Free Essay SamplesAbout UsContact Us Order Now

Organic farming methods vs Conventional methods

0 / 5. 0

Words: 1650

Pages: 6

39

Name of the Student
Professor’s Name
Agriculture
25th October 2015
Organic Farming Methods versus Conventional Farming Methods: A Critical Appraisal
Background
Organic farming is referred to the form of agricultural practice that integrates natural techniques like green manures, crop rotation and biological pest control methods. This form of farming depends upon the natural resources and biological derivatives produced in the environment (Venkat 620-649). Organic farming strictly excludes any methods or materials that are produced synthetically. This form of agricultural practice is strictly regulated as per the standards and recommendations set by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) (Venkat 620-649).
Conventional farming, on the other hand, deploys synthetic resources and use of non-natural resources. These resources include synthetic growth regulators, artificially prepared hormones, usage of antibiotics and implementation of genetically modified organisms in routine agricultural practice. In spite of lower yields, organic farming is gaining recognition, due to its lower potential for causing health hazards and increased environmental sustainability. The present article would compare the organic and conventional farming methods, and their respective productivities in terms of yield and utilization of resources (Meisterling, Samaras, & Schweizer 222-230).

Wait! Organic farming methods vs Conventional methods paper is just an example!

Demands for Organic Farming
It was estimated that the global market for organic foods and drinks would approach nearly 60 billion US dollars by 2010. The growth of sales in organic foods has tripled during the period of 2000 to 2010. Although total agriculture itself contributes to around 13.5% production of green house gases, organic farming holds the potential to mitigate such increase in green house gases through soil carbon sequestration (Meisterling, Samaras, & Schweizer 222-230).
Organic farming is considered to achieve more resource utilization and soil conservation compared to conventional farming. In fact the FAO (2009) has recommended organic farming and conservative agriculture as the innovative technological trends for adapting to climatic changes. Hence, organic farming is encouraged in various countries across the globe, with major initiatives from the United States of America, Australia and Argentina (Venkat 620-649).
Differences between Organic and Conventional Farming
Organic farming represents the traditional form of farming. While conventional farming started becoming popular during the “Green-Revolution” of the 1950s and 1960s. Due to the various limitations of organic farming, such conventional methods became popular with newer varieties of disease resistant seeds, revolution in the use of artificial fertilizers and holistic improvement of irrigation, which translated into increased yields. The major difference in between the two approaches of farming is the utilization of type of resources. Conventional farming deploys various artificial inputs and mechanized approaches while organic farming is based on resources and processes available in our nature (Pelletier, Arsenault, & Tyedmers 989-1001).
Conventional farming uses chemical fertilizers derived from fossil fuels while organic farming deploys natural manure and compost for ensuring nutrient requirements of the agricultural soil. Organic farming uses a combination of companion planning, crop rotation approaches, usage of cover crops, deployment of natural pest control, manual weeding and animal grazing to control the population of invasive species that are detrimental to the yield of crops. Conventional farming often uses genetically modified seeds that are disease resistant and produces increased yields. Conventional farming uses antibiotics that may lead to biomagnifications in the food chain including humans. Organic farming deploys organic feed for animals and does not insist on antibiotic usage (Venkat 620-649).
Organic farms rely on fewer inputs than conventional farms. In the milk sector it is documented that organic farms have low stocking densities. Such farms raised less fodder than the conventional farms; however, the proportion of pasture utilization in agricultural area was much greater than their conventional counterparts. Organic farms require increased labour inputs because of decreased yield of the organic crops. Hence, for generation of adequate revenue the land area required to meet the targeted production is more than conventional farms. This increased landholdings leads to increased labour inputs in such farms (“Organic versus conventional farming” 1-10).
A plethora of studies has confirmed the lower yield of organic farms. The yield of an organic farm is measured through output per hectare. One of the reasons for decreased yield of organic farms has been attributed to its location in less favorable and challenging environments. Studies have indicated that average wheat production and average milk yield is significantly lower in organic farms compared to the conventional farms. The other factors that influence the yield of organic farms are the availability of skilled and adequate labour and decreased use of mechanized approaches in routine farming (“Organic versus conventional farming” 1-10).
The price of organic foods per unit is greater than the per unit price of food manufactured through conventional methods. Such increase in price is attributed to the lower yield of organic farms and increased cost of manual labour. Despite increased pricing, organic foods have greater nutritive value than their conventional counterparts. Organic milk farms processed raw milk into cheese and other derivatives, which had increased nutritive value. Organic farms utilize more fixed assets than conventional farming that leads to the pricing factor too (“Organic versus conventional farming” 1-10).
Review of Literature
A study indicated that wheat production through organic farming requires 27% less energy than conventional methods. This is because conventional farming requires the production of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers which consumes increased amount of energy. The study further indicated that land usage was 65% to 200% greater than conventional approaches due to lower yields and additional provisions for cover crops. Organic wheat flour generated around 16% lower green house gases than wheat flours that were produced by conventional approaches (Venkat 620-649).
Organic farms ensure biodiversity more than their conventional counterparts. A study indicated there is a prevalence of 30% more species in organic farms compared to organic farms. Improved biodiversity in organic farms is due to lesser use of pesticides and herbicides. Moreover, a decreased usage or absence of herbicides and pesticides in organic farms contribute to increased biodiversity fitness and increased population density. Further, the improved biodiversity may be a deciding factor in increase in yield of some organic farms. Such biodiversity encourages mutualism between species of microorganisms or between them and crops, leading to increased output per hectare (van Elsen 101-109).
It is speculated and documented that organic farms produce greater soil quality and higher water retention capacities than their conventional counterparts. Such qualities may translate to increased production of organic farms than their conventional counterparts, at times of environmental challenges, like drought and deforestation. Hence organic farms have a greater potential to conserve soil than conventional farms (www.cefs.ncsu.edu).
The most fascinating aspect of organic farming is its reduced impact on the environment. Organic farming generates closed nutrient cycles, effective mitigation of “Green House Effect” and decreased utilization of fossil fuels leading to increased conservation of energy. The efficiency of carbon sequestration in organic farms is almost double in temperate climates compared to conventional farms. Such increase in sequestration efficiency is due to the usage of cover crops during crop rotation in organic farms. However, studies indicated that organic products had higher potential for eutrophication that leads to increased biochemical oxygen demand and decreased productivity in aquatic ecosystems (www.cefs.ncsu.edu).
Organic farming contributes to better weed management compared to conventional farming. Organic farming implements suppression of weeds rather than elimination of weeds. Such suppression is achieved through crop rotation that increases crop competition. Physical methods of weed management like tillage have lower potential for soil erosion. Hence, the soil quality is better preserved in organic farming compared to conventional farming (www.cefs.ncsu.edu).
Although the safety profile of food crops produced in organic farms compared to food crops produced in conventional farms has not been strongly established, organic foods are proposed to have improved safety profile. Conventional farms often use genetically modified crops, and the long-term effects of GMO’s are still not been established. Further, conventional farms rely on increased usage of pesticides and herbicides. Such procedures may lead to increased accumulation of those products in humans, through the food chain, which may lead to toxic effects (“Organic versus conventional farming” 1-10).
Discussion and Conclusion
From the comparisons and facts shared in the present article, it is evident that both types of farming have its pros and cons. The beneficial effects of organic farming in relation to mitigation of green house gases, improved ability of soil carbon sequestration, energy efficiency, preservation of fossilized fuel resources and preservation of biodiversity has been well established.
However, reports of decreased yield and increased cost of manual labor, with increase in price of organic foods in consumer market, has undermined its potential benefits. Further, the safety profile of organic foods compared to foods manufactured through conventional farming is not adequate. Such factors have reduced the popularity of organic farming in comparison to conventional farming in various countries. To increase the popularity of organic farming amongst farmers and their consumer appeal to general population, research needs to be carried out in future directions.
Future Directions
The literature review presented in the current article revealed that yield in relation to conventional farming is controversial in various studies. Research needs to be carried out with organic farming under favorable environments, to assess the yield potential compared to conventional farming. Long-term studies need to be carried out with genetically modified crops to assess the safety profile of conventional farming. Another aspect that may fascinate consumers would be to evaluate the nutritive value of various organic foods, compared to foods reared through conventional farming. Various socio-economic studies need to be carried out to motivate farmers for organic farming in preference to conventional farming. It is documented that laborers’ engaged in organic farms earn less their counterparts engaged in conventional farms.
Financial gains and profitability must be ensured in individuals engaged in organic farming. One way to improve profitability is to encourage the usage of organic foods in the consumer market. On the other hand, governments of different countries should provide subsidy to organic farms, especially in developed countries. It would be interesting to evaluate the potential of organic farming with the usage of limited mechanized approaches as an interdisciplinary farming approach. Such mechanized approaches should be limited to support systems like transportation and aiding in efforts of manual labor. Farmers engaged with organic farming should be incentivized appropriately for maintaining the natural landscapes, protection of environment and preservation of biodiversity of their respective lands.
Works Cited
Venkat, K. “Comparison of Twelve Organic and Conventional Farming Systems: A Life
Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Perspective.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture,
36 (2012):620–649. Print
Meisterling, K., Samaras, C., & Schweizer, V. “Decisions to reduce greenhouse gases from
agriculture and product transport: LCA case study of organic and conventional
wheat.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 17 (2009): 222–230. Print
Pelletier, N., Arsenault, N., & Tyedmers, P. “Scenario modeling potential eco-efficiency
gains from a transition to organic agriculture: Life cycle perspectives on Canadian
canola, corn, soy, and wheat production.” Environmental Management, 42 (2008): 989
1001. Print
van Elsen, T. “Species diversity as a task for organic agriculture in Europe.” Agriculture,
Ecosystems and Environment, 77 .1. 2(2000): 101–109. Print
“Organic versus conventional farming, which performs better financially? An overview of
organic field crop and milk production in selected Member States.” Farm Economics
Brief 4 November 2013: 1-10.Print
www.cefs.ncsu.edu/resources/guides/organicproductionguide.html

Get quality help now

Rima Hartley

5.0 (445 reviews)

Recent reviews about this Writer

I am grateful to studyzoomer.com for connecting me with a talented essay writer. They produced an exceptional essay that showcased their expertise and dedication.

View profile

Related Essays

Expanding Freedoms

Pages: 1

(275 words)

America Military revised

Pages: 1

(275 words)

America at War

Pages: 1

(275 words)

Discussion Forum

Pages: 1

(550 words)

Drosophila melanogaster crosses

Pages: 1

(550 words)

The Long Goodbye

Pages: 1

(275 words)

Bernie Madoff

Pages: 1

(275 words)

Photo analyzing

Pages: 1

(275 words)

History Assignment-docx

Pages: 1

(275 words)