Pesticides have been used extensively over the past 70 years to help keep crops safe from diseases and pests. Pesticides provide a way of reducing crop loss due to insect damage, plant disease, and weed competition while also protecting the atmosphere by controlling agricultural emissions. Pesticide use is beneficial in food production, improving soil quality, and maintaining human health.
Antimicrobial agents are used in agriculture to reduce the incidence of disease and insect infestation in plants and animals. Antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents are used to control bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic diseases that affect the yield, quality, and/or flavor of food. Antimicrobials are also used in plant protection products to control certain insects (e.g., nematodes) and mites (e.g., dust mites).
Biopesticides are pesticides derived from natural sources. Biodiversity is a major contributor to discovering new chemicals that have the potential of being used as biopesticides. Researchers are looking at their chemical properties and evaluating their safety, efficacy, cost, and environmental impact.
Disinfectants are used in agriculture to have a sanitizing or antibacterial effect on the soil and insects, spores, and unwanted microorganisms of all kinds. Some disinfectants kill undesirable organisms by physical means such as heat or by chemical, biological, or physical disruption at the site of contact. Others are applied to the soil in the form of sprays or dust to disrupt the life cycles of parasitic organisms or cause plant disease. Lastly, some disinfectants include ingredients that inhibit fungal reproduction.
Fungicides are chemicals used to control disease-causing microorganisms, plant-parasitic fungi, and insect pests. Fungicides are normally applied to seeds, seedlings, and plants after planting to protect the crop from fungus infections in the field. They are normally taken up and spread by plant roots before any fungi have had a chance to infect the plant.
Herbicides control weeds and other forms of unwanted vegetation in fields, forests, and yards. They are applied to the leaves of plants or sprayed directly into their stems. Herbicides can be classified into three major groups:
Biological agents (e.g., bacteria and fungi)
Plant extracts (such as green tea)
How to Use them Effectively
The agricultural industry involves a wide range of diverse cultures, practices, and products. The challenge for farmers and land managers is to control pests and maintain a healthy ecosystem without causing unintended damage to the agricultural environment. Because pesticide usage results in both intended and unintended consequences, it is important that pesticides are used effectively and with prudence.
Modern farmers use many pesticides to protect their crops from pests and prevent crop loss. While the application of pesticides can result in benefits such as increased crop yield and quality and better food affordability, pesticide use also has harmful effects on the environment. Thus, farmers must consider the impacts of their practices before using any pesticides.
Although they may have benefits, pesticides should not be used without considering their risks to the environment and human health. Improper use of pesticides can lead to adverse consequences such as the contamination of groundwater and other bodies of water. When choosing which pesticide to apply, farmers must consider its efficacy, toxicity, environmental impact, and cost. For instance, a product with a greater environmental impact may be cost-effective if it eliminates many pests or reduces crop losses