Organic Farming

Organic Farming


At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

       Discuss the objectives of organic farming

Organic Farming

       Organic farming is a method of crop production with an objective not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones

       The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and in agreement with the environment

       organic farming system depend upon crop rotations, use of crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off farm organic wastes, bio fertilizers, mineral bearing rocks, biological control to maintain soil productivity and to supply plant nutrients and to control insect, weeds and other pests

       Use of excessive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides polluted the land and water deeply. This leads to severe environmental penalty like loss of topsoil, decrease in soil fertility, surface and ground water contamination and loss of genetic diversity

       Organic farming is a production management system that promotes and improves agro-ecosystem health like biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. Organic farming methods produce even higher yields than conventional methods

Objectives of organic farming

Ø    To protect the environment, decrease soil degradation and erosion, decrease pollution, optimize biological productivity and promote a sound state of health

Ø   To maintain long-term soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil

Ø   To maintain biological diversity within the system

Ø   To recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the project

Ø  To provide considerate care that promotes health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock

Ø  To prepare organic products by careful processing, and handling methods in order to maintain the organic integrity and vital qualities of the products at all stages of production

Ø  To depend upon renewable resources in locally organised agricultural systems

Importance of organic farming

Organic farming provides many benefits like:-

Ø  Provides better nutrition: organic food is rich in nutrients. Organic farming increases the nutrients of the soil which is passed on to the plants and animals

Ø  Helps us to stay healthy: organic foods do not contain any chemical as organic farmers don’t use chemicals at any stage of the food-growing. Organic farmers use natural farming techniques which do not harm humans and environment

Ø  Free of poison: organic farmers do not make use of poisonous chemicals like pesticides and weedicides. As organic farming avoids these toxins, it reduces the chances of sickness and diseases

Ø  Lower prices: organic foods are cheaper as they don’t use application of expensive pesticides, insecticides, and weedicides

Ø  Improved taste: organic food tastes better than other food. The sugar content in organically grown fruits and vegetables provide them extra taste

Ø  Organic farming methods are eco-friendly: organic farming does not utilize harsh chemicals so; the environment including plant life, animals, and humans remain protected

Ø  Longer shelf-life: organic plants have greater metabolic and structural reliability in their cellular structure than conventional crops. This enables storage of organic food for a longer time

Organic farming includes:-

       Fertilizers :

       Organic farming does not use synthetic fertilizers and in order to build and maintain a rich, living soil addition of organic matter is done. This includes the application of manure, compost and animal by-products like feather meal or blood meal

        The USDA National Organic Standards direct that raw manure must be applied no later than 90 or 120 days before harvest, depending on whether the harvested part of the crop is in contact with the ground

       Compost adds organic matter to the soil and provides a wide range of nutrients for plants, and adds helpful microbes to the soil. These nutrients are mostly in an un-mineralized form which cannot be taken up by plants, soil microbes and it is required to break down organic matter into mineralized form

       Soil is maintained by planting and then ploughing in cover crops, which help to protect the soil from erosion and provide additional organic matter. The ploughing of nitrogen-fixing cover crops adds nitrogen to the soil. Cover crops are commonly planted before or after the main crop season or with crop rotation

Pest control

       Organic pesticides are generally used in organic farming and are derived from naturally occurring sources

       These include living organisms like Bacillus Thuringiensis, which is used to control caterpillar or plant derivatives like pyrethrins (from the dried flower heads of Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium) or neem oil (from the seeds of Azadirachta indica)

       Mineral-based inorganic pesticides like sulphur and copper are also used

       Along with the use of bio-pesticides, organic pest control utilizes biological, genetical control method to decrease pest damage.

        Biological control uses the natural enemies of pests

       For example certain wraps to attack insect pests

       Method of traditional plant breeding has produced numerous crop varieties that are resistant to particular pests

       Soil:  Health of the soil maintained by adding manure, or compost and other organic material in place of synthetic fertilizers. Biological fertilizers like compost release the nutrients slowly, increase the capacity to retain the moisture and reduce the leaching of nitrates into ground water

       Crop rotation: Organic farmers do not grow the same crop on the same field year after year. Crop rotation naturally reloads the soil as different plants provide different nutrients to the soil. It also disrupts the habitats of insect pests and weeds and helps to control them

       Cover crops:  Cover crops like clover, rye, and wheat are planted between growing seasons which help to refill the soil with nutrients and prevents soil erosion. They also control weeds by suffocating and shading by them



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