Small grain diseases affect production by reducing the yield and impairing the quality. To maximize profits, producers need to understand the influences that diseases may have on the crop potential. A single fungal pathogen may attack a range of small grains, while other small grain pathogens may be confined only to infecting a specific host. Additionally, cultivars may vary in their susceptibility to different diseases.
Insect pests utilise the crop as food source, often damaging it to such an extent that it is not able to produce a good yield. Insects are the most mobile of pests and can build up rapidly within a field. Many different control options are available including resistant cultivars, natural enemies, bio-insecticides as well as conventional chemical insecticides.
A weed is any plant that grows in a place where it is not wanted. Any plant can thus be a weed, for instance a maize plant growing in a wheat field is also considered a weed. Weeds compete with crops for moisture, nutrients and space.
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