The further crop production moves away from its natural environment the more likely it is that the beneficial soil microbes that associate with plants will be absent.
The production of crops in a protected environment should enable the grower to produce high quality, high value crops. The grower has control over the growing conditions and can manipulate nutrient levels, water quality, temperature and light levels. However, pests and diseases in protected systems are not so easily controlled.
The further crop production moves away from its natural environment the more likely it is that the beneficial soil microbes that associate with plants will be absent. Sterile growing conditions are difficult to achieve and potential infections and infestations are brought in on the air, via the irrigation system or on the skin, footwear and clothes of operatives. Once introduced there is no natural body of defensive microbes to protect the plant so chemical treatments have to be used. Often, however, by the time the disease is noticed the crop may be badly damaged or the disease hard to eradicate.
There is a growing movement towards the use of beneficial microbial and fungal products to protect plants from diseases by out-competing or supressing pathogens so they cannot cause a disease outbreak. Some seedling suppliers now pre-dose with these beneficials so that there is a protective population ready to populate the root zone.
Growers can boost this protective environment, and the plant’s defensive mechanisms, by using proven biologicals such as Biotechnica’s Mycortex in growing mixes and their BactoLife DP104 through the irrigation.