Blog

The Benefits of Organic Farming

The usage of chemical products has become the trend in agriculture. The benefits of
these chemical products are so great that any harm it may cause became unnoticeable.
However, because the problems that come along with this conventional farming have
now been exposed, many are now going back into organic farming again.
What are these problems associated to chemical products used in farming?

 Health related diseases (cancerous diseases)
 Environmental issues (Water and land pollution)
 Impact on the welfare of animals
What then is organic farming?
In organic farming, all the process involved are natural ways. All materials used in the
process of farming are made of organic or biological materials. Synthetic materials are
never used in any part of the process. This makes organic farming a healthier choice to
humans, animals and the environment.
Here are some of the most sensible reasons why we should make the switch to organic
farming.
1. Farmers will have reduced exposure to harmful chemicals. The most
affected groups of people by pesticides are the families of farmers.
2. Increased nutrition and reduced chemical contamination for consumers.
Studies show that organic foods have higher amount of nutrients compared to
those products from conventional farming.
3. Children will have less exposure to chemical pesticides.
Since a child’s body is still developing, it can be hard to defend itself from toxic
4. Organic farming builds healthy soil.
If soil is constantly exposed to harmful chemicals, it is more likely that the soil
cannot withstand it. Soil erosion is being reduced as well.
5. Organic farming supports the conservation of healthy water.
Almost everything in this planet is dependent on water. With organic farming, the
conservation of good quality water resources is strengthened.
6. Organic farming supports the welfare of animal health.
Conventional farming has contributed to the loss of habitats of many animals.
This issue can gradually be resolved when organic farming is implemented.
Moreover, animals can safely live nearby agricultural fields.

10 Tips to Prevent Post-Harvest Losses

In the more recent years, one of the major global problems is secured food supply for
the exponentially rising population. Based from FAO’s findings, in order for food to be
enough for the increasing human population, food production needs to grow by 70%.
One of the solutions to this global crisis is to combat post-harvest losses. This post will
brief you on some of the basic harvest handling tips to avoid further losses in the
production of crops.
1. Post-harvest quality planning must be accomplished.
There should be a set of good agricultural practices (GAP) to be developed for
each specific crop. Everything from the land use, water quality, field sanitation,
workers’ dynamics and operations and other factors should be highly considered.
2. Each program that has been pre-planned must be carefully executed and
implemented during harvest.
3. It is best to perform harvest during low-temperature time of the day. This will
ensure low product respiration.
4. Avoid the harvested products to be in direct contact with the sun. Always keep
them cool.
5. Make sure that there is good airflow where the crops are stored. Poor ventilations
speeds up the decaying process.
6. Never let the produce be bruised or crushed. Careful handling must always be
observed.
7. It is not advisable to mix some of the bad crops in a pack of good ones. This will
just spoil the whole bunch.
8. Use only clean and dry containers for transport. Avoid contamination in the
crops.
9. Organic products like CR-10 can be used to protect the quality of the crops
without compromising the health of consumers.
10. High quality cooling systems are good investments in this line of field. After all,
temperature is the single most important factor to consider to maintain post-
harvest quality.

The Primary Causes of Post-Harvest Losses

One of the most serious issues in farming are post-harvest losses. They are caused by
many factors which will be discussed here in this post. This is an alarming problem
because it does not only affect the profitability of farmers but it also affects the supply
chain and therefore the consumers. To put it simply, post-harvest losses can result to
large-scale issues so getting to the root of it should be done.
There are many contributors to post-harvest losses and we will be identifying these as
they go from production to the market.
1. PRE-HARVEST
Before the actual harvest procedure, some of the factors that contribute to
damage later on occurs during pre-harvest or when the crops are still on the
farm.
 Inadequate water supply: Plants need only enough water to survive. Too
much or too little amount of water can cause plants to whither.
 Too much use of fertilizer: Fertilizer can sometimes negatively affect the
development of the plants. This will also affect the post-harvest quality of
the produce on the latter stage of production.
 Unsatisfactory weed control: Weeds can be harmful to plants as they
compete for the necessary nutrients with the crops.

2. POST-HARVEST
After harvest, the shelf life of each produce shortens more quickly.
 Fruits and vegetables continue to lose their water contents. Water is vital
for all plants to survive. Without water, these plants dies and gets spoiled.
This makes it completely normal for these produce to gradually die after
harvest.
 Poor ventilation: Without air supply, respiration among plants stop causing
them to proceed to fermentation.
 Inability to clean and protect the crops.
3. MARKET
In transferring of goods to the market, damage is almost unavoidable. There are
more factors that contribute to losses in the marketing stage.
 Bad containers
 Over-packaging or under-packaging
 Extreme temperature
 Presence of contaminants
 Careless handling or transport

What Happens After Harvest

The work of farmers and workers in the agricultural field doesn’t end after successfully
harvesting their crops or produce. At the end of the harvest, there are still some steps to
finish in order to secure their products.
One of the main concerns of farmers is the damage that can happen to the produce
after the harvest.
To walk you through the factors in the post-harvest procedure, here is a short list.
1. Field tillage
Fieldwork just doesn’t stop in a farm. Farmers use heavy-duty tools and
equipment that can smoothen fields up. Their goal is to remove weeds and break
down soil.
2. Field spraying
After the harvest, farmers also need to make sure that weeds are controlled. The
best crops thrive in weed controlled fields so this one is important.
3. Equipment cleanup
Farmers’ equipment get really dirty and muddy and for it to operate properly, they
should be cleaned up as well. Usually, farmers employ industrial cleaning
equipment to do the job.
4. Product cleanup and protection
This is one the most critical part of the post-harvest process. The primary goal is
to preserve the harvested produce until they reach the market. Luckily, there are
organic products like CR-10 that is perfect for this application.
CR-10 protects the produce, extending its shelf-life and increasing the volume
that reaches the market.
5. Sorting and Packaging
Good produce is separated from bad or damaged ones. They are packaged in
special methods to further prolong shelf life.
6. Marketing
In the marketplace, each trader has different standards. So it’s best to have well-
packaged and good quality produce to delivered to the market.
These are just some of the processes and aspects involved in the post-harvest. Call us
now and let us discuss how we can help you

The Common Types of Plant Diseases to Watch for (Part 2)

Continuing from the previous post, in this one we are going to learn about other common types of plant diseases to help you identify one when you see one. As you see, there is a wide range of plant diseases and being able to recognize them is the first step to doing what you have to do with your plants.

Here some more plant diseases for you to observe as well.

  1. Black Spot

Black Spot is a disease that commonly strikes roses. Black spot appears on the leaves, up to a half-inch across, forming yellow margins. If left unchecked, it can cause a rose bush to totally defoliate. After your rose bush is infected by black spot fungus, the markings will stay there until the marked leaves fall off. Black spot is usually wind-borne. It occurs during moist and humid conditions.

  1. Leaf curl and blister

These fungal diseases cause curled leaves on many trees. There are many different types of these diseases. Peach leaf curl can occur on almonds and peaches. You may see that new leaves are pale and the midrib doesn’t grow along with the leaves, which causes them to curl and pucker as they grow. This results to damage in the fruits and worse, it could kill the tree.

Leaf blister can kill its tree. These blisters appear as yellow bumps on the upper surface of the leaves and gray depressions on the lower surface.

  1. Club root

Club root are likely to occur in flowers and vegetables especially in the cabbage family. Plants infected by this fungus will typically wither during the day and become revived again at night. The older yellow leaves will drop off eventually. The roots are often swollen or distorted. This disease can cause plants to die and reduce yields.

  1. Wilts

Your plants wilt or wither when they don’t get enough water. Some fungi or bacteria cause permanent wilting, sometimes turning them into yellow, that is eventually followed by the death of the plant. Wilts are any number of diseases that distresses the vascular system of plants.

Control measures will highly depend on the proper identification of plant diseases. Make sure to isolate the plant of the disease-causing agent to avoid further damage.

The Common Types of Plant Diseases to Watch for

Plants can get diseases, too. If you are regularly observing your plants and you notice that they are beginning to look odd, chances are that these plants of yours are already infected by plant diseases.

Now, you have to act fast because you know that plant diseases could spread to all the other neighboring plants. But sadly, you don’t know what to do. That could be the worst scenario, right?

Today, we are going to learn all about the common plant diseases and what to do when you encounter them. Read on and discover a lot about these pesky diseases.

What are plant diseases?

Plant diseases are typically caused by fungi. Some other causes include bacterial and viral infections. These are some of the most common plant diseases.

  1. Cankers

Cankers are characterized by dead areas on a plant’s stem that turn to be discolored. They usually form on woody stems, and can be sunken areas, cracks or raised areas of abnormal or dead tissue. They may ooze or girdle trunks or shoots, which can cause everything to die.

Types of cankers are cytospora and nectria cankers.

  1. Blights

There are a few types of blight to watch for. All of which are easily identifiable as they all cause the sudden death of all plant tissues such as the flowers, stems and leaves.

  • Fire blight

Fire blight is a bacterial disease that affects fruit trees, roses, and other small fruits. Shoots will look blackened once they get affected. You may notice lesions on the branches and limbs that secretes an amberish-brown liquid on very warm days.

  • Early blight

Fungal blight can infect plants, vegetables, shade trees and fruit trees, but when it strikes tomatoes, peppers or potatoes, it’s called as early blight. Symptoms include brown to black colored spots on leaves which develop concentric rings. When heavily blighted, the leaves dry up and die as the spots grow together. The symptoms are noticeable on the lower leaves first.

  • Late blight

Late blight can infect certain flowers causing dieback of shoots and stem cankers. It can also common in tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. The early symptoms include water-soaked spots on lower leaves, which widen gradually and are mirrored beneath the leaf with a white soft growth. You may see dark-colored blotches penetrate the flesh on potatoes appearing as sunken lesions. The affected plant is about to rot and die during wet season.

  1. Rusts

This is not the ones you see on metal. Rusts are another type of fungal disease. Two different plant species may be needed by these to use as hosts in order to complete their life cycle. The usual symptom is a light brown to rust-hued coating, that often appears first on small branches.

These are just a few of the common kinds of plant diseases. Discover more about the others in the part 2 following this post.

The Dangers of Chemical Fertilizer

Since the 1930’s, farmers have been using chemical fertilizers to increase crop production. Chemical fertilizers may have been helping the farmers to increase the quality yields but they also cause some serious harmful effects.

We tend to overlook these harmful effects as long as we benefit from having as much organic products as we need.

But at some point, we really need to understand and address this issue.

What are fertilizers?

Fertilizers are any substance used to increase nutrients to the soil to help in the plant growth. Fertilizers are not applied for the soil’s health. They are just made for the sole purpose of increasing the growth of plants.

What are the dangers of using chemical fertilizers?

These harmful effects of chemical fertilizers seem to have been disregarded for so long.

  1. Groundwater contamination

The most critical issue in using chemical fertilizers is groundwater contamination. Groundwater is being utilized for drinking water. Nitrogen fertilizers break down into nitrates and travel easily through the soil. Studies suggest that nitrogen intake can pose dangerous risks to our health.

  1. Waterway pollution

Chemical run-off has excess fertilizers causing adverse effects on waterways. It creates an imbalance between oxygen and nutrients in the waters. Oxygen depletion causes fishes to die.

  1. Air pollution

The increase in nitrogen in the fertilization of crops may cause greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and CO2 into the atmosphere.

  1. Mineral depletion and acidification on soil

The continuous use of chemical fertilizers depletes the natural nutrients in the soil. Crops from these soils would have less vitamins and minerals in result. Also, overusing chemical fertilizers can also lead to soil acidification.

  1. Chemical Burn on Plants

It’s ironic how these chemical fertilizers negatively affect the plants. Over-application of chemical fertilizer to plants can damage the plants and decrease the crop yield. The condition is known as chemical leaf scorch. It initially causes the leaves to wilt and eventually kills the plant.

All You Need to Know about Biofungicide

Plants can be highly vulnerable to wide range of pathogens. Without proper treatment, other plants nearby can also get infected.  Once creative method for controlling disease among greenhouse and other commercial crops is by using biofungicide.

What is a biofungicide and how does it work?

What is a Biofungicide?

A biofungicide is made up of beneficial fungi and bacteria that colonize and attack plant pathogens. By controlling these pathogens, it eliminates the diseases they cause. This is an environmentally friendly alternative to chemical fungicides. The microorganisms used in bio fungicides are naturally found in soil.

Moreover, using biofungicides in plants is an effective way to protect your plants from pathogens that are becoming resistant to chemical fungicides.

How does it work?

There are few ways in which biofungicides control other microorganisms.

  1. Through antibiosis.

Biofungicides are capable in producing chemicals similar to an antibiotic. These chemicals are destructive for the pathogens.

  1. Through direct competition

Biofungicides grow a defensive obstruction around the roots of the plant, giving it an effective shield from harmful attacking fungi

  1. Through predation of the biofungicide

These biofungicides assail and feed on the harmful pathogen. This is quite useful as it makes the elimination of pathogens easier.

  1. Through building up the immune system of the plant

Using biofungicides stimulates the plant’s own immune defense mechanisms, for it to successfully defend itself from pathogens.

How do you know if it’s time to use a biofungicide?

Biofungicides can’t cure damaged plants. It can only protect a plant from harmful pathogens. Application of biofungicides must be made prior the development of disease.

Early application protects the roots against attacking fungi and boosts development of root hairs.

Biofungicides are used as first line of defense to pathogens. You have to make sure that the biofungicide you use according to the instructions provided by its manufacturer for better results.

Crop Protection Methods

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

5 Best Reasons to Invest in Organic Agriculture

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.