Volume 4 (2006)
  Number 1

Contents


Pages

3–20 A. Hopkins and B. Holz
Grassland for agriculture and nature conservation: production, quality and multi-functionality
Abstract |
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Grassland for agriculture and nature conservation: production, quality and multi-functionality

A. Hopkins¹ and B. Holz²

¹Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER), North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, United Kingdom
²LACOPE Project Management, Ingenieurbuero Holz and Partner Wollgrasweg 49, 70 599 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract:

European grasslands encompass a wide range of habitats that vary greatly in terms of their management, agricultural productivity, socio-economic value and nature conservation status, reflecting local differences in physical environment and economy, the effects of traditional practices and impacts of recent management. Widespread loss of biodiversity, as well as other environmental problems, have resulted from agricultural intensification or abandonment. Policies that have contributed to this have been progressively revised, initially by agri-environment schemes, and subsequently through changes in farm support payments and stricter regulatory frameworks, though many threats remain. We consider the agricultural implications of grassland biodiversity in terms of impacts on herbage production, feed intake and forage quality. Grassland biodiversity is both an externality of particular environments and farming systems and also contributes to objectives of multi-functional land-use systems. In addition to meeting species conservation and habitat protection, grassland biodiversity can contribute to enhanced value of agricultural products of regional, nutritional or gastronomic value, and to non-commodity outputs: agro-tourism, ecosystem functions linked to soil and water quality, and resilience to environmental perturbation. Needs and to conserve and improve the biodiversity potential of agricultural grasslands of typical moderate/high-input management, and for marginal, including communally managed large scale grazing systems, are considered using examples from contrasting areas of Europe. These include reindeer grazing in northern Fennoscandia, winter grazing in the Burren, Ireland, and cereal-fallow sheep grazing system of La Mancha, Spain.

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21–30 K. Hiiesaar, L. Metspalu, J. Jõudu and K. Jõgar
Over-wintering of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say) in field conditions and factors affecting its population density in Estonia
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Over-wintering of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say) in field conditions and factors affecting its population density in Estonia

K. Hiiesaar, L. Metspalu, J. Jõudu and K. Jõgar

Estonian University of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Kreutzwaldi St. 64, 51014 Tartu, Estonia; e-mail: kylli.hiiesaar@emu.ee

Abstract:

The adaptation of Colorado potato beetles (CPB) (Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say) to low temperatures has been the basis for the formation of a local permanent population in Estonia. The number of this pest fluctuates in different years on a large scale. The hibernation of the beetles in field conditions during the years 2000–2005 was observed and some factors influencing the beetles’ mortality was discussed in this study. Soil with a lighter texture – loamy sand proved better for the hibernation of CPB than clay loam soil with a heavier texture. 30 cm confirmed to be more suitable depth for hibernation than 50 cm, demonstrating lower mortality rate. Every autumn CPB populations were differently prepared for hibernation: part of the beetles burrowed themselves into the soil considered to be ready for over-wintering, and there were more survivals than among the beetles staying on the soil surface: that could not complete their maturation feeding. The temperature may become lethal for a majority of the hibernating population only during extreme winters when the temperature falls to -30oC for a longer period of time. During our observation period, it happened only once: in 2002/2003. In more mild winters there were no problems with over-wintering: about two third of the beetles survived in clay sand and about a half in loamy clay soil. It is difficult to predict the annual damage caused by CPB because the Estonian population consists of adapted over-wintered beetles and beetles migrated from southern regions. In some years we have had a great number of immigrant beetles and, in some years, no immigration has occurred.

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31–36 J. Lanauskas and N. Kvikliené
Effect of calcium foliar application on some fruit quality characteristics of ‘Sinap Orlovskij’ apple
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Effect of calcium foliar application on some fruit quality characteristics of ‘Sinap Orlovskij’ apple

J. Lanauskas¹ and N. Kvikliené²

¹Lithuanian Institute of Horticulture, Kauno 30, LT-54333 Babtai, Kaunas distr., Lithuania; e-mail: j.lanauskas@lsdi.lt
²Lithuanian Institute of Horticulture, Kauno 30, LT-54333 Babtai, Kaunas distr., Lithuania;e-mail: n.kvikliene@lsdi.lt

Abstract:

Effect of calcium fertiliser sprays on eight-ten-year-old apple trees of the cv. ‘Sinap Orlovskij’ on rootstock 62-396 was investigated at the Lithuanian Institute of Horticulture in 2001–2003. Calcium chloride, calcium nitrate, liquid experimental calcium fertilisers and Wuxal Calcium were used. Calcium chloride was applied twice at the time close to harvest (total CaO rate – 5.9 kg ha-1). Other fertilisers were used fivefold from the beginning of June (total CaO rate – 6 kg ha-1) in the combination of two sprays with calcium chloride (CaO rate – 5.9 kg/ha-1). The most significant effect of calcium fertilisers on fruit calcium content was found in 2003. When fertilisers were applied sevenfold, fruit calcium increased by 50–120 mg/kg of dry fruit weight in comparison with the control. The most unfavourable for calcium accumulation was the warm and dry weather in year 2002. Apples contained only 170–230 mg of calcium per kg of fruit dry matter and bitter pit affected up to 35% of apples. In years 2001 and 2003 fruit calcium content was 300–330 and 340–460 mg/kg, respectively, bitter pit affected up to 2% of apples. Sevenfold applied calcium fertilisers decreased bitter pit incidence about twice in comparison with the control and two applications of calcium chloride. All tested fertilisers had a similar effect on bitter pit reduction. Calcium fertilisers had not a consistent effect on fruit flesh firmness, soluble solids content and natural weight loss.

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37–44 R. Lauk and E. Lauk
Yields in vetch-wheat mixed crops and sole crops of wheat
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Yields in vetch-wheat mixed crops and sole crops of wheat

R. Lauk and E. Lauk

Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi St. 64, 51014 Tartu, Estonia; e-mail: ruth.lauk@emu.ee

Abstract:

Field trials with common vetch (Vicia sativa L.) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) mixes were conducted from 1994 to 2004 on pseudopodzolic moderately moist soils in the trial fields of the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences at Eerika, outside Tartu (58o 23´ N, 26o44´ E). The results of the research showed that in cases where the yields of post-cereal wheat monocultures were 1500–3000 kg ha-1 vetch-wheat mixed crops (at the seed densities of 50 germinating vetch seeds and 250 germinating wheat seeds per m2) guaranteed an approximate harvest of 3000 kg ha-1, even under no nitrogen fertilisation, provided the total amount of precipitation in the growth period was 300 ± 50 mm. If the yields of monocultural wheat topped the level of 3000 kg ha-1, mixed crops, however, lost their advantage over wheat monocultures as the latter’s grain harvests were greater in those cases. Vetch-wheat mixed crops maintained their advantage over sole crops of wheat insofar as protein yields were concerned, primarily due to the high protein content of vetch. The extra gain in the protein yields of mixed crops compared to wheat monocultures was 100–500 kg ha-1 in our study, and was heavily dependent on the protein levels monocultural wheat was able to produce in each particular case.

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45–54 O. Sada and B. Reppo
Impact of tending work on pigsty inner climate in winter
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Impact of tending work on pigsty inner climate in winter

O. Sada and B. Reppo

Institute of Technology, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi St. 64, 51014 Tartu, Estonia; e-mail: boris.reppo@emu.ee

Abstract:

Inner climate at pigsty is in strong correlation with outdoor climate and tending work. Up to now, main research has been conducted to investigate air temperature and relative humidity, in order to be able to offer solutions to pigsty ventilation. At the same time, little data can be found about pigsty air gas content depending on pigs’ function work. With the aim of investigating the impact of outdoor climate and tending work on the inner climate at a pigsty of fatlings and youngs, the research was conducted to measure the air temperature, relative humidity and the content of oxygen, carbon dioxide and ammonia at these pigsties in winter time diurnally at the height of 1.5 meters. To measure the inner climate, Data Logger, appropriate sensors and the computer program PC AMR Win Control were used. At the same time, the winter outdoor air temperature and relative humidity were measured using Rotronic logger. The results of the research presented in the article concern the air temperature and velocity, relative humidity and the content of oxygen, carbon dioxide and ammonia of the working environment, measured in different places and heights of the room during daytime and diurnally above the pigpen. It became evident that the pigsty’s inner air temperature was within the extent recommended, but the air relative humidity increased partly very high. The carbon dioxide content partly exceeded the established limits. The average measured ammonia also exceeded the limits in some cases but always increased during the tending work.

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55–62 R. Sestras, E. Tamas and A. Sestras
Morphological and genetic peculiarities of fruits in several winter apple varieties which confer resistance to damage
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Morphological and genetic peculiarities of fruits in several winter apple varieties which confer resistance to damage

R. Sestras¹, E. Tamas¹ and A. Sestras²

¹University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Horticulture, No. 3-5 Manastur St., 3400 Cluj-Napoca, Romania; e-mail: rsestras@email.ro
²Horticultural Research Station, 3-5 Horticultorilor St., Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Abstract:

Among 15 winter apple varieties studied for their resistance to the damage of fruits, Golden Delicious was susceptible to fruit injury, while the Florina, Idared and Granny Smith can be considered resistant to pricking, cutting and hitting of the fruits. The variability of the morphological characteristics of the fruits was relatively low, the fruit volume being averagely variable and the fruit resistance to injury being the character with the highest variability (s% = 26.4). The resistance of the fruits to injury was not correlated with their height, diameter, weight, shape and volume. The characteristics of the fruits have a strong genetic determinism, but the additive effects of the genes do not play the most important role in all cases. For the fruit resistance to injury the big differences between heritability coefficients values in a broad and narrow sense signify the fact that the resistance to injury of apples is influenced not only by additive effects but also by the dominance and epistasis effects of the genes.

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63–77 I. Sibul, A. Kuusik, A. Luik and K. Voolma
Influence of environmental conditions on the breathing rhythms of the pine weevil Hylobius abietis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)
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Influence of environmental conditions on the breathing rhythms of the pine weevil Hylobius abietis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

I. Sibul¹, A. Kuusik², A. Luik² and K. Voolma¹

¹Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi St. 5, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia; e-mail: ivar.sibul@emu.ee
²Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi St. 64, EE51014 Tartu, Estonia

Abstract:

The metabolic rate and respiratory patterns of adults of the large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) was compared in hydrated and dehydrated conditions using a constant volume electrolytic respirometer-actograph combined with an infrared actograph. The weevils displayed continuous pumping movements in hydrated conditions (hydrated individuals) while the cyclic gas exchange was entirely lacking or only unclear small releases of CO2 (bursts, B) were observed. However, when a short period of quiescent state (tonic immobility) was artificially induced by a mechanical stimulus, 3–6 clear cycles of gas exchange appeared, with the frequency of 14–18 cycles per hour, i.e. the discontinuous gas exchange cycles or DGCs were displayed. These were recognized as CFO (closed, flutter, open) type of gas exchange cycles known by closed-flutter-open phases of spiracular movements without active ventilation, i.e. pumping movements, during the bursts. At 0oC, when the muscular activity was suppressed, all the hydrated weevils showed CFO cycles, nearly one burst per hour. When H. abietis adults were kept in dry conditions without food for 3 days (dehydrated state), CFV (closed, flutter, ventilation) cycles appeared with the frequency of 5–6 cycles per hour, while the bursts were associated with the pumping movements of the abdomen. Dehydration caused lengthening of the flutter period nearly two times. During the flutter, regular miniature inspirations were recorded. After being in the dehydrated state for 5 days, the adults of H. abietis displayed CFO and CFV cycles with a frequency of about one cycle per hour, while during the extremely long interbursts periods clear inspiration movements were recorded. Metabolic rate in the hydrated weevils was 0.36 +- 0.05 ml O2 g-1 h-1, but after they had been kept in dehydrated conditions without food for 5 days, metabolic rate decreased essentially, being only 0.16 +- 0.02 ml O2 g-1 h-1. The authors suggested that in hydrated H. abietisadults the lacking of clear cyclic gas exchange was due to the almost continuous pumping movements, or active ventilation, externally not observable. The active ventilation without DGC was obviously a normal mode of respiration in the hydrated weevils. However, the hydrated weevils were able to display the cyclic gas exchange during the forced quiescent periods but the artificially evoked tonic immobility was considered as a stress state. Thus our results supported the hypothesis that DGC is a water conserving mechanism in beetles.

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79–89 A. Strakšas
Development of a stripper-header for grain harvesting
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Development of a stripper-header for grain harvesting

A. Strakšas

Institute of Agricultural Engineering Lithuanian University of Agriculture, Institute St. 20, LT-54132 Raudondvaris, Kaunas r., Lithuania; e-mail: anicetas@mei.lt

Abstract:

Crop stripping technology has not been investigated in Lithuania until 2000 as there were no devices for this technology. The paper includes the scheme of a designed and manufactured experimental device (hereinafter ‘stripper’), applied to crop ear stripping technology, and describes its operation principle. The results of operation and comparative tests are presented. Energetic indices of traditional and ear stripping technology were defined. It was determined that when the operating speed of the harvester with a stripper increased, the grain losses of wheat and barley stripping decreased. When stripping and threshing wheat, the operating speed of the harvester has no impact on grain threshing-separating losses. When stripping barley, it has a small impact: if the speed increases, the losses also increase insignificantly but do not exceed the permissible limit. When comparing ear stripping technology with the traditional crop harvesting one, the harvester output is twice as high as that in the first technology: 40% of fuel is saved.

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91–98 P. Tarakanovas and V. Ruzgas
Additive main effect and multiplicative interaction analysis of grain yield of wheat varieties in Lithuania
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Additive main effect and multiplicative interaction analysis of grain yield of wheat varieties in Lithuania

P. Tarakanovas¹ and V. Ruzgas²

¹Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture, Department of Grass Breeding
²Department of Cereal Breeding. Stoties Street 2, Plant Breeding Centre, Akademija, LT-58344, Kedainiai distr. Lithuania
e-mail: pavelas@lzi.lt1; ruzgas@lzi.lt2

Abstract:

Stability of 13 winter wheat (Triticum aestium L.) varieties across 4 locations and 2 years with respect to grain yield were tested in Lithuania. The analysis of variance of the 13 varieties in 8 environments shows that genotype (G), location (L), crop-year (Y) and their interaction were significant (P < 0.01) for winter wheat grain yield. Highly significant G x L effects indicated the necessity for testing wheat varieties in Lithuania at multiple locations. The article describes a previously used method and shows that AMMI (additive main effects and multiplicative interaction) model was effective for studying winter wheat genotype-environment interaction (GEI). The first bilinear AMMI model terms accounted for 76.8%. The biplot shows that the varieties Zentos, Compliment, LIA 3948, Elfas and Marshal are best suited for cultivation in a wide range of environments, while the varieties Cubus, Aristos, Marshal and LP.790.1.98 are best suited for cultivation in favourable conditions. The variety Meunier is well-suited for cultivation in poor environments. GEI patterns revealed by AMMI plots indicate that winter wheat varieties are narrowly adapted. No genotype has superior performance in all environments. The variety Elfas was the best at combining yield stability and productivity. The varieties Aristos, LP 790.1.98 and Marshal were more stable but lower yielding than Elfas.

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99–110 N. Vasiliev, A. Astover, H. Roostalu and E. Matveev
An agro-economic analysis of grain production in Estonia after its transition to market economy
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An agro-economic analysis of grain production in Estonia after its transition to market economy

N. Vasiliev¹, A. Astover¹, H. Roostalu¹ and E. Matveev²

¹Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 64, 51014 Tartu, Estonia; e-mail: nivas@emu.ee
²Rural Economy Research Centre, Jäneda, Lääne-Virumaa, 73602, Estonia

Abstract:

For analysing agronomic efficiency and economic criteria, the results of variety comparison tests of cereals, performed in Estonia during twenty years, national statistics and the data of the survey of the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) for 2000–2003 were summarised. Farms whose grain production contributed more than 75% to total output were selected for analysis. At present only ~40–50% of the real yield potential of cereals is realised. In case of oilseed rape the utilisation of the yield potential is 60–65%. Among the cereals, the largest share is accounted for by barley with 25–43% and wheat with 15–29%. During four years (2000–2003), total inputs increased 21%. Total inputs were the highest in large farms. As an average for 2000–2003 FADN grain producers were profitable in all size groups but consideration of total labour costs indicates that small grain farms were unprofitable. Average farm family income was 1,376 EEK ha-1. There is a non-linear relationship between farm size and economic indicators. Farm family income increases up to ~400 ha. The increase is most significant in the size range 40–200 ha where the increase in farm size by one hectare increases profit by 7.6 EEK ha-1. Further increase will decelerate profit and the most efficient use of labour occurs in this size range as well. Cost benefit is the highest for farm size ranging from ~150 to 400 ha. Profit decreases with the increase in one annual work unit by 508 EEK ha-1 and production becomes unprofitable in case a grain farm employs more than 2.6 workers per 100 ha.

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