As the world’s food demand grows, agricultural food production is also on the rise. This comes with the related challenges of poor yield, drought, pests and weeds that can negatively impact both productivity and the environment.
While fertilizers and pesticides play a significant role in attempting to overcome some of these obstacles, agricultural biologicals are said to make a crucial contribution toward the goal of making intensive agricultural production more successful and sustainable.
Biological proponents claim that biologicals makes crops healthier, with improved defenses against diseases and pests, and better able to withstand a-biotic stresses.
“Agricultural biological” is a broad term for the microbes, plant extracts, beneficial insects and other naturally occurring materials that growers use to increase the health and yield of their crops.
Biologicals are derived from microorganisms, plant extracts or other organic matter and are grouped into two main categories:
1. Microbes – fungi, bacteria and viruses;
2. Biochemical – plant and insect, growth regulators, organic acids, plant extracts, minerals and pheromones.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Bacillus subtilis, seaweed extract, humic acid, fulvic acid, molasses, and fermentation extracts are all biologicals of significant value and have been used in the agricultural industry for quite some time.
Functioning both as natural pesticides and biostimulants, biological products can result in disease control, growth enhancement, soil health improvement, improvement of plant nutrient uptake and enhancement of crop tolerance to abiotic stresses like heat, cold and drought.