Phytosanitary Issues: What threatens the crops?

Phytosanitary Issues: What threatens the crops?
18/01/2015 Margarida Moreira

Phytosanitary issues are the main adversities that threaten crops, affecting the sustainability of ecosystems.

The harmful organisms (plant health problems or phytosanitary issues) are biotic agents (pests, diseases and weeds) and abiotic factors (weather, edaphic, accidents):

Pests: mites, insects, mollusks and vertebrates. Any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent, injurious to plants or plant products. The pest control (Pest risk assessment and pest risk management) depends on the size of the population and of the damage caused (including economic), only then you can select the best control: suppress, contain or eradicate the pest.

Diseases: fungi and false fungi, bacteria, viruses and viroids, cankers, nematodes (causing animal diseases) and abiotic diseases (related to water issues, soil nutrients or in the air, eg pollution).

Weeds: plants, trees or unwanted algae, that compete with crops. The treatment of plant diseases should be considered as human diseases, that is, it should analyze the cause of the disease and diagnosing a suitable treatment which does not endanger the surrounding plants and the ecosystem.

Weather: temperature, humidity, wind and frost. The annual cycle of climate variations and weather can disfavor certain cultures and lead to the development of various phytosanitary measures.

Edaphic: soil-related – nutrients, salinity, pH and structure. There are several soil factors that promote the emergence of diseases in plants: as nutritional imbalance soil, the level of salinity and pH and soil structure unsuitable  to the desired crop – sandy, chalky and limestone …

Accidents: contamination and pollution. Accidents are frequent when performing agricultural practices without any knowledge, especially when the procedure is not biological. The uninformed farmers practicing conventional agriculture are more subject to contaminate and pollute the soil and consequently the water tables, rivers and agricultural crops (own and potentially neighboring cultures).

After the diagnosis and sampling techniques of these agents or factors, uses in the latter case (if any major loss), the available struggles, through integrated protection.

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