The important pre-harvest activities that determine the yield as well as quality of the final produce obtained from a crop are given below:
1. Selection of appropriate crop and its variety for cultivation. The selection of appropriate crop should be made keeping in mind the various factors such as nature of soil, environmental conditions, irrigation facilities etc.
2. Use of high quality seeds and healthy saplings.
3. Treatment of seeds before sowing. This is necessary to prevent seed-borne diseases in the plants.
4. Proper preparation of soil for sowing.
5. Choice of most appropriate time for sowing. Sowing the seeds, too early or too late results in poor crop yield.
6. The seeds should be sown properly and with proper spacings.
7. Sufficient and timely supply of irrigation water.
8. Application of sufficient quantities of right type of fertilizers so that adequate quantities of nutrients are available to the plants.
9. Proper control of weeds.
10. Protection of plants from diseases and harmful insects.
Time of Harvesting
While deciding the time of harvesting the following factors must be taken into consideration:
1. Expected time of maturity or ripening.
2. Expected time gap between production and utilisation.
3. Available modes of packaging and storage.
4. In case of food grains, moisture content of the grain should also be considered.
Now let us study some important points that we must keep in mind during the harvesting and post-harvesting practices for food grain crops and fruits and vegetables.