Crops are a gift from God, savior of the human species, and above all our best friends.
Since the dawn of the agricultural revolution, crops of various types and forms have enabled us to form villages, cities, kingdoms, and nations.
Today, no village, city, state, or nation can survive without cultivating agricultural or farm crops.
The great Allan Savory has pointed out the remarkable importance of agriculture for humanity in the following words:
“Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds—it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s lands and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.”
Without a doubt, Allan Savory is right word by word!
Today, 8 billion people are living on planet Earth. Without farming or agriculture, there would be no human or human “civilization” and “any stable economy”.
No wonder, crops aren’t immune to damage. There are things that can damage crops. So, in this section, we will limit ourselves to “What are the 06 things that can damage your crops and what you can do to save your crops from such notorious damages?”
Without further ado, let’s begin.
“Crops are plants, or products made from plants, that are grown and harvested for subsistence or for profit.”
Generally, agriculture crops are divided into six major categories: Food crops, feed crops, fiber crops, oil crops, ornamental crops, and industrial crops.
No farmer or professional gardener can skip these notorious living species. They not only damage crops but spread diseases, too.
Since the domestication of agricultural crops or the dawn of the agricultural revolution, insects and pests are the main villains of the crop. They have been competing with humans over farm produce.
They damage crops in two ways: Direct injury and indirect damage.
During the direct injury, the insects attack the crops and eat leaves or create tunnels in stems, roots, or fruits. While in indirect damage, the insects and pests do little damage but transmit bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases.
Do you know 63 bird species of birds cause damage to various crops?
Yes, it is true!
These birds always feed and prey on smaller grains such as sorghum, pearl millet, and sorghum as well as maize.
Among all birds, the Grey Partridge, Blue Rock, Pigeon, and House Sparrow were found to cause the most damage to crops. Birds usually uproot seeds after sowing or pull out seedlings altogether thus damaging the crops.
How can we skip rodents?
They are everywhere, from fields to houses, and cause damages to every crop in their way.
According to the survey conducted by the “FarmProgress”, rodents cause millions of dollars in damages to farm crops and stored grain each year.
Moreover, rodents are disease carriers. They act as vectors to spread bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases.
Like insects and pests, bacteria and fungi have an interesting history with crops. Both have caused huge famines all over the world from time to time.
Bacterial rot, bacterial canker, bacterial soft rot, bacterial leaf spot, bacterial wilt, bacterial blight, and bacterial brown spot are some examples of bacterial diseases that damage crops.
Likewise, there are zillions of fungal diseases that infect not only crops but other fruit plants as well. The most notable fungal diseases on crops include Anthracnose; Botrytis rots; Downy mildew; Fusarium wilt, Rusts, Powdery mildews, etc.
Soil erosion is the phenomenon where soil fertility decreases that can negatively affect the crop yields.
Soil erosion not only decreases soil’s organic matter but also retards soil’s productivity. It “leads to degradation of soil structure leading to hard, compact and cloddy soil”.
The eroded soil offers baseless and poor soil aeration.
Poor soil aeration is directly correlated with the healthy growth of the plants. Moreover, this phenomenon leads to poor farm productivity and thus crop damage.
Soil erosion is caused by water, wind, ice, and waves. These factors take top fertile layer sand to distant places and leaving behind non-productive lower layers.
“Soil salinity is defined as high concentration of solute salts including Na+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ in soils” (Rengasamy, 2002).
Like soil erosion, soil salinity affects the production of crops, trees, and pastures by interfering with the plant nitrogen, water, and nutrient uptake, thus reducing growth and reproduction.
Soil salinity is directly correlated with the poor performance of the crops.
Finally, extreme soil salinity leads to crop failures and endemic famines.
Soil salinity can be prevented in the following ways:
Read about organic vs inorganic fertilizers to learn how to keep your plants healthy!