Organic Farming – Case studies Done by: David Joel Loo 3i202 Yong Han Shawn 3i223
What is Organic Farming? • Organic farming is a farming method that aims to work in harmony with nature rather than against it • This involves using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the environment. • It includes keeping and building a good soil structure and soil fertility, as well as controlling pests, diseases and weeds.
Organic Farming • Organic farming relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm. • It excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms.
Why use Organic Farming? • Organic Farming is able to provide long term benefits to the people and to the environment: • Increase long-term fertility of the soil • Control pest and diseases without harming the environment • Ensure that water stays clean and safe • Food produced are nutritious and are of a high quality which can be sold for a good price • It is a type of farming in which farmers can save money and the results are more beneficial as compared to other type of farming.
Why use Organic Farming? • It helps to increase the fertility of soil and also help in reducing soil erosion. • It consume less water as compared to other farming and give more productivity of crops • Without any kind of chemical fertilizations it helps farmers to reduce the effect of weeds by using garlic, clove oil etc • It can produce new variety of crops on the same land on which other techniques give only single type. • It produces only pure crops without any toxic materials which are harmful for the human life and this increases the profit also.
Problems with Organic Farming • Dependency on fertilizers. Greater amount are needed every year to produce the same yields of crops • Pests and diseases may turn more difficult to control as they become resistant to artificial pesticides • Farming with organic methods gives smaller crops as compared to artificial farming. • Organic farming gives low productivity of vegetables such as potatoes in the same areas where the conventional farming produces more.
Problems with Organic Farming • It enhances the emission of carbon dioxide and this may produces bad effect in the climate. • As carbon dioxide is stored in these crops so it is harmful for the human life and can be dangerous for us. • It is also known that the food which is derived from organic resources is very harmful because it produces E.coli bacterial infection.
Organic grain and soybean production in the Midwestern United States • A comprehensive review of comparison studies of grain and soybean production conducted by Midwestern universities since 1978 found that in all these studies organic production was equivalent to, and in many cases better than, conventional (Welsh, 1999). • Organic systems had higher yields than conventional systems which featured continuous crop production (no rotations) and equal or lower yields in conventional systems that included crop rotations. • In the drier climates such as the Great Plains, organic systems had higher yields, as they tend to be better during droughts than conventional systems.
Organic grain and soybean production in the Midwestern United States • In one such study in South Dakota for the period 1986-1992, the average yields of soybeans were 29.6 bushels/acre and 28.6 bushels/acre in the organic and conventional systems respectively. • In the same study, average spring wheat yields were 41.5 bushels/acre and 39.5 bushels/acre in the organic and conventional systems respectively.
Organic grain and soybean production in the Midwestern United States • When comparing the profitability of farming systems, the study found that organic cropping systems were always more profitable than common conventional cropping systems. • This was attributed to lower production costs and the ability of organic systems to outperform conventional in drier areas, or during drier periods.
Broadbalk experiment in the UK • This experiment compares a manure based fertilizer farming system to a synthetic chemical fertilizer farming system. • Wheat yields are shown to be on average slightly higher in the organically fertilized plots (3.45 tones/hectare) than the plots receiving chemical fertilizers (3.40 tones/hectare).
Broadbalk experiment in the UK • Most importantly though, soil fertility, measured as soil organic matter and nitrogen levels, increased by 120% over 150 years in the organic plots, compared with only 20% increase in chemically fertilized plots (Jenkinson, 1994).
Comparison of conventional and organic farms in California. • A study which compared ecological characteristics and productivity of 20 commercial farms in the Central Valley of California gives us a better understanding of how a conversion to organic would fare in a commercial farm setting.
Comparison of conventional and organic farms in California. • Tomato yields were shown to be quite similar in organic and conventional farms (Drinkwater, 1995). Insect pest damage was also comparable in both cases of organic and conventional farms. • However, significant differences were found in soil health indicators such as nitrogen mineralization potential and microbial abundance and diversity which were higher in the organic farms. Nitrogen mineralization potential was three times greater in organic compared to conventional fields. The organic fields also had 28% more organic carbon. The increased soil health in the organic farms resulted in considerably lower disease incidence. Severity of the most prevalent disease in the study, tomato corky root disease, was found to be significantly lower in the organic farms (Drinkwater, 1995).
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