Crop protection is the practice of removing weeds, adjusting weather and eliminating pests. It may include managing everything that inhibit the growth of fruit, vegetables and all farm produce.
It is highly important because through this, higher quality crops are produced and wastage is reduced. The increased crop production through proper crop protection leads to less use of resources like land, water and labor. With less usage of land, biodiversity is preserved. Through this, more farm crops and produce actually reach the markets, keeping the prices low.
If farmers were to stop methods of crop protection, according to UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), around 40 percent will be lost due to pests and plant diseases.
An approach called integrated Pest Management (IPM) is helpful in reducing the wastage of farm resources. In IPM, they combine the best cultural, biological and chemical measures to keep pest and diseases away from the crops.
There are several ways and approaches to successful plant protection:
- Chemical Intervention
First, we use herbicides to kill unwanted plants and weeds. Weeds can be a real problem because they contest with the food crops for nutrients and space.
Plant-eating insects and roundworms attack the farm crops leaving these damaged and inedible. To eliminate these harmful insects, we use insecticides.
Lastly, we use fungicides for fungi that cause serious disease and damage to agriculture.
- Biological Pest Control
With biological means of pest control, we manage weeds, insects and diseases by using other living organisms. We make use of beneficial insects that perform these valued services. You may refer to this link to learn more about beneficial insects.
- Barrier Methods
We can also opt for this method in which we create barriers between plants and potential harmful pests, weather and diseases. We have bird netting, micromesh and the likes. We can also employ electronic pest deterrents.
Organic agriculture is a system that depends on ecosystem management. In this system, the potential environmental and social impacts are highly considered.
As much as possible, synthetic or chemical measures of crop protection are avoided. Instead of using artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, genetically modified seeds and breeds, additives and preservatives, we make use of site-specific management system that maintain and increase long-term soil fertility, prevent pest infestations and crop diseases.
Nowadays, as consumers begin to be more health conscious, organic food gets more and more appealing. This is why farmers should consider organic farming. It is environmental friendly and more profitable.
Why exactly do we need to invest in organic agriculture?
- It cultivates healthy soil. It also aids in making fields less prone to soil erosion.
If food came from healthy soil, it is safe to say that it is healthy, too. Organic soil may host much more good bacteria than chemically treated soils. Aside from building healthy soil, organic farming also helps combat soil erosions among fields. Erosion could affect the land, food supply and us humans negatively. Through organic agriculture, occurrence of these erosions can be prevented.
- It discourages usage of environmentally harmful pesticides and chemicals.
Chemically treated pesticides pose many environmental issues including soil, air and water contamination that could last up to decades
- Organic agriculture fights the effects of global warming.
Studies show that healthy organic agriculture lowers the levels of carbon dioxide slowing the pace of climate change.
- It helps in conservation of water.
Organic farming helps in keeping our water supplies clean by preventing water pollution. By organic farming, great amount of water is conserved through proper soil management.
- Organic farming supports the health of farmers and also the animal health and welfare
Because organic farmers do not use harmful chemicals in maintaining their farms, they are not exposed to health issues associated with these. Moreover, organic farmers encourage birds and natural predators to habituate nearby as they serve in natural pest control.
The steps or process of handling crops right after harvest is referred to as postharvest management. We should note that the moment a crop is taken from the ground or separated from its mother plant, its spoilage or deterioration begins.
Post-harvest plays a very important role in crop production as it determines the final product’s quality. If the crops turned out to be in good condition after postharvest it can be sold as fresh consumption. On the other hand, if the crops turned out damaged, these would be used as raw ingredients for processed food products.
Post-harvest technologies are combination of techniques and inter-disciplinary science applied to crops after harvest for the purpose of their preservation, quality control, processing, storage and distribution. These technologies will make sure that products will meet the food and nutritional needs of the consumers.
Post-harvest technology improves agricultural production by numerous ways:
1. It prevents post-harvest losses
2. It adds values to agricultural products. The crops along with its nutrients are properly conserved.
3. It supports in the poverty issues of the economy as it generates employment opportunities for the locals.
Investing in effective post-harvest technologies and products guarantees the best possible quality of the products, food safety and the least losses. Say for example, because temperature has a huge impact on the rate of metabolism of the products, lowering the temperature as quickly as possible is the best solution to slower the metabolism of the harvested crops to prolong shelf life.
An additional defense to the deterioration of plants after harvest is choosing safe organic formulas or disinfectants that can protect the produce from harmful microorganisms. It can save you a lot by preventing losses the natural way. Farmers won’t need to apply any other chemical formula just to preserve the crops, as these might pose health risks to consumers.
If you are a coffee person and you are actually reading this, appreciate your next cup of coffee. As much as you always get that coffee you crave forever. There might come a time that coffee won’t be easy to avail.
Unfortunately, it’s not just us people who love coffee. Over the recent years, coffee rust or “Roya” in Spanish, has been a plague in Central and South American coffee farms. They are notorious coffee-eating plant pathogens that messes up the healthy growth of plants. These have airborne spores making it really a pain to control. Once it has infiltrated your field of coffee, brace yourself for the worst.
What CLR does is that it attacks the leaves of the coffee plant, disabling it to photosynthesize efficiently. No photosynthesis means no more coffee beans.
To orient you and give you a glimpse of this issue, we have gathered here a few facts about coffee leaf rust.
1. Colombia’s primary coffee crop, the Coffea Arabica, which accounts for 70% of all the world’s coffee has been devastated by this Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR). The Colombian government has spent over $1 billion over the last three years to address this issue.
2. Drinking a cup of coffee affected by CLR is like drinking a wood flavored drink. Yes, I hate to break it to you but…
3. CLR has caused Guatemala to have 40 % less coffee production last year.
4. The affected region in Central and South America is the same size as Europe. Imagine that! That is a whopping 10 million sq. kilometers.
5. Coffee leaf rust has been a really serious problem that coffee farmers weigh between investing in its mitigation of feeding their families.
Fortunately, the race has started to develop solutions to cure or prevent coffee plants from CLR. Some have been also developing coffee that has enough genetic diversity and resistance to beat these CLR once and for all.
As crucial it is to achieve an economically rewarding enterprise via the marketing of organic produce before the harvest phase is, it’s also important to make sure that the post-harvest phase is done properly.
The National Organic Program or NOP Rule has been established by the USDA to enforce uniform standards for producing and handling agricultural and processed food labeled as organic. Therefore, it is important that the chemicals used in organic post-harvest operations must comply with the rules set by the NOP. Of course, each produce falls into a different category and each category has its own list of disinfectants.
In order to have the best post-harvest management quality, it’s important to ensure that you are using an organic disinfectant. A lot of farms and companies use chemicals like chlorine, acetic acid, alcohol, peroxyacetic acid, and other ammonium sanitizers.
Though these disinfectants have been approved, they are still chemicals. Using an organic disinfectant helps a lot in improving the quality of post-harvest management.
Why Is It Important To Use Organic Disinfectant?
You may or may not agree, but organic is always better. It’s all natural and can definitely spare you from the effects of harmful chemicals. If we can use organic disinfectants instead of bleach, chlorine, or alcohol, it’s definitely worth it!
Interesting references on the topic:
Health effects of chemical exposure:
Effects of chemicals and pesticides upon health:
On Pesticides and Health:
Agricultural Health Study:
The coffee rust epidemic has reached a lot of countries all over the world and has been a major problem and threat to coffee plantations all over the world. The rust organism mainly attacks the leaves (though in some rare instances the rust was found on fruits and young stems.). The coffee rust is usually manifested by chlorotic young lessions or pale yellow spots before the sporulation is evident. The sports vary in shapes and sizes.
This epidemic was first recorded in 1861. A British explorer discovered the development of coffee leaf rust in the Lake Victoria region in Kenya. In 1869, the cultivated coffee industry in Sri Lanka was attacked by this virus and their coffee industry suffered for 10 long years.
In 1920, the spread of the coffee leaf rust has reached most African and Asian countries during the sprout of their commercial grown coffee.
The epidemic in Brazil started in 1972. Soon, it affected the countries in Southern and Central America.
The Effects of Coffee Rust to Coffee Plantations
- The amount of rust in the current year highly affects the reduced size of vegetative growth and berry growth.
- Coffee rust is associated with defoliation. The strong sink of the berries’ carbohydrate can cause shoots and roots to starve and die. With that being said, the number of nodes on which coffee will be produced next year will be reduced.
- The production of coffee for the following year is produced this season. Thus, the top and shoot dieback caused by the coffee rust will seriously reduce the following season’s crop.
- A research conducted by Kushalappa and Eskes in 1989 estimates the total losses caused by leaf rust is between 30 to 80%.
- The total average losses per year is believed to be about 15%.
Though our crop plants need adequate sunlight, they can only take so much heat. The plant tissues die normally around 115°F. The plant temperature is just usually above air temperature. But in certain conditions, plant temperature can rise to the critical level.
Plants, in general, have three major ways to remove excess heat.
1. Through long wave radiation
2. Through heat convection into the air
3. Through transpiration
If either any of these major ways are interrupted, plant temperature can rise above the normal.
For instance, transpiration can be interrupted by inadequate water, injury, vascular plugging, and stomatal closure. When that happens, the major cooling mechanism of the plant is lost.
Take note that dry soil conditions can also lead to excess plant heating. When the soils are dry, roots produce ABA or Abscisic Acid. This acid is transported to leaves which signals stomatal closure.
How to protect your crops from heat damage:
- Overhead watering is the major method to reduce plant heat stress. Always make sure that you have sprinklers set up and you provide adequate water supply.
- Misting also helps in improving your plant’s temperature. It helps in lessening water vapor pressure deficit.
- You can also increase dissipation and reflection of radiative heat using reflective mulches.
- Low density and organic mulches like straw can also be used to conserve moisture and reduce surface radiation.
- If you are located in very hot areas, use shade cloth for partial shading. This will help in reducing heat and radiation.
Eating organic isn’t enough to stay healthy. No matter how much you try to stay away from chemicals, the fact is, they’re everywhere. It’s in your barbecue, your favorite chips, your hamburger, and even on your healthy salad.
Food handling and preparation play a very important role in making sure that what you’re eating is clean and safe. Before eating raw fruits and vegetables, it’s important to wash them properly to get rid of pesticides and any other chemicals.
According to research, petroleum based chemicals used in pesticides, consumer products, and job environments are linked to some health disorders. In fact, they are found to cause accelerated aging to the brain, blood brain barrier, and immune system. It’s also proven that these chemicals can also alter critical hormones that are necessary for teenage behavioral and neurological development.
Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child behavior disorders including learning disabilities, mental retardation, hyperactivity ADHD (attention deficit disorders) as well as altering hormones essential for maintaining healthy bodily processes. Petroleum based chemicals are believed to cause these problems by a variety of routes including – impairing proper DNA (Gene) expression, weakening DNA Repair, accelerating gene loss, degeneration of the body’s detoxification defenses (liver and kidneys) as well as gradual weakening of the brain’s primary defense (the Blood Brain Barrier).
Know more about the research here.
The devastating effects of the coffee leaf rust epidemic have reached different countries all over Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Aside from thousands of people losing their jobs, coffee plantations end up losing millions of dollars.
Eliminating the harmful effects of this disease is not impossible. However, it is challenging. Recently, we released CR-10, which is a coffee rust control fungicide. a coffee rust treament… or even better: a coffee rust solution! The active ingredientl is designed to attack the fungi and get rid of the harmful effects of the rust to the coffee leaves.
- The CR-10 works faster compared to other fungicides
Eliminating coffee rust is our main goal. We want to help in saving the coffee plantations and somehow improving the commercial coffee economic status of the affected countries. Upon application, farmers can already see the effect of CR-10 on coffee rust after 48 hours.
- The CR-10 only requires 2 to 3 applications
This fungicide works faster and better. Therefore, it only takes 2 to 3 applications to work. According to our own research, farmers had to do 4 to 12 applications using other products. With the CR-10, you can save money on labor and get better results faster than other fungicides.
- The CR-10 is 100% Safe.
We always do our best to create products that are safe not only for us people but also to animals and to our environment. The CR-10 is 100% safe. It is biodegradable and non-toxic (when used at recommended dilution).
We made sure that our product is people friendly and environment-friendly as well. You have to make sure that you will use it at the level of dilution we recommend.
Crop preparations do not end during harvest. In fact, it’s just getting started. And just like everything else, a good post-harvest preparation is important to make sure that the crops are safe and free from any crop diseases that can harm people’s health.
With that being said, there are a lot of things to consider. Here are some of them:
Water quality and safety – During the production, a clean supply of water is important to ensure that your crops are well and properly hydrated. A clean water supply is also a vital part of your post-harvest preparation.
Worker Sanitation – Farmers, workers, and anyone who will have direct access to crops should make sure their hands are cleaned and practice proper sanitation to avoid the spread of bacteria and other contaminants.
Facility Sanitation – When doing your post-harvest management, you have to ensure that your building, equipment, and storage are all sanitized.
Cleaning the Product – Washing and cleaning the crops with clean water will reduce product loss due to spoilage and reduce microbial risks.
Sorting and Packing – Crops are sorted out to see which ones are good for trade. Then, they are packed neatly to prolong their life and remain fresh.
For more information about post-harvest management, visit this website.