful situations, and how many carotenoids remain available in these situations remain contentious.

Author(s): Juan Jose Negro