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Proactive Crop Defense

Through the incorporation of new technologies, efficiency in crop production has soared. However, so has demand for more sustainable management practices. Today, regulations are tightening, and there is more scrutiny than ever before from consumers regarding conventional herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.

An alternative to synthetic chemicals, biofungicides are naturally occurring compounds or organisms that suppress diseases in crops. Because they are derived from natural sources, they are an important aspect of organic farming and many next-generation integrated pest-management plans. Biofungicides can typically be plant or microbial extracts or beneficial microbes. They are still typically used as a curative tool and reach their full value when combined with a more proactive approach.

A new and growing tool incorporated into the strategy of integrated pest management is based on the concept of induced resistance. Plants are not naturally proactive; in fact, they are reactive organisms, meaning they respond to their environments. When a plant is under attack from a disease, various chemical defense responses are initiated in the plant, somewhat similarly to how our own immune systems respond to disease. Biologics, such as nutritionals and activators, activate these same natural plant defenses in a state known as induced resistance. When used proactively before the first symptoms, the plant will be primed and will react much more quickly, reducing the intensity of disease and avoiding the waste of energy.

Alltech Crop Science continues to research how and when to use biologicals — including natural activators, foliar micronutrients, natural inoculants and/or biofungicides — to help producers champion environmental stewardship while maintaining profitability.  

What this means for you and your farm:

  • Increase plants’ natural resistance
  • Decrease the need for conventional pesticides
  • Preventative approach
  • Help build stronger plant protection program with fewer chemicals
  • Save plants’ energy for more yield