Crop maintenance practices which are necessary for proper crop growth are as follows:
- Soil cultivation
- Insect pest and disease control
- Removal of standing water
Each of the aforementioned practices needs to be done in a timely manner. However, the right time for performing crop maintenance practices will depend on crop growth stage, soil, crop, and weather conditions.
“Farming is a complex activity in which every segment impacts the crop production.”
Weeding Removes Potential Crop Threats
Weeding is a farm practice that involves the physical removal of weeds from the field. This practice can be performed manually or with the use of mechanization.
Although manual weeding is more labor intensive, it is still a preferred farm practice. The main reason for that is because it makes minimal soil disturbance and decreases the opportunity for soil erosion. Oppositely to manual weeding, mechanized weeding is less labor intensive. However, it’s important to manage it carefully in order to prevent soil disturbance and spreading of weed seeds.
Soil Cultivation Improves Soil Performance
Soil cultivation is a farm management practice that breaks up and loosens the soil surface. The main purpose of soil cultivation is to create optimal soil structure, which will improve water retention, allow better penetration of air, water, and nutrients, and help with weed control.
Soil cultivation is a favorable soil maintenance practice because it helps retain water and provides optimal soil structure and favorable crop conditions. That way, soil cultivation reduces the need for additional irrigation.
Irrigation for Secure Plant Growth
Irrigation is a crop maintenance practice which is essential in order to provide normal crop growth, particularly when the water supply is limited. In other words, every farmer who wants to maximize plant potential should set an irrigation system.
Irrigation is especially important when the crop is in a sensitive growth phase such as germination, flowering, and fruit setting. Depending on the crop type and climate, different irrigation methods are used:
- Drip irrigation
- Furrow irrigation
- Sprinkler irrigation
- Pivot irrigation
- Flood irrigation
“Every farmer who wants to maximize plant potential should set an irrigation system.”
Mowing Enhances Orchard Management
Mowing is a regular farm maintenance practice in orchards and vineyards. It includes mowing of the space between and inside the rows. Mowing includes manual or mechanical removal of grass and invasive weeds. It improves soil condition, reduces pest occurrence and enhances crop growth.
Insect Pest and Disease Management for Safe Yield
If not treated properly and on-time, plant pests can significantly reduce crop yield and affect its quality. Therefore, regular crop maintenance needs to include insect pest and disease control. Crop losses can be reduced by using various organic and chemical crop protection measures such as:
- Natural; natural pest predators (ladybug, praying mantis)
- Cultural; weather tracking, monitoring fields, and crops
- Physical; disinfection of the soil, seed, and seedlings
- Mechanical; pruning and removing of diseased plants from the field/orchard
- Biological; various beneficial fungi, bacteria, and parasitic wasps as pest predators
- Chemical; chemical based fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides
Removal of Standing Water
Removal of standing water is a crop maintenance practice mainly used in grain production. However, it can also be practiced in the production of arable and vegetable crops. The practice includes the removal of standing water from the field that accumulated during the winter period as a result of melting snow.
Excessive water creates depressions on the field surface and harms young plants. If crops stay in the water for more than 3 days, the entire crop production can be destroyed. Standing water can be removed by using soil cultivators to level the field’s surface and plows to create furrows around the field’s edges.
Successful farmers practice crop maintenance regularly throughout the season. They are aware that only regular and proper crop maintenance can provide quality crops and stable yields.
As every human being needs regular maintenance of the body to maintain optimal health, the plant needs regular maintenance of all factors crucial for its proper development and growth as well.
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