Farming is not an easy business – whether small or large scale, employing hired hands/manual labour or machinery. Getting optimal output from your crop farm generally requires diligent performance of a number of crucial/time sensitive tasks. One of them is Weeding.
How well you handle this single task, can make – or mar – your farming enterprise. Left un-managed, weeds can leave you with a very poor harvest – and in certain cases even dead livestock!
The following are five specific ways in which weeds can harm your crops (and livestock) if not properly managed, especially during the farming season.
1. They will compete with crops for space, water, minerals and sunlight. The result: your crops don’t feed well – and so are stunted, which would be YOUR loss!
2. They can reduce the quality and market value of farm products, thus lowering your farm profit. Imagine harvested leafy vegetables mixed with weed relatives – buyers would naturally feel less inclined to pay as much as they readily would for a “clean” batch – and rightly so!
Two examples to illustrate possible impact of weeds on farm products:
a. Bitter weeds add an undesirable flavour to the milk of cows that graze on them.
b. Goat weed seeds adhering to the hairs of farm animals (e.g sheep) reduce the value of their wool or hide.
3. Some weeds are poisonous and can cause a stomach upset (called belching or bloat) which can occasionally kill cattle.
4. Some weeds produce chemicals which are detrimental to normal growth of crop plants.
5. Weeds can also act as alternate host plants for diseases and pests thus making the control of such diseases and pests more difficult.
The above is of course not an exhaustive list. It should however serve to impress upon the reader/farmer, the crucial importance of taking the business of weeding as seriously as it needs to be taken. Your farm output and profits depends on this!