Organic farming is a holistic agriculture system that is designed to optimize productivity using environmental-friendly methods. Conventional agricultural methods made use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides to increase
Some people even started using growth hormones, antibiotics, and modified organisms in search for maximized production.
These practices led to serious environmental harm and even resulted in creating critical health issues for people who consumed foods containing chemicals over a time period.
Originated in the early part of the 20th century, organic farming is an alternative farming system that makes use of biological fertilizers from animals, nitrogen-fixing cover crops, and plant waste.
Important features of organic farming
As mentioned above, this alternative agricultural system makes use of the fertilizers of organic origin including bone meal, green manure, and compost manure.
The primary emphasis is given on techniques like companion planting and crop rotation.
The modern organic farming methods encourage mixed cropping, biological pest control and the nurturing of insect predators.
High organic standards recommend prohibition or strict restrictions on the use of synthetic substances. The focus is to optimize production using naturally occurring substances.
An overview of organic farming techniques
Organic farming promotes all techniques which focus on cultivating the land and raising crops in an environmentally sustainable way.
The soil is kept in good health using various types of organic wastes and biological materials.
This type of agricultural system promotes a high release of nutrients to the crops to ensure maximum sustainable production in an environmentally-friendly way.
The main objective of this method is to produce crops with excellent nutritional value. The most popular organic farming techniques used nowadays include crop rotation, green manure, biological pest control, and compost.
- Crop rotation
The crop rotation is a technique to grow different types of crops in the same area sequentially based on various seasons. You can expect natural soil replenishment with this technique as diverse plants keep on releasing nutrients to the soil. Since this technique disrupts the habitat of insect pests and weeds, you can control them more efficiently.
- Biological pest control
Without or controlled use of chemicals, this technique employs living organisms to control pests. For ensuring the protection of the crops and field, the development of these organisms is done under strict monitoring based on the guidelines of organic farming authority. You can use herbicides or pesticides that are natural or containing less dangerous chemicals to control the pests.
- Green manure
The green manure technique recommends the use of dying plants that are deracinated and stuffed into the soil. They transform as a highly useful nutrient for the soil and take the quality to a new level.
This is another common technique used in organic farming. Compost is a recycled organic matter that is extensively used as a fertilizer by many organic agricultural farmers. It is extremely rich in nutrients.
Different types of organic farming
You can come across different methods of organic farming nowadays. The most prominent and popular choices are weed management, crop diversity, controlling other organisms, soil management, genetic modification, and livestock.
- Weed management
Weed refers to an unwanted plant that can be found in agricultural fields abundantly.
Organic farming does not advocate the complete elimination of weed. Instead, it focuses on controlling or managing weed growth.
Mulching and mowing are the two widely utilized weed management techniques employed in organic agriculture. Mulching is the process of making use of plant residue or plastic film on the soil surface to regulate the growth of weed. Mowing also known as cutting refers to the process of removing weed’s top growth.
- Crop diversity
Monoculture had been the method used by organic farmers for a quite long time. As the name suggests, it is a practice used to cultivate only one type of crop from a specific agricultural filed. In relentless pursuit of a solution that meets the increasing demand for crops, monoculture was replaced by polyculture. This new method allows farmers to cultivate different types of crops simultaneously. It also helps people produce much-needed soil microorganisms that provide ideal soil for farming.
- Controlling dangerous organisms
You can find useful as well as harmful organisms on an agricultural farm. Farmers need to regulate the growth of harmful organisms efficiently to safeguard the soil and crops. One way of controlling these organisms is to use pesticides and herbicides that are natural or contain less dangerous chemicals. Proper sanitization methods must also be implemented on the farm to check the growth of organisms and control pests. Another method is to encourage the maximum number of pirate bugs, ladybugs and similar predatory insects that feast on pests. These insects fly away from the farm after eating the pests.
- Soil management
Soil management is a very vital component of organic farming. The soil loses its nutrients after the crop cultivation. This situation results in reduced quality. Organic agriculture promotes natural ways to enhance the presence of nutrients in the soil and restore its fertility and quality. One common method is to use the bacteria available in animal waste. These types of bacteria make the soil rich in nutrients and more fertile. The positive impact is much higher compared to the use of chemicals containing liquids.
For improving the sustainability of organic agriculture, the use of domestic animals is extensively promoted. It is hard to find a better place for animals to breathe fresh air, source healthy food and get some good exercise than an organic or green farm.
- Genetic modification
Since organic farming focuses on natural and eco-friendly ways, the use of engineered animals and plants is highly discouraged. However, there is an argument that pollen available in certain modified crops can be found in the stock of seeds utilized for organic agriculture. This aspect makes impossible to keep genetic modification completely out of organic agriculture.
Advantages and disadvantages of organic agriculture
– Improved natural levels of resistance to pests and diseases
– More opportunities to produce specialized crops that command higher prices
– Makes soil more fertile, productive and healthier
– Crops with high nutritional value
– Poison-free method
– Better taste and longevity for foods made using organic crops
– Environmental-friendly method
– Lack of subsidies makes the cost of agriculture high
– The farm certification process is complex
If you want to associate an organic label with your crops and products, an agency accredited by the USDA must certify your farm. The annual certification fees are determined on the basis of the total organic production value of your farm.
How can we improve organic farming?
Various authentic studies show that polyculture (cultivating different crops simultaneously) is a good method to enhance the yield.
Planting a sequence of crops known as crop rotation also provides good results. If farmers mimic nature by developing ecologically diverse farms that generate strength from natural interaction between species, they can expect excellent productivity.
Polyculture and crop rotation enhance soil health and lower pest pressure effectively. These methods promote biodiversity and guarantee excellent yield by safeguarding the environment.
Organic farming is an efficient alternative to traditional farming that does not involve the use of harsh chemicals and similar unethical practices. This method encourages the production of tastier, and healthier foods in an eco-friendly way.