Productivity And Growth In Organic Farming

The results are in, only they don't agree. The problem that organic farming has in the current climate is that while there is growth in the concept of organic farming year on year on a global basis, there are a lot of businesses set to lose out should pesticides or artificial fertilisers be used less.

How anyone can deny the effects of organic farming and the good it offers both humanity and the planet is worthy of debate. However changing the mindset of farmers who have often done so for several generations is a difficult one, unless of course there is a financial incentive to do so.

Current farming practices are a result of food necessity. There are simply far too many humans alive today and they need feeding. This means we need to turn over as many crops as possible but keep land arable and fertile. The solution was artificial fertilisers and a variety of biocides. These were added to the mix for pest control and to keep soil nutrients topped up. However rainfall and wind seek to destroy this top soil which isn't as hardy as naturally occurring top soil and under soil would be which starts to cause problems longer term.

Let's look at a few of the results from studies carried out over the last few years, there are positives. Note we are concerned about a drop in crop yields, though if the result is a more varied crop rotation, more use of the arable land all year round and soil quality growing rather than reducing, this is also a welcome outcome.

There appears to be a 20% to 10% drop in yield when making comparisons between crops. However with milk and beans, yields appear to be higher with organic methods. It is possible to use 50% less fertilizer and 97% less pesticide and only see a drop of 10% in yield. The lesser use of additional agents would see better soil fertility in future years and perhaps better growth.

In droughts it is found that yields can be much higher than those in regions where conventional farming takes place. Perhaps this is due to more nutrients in the soil. And again, in storms and flooding, organic farms again faired better and less damage to top soil - is this due to the methods used? In ten years the growth of organic sales has tripled to £38 billion worldwide. Organic vegetables, meat and wine, beer and spirits have become a marketer's dream. While organic farming is more expensive, the fact these crops are free of pesticides and good for nature means we are willing to pay more than the average vegetable is worth.

An in demand market is always a lucrative one. Though the earnings for a farmer can be quite similar, which is why so far, the European Union is the only authority to incentive organic farming over and above conventional farming practices. Thought only 1% of farmland is used for organic horticulture.