?The Urban Myths of Organic Farming Revealed
Organic farming has many benefits. Many people question the safety of organic food, as well as its environmental impact. A recent study conducted by Woese K, Lange D, Bogl K W, and Trewavas A examined the safety of organic food. The Shades of Green report also reviewed UK farming systems and debunked some of the myths about organic farming. The authors also uncovered the benefits of integrated farming and alternative mineral sources for crop nutrients.
Alternative mineral sources for crop nutrients on organic farms
While most organic farming standards prohibit the use of soluble mineral salts, the use of other products such as animal manure and compost may be acceptable. While organic farmers typically use legume nitrogen fixation to supply nitrogen and potassium to their crops, the absence of phosphate and potassium in these soils means they must make up the deficit in some other way. The main source of alternative mineral sources is animal manure, which must be balanced with the use on the farm, while the soluble mineral salts such as potassium chloride and sylvanite are forbidden. The use of organic manure and straw are also necessary for building soil fertility, but manure breakdown is not timed to coincide with crop canopy growth. Organic manure and compost do not generally provide sufficient quantities to offset climate variations and other factors.
The use of boron and potash in organic farming requires careful planning and management. Despite their widespread use, they can be hard to accumulate in soils. In addition to being hard to build up in soils, boron is important for sugar translocation and calcium uptake. In organic farming, balanced nutrition is an integral part of the overall husbandry. This is especially important when relying on the absence of agro-chemical protection and the absence of agrochemicals.
Using organic materials to supply crop nutrients may not be as effective as the use of chemical fertilizers. Because organic materials differ in chemical and physical nature, most nutrients from organic materials are less quickly available to plants than those in inorganic sources. Tables 2 and 3 show the general availability of organic materials. Materials rated "very slow" or "moderate" may be applied to maintain soil fertility. On the other hand, materials rated "medium" or "rapid" should be applied if there are sudden changes in soil nutrient levels.
In addition to mineral fertilizers, organic farmers also use compost. Composting returns nutrients to soil by decomposing organic materials like food waste, manure, and crop offcuts. Compost is a natural resource that improves soil fertility and contains beneficial organisms. It is a great resource for crop production on organic farms. And because it can be made in the home, you can also create a compost pile at home or in your yard.
Costs of organic farming
Farmers who convert to organic farming incur various costs, from investment to learning a new production method. However, these costs are not offset by the benefits that come from certification or price premiums. Instead, they are rewarded with higher net income. Here's a closer look at the costs of organic production. It is important to understand these costs before deciding whether or not to switch to organic farming. Below are some examples of common costs farmers face when switching to organic farming.
In Europe, organic farming costs about 30% more than conventional farming. However, there is less labour and input cost than conventional farming. It also supports more wildlife. Organically grown food also contains fewer residues of pesticides and does not contain growth hormones, antibiotics, or other additives. And while the initial investment may be higher, it's well worth it in the long run. It is not for every farmer, however. Organic farming is not for everyone. It does require more research, and it requires more knowledge. However, many farmers are making the switch to organic.
Although farmers are internalizing many costs and benefits, some of these expenses cannot be accounted for by the economic return. In such cases, the costs of organic farming are internalized by farmers who own their land. This may be a factor that discourages some farmers from pursuing organic farming. But in such a case, farmers with limited leverage and liquidity could not afford to purchase land. Therefore, the transition to organic farming would happen once economic returns are equivalent.
Another important factor is the environmental and financial sustainability. Many studies have shown that organic farming is both financially and environmentally viable. During a period from 2002 to 2011, organic sales increased 170 percent. Organic farming currently occupies only 1 percent of cropland, but it has plenty of room for expansion. As a result, it is more profitable than conventional farming. With increased profits, farmers are also more likely to stay in organic farming.
Complexity of certification process
There is no single reason for farmers to decertify. Whether they are focusing on organic production or marketing is largely dependent on their location. For example, producers in the Midwest are more likely to decertify than producers in other regions. Farmers who see the organic certification process as a barrier are more likely to opt out of the program. Fortunately, there are a variety of resources available for farmers to make the transition smoothly.
Although there are some similarities between the EU and NOP in the standards for cropping, the standards for livestock can vary. EU members have approved third-party certifiers, including Australia and India. These nations have adopted their standards and have issued certificates. The US and EU have not yet forged an equivalence deal. US certification bodies must ensure they meet EU requirements. For example, certification for meat and dairy products differs from that for fresh produce.
Farmers also have to maintain extensive documentation about their fields in order to earn their organic certification. They must document their soil and crop yields, record inputs and harvest dates, and store their products properly. These records are crucial when transitioning their fields from conventional to organic status. The USDA wants to ensure that organic farms meet these requirements. Soil test results, fertilizer observations, and other records must be maintained on an ongoing basis.
Farmers must also keep track of their receipts.
The USDA also offers cost-share programs for farmers. Cost-sharing programs are available to help farmers overcome the financial barrier to becoming certified. Although most conventional and certified producers know of these programs, the complexity of the certification process has become a significant barrier to many farmers. So, the USDA should provide more information on the process and make it more user-friendly. That will help farmers and consumers alike make informed decisions. With this, they can avoid common mistakes.
The National Organic Program, a government-approved regulatory body, oversees certifying agents and regulates the process. To achieve this certification, a grower must submit a comprehensive application, called an Organic System Plan, that describes their entire operations. The plan outlines how products are produced and processed, how they are separated, and how they are packaged. It also lists any prohibited substances on the product. There are three main stages in the certification process.
Environmental impact of organic farming
There are a variety of environmental benefits of organic farming, but what is the most notable environmental impact? Organic farming reduces greenhouse gas emissions and increases carbon sequestration. These benefits outweigh the costs of switching to a more organic system, as the former is less costly than the latter. Organic farming also increases soil health. But how does organic farming reduce the impact on our climate? Read on to find out. Listed below are some of the most notable environmental benefits of organic farming.
Growing a variety of crops on an organic farm reduces the need for irrigation. Many organic farmers use mulch and amendments to prevent erosion. In addition to these benefits, organic farming helps conserve water. Cotton requires a lot of water when grown conventionally. By using organic farming practices, farmers conserve water and use it wisely. Algal blooms are harmful to human health, marine life, local economies, and recreation. Petroleum-based fertilizers are one of the leading causes of algal blooms.
Some studies have shown that organic farming is more sustainable than conventional farming. Several studies have found that organic farming has fewer GHG emissions than conventional farming. While organic crops and livestock production are not as efficient as conventional crops, the environmental impact of organic farming is smaller than conventional agriculture. Organic farming also requires more land than conventional methods. The authors of the study say this difference is not due to the fact that organic farming uses less land, but rather to the fact that organic crops yield lower than conventionally grown crops.
Another study found that conventional agriculture increases greenhouse gas emissions. This is contrary to the findings of most organic studies. Despite the economic benefits of organic farming, there are still environmental consequences. However, the environmental impact of organic farming is more complicated than avoiding or eating more organic food. This article discusses the environmental impact of organic farming, and what you can do to help reduce its negative impact. These findings suggest that organic farming should not be discouraged for the sake of the environmental benefits it brings.
1) Trewavas, A. (2001). Urban myths of organic farming. Nature, 410(6827), 409-410.
2) Reganold, J. P., & Wachter, J. M. (2016). Organic agriculture in the twenty-first century. Nature plants, 2(2), 1-8.