Crop Protection Ideas for Beginners: Tips, Techniques, and Secrets

Producers must protect their crops from pests, diseases, and weeds for good, high-quality yields. Plant protection plays an important role in achieving crop production targets. Modern crop protection compounds make extensive use of digital solutions. They accurately analyze soil and plant conditions and provide accurate information about external factors such as weather conditions. At the same time, they allow optimization of resource utilization. As a result, farmers can protect crops, increase profits, and reduce environmental damage. 

Crop Protection Ideas for Beginners: Tips, Techniques, and Secrets
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Crop protection ideas for beginners

What are the methods to protect crops? 

Integrating pest and pest management is the best method to prevent crop damage. Insecticides and pesticide spraying help reduce crop losses by controlling insects and other pests. Most importance is usually given to protecting crops from diseases, insects, and weeds, along with other crop care practices and protection from adverse weather events such as frost. 

Weed management – Weeds are unwanted plants are growing alongside crops. These unwanted plants steal nutrients, sunlight, water, and other resources from crops and affect their growth, leading to depletion within the nutrient-poor crops and reduced yields. Farmers remove these weeds through a process to protect crops. It is the process of controlling the spread of weeds. There are different methods of weeding: 

  • Spraying weedicides on weeds 
  • Manual weeding by hand 
  • Weeding by trowel and harrow 
  • Sector plowing to get rid of weeds before seeding 
  • Some examples of weeds are Amaranthus, Cyprinus rotundas, Bermuda grass, etc.

Organic Pesticides – Organic pesticides are generally considered pesticides from natural sources. These natural sources are usually plants, as with pyrethrum, rotenone, rhenium (botanical pesticides), or minerals, such as boric acid, cryolite, or diatomaceous earth. Another main reason for switching to organic pesticides is how it allows farmers to convert agricultural produce to natural pesticides without affecting their health or damaging crops.

What is plant protection in agriculture? 

Promoting integrated pest management in key areas of plant protection, ensuring the availability of safe and quality pesticides to sustain crop production from pests and diseases, and introducing new high-yielding Quarantine measures are to be streamlined to accelerate. The role of crop protection is to effectively control residual pest species with minimal use of well-selected pesticides. 

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Crop protection is the general method or practice of protecting crop production from various agents, including insects, weeds, plant diseases, and other organisms that damage crops. Along with crops, agricultural fields were regularly raided by weeds, small animals such as rats, worms, insects, disease-causing pathogens, and birds. These factors are mainly responsible for damage or loss of crops. Thus, farmers had to protect crops from these pests to get a high crop yield. Therefore, crop protection management is critical before, during, and after planting. 

How can we protect crops from pests more sustainably? 

  • Use resistant cultivars and varieties, crop rotations, associations, and cultural practices that minimize stress and maximize biological control of pests and diseases. 
  • Maintain a regular and quantitative assessment of the balance between pests and diseases and the beneficial organisms of all crops. 

How can you prevent pests from crop damage? 

Crop rotation – Crop rotation effectively prevents pests from becoming accustomed to the types of plants being cultivated. Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of different types of crops in the same area over a series of growing seasons. It reduces dependence on one set of nutrients, pest and herbivore pressure, and the potential for developing resistant pests and weeds. The crop rotation purpose is to reduce the soil’s pest population.

Some pathogens that cause diseases survive in the soil for years in some form, usually as sclerotia, spores, or hyphae. Shifting to non-host crops prevents the accumulation of large populations of pathogens. Crop rotation improves the soil’s physical and chemical condition, improving overall fertility. Crop rotation helps control common root and stem diseases that affect row crops. Crop rotation is most effective against diseases whose pathogens have a low host range and require winter soil or crop residues. 

Intercropping – Intercropping involves the simultaneous cultivation of two or more crops in the same field. Intercropping can reduce insect pest attack and crop loss by disrupting visual or olfactory host plant location, reducing host plant quality, or increasing natural enemy activity. 

Maintaining crop diversity – Strategies to increase genetic diversity may include mixing crop varieties. Genetic crop diversity can be used to protect the environment. Crop varieties resistant to pests and diseases can reduce the need to use crop protection products. Drought-tolerant plants can help conserve water by reducing the need for irrigation. And species that are more efficient at using nutrients require less fertilizer. 

What are the benefits of crop protection?

  • Increased productivity of small areas; 
  • More production and consequently more food; 
  • Protecting the environment; 
  • Protecting stored products. 

Thus, conserving agricultural plants creates all the necessary conditions for a successful and sustainable agribusiness. Agricultural practices critical to quality food production and ecosystem health are. Therefore, protecting agricultural plants and introducing modern innovations in this sector is essential. The process is constantly evolving, providing precise mechanisms for preserving plant health.

Crop protection is managing plant diseases, weeds, and pests (vertebrates and invertebrates) that damage crops. Crops include fields (maize, wheat, rice, etc.), vegetable crops (potatoes, cabbage, etc.), and fruits. Chemical crop protection products, commonly known as pesticides or agrochemicals, play an important role in controlling pests and diseases that infect, eat, or damage crops.

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Chemical crop protection products or “pesticides” help control insects, diseases, weeds, fungi, and other unwanted pests. Based on pesticide type, the pesticides market is classified into fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and others. Based on crop type, the pesticides market is segmented into Rice, Cereals, Fruits, Rice, Maize, Nuts, Soybeans, Cotton, Vegetables, and others.

How do farmers take care of crops? 

Crop rotation; Intercropping

If you plan to grow the same crop regularly, you will need to rotate them. Different crops require specific nutrients in the soil and use them at a specific level. At the same time, each type of plant attracts its particular pests and diseases, which soon become established around the crop. Crop rotation should be observed as many pathogens survive on a wide variety of living and dead plant material. It is essential to evaluate which rotations can be successfully grown in an agroecological zone for maximum yield and pest control. 

Use of appropriate cultivation techniques

Burning plant residues and plowing the land has traditionally been considered necessary for phytosanitary reasons: to control pests, diseases, and weeds. In systems that reduce mechanical tillage based on mulch cover and biological tillage, alternatives must be developed to control pests and weeds, and integrated pest management becomes imperative. A key factor in achieving this is crop rotation, which can reduce the pest risks associated with monocultures, preventing transmission of infection between successive crops and making full use of the physical and chemical interactions between the two different types of plants. 

Weed control

Weeds reduce yields by competing with plants for sunlight, moisture, and soil nutrients. Weeds can affect farming in many ways. For example, fertilizer application may not increase yields in weedy fields because weeds absorb nitrogen more efficiently than many rice plants. In addition, weeds are harmful because they can be alternate hosts for important crops and disease pests.

In general, weed problems are more serious in upland and rainfed areas than irrigated lowland areas. Weeds can significantly reduce yields if left to grow in the field. Control measures are generally adopted to minimize weed growth at certain stages of the crop cycle and not to achieve a sustainable reduction in an infestation. Knowing when is the right time to implement control methods to reduce weed species productivity requires knowledge of weed production, germination/emergence time, period of fruit set, and the emergence of first plant organs. 

Field sanitation and hygiene measures

Plant diseases and pathogens that spread weeds can be easily spread by farmers, their machinery, and other people visiting farm fields. The main contamination caused by pathogens that can harm humans is animal manure or sewage waste as organic fertilizers and the presence of animals in production areas. 

How can protect crops from wild animals? 

Agricultural fencing is a popular wildlife deterrent that can last for many years. Agricultural fencing is a very effective technology for wildlife protection. However, the use of fencing as a practice is often regulated. Some local and state agencies may restrict or prohibit the use of certain types of fences.

Therefore, before deciding on a suitable fence, it is important to check local laws and regulations. Some growers prefer to use natural resources instead of mechanical or chemical protection methods. There are various ways to reduce crop damage from wild animals, including: 

  • Smoke; farmers burn elephant dung or other materials that produce smoke and heavy smoke 
  • Fencing of bees; for example, elephants repelled at the sound of bees. This practice is beneficial as it is an additional source of income. 
  • Chili pepper; the chemical Capsaicin makes chili peppers hot. It is an excellent repellent against elephants, monkeys, squirrels, and some other wild animals; Chili farmers will also benefit from additional sources of income. 
  • Lavender, soybeans, peas, and beans are excellent rabbit repellents and provide an additional source of income.
  • Egg-based repellents; homemade deer repellent 
  • Castor Oil; is also a natural repellent that keeps burrowing animals like moles at bay. In addition, chemical repellents containing active ingredients such as anthraquinone, butanethiol, and methyl anthranilate can be used to keep wild animals away from crops. 

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Electronic repellents are also an effective, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly method of crop protection that repels animals without harming them. Farmers use one of the below two types of electronic repellents: 

  1. Ultrasonic electronic repellents; are high-frequency sound waves that repel wild animals.
  2. Electronic noise canceller; a loud audible noise that scares animals. 

Why is crop protection important? 

There are many organisms in agricultural ecosystems that can damage plants. They slow down the growth of plants, reduce their thickness and generally damage the yield. Timely preventive measures reduce the risks. Furthermore, the importance of crop protection in agriculture lies in conserving biodiversity and nutrients in the soil and optimizing resources such as water, land, and labor, thereby increasing the quality and reducing the cost of food. Good agricultural practices in plant protection are integrated pest management, and it should address the following points: 

  • Use resistant cultivars and varieties, crop rotations, associations, and cultural practices that minimize stress and the spread of pests and diseases. 
  • Use non-chemical pest and disease management methods.
  • Maintain a regular and quantitative assessment of the balance between pests and diseases and the beneficial organisms of all crops. 
  • Apply pest and disease forecasting methods where available. 
  • Decide after considering all possible ways to minimize the use of agrochemicals and their short- and long-term effects. Store agrochemicals based on legal requirements, such as registration for individual crops, rates, times, and pre-harvest intervals. 
  • Ensure that agricultural chemicals are applied only by specially trained personnel. 
  • Ensure that equipment handling and agricultural chemicals conform to established safety and maintenance standards. 
  • Maintain accurate records of agricultural chemical use. 
  • Avoid contamination from agrochemicals resulting from the use, storage, cleaning, and disposal of products or application equipment. 
  • Avoid impacts on non-target areas of any pest and disease management activity. 
  1. Fungicides are pesticides used to kill fungi – They are toxic chemical agents used to kill the fungus and its spores to stop its growth as they seriously affect the crop’s health. But pesticides do not protect crops from bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. In crop protection, fungicides are used to control disease-causing fungal organisms. They allow increased production during the growing season and preserve stored products.
  2. Herbicides are pesticides that kill unwanted plants and prevent the growth of unwanted plant species. They are a chemical agent used to control or prevent the growth of nuisance plants such as grasses and weeds. These are crop protection chemicals because they kill weeds that compete with crops for the same nutrients in the soil needed for good yields. Herbicides are also called weed killers. Herbicides are suitable for killing actively growing weeds. They can’t kill weeds all at once, but farmers use them before planting to prevent new pests. 
  3. Insecticides are mainly used to kill insects that affect crop development. They are chemical agents that are toxic and are formulated with the sole purpose of repelling, harming, or killing one or more species of pests. The purpose of insecticides is to control pests. Many crop protection chemicals are applied to the soil (e.g., against insects), and others are used to treat plants (e.g., against bugs and aphids). Farmers scout the field to determine the best time to plant them. Otherwise, insecticides are ineffective.
  4. Nematicides are chemically synthesized substances used to affect or kill nematodes adversely. Nematodes are insect-like invertebrates that are parasitic. They attack the plant’s roots in the ground and spoil the crop. It also makes the crop more susceptible to bacterial and fungal damage.

How do I use crop protection products safely? 

In the agricultural field, pesticides are valuable tools to help growers control weeds, certain pests, and crop diseases. Pesticides must be used safely to protect the applicator and the local environment. Each pesticide label will have details of its safe use. Signs will first warn about the type and degree of hazard. In addition, each label will contain important information to help you understand the best way to handle the pesticide to minimize your exposure.

Before a new field season begins, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the risks for each product you use on your farm. When you set up your sprayer trailer, it’s a good idea to have a storage unit with personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing. These should include chemical-resistant clothing, gloves, hats, and shoes designed to protect you from pesticides. It would help if you also had goggles, respirators, and face shields available to the person mixing and applying the pesticide.

Finally, hand washing with soap and contact information for local medical services and poison control is important. Be prepared to contain and clean up any pesticide spills. The wrong pesticide on a spray deck or soil quickly threatens the environment and people’s health. Direct handling of spills can expose a person to pesticide overdoses, and contamination of surface or groundwater can pose a future hazard.

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The first step is preventing spills, but it is equally important to prepare for mistakes. Training is important for the safe use of pesticides and the correct use of PPE. Before family members or farm employees begin handling pesticides, they should be fully aware of and trained in product-specific safety procedures. Injury from pesticides can be avoided, but only if the proper tools are available. 

What is organic pest control? 

But for pest control purposes, organic is defined as “using a means of control that does not use man-made chemicals.” Organic pest control usually involves natural substances ranging from soap, salt, and vinegar to pyrethrum and lime sulfur. In many cases, organic pest control methods can be even more effective than conventional pesticides. Professional pest control companies use organic methods like extreme heat or cold to control hardy pests like bed bugs.

Among the pesticides approved for use in organic farming are neem oil, made from the neem tree, and pyrethrin, made from chrysanthemum plants. Few synthetic chemicals are also allowed in organic farming. Examples include copper sulfate, alcohol, chlorine products, hydrogen peroxide, and soap. Basic organic farming practices include crop rotation, green manure and compost, mechanical cultivation, and biological pest control. 

Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt) is an essential organic insecticide is a naturally occurring bacterium that attacks the larvae of butterflies and moths, including cabbage moths, tent caterpillars, corn earworms, and cutworms. The benefit of this product is that it only attacks caterpillars in the Lepidoptera family and does not harm other insects, bees, pets, or humans. 

How can we prevent crops from being destroyed? 

Pesticides and insecticides protect crops from damage by insects and pests, respectively. Pesticides are intended to control pests; most pesticides are intended to act as plant protection products. It protects plants from weeds, fungi, or insects. Disease management is equally important in crop protection. Farmers adopt a wide range of measures to protect crops from diseases.

These include crop rotation, disease-resistant crops, quarantine of infected plants, and deep plowing. Farmers can protect their crops by analyzing temperature, humidity, and soil conditions with modern technology. Thus, they can predict any problems that may adversely affect crops. Insects are known to transmit most diseases that affect crops and must be controlled. Farmers can use biological control, crop scouting, targeted habitat management, and rotation.

Integrated pest management involves using multiple strategies to monitor and prevent crop damage. It can help control pests and prevent crop diseases if used well. Protecting crops from pest and disease attacks is essential to achieve high yields. It highlights the importance of implementing necessary measures to reduce losses and increase productivity. 

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Conclusion

Crop protection helps keep plants healthy and maintain sustainable yields. The choice of plant protection strategy depends on the type of crops grown and the risk. It could be diseases, insects, or weeds. Protection of early crops is a practice that a farmer who wants to achieve high yields should take very seriously and seriously. To improve production, a farmer must improve crop rotation, yield management, and conservation management. 

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