Crop protection is the science and practice of managing plant diseases, weeds, and other pests that damage crops. Apart from crops, agricultural fields would have weeds, small animals like rats, mites, insects, pests, disease-causing pathogens, and frequently raided by birds. All these factors are mainly responsible for the loss or damage to the crops. Thus to yield high crop production, farmers need to protect the crop from these pests. Hence crop protection management is important before, during, and after the cultivation.
Methods of Crop Protection
Crop Protection Before Cultivation
Weeding is the process of controlling the growth of weeds. There are various methods of weeding:
- Spraying weedicides on the weeds.
- Manually plucking the weeds with hands.
- Removing weeds by trowel and harrow.
- Plowing the field to remove the weeds even before sowing the seeds.
Both insects and pests are the major cause of crop damage and yield loss. They could ruin the whole crop and eat up a large portion of grains. In fact, they can reduce crop output by 30-50(%) every year if left unchecked. Spraying insecticides, pesticides help to minimize crop damage by controlling insects and other pests.
Plant Disease Management
Pathogenic diseases are another type of crop-damaging factor. Microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and viruses affect different parts of the crop through various means. Crops could be protected from these diseases by using pesticides and biocontrol agents.
Crop Protection After the Cultivation
Once the crop has reached maturity, it now needs to be harvested. After the harvested crop has to store for future purposes. Cultivated grains must be stored safely to avoid product loss. Before storing the grains, they should be cleaned and dried completely in sunlight as it helps in protecting the crops from fungal growth, which is caused by the presence of moisture. Pests could also be killed by a method called fumigation.