Whether we all realize it or not, we are probably being exposed to plant and crop protection products every day. These chemicals are being used in anything from our homes to schools and businesses. In some countries, communities even spray for mosquitoes to combat the West Nile Virus or Zika.
The impacts are generally minimal to humans and pets but play a major role in keeping our homes, yards, businesses, and food safe from unwanted pests.
While some people and groups are understandably opposed to using chemicals as part of our daily lives, if used responsibly, there is no doubt that there are situations when plant and crop protection products are necessary.
The Benefits of Using Plant and Crop Protection Products
There are many benefits of using plant and crop protection products – both for personal and agricultural reasons. In our yards, plant and crop protection products are often mixed in with fertilizers to control the ant and weed populations. In our homes, most of us probably use some sort of service that sprays for ants, termites, spiders, or cockroaches.
On a larger scale, plant and crop protection product use is extremely common in agricultural. Despite recent food safety concerns and a push for more organic produce, more than 5 billion pounds of plant and crop protection products are applied to crops around the world each year. In fact, some of the produce we all purchase at the grocery store may have been treated by plant and crop protection products at some point during its lifecycle.
As farmers have continually increased crop production worldwide over the past 100 years, there are a handful of studies that point to plant and crop protection products as one of the main reasons for increases in crop yields and economic returns. More crops mean more food for people around the world, which is especially beneficial in struggling, third-world nations.
Scenarios When You Must Use Plant and Crop Protection Products
While it’s true that plant and crop protection product use is becoming a more common pest control practice across the world, there are certain situations when plant and crop protection products are necessary.
Here are three common scenarios when you must use plant and crop protection products for agricultural purposes.
1. When There Is a High Concentration of Vermin and Insects
Insects are one of the major causes of crop loss in the world.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says insects are to blame for $120 billion in damage in the United States alone. This risk is increased by a growing number of invasive species that find their way to foreign countries each year, so we wouldn’t be surprised if that figure is double or even triple worldwide.
The main way to prevent crop loss due to this threat is to spray or use other forms of plant and crop protection products that are deadly to insects and pests, but harmless to humans and the environment.
2. When Weeds Are Prevalent
We might not think of weeds as a big factor in crop loss, but their impact can be devastating. These unwanted plants fight with crops for sunlight, water, and nutrients in the soil – effectively choking off crops from the resources they need.
Weeds tend to be more adaptable and stronger compared to many crops, so it’s not difficult for them to ruin a harvest. Farmers in Australia lose about $2.5 billion a year in agricultural production due to weeds.
To combat weeds – both during the growing season and when crops are not in the ground – farmers must use plant and crop protection products to keep the area free from unwanted growth in order for crops to thrive.
3. When There Are Concerns About Crop Disease
Crop disease is another threat that can severely ruin a harvest. Many times, farmers can’t tell their crops are damaged until it’s too late – when their stock is ready to be harvested or signs of the damage start appearing.
As a result, farmers around the world generally take preventative measures using plant and crop protection products to fight fungi, viruses, and other forms of micobacterias. In fact, more than half of the plant and crop protection products used around the world are fungicides and herbicides.
Controversies Surrounding When Plant and Crop Protection Products Are Necessary
We wouldn’t be fair if we didn’t bring up the growing controversies and criticisms surrounding plant and crop protection products use. Governments around the world are adding stricter regulations to plant and crop protection products as a reaction to a growing demand for tighter food safety standards.
While it is true that overuse of plant and crop protection products can cause more harm than good, as long as they are applied properly in a safe manner, there is no denying the economic and agriculture benefit of using plant and crop protection products on crops worldwide.
Do you need help with choosing the right plant and crop protection products for your crop?
Get in touch, we are able to advise on the best practices.