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While conservation practices promote soil health and reduce the negative environmental effects from agricultural production, their adoption rates are generally low. To facilitate farmer adoption, we carried out a survey to identify potential challenges faced by farmers regarding conservation tillage and cover crop adoption in the western margin of the US Corn Belt. We found farmers' top two concerns regarding conservation tillage were delayed planting, caused by slow soil warming in spring, and increased dependence on herbicide and fungicides. Narrow planting window and lack of time/labor were perceived by farmers as the two primary challenges for cover crop adoption. Some sense of place factors, including the commonly included dimensions of attachment, identity and dependence, played a role in farmers' perceived challenges. For example, respondents more economically dependent on farming perceived greater challenges. We found that farmers' challenge perceptions regarding reduced yield and lack of time/labor significantly decreased as years of usage increased, implying that time and experience could dilute some challenges faced by farmers. Our findings indicate that social network use, technical guidance and economic subsidies are likely to address the concerns of farmers and facilitate their adoption of conservation practices.
Experimental findings on rotational grazing (RG) trials have generally differed from producer observations of RG outcomes on commercial scale ranches. Factors such as small plot size, short duration trials and relatively rigid grazing management that lacks responsiveness to the dynamic and complex social-ecological systems in grazing trials could all contribute to this disparity in outcomes. These differences call for a better understanding of producer perceptions of RG benefits. To fill this knowledge gap, we surveyed 4500 producers from the Northern and Southern Great Plains of the USA. Among the 875 respondents, 40.5% reported that they used continuous grazing (CG), 52.7% implemented RG management in an extensive manner, while 6.8% adopted management intensive grazing. Compared with CG users, adopters of RG in its extensive and intensive form reported an average annual increase of grazing season by 7.6 and 39.3 days, respectively. When controlling for producer demographics, ranch management goals and other rancher characteristics, we found soil and climate heterogeneity significantly affected the perceived relative benefits of RG vs CG strategies. Therefore, instead of focusing on whether RG outperforms CG per se, future research could focus on comparison of RG benefits under different management intensity levels and identifying soil and climate conditions where RG benefits are more noticeable.
A few former studies suggested that there are partial overlaps in abnormal brain structure and cognitive function between hypochondriasis (HS) and schizophrenia (SZ). But their differences in brain activity and cognitive function were unclear.
Twenty-one HS patients, 23 SZ patients, and 24 healthy controls (HC) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) with the regional homogeneity analysis (ReHo), subsequently exploring the relationship between ReHo value and cognitive functions. The support vector machines (SVM) were used on effectiveness evaluation of ReHo for differentiating HS from SZ.
Compared with HC, HS showed significantly increased ReHo values in right middle temporal gyrus (MTG), left inferior parietal lobe (IPL), and right fusiform gyrus (FG), while SZ showed increased ReHo in left insula, decreased ReHo values in right paracentral lobule. Additionally, HS showed significantly higher ReHo values in FG, MTG, and left paracentral lobule, but lower in insula than SZ. The higher ReHo values in insula were associated with worse performance in MATRICS consensus cognitive battery (MCCB) in HS group. SVM analysis showed a combination of the ReHo values in insula and FG was able to satisfactorily distinguish the HS and SZ patients.
Our results suggested that the altered default mode network (DMN), of which abnormal spontaneous neural activity occurs in multiple brain regions, might play a key role in the pathogenesis of HS, and the resting-state alterations of insula are closely related to cognitive dysfunction in HS. Furthermore, the combination of the ReHo in FG and insula was a relatively ideal indicator to distinguish HS from SZ.
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