Homepage Blog How can farmers protect their crops sustainably?

How can farmers protect their crops sustainably?


As a hay farmer, protecting your crops from diseases is an ongoing and costly battle. Crop diseases that can damage a farmer’s crops range from fungal pathogens and viral infections to bacterial blights. The battle against crop diseases is real.

But you don’t have to rely solely on synthetic pesticides for crop protection. Eco-friendly and sustainable farming practices allow effective biological disease protection.

Crop protection in agriculture? Here are key points for hay farmers looking for eco-friendly crop protection options:

Pay attention to site and cultivar selection

When selecting crop varieties, pay attention to your local climate and select varieties suited to local conditions. Also, consider companion planting where different crops are planted near each other to enhance mutual growth, attract beneficial insects and deter each other’s pests.

Plant clean stock

Always buy certified seeds and plant material from reputable suppliers. Consider heirloom seeds used over generations for their hardiness and productivity. Priming seeds with beneficial microbes could lead to better immunity and improved disease resistance.

Give your soil some love (And organic matter)

Fertile, healthy soil is the foundation of sustainable organic farming and increases microbial diversity and resilience of crops. Replenish soil nutrients by rotating in leguminous cover crops like clover or hairy vetch as green manures. Add organic matter such as high-quality compost and organic fertiliser for balanced nutrition.
Regular soil analyses may help to identify any nutrient deficiencies.

Follow best practices

Don’t guestimate row spacing, seeding rates, and cutting heights/intervals. Follow recommendations for your specific hay crops.
Pro tips: Remove any diseased debris after cutting and compost it. Always clean equipment between fields.

Learn about optimal storage of silage and hay to prevent mould here.

Learn how to protect your crops without relying on harmful chemicals.
Be an integrated pest master

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a combination of practices that includes monitoring, identification, setting population thresholds and biological control of pests.
Regular inspection (think aerial surveying with imaging technology) lets you identify issues early before they become emergencies.

Predict the future

Many universities and private companies offer forecasting models and weather monitoring for major hay crop diseases in your region. Then time your biocontrol sprays according to the predictions.

Find out more about modern agriculture solutions here.


It is important to note that the use of chemical pesticides have a detrimental effect on beneficial soil microbes. Rather recruit beneficial microbes for protection against diseases. These biological control agents are a less toxic way of preventing and treating plant pathogens. Efficacy is dependent on plant species, microbial agent, soil microbial quality and other factors.  Bacteria belonging of the genus Pseudomonas, Bacillus spp, and Streptomyces species have been registered as commercial products.

Balanced diet

Optimal crop growth requires a balanced fertility program which can include occasional foliar nutrient sprays to quickly correct deficiencies. Leaf and soil analyses will determine exactly which nutrients may be needed.

On a sustainability journey? Tama supports sustainable organic farming with products like greener baler twine and agricultural product alternatives using recycled plastic and renewable resources.

Skip to content