When it comes to growing plants, fruit and vegetables, there are a number of ways we can maximise nature’s potential. But why would we want to? Well, it’s simple: by maximising nature’s potential we can ensure that farmers and merchants are able to improve the quality of their crops in an efficient way. In turn, consumers reap the benefit of reliable, desirable produce at an affordable price. Here’s how…
First, we can maximise nature’s potential by helping crops to resist insects and pests. Creepy crawlies such as aphids, wireworms and seedcorn maggots can damage crops, resulting in lower yields and lower profits for farmers. To ward off these kinds of pests, protectants, treatments and chemicals can be applied to lessen the damage inflicted.
Another method of maximising nature’s potential is by seed pelleting, a process which adds materials to seeds to change their size and shape. This method of maximising nature’s potential is very helpful for growers: it allows for more oxygen to penetrate the seed, allows farmers to accurately space seeds with precision, and makes them idea for mechanical seed planting (which means the most crop be produced using fewest man-hours).
How else can we maximise nature’s potential? Well, we can alter seeds slightly to increase the strength of the crop. This is particularly helpful in our changing climate as it enables produce to withstand extreme weather and unpredictable fluctuations. Without harnessing the potential of a seed in this way, many crops would otherwise fail. An extra upshot of maximising nature’s potential in this manner means that we don’t have to rely on optimum growing conditions to increase the chances of producing a good yield, which can go a long way to making food more plentiful – and therefore cheaper!
Another way we can maximise nature’s potential is by treating seeds in a way that brings about a high crop yield. We can do this by adding chemicals and substances that protect crops from bacteria and disease, which ultimately leads to a larger number of crops within a yield surviving long enough to become suitable for sale.
You might be getting enough calories, but are you getting enough nutrients? There’s a way of maximising nature’s potential to solve that. We can adapt plants to become more nutritious by improving their vitamin or mineral content. In fact, the United Nations recommended that rice be enhanced with vitamin A to help reduce deficiencies of the nutrient around the world, resulting in the growth of ‘golden rice’ – an undertaking that won the Patent for Humanity award in 2015. So, as well as improving the overall quality of our diets generally, this method of maximising nature’s potential can go a long way towards fighting malnutrition across the globe.
Finally, we can maximise nature’s potential by engineering new kinds of crops, suitable for the climate they’re grown in. For example, scientists have developed a type of tomato that can grow successfully in salty soil, and more recently, scientists have grown a cereal crop that is enriched with omega-3 oils to be fed to farmed fish which enables them to grow larger. As producers and consumers, maximising nature’s potential is good news for us!