The manner in which activities of living organisms affect one another is referred to as biotic factors. Biotic factor is any living component that affects another organism. Biotic factors need energy to do work and food for proper growth.
Major Biotic Factors Affecting Agricultural Production
(1). Soil Organisms - Includes bacteria, fungi, earthworm, rodent, termite, etc.
- Organisms like bacteria and fungi can cause diseases.
- They aid aeration of soils, percolation and fertility.
- Some open up wounds on plants or animals for other pathogens to enter.
- Organisms reduce the quality of crops e.g potato, yam etc.
- Some helps in the decomposition of plant materials to form humus.
(2). Pests - These include insects, rodents, birds and some mammals.
- Pests reduce the yield of crops and animals.
- Pests also reduce the quality of crops and animals.
- Some pests are vectors or carriers of diseases.
- Pests reduce the income of the farmers
- The cost of Pests control increases the cost of production
(3). Parasites -They include ticks, liver flukes, tapeworm, dodder, mistletoe, lice, etc.
- Some parasites transmit diseases.
- Parasites reduce the quantity or yield of produce.
- Parasites also reduce the quality of farm produce.
- Parasites may cause the death of plants and animals.
- Parasites reduce production capacity of livestock or crops.
- Cost of controlling Parasites increases cost of production.
- Parasites may be external or internal (i.e. ecto or endoparasites)
(4). Diseases - Diseases may caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc.
- Diseases cause reduction in yield of crops and animals
- Diseases can cause the loss or death of plants and animals.
- The cost of control diseases increases the cost of production.
- Diseases cause reduction in farmers’ income.
- Weeds compete with crops for space, water, nutrients and sunlight.
- Some weeds can harbour diseases and pests.
- Weeds reduce the yield of crops
- Weed control increases the cost of production.
- Weeds cause poor growth of crops
(6). Predators - Predators are birds, rodents, praying mantis etc.
- Some predators are beneficial to agricultural production.
- Some predators are used to control harmful pests of crops and animals.
- Some predators feed on farm animals e.g. hawks feed on chicks.