Both fungicides and pesticides are essential agrochemical products. They play important and respective roles in increasing the yield and production of crops: promoting consistent plant growth, preventing the occurrence of irreversible diseases and infections in plants and protecting agricultural produce. In this article, we will talk about both of these products, with reference to their importance in agricultural production.
Plants can grow and thrive consistently well, given they have adequate access to favourable conditions including proper sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, timely access to water etc. However, as sad it may sound, this is not always the case. No matter how beneficial you believe the environment is going to be for the overall development of plants throughout their growth cycles – crop related issues appear without you even noticing it. When the issues are left unresolved, they could pose a severe threat to ongoing crop production and all your time, energy and efforts nurturing the plants may well be wasted.
Crops have constantly been exposed to biotic and abiotic stresses. Abiotic stresses could refer to physical forces like the lack or excess of water, differing temperature levels, drought, deficiency of minerals, availability of pollutants etc. Biotic stresses could include biological organisms such as insect bacteria, viruses, weeds, pests, fungus, etc.
According to FAO, nearly 40 per cent of crop production is lost to pests globally and every year, and "plant diseases cost the global economy over $220 billion, and invasive insects at least $70 billion." (Source)
On the other hand, fungal infections are responsible for destroying millions of tonnes of the top five food crops. This includes rice, wheat, maize, potatoes and soybeans. (Source)
Using Given the severity of the issues, it is essential to take proactive measures and utilize necessary resources to check crop production from being wasted. In this regard, pesticides and fungicides are playing vital roles. What makes them different. First, let us analyze the fundamental differences.
The term 'pesticide' refers to the chemical substances or a mix of chemical substances used to control, repel and destroy pests. Without proper application of required pesticides, harmful organisms would continue to affect the quality and quantity of agricultural produce severely. Insects can damage roots of the plants, tunnel through the plant tissues, eat and deform leaves etc., causing direct damages. In other cases, while no direct injury is seen, they can indirectly cause huge issues like transmitting diseases, introducing bacterial infection and annoying domestic animals and humans.
Fungicides are a type of biocidal chemical compounds or biological organisms used to kill or prevent the growth of fungi and fungi spores, including mildews, blights, rusts, moulds etc. The impact of fungi and fungal-like organisms (FLOs) on food loss and human health is serious. They can kill plant cells, create plant stress and may originate from infested soil, seeds, debris, weeds, to name a few. Environmental factors like wind and/or movement of seedlings, agriculture tools may move them from one place to another. The adequate and proper use of fungicide in controlling fungus and bacteria can improve crop yield and promote plants' overall growth so, make sure you use the best fungicide for plants.
While cleanliness, use of fertilizers, watering plants on time, exposing plants to favourable growth conditions are all critical; it is equally essential to keep a close watch on any existing health issues or presence of pests. Continued protection from pests and diseases can increase yields, support the sustainable production of different types of crops and support a farmer to meet production targets.
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