Advisory ArticleAgroStar Agronomy Centre of Excellence
Measures to avoid post-harvest losses
Due to microbial infestation, there is a great loss in farms post every harvest. To avoid this, some measures should be taken at different levels after harvesting. Most of the vegetable crops perish soon after harvesting. Taking measures before harvesting, to extend their shelf life proves beneficial. The measures to be taken pre and post harvesting : • After harvesting, vegetable crops are infected by diseases like fruit rot and black soot. To avoid it, recommended fungicide should be sprayed at a proper time before harvesting. • During harvesting, ensure that the fruits do not get rubbed against each other. It causes bruising of fruits. And leads to microbial infection. • As far as possible, vegetable crops should be harvested in the morning. Post harvesting, before storing the vegetables in the cold storage, pre-cooling should be done. Pre-cooling reduces the efficiency of the micro-organisms. Care to be taken during storage: • The fruits and vegetables should be graded before storage. Farm produce infested by pests-diseases or over ripened farm produce should be separated. It prevents the infection from spreading to good quality farm produce. • If the vegetables are to be stored temporarily, use cold pit. The cold pit reduces the temperature of the vegetables, so the biological processes like evaporation, breathing and ripening slows down. As a result, the farm produce can last for 5-6 days post harvest. • Some crops get bruised if stored in cold temperature. This leads to microbial infection and decay. Such type of vegetables should be stored in the temperature range of 37-42 degrees celsius. It increases their resistance to diseases. Care to be taken while packing: • The containers to be used for packing the farm produce should have sufficient ventilation. Otherwise, the temperature inside the packaging increases and the farm produce matures early. If the farm produce is stacked on each other, the stress on the farm produce in the lower layer increases. Due to this, their internal parts are bruised. So use a well ventilated truck for transportation which has planks placed one above the other. • Use anti Ethylene, anti-Carbon dioxide substances while packing the farm produce. • Use air conditioned vehicles for transportation of the farm produce.
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