rss_2.0Contemporary Agriculture FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Contemporary Agriculture Agriculture Feed of the Breeding Value of Rainbow Trout () for Body Development Traits Using a Linear Model<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The objective of this research is to assess the breeding value of male individuals and calculate heritability values for body weight and body length at 12 months of age in the rainbow trout population in the Republic of Serbia. The study utilized data on the physical development of trout obtained through the Center for Fisheries and Applied Hydrobiology “Mali Dunav”, Experimental Estate “Radmilovac” of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade (CEFAH) Breeding Program for rainbow trout in the Republic of Serbia. The fish were raised in individual tanks under tightly controlled conditions at the CEFAH, until they reached 5 months of age. At this point, the fish were marked (with PIT tags Norway) and transferred to commercial fish farms, where monitoring of their production results continued. To estimate the breeding value for body weight and body length of rainbow trout at 12 months of age, we analyzed data collected between 2016 and 2020, which included a total of 2014 individuals. The breeding values were estimated using a sire model. The mixed model incorporated fixed effects (spawning year and sex) and a random effect for the individual sire. The heritability estimate at 12 months of age was 0.44 for body weight, and 0.45 for body length. The breeding values were estimated for 107 sires, with body weight values ranging from −37.83 to +37.83 g and body length values ranging from −14.00 to +14.00 mm. The substantial variation observed within the studied rainbow trout population suggests the potential for further genetic improvement. The high heritability values confirm that further selection can be based on the phenotype. The inclusion of high-quality and validated males in breeding programs will contribute to the enhancement of production characteristics within the existing rainbow trout population in Serbia.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Trends in Holstein Milk Traits<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The dairy industry acknowledges the seasonal nature of milk production and the fluctuations in milk component concentrations throughout the year. This variability in milk components, influenced by seasonal changes, assumes critical importance in light of the projected global population increase to 9.7 billion people within the next 20–50 years. Addressing the imminent need for major alterations in agricultural and livestock practices to accommodate this growth necessitates a comprehensive evaluation of all stages within the food production chain. An essential aspect of achieving sustainable agriculture involves identifying opportunities to reduce gaseous pollutants. This study aims to investigate how seasonal variations impact the specific properties of Holstein milk, with a focus on the daily milk yield, daily milk protein, daily milk fat, and urea content. Test-day records from Holstein dairy cows in Croatia, collected during routine milk assessments from January 2005 to December 2022, form the basis of this research. A meticulous process of logical scrutiny of milk recording data, compliant with the ICAR standards, and rectification of non-logical variable values ensured the inclusion of 5,164,920 Holstein test-day records in the refined database. Our analysis centers on the annual number of samples and the primary parameters of milk content (namely fat, protein, and urea). The examination of Holstein milk samples revealed recurring cyclical patterns, indicating higher values during winter and lower values in summer. These distinct variations likely correlate with the annual climatic fluctuations in Croatia. The implications of these findings warrant future research to monitor trends in the raw milk quality and assess the potential adverse effects of the identified changes on the milk properties.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of the Somatic Cell Pattern in Mastitis - Affected Cows on Three Dairy Farms in Vojvodina<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Somatic cells (SCs) in milk, which include epithelial cells from the gland and blood cells, are present in milk during the normal course of milking. Increase in SCs is found in mastitis-affected dairy cows and can be a useful indicator for estimating mammary health and milk quality worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine whether there was a pattern of somatic cell count (SCC) in mastitis-affected cows on three different farms. The study was conducted on three dairy farms of high milk-producing cattle breeds in Vojvodina during 2021. Samples were taken from 15 cows from each farm, all of the cows being diagnosed with clinical and subclinical mastitis. The SCC in milk samples was determined by the microscopic reference method according to the standard (SRPS EN ISO 13366-1:2010) of the Institute for Standardization of Serbia. The value of SCC was considered as high if &gt;200.000 cells/mL, as this is the threshold indicating secretion disorder. In order to examine the differences between the observed three farms, one-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied, while a post-hoc LSD test was used for determination of statistically significant differences between the SCC in cows on three different farms. The mean values of the SCC on Farms 1, 2 and 3 were 7,055,266.67, 2,619,893.33 and 552,000 cells/mL, respectively. Based on the results, a statistically significant difference (p&lt;0.05) was established between Farms 1 and 2, as well as between Farms 1 and 3, while there was no statistically significant difference between Farms 2 and 3. Apart from mastitis, differences in the SCC on the farms could also be influenced by the cows’ productivity, parity, lactation stage and breed, as well as poor management practices. Besides mastitis control, better hygiene and proper nutrition can help in reducing SCs in milk. In conclusion, establishing SCs pattern can provide useful information that may contribute to reducing SCs and developing differential SCs standards to help obtain milk with low SCs and consequently better dairy products with a longer shelf life.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Gene Pool Characteristics in Wild Boars from Vojvodina, Serbia: A Study of Genetic Diversity, Differentiation, Assignment, and Admixture<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The aim of this study was to examine whether and to what extent wild boars, Sus scrofa, from Vojvodina, Serbia, exhibited pig-typical gene pool characteristics. We used 16 microsatellite markers that have already been proven to distinguish between wild boars from eastern Austria and pigs. We screened genotypes of 21 wild boars from Vojvodina, 20 Mangulica (Serbian Managaliza) and 4 Hungarian Mangaliza as well as 48 commercial slaughter pig (CSP) samples. The wild boars exhibited relatively high genetic diversity, but no significant spatial structuring across Vojvodina. Our analyses of factorial correspondence, Bayesian assignment, as well as genetic structure and admixture demonstrated a clear distinction between wild boars, Mangulica, Hungarian Mangaliza, and CSPs. The latter were characterized by admixture of variable portions of six genetic clusters, while wild boars, Mangulica, and Hungarian Mangaliza were characterized largely by single genetic clusters, respectively; that finding was in strong contrast to earlier results showing presence of several genetic clusters in Austrian wild boars but only one cluster in CSPs. Two (9.5%) of the wild boar samples were massively introgressed by CSPs (or represented pig samples, possibly due to sample confusion). All wild boars harbored at least very small portions of pig-typical gene pool characteristics, supposedly representing signals of historical introgressions or incomplete gene pool differentiation during domestication. Mangulica-typical signals were also found in the wild boars, but at a significantly lower level than CSP-signals. A more comprehensive data set may reveal possible hot spots of introgression by Mangulica or CSPs in wild boars from Vojvodina, particularly when accompanied by other molecular markers, such as mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences or SNPs.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Impact of Mastitis Pathogens on Antioxidant Enzyme Activity in Cows’ Milk<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The beginning of lactation in dairy cows is a challenging period when cows experience oxidative stress followed by an increased risk of mastitis. This study aimed to establish a correlation between mastitis pathogens and the activity of antioxidant enzymes – superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX) – in milk collected from cows with mastitis compared with their healthy counterparts. During the two-year survey, the udder health status was followed and the changes in SOD and GPX activity in milk were assessed in the period to 42<sup>nd</sup> day of lactation. The quarter milk samples were screened for detection of abnormal milk secretion (AMS) and intramammary infections (IMI). The spectrophotometric methods were used for detection of antioxidant enzyme activity in milk serum. The prevalence of IMIs from AMS was 43.83% while the isolated mastitis pathogens were grouped as contagious: Streptococcus agalactiae (19.14%) and Staphylococcus aureus (6.17%); or environmental: Enterococcus spp. (8.02%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (7.41%), Escherichia coli (1.85%), and Aspergillus niger (1.23%). IMI showed statistically significant influence on SOD and GPX activity in milk serum (p&lt;0.05). Contagious bacteria lead to increased activity of GPX, while environmental pathogens more drastically increase SOD activity. Providing a balanced diet with adequate antioxidants and managing environmental stressors can help reduce oxidative stress during the transition period and decrease the risk of mastitis in early lactation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Repeatability Estimates for Milk Production Traits Using Phenotypic, Pedigree-Based and Genomic Data of Serbian Holstein Cows<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>This research aims to estimate heritability and repeatability based on the data on milk production traits (MY – milk yield; FY – milk fat yield; FC – milk fat content; PY – milk protein yield and PC – milk protein content) as well as pedigree and genomic information. A total of 6,041 animals were included in the research, while 2,565 of them had data for milk production traits. In order to form a genomic relationship matrix, 58K SNP data were used for a total of 1,491 cows. Several software tools were used in the preparation and analysis of data, which were provided by the Central Breeding Organization, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad. PreGSF90, in combination with RENUMF90, was used for quality control of genomic information. Genetic analysis was performed in WOMBAT software by the REML using standard repeatability univariate analysis (BLUPpe) and repeatability models for genomic prediction (GBLUPpe and ssGBLUPpe). In all three analyses, the highest heritability (0.410, 0.378 and 0.389, respectively) and repeatability (0.449, 0.429 and 0.440, respectively) were calculated for FC. Heritability estimates for all other traits were lower. Heritability ranged from 0.158 to 0.185 for MY, from 0.166 to 0.178 for FY, from 0.141 to 0.154 for PY and from 0.135 to 0.221 for PC. Heritability estimates indicate that it is possible to achieve genetic improvement but it is necessary to introduce the best model for prediction of breeding values of cow.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Protease and Sex on Skin, Bone and Muscle Yields and Percentages of Major Primal Cuts in Broilers<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>This study aimed to assess the effects of different dietary levels of the protease enzyme and sex on skin, bone and muscle yields and percentages of breast, drumsticks and thighs as the most valuable carcass parts of broilers. A total of 300 one-day-old, mixed-sex broiler chickens (Cobb 500) were randomly divided into 3 dietary treatments with different levels of protease supplementation (group C: a standard diet without Ronozyme ProAct; group E-I: a diet with 200 mg/kg Ronozyme ProAct and a 4% crude protein reduction compared to the standard diet; and group E-II: a diet with 300mg/kg Ronozyme ProAct and a 6% crude protein reduction compared to the standard diet). All diets were maize- and soybean meal-based. Feed and water were provided ad libitum throughout the 49-day feeding trial. The results obtained indicate that the dietary treatments had no significant effect on skin, bone and muscle yields and percentages of the drumsticks, thighs and breast (P &gt; 0.05), except for the breast muscle weight in the female chickens (especially between the E-I and E-II groups), and the drumstick bone percentage in the males between the C and E-2 groups (P &lt; 0.05). In all three groups, the male chickens exhibited higher weights of skin, muscle and bone in breast, drumsticks and thighs than the female chickens, and the differences were not significant only in the skin weight of drumsticks and thighs (P &gt; 0.05). The females had a higher yield of muscle tissue in breast and drumsticks, a higher percentage of skin in drumsticks and thighs, and a lower percentage of bone in drumsticks and thighs than the males (P &lt; 0.05). Major differences resulted from the effect of broiler sex, whereas the dietary treatments containing 3 levels of protease supplementation had a very small effect on the yields and percentages of skin, bone and muscle in breast, drumsticks and thighs.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Different Temperatures on the Microbiological Status of Donkey Milk<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Donkey milk is usually sold for human consumption directly at farms and agricultural households and it is used in the raw state because of its well-known medicinal properties. Sometimes, however, such milk has poor microbiological status due to inappropriate conditions during hand milking and storage. The aim of this paper was to examine the microbiological status of donkey milk exposed to different temperature treatments (refrigerated at 4 ℃ for 3 h, frozen at −18 ℃ for 1 day, and pasteurized at 80 ℃ for 10 minutes). The number of molds and yeasts, total viable count, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, coagulase-positive Staphylococcus, and the presence of foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter spp. were evaluated to estimate the microbiological status of donkey milk. As expected, freezing and pasteurization reduced the number of tested microorganisms, and no examined foodborne pathogens were detected. The total viable count was reduced by 0.64 log CFU/mL by freezing and by 2.23 log CFU/mL by pasteurization. The total molds and yeasts and total Enterobacteriaceae count were significantly reduced by pasteurization. In conclusion, frozen and pasteurized donkey milk is safer than raw milk. In order to be able to recommend the best temperature treatment before consumption, the effects of freezing and pasteurization on the quality and antibacterial properties of donkey milk have to be further investigated.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Environmental Pollution on Animal Behavior<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Animals, like humans, act according to physiological patterns of behavior that change in response to various internal and external stimuli. Environmental pollutants represent “negative” stimuli and stressors. Air pollution is among pollution sources that pose the greatest threat to the environment and all living organisms. Exposure to pollutants causes behavioral changes in animals and disruption of organ functions and structures, which are often identical to those of humans working or living under the same conditions as animals (e.g., on a farm or in a city). Aside from a shorter life span and possible premature death, there are some diseases which commonly occur as a result of the exposure. Symptoms indicative of a disease or irritation, such as coughing, lameness, diarrhea, eye discharge and the like, cause the animal to make movements (actions) that are not part of their normal physiological routine and are considered behavioral changes. Behavioral changes are the earliest indicator that the animal is suffering from physical or mental disorders that can negatively affect its health and, in the case of livestock, production results. Various animal species serve as indicators of pollution, and domestic animals, including farm animals, can also serve this purpose. Behavioral changes resulting from exposure to various pollutants include disorientation, problems interacting with humans and other animals, reproductive problems, respiratory, digestive symptoms, etc. This review compiled data from a number of studies on changes in animal behavior after short or long exposure to various environmental pollutants. The focus was on the effects of air pollutants on animals, which are of particular importance to humans as they share living or working space with the animals or breed them for economic interest.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Machine Learning in Estimating Milk Yield According to the Phenotypic and Pedigree Data of Holstein-Friesian Cattle in Serbia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>This paper presents a deep neural network (DNN) approach designed to estimate the milk yield of Holstein-Friesian cattle. The DNN comprised stacked dense (fully connected) layers, each hidden layer followed by a dropout layer. Various configurations of the DNN were tested, incorporating 2 and 3 hidden layers containing 8 to 54 neurons. The experiment involved testing the DNN with different activation functions such as the sigmoid, tanh, and rectified linear unit (ReLU). The dropout rates ranging from 0 to 0.3 were employed, with the output layer using a linear activation function. The DNN models were trained using the Adam, SGD, and RMSprop optimizers, with the root mean square error serving as the loss metric. The training dataset comprised information from a unique database containing records of dairy cows in the Republic of Serbia, totaling 3,406 cows. The input parameters (a total of 27) for the DNN included breeding and milk yield data from the cow’s mother, as well as the father’s ID, whereas the output parameters (a total of 8) consisted of milk yield parameters (a total of 3) and breeding parameters of the cow (a total of 5). Training iterations were conducted using a batch size of 8 over 500, 1000, and 5000 epochs.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Characterization of Mare Families in the Serbian Population of the Lipizzan Horse<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The Lipizzan horse breed was established in the 16<sup>th</sup> century in Lipica and later spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to six classical stallion lines, 17 classical mare family lines were established in the old Lipica stud. Additional 44 mare family lines, including local lines, were established in other Lipizzan studs. The founders of the classical Lipizzan mare family lines date back to the period between the 18<sup>th</sup> and 20<sup>th</sup> century and came from various breeds, including the Karst, Spanish, Italian, Kladruber and Arabian horses. The history of the Lipizzan mare family lines is well described and supported by the availability of 44 nucleotide sequences of the mtDNA control region. In this study, the mtDNA control region of 23 Serbian Lipizzans, representing the established Lippizan mare family lines, as well as the local mare family line Zora, have been sequenced. The objective of this study was to test whether the Zora mare family line could be distinguished from other Lipizzan mare family lines according to the mtDNA sequence. Sequences were aligned to the entire set of mtDNA control region sequences representing 44 Lipizzan mtDNA haplotypes. Based on the alignment, a median-joining network was constructed. The individuals in this study formed a cluster with the existing Lipizzan mare family lines. However, a total of ten individuals belonging to the local Zora mare family line formed a compact cluster close to the mtDNA haplotypes, representing the classical mare family lines Wera, Betalka, and Monteaura. Additional pedigree data are needed to clarify the origin of the mtDNA haplotype variant identified in this study.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Changes During Ripening Of Kučki Cheese<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Production of various traditional dairy products, particularly cheese, has a long history in Montenegro. White-brined cheeses are the most well-known. One of them is Kučki cheese, with distinct flavor and higher level of proteolysis. The aim of this research was to analyze the proteolysis process during ripening of Kučki cheese. The cheese is produced using traditional technology. FTIR Spectrophotometry was used to calculate the amount of total protein in cheese (IDF141C: 2000). The degree of proteolysis was determined by SDS PAGE (Laemmli, 1970). The cheese was examined for their water-soluble nitrogen (WSN) content using Kuchroo and Fox’s method from 1982, as well as their 5% phosphotungstic acid soluble nitrogen (PTAN) content using Stadhouser’s method from 1960. The results were expressed as percentages of WSN and PTAN of the total nitrogen matter (WSN/TN and PTAN/TN), as well as PTAN as a percentage of WSN (PTAN/WSN). All analyses were done on 10<sup>th</sup>, 20<sup>th</sup> and 30<sup>th</sup> day of cheese ripening. Four samples of cheese were analyzed for each ripening period. The content of proteins increased during the ripening period. The parameters that determine the process of proteolysis increased during the first 30 days of ripening. The WSN/TN ranged from 13.33 to 44.32%. Also, PTAN/WSN varied from 3.79 to 21.57%. The initial results show that uneven ripening conditions have a direct impact on how proteolytic changes develop throughout ripening. Due to the absence of established cheese-making procedures, Kučki cheese has a considerable degree of heterogeneity in their protein content and proteolysis parameters. However, it is not possible to strictly define the optimal values of the degree of ripening for Kučki cheese. In order to reach certain conclusions, it is necessary to carry out further studies focusing on analyzing a larger number of samples.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Effect of Age of Cows on Variability in Mastitis Prevalence Risk and its Concomitant Impacts on the Successive Daily Milk Yield<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of age of cows on variability in mastitis prevalence risk and its concomitant impacts on their successive daily milk yield by analyzing test-day records of dairy cows collected in the period 2005–2022. The results obtained indicate a correlation between the age and breed of cows enrolled in the study and mastitis prevalence risk alongside its concomitant impacts on their successive daily milk yield. The findings demonstrate a progressive increase in mastitis prevalence risk with the advancing age of cows, notably more pronounced in the Holstein breed than in the Simmental breed. The Simmental cows exhibited a lower increase in daily milk yield, experiencing a substantial decrease in overall yields (namely milk, fat, and protein) in contrast to the Holstein cows. The primiparous cows of both breeds displayed the highest total increase in daily milk yield. This study underscores the significance of monitoring dairy herd health as a pivotal component of successful dairy herd management. Moreover, the daily lactose content was found a valuable and cost-effective indicator for ensuring the economically and environmentally sustainable operations of dairy farms.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue, Haematological And Production Characteristics Of Pheasants In Different Rearing Conditions<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>This paper presents a physiological, hematological, and biochemical study of the impact of different rearing conditions on pheasant production outcomes and mortality rates in both the pheasant parent flock and pheasant chicks up to 6 weeks old. Pheasant breeding holds significance within hunting activities and meat production for the food market due to its high biological and nutritive value. Pheasant meat contains high-quality proteins, minerals, essential unsaturated fatty acids, and boasts a low-fat percentage. The quality of pheasant meat derived from natural habitats holds a higher biological value compared to that of pheasants raised on farms, featuring higher water, protein, and calcium contents, and a lower fat percentage. The dry mass of breast muscles from farm-reared birds contains more protein and less fat when compared to drumstick muscles. Notably, during the egg-laying period, alterations in hematological parameters linked to oxygen transport, decreased erythropoiesis, and increased values in white blood cell parameters were observed. Changes in blood biochemical parameters signify increased energy requirements in pheasant hens during egg laying, as well as heightened transportation of minerals, proteins, and cholesterol, which accumulate in the eggshell, albumen, and yolk. The elevated metabolic requirements in pheasant hens manifest significantly through increased levels of cholesterol, uric acid, lactates, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), calcium, and phosphorus. Simultaneously, there is a noteworthy decrease in plasma total proteins, albumins, glucose, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) concentrations. Several challenges persist throughout all production stages, leading to reduced egg yield, compromised egg quality and fertility, as well as increased mortality rates. These issues stem from factors such as high population density, an inappropriate male-to-female sex ratio, inadequate nutrition, and insufficient assessment of the biological quality of hatching eggs.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Assessment of Leaf Chlorophyll and Epidermal Flavonoids in Two Tomato Cultivars ( L.) Grown Under Different Spp. Treatments<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of different Trichoderma spp. treatments (T1: Trichoderma harzianum, T2: Trichoderma brevicompactum, and T3: T1 + T2) on two tomato cultivars (‘Narvik’ and ‘Gružanski zlatni’) by the non-destructive monitoring of chlorophyll (Chl) and epidermal flavonol (Flav) indices and nitrogen balance index (NBI) in their leaves. The main objectives were to compare the responses of tomato cultivars considered (grown in a greenhouse) to different Trichoderma strains and a combination of Trichoderma strains. Variations in the Chl, Flav, and NBI values obtained were significantly influenced by nearly all the factors examined (namely the tomato cultivar, experimental week, and treatment), the interaction of which was found significant for all the parameters analyzed. The results obtained indicate that the combinations of strains in the T3 treatment markedly enhanced the Chl content in the ‘Narvik’ cultivar in some experimental weeks. Moreover, reduced NBI values were determined in the Trichoderma-treated ‘Narvik’ plants due to the increased flavonol content, which indicates a shift from primary to secondary metabolism. Further research, including the same cultivars and treatments, is warranted under field conditions to evaluate the physiological responses of the ‘Narvik’ and ‘Gružanski zlatni’ tomato cultivars in a multiple-stressor environment.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Colour Characteristics of Microwave-Dried Tomato Slices Using Artificial Neural Network and Adaptive Neuro-Fuzzy Inference Systems<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Variation in the colour of dried tomatoes is frequently a problem for both consumers and processors. This study investigated digital imaging and applied soft-computational modelling using the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Adaptive Neuro-fuzzy Inference System (ANFIS) to evaluate the surface colour of microwave-dried tomato slices. The tomatoes were pretreated with water blanching, ascorbic acid, and sodium metabisulphite, then cut into slices of 4, 6, and 8 mm thickness. The slices were then dried in a microwave oven at power levels of 90, 180, and 360 W. The colour characteristics of the dried tomato slices (L*, a*, b*, colour change, browning index, hue, and chroma) were determined. The response variables were modelled and optimised using ANN and ANFIS. The efficiency and performance of the model were assessed using the coefficient of determination (R2), the root means square error (RMSE), and the mean absolute error (MAE). The results revealed the ranges of 36.70 – 48.83, 36.81 – 44.56, 31.03 – 40.34, 8.43 – 21.24, 11.78 – 39.82, 48.15 – 60.11, and 0.82 – 0.87 for the colour characteristics of L*, a*, b*, colour change, browning index, hue, and chroma, respectively. The outcomes showed that ANN and ANFIS models could make more accurate predictions. The predictive models were experimentally validated and agreed with the experimentally obtained values. However, the ANFIS model gave better performance, with higher values for R2 (1.000) and lower values for RMSE (0.02952) and MAE (0.02209). These findings will be helpful to processors and can be scaled up and adjusted for the bulk colour characteristics of microwave-dried tomatoes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Agricultural Farmers in the Republic of Serbia in Relation to Banking Institutions<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>This paper examines the registered agricultural holdings (RAHs) in the Republic of Serbia. The present research aims to assess the current condition of RAHs in Serbia and highlight the considerable opportunities that banks and insurance companies possess to promote loans and insurance to small-scale farms. The data on Serbian RAHs were collected for the period 2018–2021. Descriptive statistics served as the primary tool for data analysis. The findings obtained indicate that the small-scale producers in Serbia face restricted access to financial services from banks, which in turn hampers their operational and investment capacities.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Effects of Crop Diversification on Food Security of Farmers in Kwara State Nigeria<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>This study was conducted to examine perceived effects of crop diversification on food security status of maize-based farmers in Kwara State, Nigeria. A multi-stage sampling technique was employed to obtain data from 183 maize-based farmers using an interview schedule. The data were analyzed using Herfindahl indexing, Food Consumption Score of the World Food Programme for determining household food security and Chi-square test. The results showed that the extent of crop diversification was moderate for slightly above half of the respondents (51.4%). The majority of the respondents (91.3%) had acceptable food consumption (&gt;35), which corresponds to their food security situation. Crop diversification among the farmers indicated positive and significant influence of crop diversification on the food security status of the farmers at 1% level of significance using chi-square. More than half of the respondents perceived that crop diversification had strong effects on increased access to food preferences for an active and healthy life (56.3%), access to utilizable and digestible food (57.4%) and access to sufficient food (53.6%). The study concluded that crop diversification practices contributed to food security by increasing access to preferred sufficient, utilizable and digestible food for active and healthy life of maize-based farmers in Kwara State. Thus, extension agents should increase awareness of the importance of crop diversification for the farmers’ output in the study area.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Salinity Stress in Garden PEA Using Hydro- and Osmopriming<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>Salinity is one of the greatest challenges of successful agricultural production worldwide. However, seed priming might be efficient practice for enhancing seed germination and initial plant growth and development. This experiment was undertaken with the aim of assessing the impact of different priming methods on seed quality parameters and early growth of garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) cultivars under salinity stress. Pea seeds of three different cultivars were primed with water (hydropriming), KNO<sub>3</sub> solution (0.5%), and PEG 6000 solution (-0.5 MPa) for 24h in the dark. Unprimed and primed seeds were germinated between filter papers saturated with 120 mM NaCl using the germination test. The results clearly showed that the examined parameters of primed pea seeds were substantially greater than the parameters of unprimed seeds under saline stress. Moreover, seed priming with KNO<sub>3</sub> and PEG solutions were more effective in improving seed quality and initial growth in garden peas than hydropriming.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue as Bioindicators of Ecological Conditions in Organic Carrot and Onion Crop<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Summary</title> <p>The obtained results indicate the possibility of weed control in organic intercropping production systems of carrots and onions with the application of corn gluten, together with the ecological assessment of habitat based on bioindicator values of weed species. A total of 29 weed taxons are present in the intercoped and pure crops of carrots and onions, grown without (CO) and with the application of corn gluten (CO-G). Although floristically uniformed, 24 taxons (CO) and 23 taxons (CO-G), the total weediness on the CO-G variants was 24% higher. The highest value of fresh weed biomass was recorded on the treatment of pure onion crop with gluten application (2844.85 g/m2), while the lowest value was recorded on the treatment of intercropped carrot and onion (1004.99 g/m2). Ecological assessment of habitat, based on indicator values and abundance of weed species, indicates favorable climatic conditions with favorable temperature (T<sub>x̄</sub> - 4) and light (L<sub>x̄</sub> - 4) regime, which refers to temperate continental climate conditions (K<sub>x̄</sub> - 2,7). Soil indicators indicate slightly drier conditions (F<sub>x̄</sub> – 2,6), slightly acidic to neutral pH (R<sub>x̄</sub> – 3,3), rich in nutrients (N<sub>x̄</sub> – 4), with moderate humus content (H<sub>x̄</sub> – 3), moderate aeration (D<sub>x̄</sub> – 2,8) and locally salted (s) with the participation of salinity indicators in the amount of 54% (CO) and 40% (CO-G). The presence of heavy metals tolerance (m) indicators in the amount of 46% (CO-G) and 41% (CO) should not be neglected, which imposes the need for additional analysis of soil for heavy metal content. Based on the analysis of obtained indicator values, it can be concluded that these ecological conditions correspond to the development of carrots and onions and that the lowest values of fresh weed biomass were recorded on the treatment of intercropping of carrots and onions, without application of corn gluten.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue