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Farmers: 6 Worst Crop Problems to Watch For

By    |   Monday, 18 Jul 2016 09:33 AM

Farming is risky business. Some years poor weather and, increasingly, dangerous plant diseases and pests can destroy your harvest. If you're a farmer, these are six of the worst crop problems you need to know about. 

1. Colorado potato beetleAccording to BBC News, this pest has successfully evaded scientists who struggle to discover a way to control it. In only 50 years, it has developed resistance to 52 different insecticides. Any strategy for controlling this destructive pest should include biocontrols, which use the beetle’s natural enemies to keep its population in check.

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2. Corn rootworm — With corn being such a significant crop in the midwest U.S., this pest and its confirmed success in developing resistance to pesticides presents a major problem for farmers, explains Farm Industry News. Continuously growing corn on the same land year after year makes the problem worse. For a natural and effective control, practice crop rotation, typically with soybeans, in alternate years.

3. Fusarium and verticillium wilt
According to Rodale’s Organic, these fungal diseases affect a wide variety of crops, but are often seen with cucurbits and tomatoes. Affected plants turn yellow and suddenly wilt. Rotating crops and crop families is helpful, as is cutting off and destroying foliage showing signs of the disease.

4. Late blight — This dangerous disease affects potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers and is also called phytophthora blight, explains Rodale’s Organic. Symptoms include water-soaked spots on lower leaves that later enlarge. The plants eventually rot and die. Rodale suggests plant rotation and planting resistant varieties of vulnerable crops. If you notice plants are affected, remove and destroy them immediately to avoid spread of the disease.

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5. Japanese beetles — Although this pest regularly affects ornamental plants, Farm Industry News says it is also a major threat to soybeans because they can quickly defoliate the plants. The pests also pose a severe threat to corn because they feed on the silks that are required for pollination.

6. Bacterial blight — This disease affects legume crops in North America, says Rodale’s Organic. Plant foliage and bean pods show water-soaked lesions and dark colored lesions appear on plant stems. To control the spread of bacterial blight, do not touch plants when they are wet and use a three-year crop rotation plan.

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Brande Plotnick is an ambitious home cook, gardener, beekeeper, writer, and speaker who started her website, Tomato Envy, to inspire others to find their deliberately decadent life at home. Brande’s down-to-earth style and approachable manner have been winning over the readers who follow her blog. Her work has been featured in Urban Farm Magazine, Natural Awakenings, Mother Earth News, and the Whole Seed Catalog.

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Farming is risky business. Some years poor weather and, increasingly, dangerous plant diseases and pests can destroy your harvest. If you're a farmer, these are six of the worst crop problems you need to know about.
farmers, worst, crop, problems
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2016-33-18
Monday, 18 Jul 2016 09:33 AM
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