Cleaning farming equipment after fieldwork to prevent expansion of plant pests and diseases

The correct care of your tools and equipment not only guarantees a long service life but also another important point: proper hygiene of your working material helps to prevent the spread of pathogens in your growing areas. That's why sanitation is an essential part of an effective disease management strategy. In the following article, you will discover why the sanitation of your tools is so essential for prevention and how best to ensure it.

Why farm hygiene is so important

Many pathogens can easily be introduced into your property or spread between fields by an oversight. These include roundworms, mites, insects, diseases and pest plants. In addition to seeds, seedlings, and mulches, decomposed plant remnants on machines, boots and tools are particularly the most common transmission hosts.

Therefore, some measures are needed to minimize the potential for transmission of a new pest, disease or weed to your farmland or to stem the spread of an existing contaminant in a known area of your land.

Imagine that you have a certain plant disease in an area of your field, the pathogens of which can settle on your hands, clothing, equipment and can also be easily transmitted to other areas of the field. At worst, they can also be the transfer agents from one field to another.

Current prevention methods

There are a number of measures to reduce the risk of contracting new pathogens and the spreading of current diseases, the most important are listed below:

  • Get as much information as possible about pests and diseases in your surroundings. Plantix helps you to accurately identify pests and know their life cycle, which is very useful to make the best disinfectant choices for your situation.
  • Make sure that all equipment, such as, cutting tools, shovels and machines are properly cleaned before they enter a field or switched from one to another. This also affects all other materials such as containers or canes for tying up. Since some pathogens are very resistant, it is essential that you clean and sanitize your equipment between cultivation cycles. But as much as possible, clean your tools after each operation.
  • Check any material you use. Purchase certified seeds, ensure seedlings are free from diseases and pathogens, be aware of potential issues when buying mulch or nutrient soil amendments.
  • Make sure that extension workers, resellers or casual staff take precautions such as foot baths or boot covers since these will certainly visit several farms in the shortest time.
  • Limit the movement of machinery, vehicles, equipment and third parties on your land as much as possible.
  • In the production of seedlings, the potting mixture should be soil-free.
  • Choose cover crops that are not hosts to the pests to reduce the risk of erosion on fallow fields
  • Farmers should never smoke in the tomato or pepper field and should always wash their hands after smoking. Even smoking a cigarette can transmit the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) to tomatoes and peppers. This virus is very resistant and can be present on the tobacco in cigarettes.

For further information and inspiring discussions on the subject of farm hygiene, remember that experts and other like-minded people from the #PlantixCommunity are at your disposal.