As the global population began to grow rapidly, the need for a more sustainable approach in food production became more obvious. Unsustainable farm practices, geared only towards higher yields, put additional pressure on global issues such as:
As a completely natural and sustainable farm management practice, organic farming is based on unique values. In other words, organic farming is not only a farm practice but also a philosophy of working together with nature.
As a holistic farm management approach, organic farming aims to create a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable food production system.
More precisely, organic farming is based on managing the agro-ecosystem rather than relying on external farming inputs, such as pesticides, artificial fertilizers, additives, and genetically modified organisms.
Organic farming is strictly regulated in each country, with a few common principles being known:
The principle of health claims that organic farming is intended to protect and enhance the health of all organisms (this includes soil microorganisms, as well as humans)
The principle of ecology, which is based on the fact that organic farming should protect and benefit the environment (landscape, climate, natural habitats, biodiversity, air, water, and soil)
The principle of fairness aims to provide socially and ecologically appropriate management over environmental resources, as well as provide a sufficient supply of quality food and other products.
The principle of care stresses precaution and responsibility as the key concerns in organic farm management.
Powerful and Completely Natural Farm Practices
Organic farmers are true life-savers who work hard to grow healthy and nutritious crops. An additional responsibility for them is to maintain or enhance the most important of natural resources while protecting the environment for the future generations. Therefore, it’s frequently wondered how organic farmers manage their crop production. The answer will usually depend on the laws and regulations of each country. However, some of the most popular organic farm management practices are:
Crop rotation, used to maintain soil fertility and to improve crop protection from various pests
Organic nutrient management, based on improvement of soil organic matter through manuring, composting, or mulching
Growing cover crops, a beneficial practice for controlling insect pests and weeds, preventing soil erosion, as well as improving the nutrient content in the soil
Preventive crop protection measures, such as choosing resistant varieties, adaptation of planting or sowing, and harvesting time
Relying on natural predators as a biological pest protection measure
Weeding as a non-chemical weed management practice
Anaerobic soil disinfestation that eliminates or reduces soil-borne pests
Proper space between the crops
Mechanical soil cultivation
Relying on renewable resources.
Important key points for organic farming
Understand your soils and ways to improve them
Since soil is the heart of the organic farming system, it is crucial that new entrants understand the various characteristics and limitations of the soils found on their farm. Soil suitability may vary significantly from one field to the next. Fields with good drainage, good level of fertility and organic matter, adequate pH, biological health, high legume content, and with less weed and pest pressure, are excellent assets. Often these fields are the first ones ready for transition and certification.
Many tools exist to assess soils. Soil chemical, physical and biological analyses, soil survey and legume composition field assessments, and field yield histories are very important and should be considered early in the transition. Unhealthy soils require particular attention.
If farmers plan to grow crops without raising any livestock, it may be necessary for them to source allowable soil amendments such as composted manure, limestone, rock dust, and supplementary sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micro-nutrients.
Even with the best of crop rotations that include green manure crops like legumes (nitrogen fixing crops), transitional growers will be challenged if they want to obtain optimal yields without additional livestock manure, compost and/or other off-farm soil inputs. When these inputs are scarce or expensive, producers may benefit from integrating livestock on their farm.
Let’s not forget, under organic production, farmers must be able to recycle nutrients through proper nutrient management practices: recycling through good manure and compost utilization, crop rotations, cover crops (green manure, catch, and nitrogen fixing crops), and by reducing nutrient losses due to leaching, over-fertilization, as well as poor manure and compost management (storage, handling, and spreading).
Identify resources that will help you
Existing organic farmers are generally very helpful in sharing valuable technical information. A good mentor should be able to provide transitional producers with knowledge, practical experience and suggest appropriate reading materials. Mentors are able to identify some of the most important challenges transitional farmers will be confronted with. Mentors may also help source production materials that are otherwise difficult to find. Producers should also contact agrologists, veterinarians and other agricultural and financial consultants, in order to learn ways to improve their current farming practices.
This blog is useful for farmers, who wants to make organic farming, health conscious people, aspirants who wants to make experiments in farming.