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  • Research on Hybrid Crop Breeding Information Management System Based on Combining Ability Analysis

    Yan-yun Han; Kai-yi Wang; Zhong-qiang Liu; Shou-hui Pan; Xiang-yu Zhao; Qi Zhang; Shu-feng Wang (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    Combining ability analysis can be used to preliminarily identify the advantages and disadvantages of combinations and parents in earlier generations, enabling breeders to reduce the range of material, save breeding time, and improve breeding efficiency. An approach for combining ability analysis through the hybrid crop breeding information management system is presented. The general combining ability prediction effect of parents and the specific combining ability prediction effect of combinations are calculated to analyze hybrid combinations using the hybrid crop breeding information management system. The results provide the basis for parent selection and combination selection. The plant breeding trial management function of the system can provide convenient diallel crossing trial design, field planting plan, and combining ability analysis. In the system, the genealogy of breeding materials is traced with the combining ability test crosses. The selection of high-generation breeding materials can be performed in accordance with the combining ability test results of early generation materials. The system has been successfully applied to a large Chinese seed company. The combining ability test function automates data analysis and eliminates days in the decision-making process. The efficiency of the combining ability test analysis and test report generation has improved to more than double by using the system.
  • Climate Change, Rangelands, and Sustainability of Ranching in the Western United States

    Jerry L. Holechek; Hatim M. E. Geli; Andres F. Cibils; Mohammed N. Sawalhah (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    Accelerated climate change is a global challenge that is increasingly putting pressure on the sustainability of livestock production systems that heavily depend on rangeland ecosystems. Rangeland management practices have low potential to sequester greenhouse gases. However, mismanagement of rangelands and their conversion into ex-urban, urban, and industrial landscapes can significantly exacerbate the climate change process. Under conditions of more droughts, heat waves, and other extreme weather events, management of risks (climate, biological, financial, political) will probably be more important to the sustainability of ranching than capability to expand output of livestock products in response to rising demand due to population growth. Replacing traditional domestic livestock with a combination of highly adapted livestock and game animals valued for both hunting and meat may be the best strategy on many arid rangelands. Eventually, traditional ranching could become financially unsound across large areas if climate change is not adequately addressed. Rangeland policy, management, and research will need to be heavily focused on the climate change problem.
  • Performance Prediction of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFC) Using Adaptive Neuro Inference System (ANFIS)

    Tabbi Wilberforce; Abdul Ghani Olabi (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    This investigation explored the performance of PEMFC for varying ambient conditions with the aid of an adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system. The experimental data obtained from the laboratory were initially trained using both the input and output parameters. The model that was trained was then evaluated using an independent variable. The training and testing of the model were then utilized in the prediction of the cell-characteristic performance. The model exhibited a perfect correlation between the predicted and experimental data, and this stipulates that ANFIS can predict characteristic behavior of fuel cell performance with very high accuracy.
  • Design Guidelines Developed from Environmental Assessments: A Design Tool for Resource-Efficient Products

    Siri Willskytt; Sergio A. Brambila-Macias (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    The circular economy provides a potential solution to the take–make–dispose model of resource use that currently characterizes the economy. Guidelines for the circular economy often consist of prioritized lists of measures to achieve resource efficiency. However, for the purpose of designing products, such general prioritizations of measures are less useful. Instead, the tool developed in this study is based on learnings from numerous life cycle assessments and provides design recommendations for the improved resource efficiency of products based on product characteristics. The tool includes measures over the whole lifecycle of different products that lead to improved resource efficiency. The tool also demonstrates how different product types, such as different varieties of durable and consumable products, can become more resource-efficient and when trade-offs occur over the lifecycle of a product. The tool was tested in a design case where its usefulness and usability were evaluated using a comparative life cycle assessment and a questionnaire. The evaluation shows the tool is informative and provides design suggestions that lead to improved resource efficiency. The tool is considered usable and could be implemented in design practice.
  • Comparison between Two Strategies for the Collection of Wheat Residue after Mechanical Harvesting: Performance and Cost Analysis

    Alessandro Suardi; Walter Stefanoni; Simone Bergonzoli; Francesco Latterini; Nils Jonsson; Luigi Pari (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    The growing population worldwide will create the demand for higher cereal production, in order to meet the food need of both humans and animals in the future. Consequently, the quantity of crop by-products produced by cereal cropping will increase accordingly, providing a good opportunity for fostering the development of the sustainable supply chain of renewable solid fuels and natural feedstock for animal farming. The conventional machineries used in wheat harvesting do not guarantee the possibility to collect the chaff as additional residue to the straw. The present study investigated the possibility to equip a conventional combine with a specific device, already available on the market, in order to collect the chaff either separately (onto a trailer), or together with the straw (baled). The total residual biomass increased by 0.84 t·ha<sup>−1</sup> and 0.80 t·ha<sup>−1</sup> respectively, without negatively affecting the performance of the combine when the chaff was discharged on the swath. Farmers can benefit economically from the extra biomass collected, although a proper sizing of the machine chain is fundamental to avoid by-product losses and lower revenue.

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