Tuesday, 31 January 2012 12:32

agriculture-2Iowa study shows value of organic farming methods.

One of the world’s longest running replicated comparisons research of certified organic and conventional agriculture has found that organic systems produce the same or greater yields, while being more profitable and resulting in better soil quality. The Agriculture Program at Iowa State University ‘LTAR’ research project began in 1998 and has released an update on its findings which compares several series of crop rotations. The conventional rotations received synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides according to the university’s recommended rates, and the certified organic plots received local compost - made up of corn stover and manure.

The research states that; Averages from 13 years of the LTAR experiment show that yields of organic corn, soybean and oats have been equivalent to or greater than conventional counterparts. With regards to profits the research found; On average, returns to management (after deducting labor, land and production costs) for organic systems are roughly $200 per acre greater than conventional returns, according to actual LTAR data and modeling.  Organic systems have lower production costs because they eliminate the need for expensive herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. Apart from the benefits of yield and profits, the research found that soil quality was improved under organic management. Despite no synthetic nitrogen inputs the research states; Total nitrogen increased by 33 percent in the organic system; and researchers measured higher concentrations of carbon, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and calcium. In addition, organic soils have lower acidity.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 August 2012 19:05