12 best steps to follow to avoid diseases and pest on horticultural crops

Diseases and pest are undoubtedly one of the major causes of losses in yield and quality of horticultural crops. These lead to significant losses in income of farmers especially total crop loss occur. The occurrence of diseases and insect pests on fruits and vegetables is more likely to attract attention than when they occur on ornamental plants.

READ : Best Post Harvest Techniques To Prevent Losses On Your Farm

Diseases may be caused by biotic (living organisms) and abiotic (nonliving organisms) factors. The living organisms that cause diseases to plants include fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, phytoplasmas, insects, mites, parasitic plants and weeds, small and large animals such as rodents, deer and monkeys.

The abiotic factors that cause diseases include nutrient deficiencies (which are usually very difficult to diagnose because they may vary with the species of plant), chemicals and environmental factors such as temperature, light and wind.

A farmer who grows horticultural crops for a living will have to know how to minimize diseases and pest problems on his crops. There are twelve (12) steps he needs to follow and these are;

  1. Avoid cropping the same crop on the same piece of land year after year.
  2. Adopt good crop rotation plan
  3. Grow crops that are known to be resistant to pests and diseases
  4. Plant trap crops such as Tagetus erecta and mustard and control the insect that occur on the trap crops
  5. Avoid excessive use of nitrogenous fertilizers and too much watering on cucurbits
  6. Use effective but recommended chemical sprays to check diseases and pest if there is no other effective measures. Allow the specified waiting period to reach before harvesting
  7. Destroy alternative host plants around the farm
  8. Use traps such as pheromone traps, light traps, net traps, water traps, sticky traps etc.
  9. Provide adequate plant nutrition through the growing medium or through foliar
  10. Use bio-pesticides such as neem, ginger, garlic and pepper extracts on horticultural crops to make them safer
  11. Practice very good farm sanitation to check the spread of diseases and pest
  12. Plant seeds, seedlings and propagules that are healthy and vigorously growing

These steps will safe guide any farmer who wants to maximize profits from his crops he wants to produce. It is advisable to follow these steps carefully to avoid any further loss on the farm and produce.

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