Crop destruction is the deliberate destruction of crops or agricultural products to render it useless for consumption or processing. It can be made by burning, grinding, dumping into water, or application of chemicals. It should not be confused with crop residue burning, which burns useless parts of the crop.
Related to crop destruction is alternate, low-price use of agricultural products. A large portion of the wine lake (European Union wine surplus) is converted to industrial ethanol.
There can be numerous reasons for crop destruction. In scorched-earth strategy, crops and other useful materials are destroyed to prevent the enemy from gaining hold of them. The strategy of destroying the food supply of the civilian population in an area of conflict has been banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions.
In government-regulated agriculture, farmers can be required to destroy crops that exceed their production quota. Crops can also be dumped in the street during a public protest; this custom has been common in the European Union. Also, illegal crops, such as opium and cannabis, can be destroyed by law enforcement.
Note that this term does not apply to the burning of crops which are or can be usefully harvested by this means, such as sugar cane.