Organic farming, a farming system using ecologically oriented pest controls and biological fertilizers mainly obtained from animal and plant waste and nitrogen-fixing plants. Modern organic farming has been created as a reaction to the environmental damage caused by the use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in conventional farming and has many ecological advantages.
Organic farming utilizes fewer pesticides compared to conventional farming, reduces soil erosion, reduces nitrate leaching into groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal waste back into the farm. Higher food expenses for customers and usually reduced returns counterbalance these advantages. In fact, organic crop yields have been discovered to be approximately 25 percent lower overall than conventionally grown plants, although this may differ significantly based on the crop type.
Organic Farming Methods
Since synthetic fertilizers are not used, it is a concern for organic farmers to build and maintain a wealthy, living soil by adding organic matter. By applying manure, compost, and animal by-products such as feather meal or blood meal, organic matter can be utilized. The USDA National Organic Standards require that raw manure be applied no later than 90 or 120 days before harvest, depending on whether the harvested portion of the plant is in touch with the floor, due to the potential for harboring human pathogens. Composted manure that has been turned 5 times in 15 days and reached temperatures between 55-77.2 ° C (131-171 ° F) has no implementation time constraints. Compost contributes to organic matter, supplying crops with a broad variety of nutrients, adding beneficial microbes to the soil. Because these nutrients are mostly unmineralized and can not be taken up by crops, soil microbes are required to break down organic matter and convert nutrients into a “mineralized” bioavailable state. Synthetic fertilizers, by contrast, are already in mineralized form and can be taken straight by crops.
Soil is maintained through planting and then tilling in cover crops that help protect the soil from off-season erosion and provide additional organic matter. Also adding nitrogen to the soil is tilling in nitrogen-fixing cover crops such as clover or alfalfa. Cover crops are usually planted before or after the cash crop season or in combination with crop rotation and may also be planted between some crop rows, such as tree fruits. Researchers and farmers are working to develop “no lamination” and reduced lamination practices for organic farming to further reduce erosion.
Organic pesticides are obtained from sources that occur naturally. These include living organisms such as the Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria used to manage caterpillar pests, or plant derivatives such as pyrethrins (from Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium’s dried flower heads) or neem oil (from Azadirachta indica’s seeds). Inorganic pesticides based on minerals such as sulfur and copper are also permitted.
Organic pest control integrates biological, cultural and genetic controls in addition to pesticides to minimize pest damage. Biological control is used to attack insect pests by natural enemies such as predatory insects (e.g., ladybugs) or parasitoids (e.g., certain wasps). Cultural controls can disrupt the cycles of plague, the most commonly used of which is crop rotation. Finally, traditional plant breeding has generated countless pest-resistant crop varieties. The use of such varieties and planting genetically diverse crops provide genetic control of pests and many diseases of plants.
The need for organic farming
With population growth, our obligation would be not only to stabilize agricultural output but to further boost it in a sustainable way. Scientists have noticed that the high-input’ Green Revolution’ has reached a plateau and is now maintained by dropping dividend returns. Thus, for the existence of life and assets, a natural balance must be preserved at all costs. In the present era, when these agrochemicals that are manufactured from fossil fuel and are not renewable and decrease in supply, the apparent option for that would be more important. In the future, it may also cost our foreign exchange strongly.
The key characteristics of organic farming
- Protecting long-term soil fertility by keeping concentrations of organic matter, promoting soil biological activity and mechanical care
- Providing indirect crop nutrients with comparatively insoluble nutrient sources made accessible to the plant through the action of soil microorganisms
- Self-sufficiency of nitrogen through the use of legumes and biological fixation of nitrogen, as well as efficient recycling of organic products including crop residues and animal manures
- Weed, disease and pest control are primarily based on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manure, resistant varieties and limited thermal, biological and chemical intervention (preferably minimal).
- Extensive livestock management, paying full attention to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and issues of animal welfare in nutrition, housing, health, breeding, and rearing
- Careful attention to the effect of the farming scheme on the wider setting and wildlife and habitat conservation