One of the most important factors in all agricultural crops is plant health. Plant health is the science that deals with studying and promoting practices that promote healthy growth of crops to prevent diseases, attacks and other harmful agents that intervene in the plant health of crops.
In this post we are going to see what plant health is and what it consists of, as well as its basic principles.
Contents [ hide ]
- 1 What is plant health?
- 2 What are the basic principles of plant health?
- 2.1 Ecosystem
- 2.2 Plant health of plants, How is the development of a disease?
- 2.3 Interspecific relationships between crop and ecosystem
- 2.4 Auxiliary fauna for plant health
What is plant health?
Throughout the centuries, farmers have been concerned with the optimal development of agricultural crops. One of the most ancient practices in the agricultural world is the prevention of diseases, pathogens or insects that damage crops. Plant health consists of preserving plants from attacks or other diseases, promoting good health throughout the crop growth cycle.
Currently there are many inputs that allow controlling pests and diseases by curing or eradicating the problem without prior prevention. Plant health goes beyond simple protection, and seeks to promote a good state of health of the plant to avoid attacks and / or that the plant can survive. To understand a little more what plant health consists of, it is important to know its basic principles.
What are the basic principles of plant health?
The first basic principle of plant health is to understand our cultivation as something typical of the ecosystem where it is found. The ecosystem is everything that surrounds, relates to and intervenes in our cultivation.
To promote plant health it is important to understand this concept and see that the soil, water, fauna, climate, orientation and herbaceous species are factors to take into account when planning the cultivation we want to do as well as its plant health.
Some of the techniques that promote this interaction and improve the plant health of the crop are:
Rotation of crops and plant covers to break with monoculture and favor the fixation of nutrients and the increase of organic matter in the soil.
Irrigation management to avoid water stress and waterlogging that causes fungal diseases.
Some crop associations favor a symbiosis between the two that help to develop correct plant health.
Provide organic matter to increase soil microorganisms as well as the essential nutrients for plant growth, avoiding excesses that destabilize the crop and the ecosystem (nitrogen).
Plant health of plants, How is the development of a disease?
For a disease to develop that harms the plant health of plants, there are 3 factors that play against us:
That the crop (host) is in a poor state of plant health that makes it susceptible to being parasitized.
That there is an inoculum that can parasitize a plant with a poor state of plant health.
That environmental conditions favor the proliferation of the disease in a plant with poor plant health.
These 3 factors make our crops suffer. For this, it is key to maintain good plant health.
Interspecific relationships between crop and ecosystem
There are several relationships that can be developed with our crop. Let’s look at the main relationships that benefit, harm or do not contribute anything in particular to the plant health of our crop.
Commensalism: it is a relationship between two individuals, in which one of them obtains a benefit and the other does not harm or benefit.
Mutualism: it is the relationship between two individuals that is beneficial for both. For example, the pollination of bees in a fruit crop.
Competition: is the relationship between two individuals who pursue the same goal. For example, grasses such as thistles are in direct competition for nutrients, space and water with extensive winter grain crops. This competition directly damages the plant health of the crop and makes it more vulnerable to diseases.
Symbiosis: close relationship between two individuals who need each other. For example, the symbiosis between legumes and the genus rhizobium.
Parasitism: it is all that relationship between two individuals in which one lives at the expense of the other. Vine Downy mildew may be an example of this, but it is all the attacks of insects, fungi and viruses that damage the plant health of crops.
Auxiliary fauna for plant health
In plant health, not all insects and fauna in general are harmful. In agriculture there is the auxiliary fauna that allows us to control diseases and insects that are harmful to our crops. A clear and well-known example is that of the seven-spotted ladybug (Coccinella septempunctata) that preys on aphids. An increase in biodiversity around the crop favors natural predators of insects that are detrimental to the plant health of our crop.
Manage your crops with Agroptima:
We have seen that prevention and the relationships between the crop and the ecosystem are essential for good plant health in our crops. For this, a good planning of tasks in the plots is important , as well as treatments, sowings, harvests, costs, etc.
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