ORGANIC FARMING (Farming without the addition of artificial chemicals.) Organic farming can be defined by the proactive, ecological management strategies that maintain and enhance soil fertility, prevent soil erosion, promote and enhance biological diversity, and minimize risk to human and animal health and natural resources. It can also be defined as Vegetable and livestock production using natural sources of nutrients (such as compost, crop residues, and manure) and natural methods of crop and weed control, instead of using synthetic or inorganic agrochemicals. It is also called low input farming. Many kinds of farm products are produced organically including vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains, meat, dairy, eggs, fibers, and flowers.
In the past organic farm production was often considered as being only for radicals or hippies. Now it is seen as a viable economic move – with benefits to the farm soil, to the environment, and to the purchasers of the products. An organic approach can contribute towards making a farm more financially viable in several ways. * First, it is a low input way of farming. You do not need to invest so much money in expensive chemicals and fertilizers. However, any declines in initial production are balanced against these reduced costs. * Second, it is less likely to result in land degradation than many other production methods; hence the long-term cost of sustaining production is less. * Thirdly, public demand for organic produce has markedly increased over recent years.
The key characteristics of organic farming include;
| Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention.
| Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms.
| Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures.
| Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention.
| The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing.
| Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats. TYPES OF ORGANIC FARMING Organic farming works with nature, rather than against it. It recognises the fact that nature has many complex processes which interact to control pests, diseases and weeds, and to regulate the growth of plants. There is a variety of ways of growing plants that work with nature rather than against it. Some techniques have been used for centuries. Some of the most effective and widely used methods are:Poly-culture Theoretically, it is better for the long-term welfare of the land to avoid a monoculture approach to farming. Monocultures tend to utilize the same nutrients from the soil and deposit the same "pollutants" into the soil; causing nutrient deficiencies and pollutant toxicities. When several different plants, and/or animals are growing together, the waste products of one will often be used by another; and the nutrients used by one, may be replenished by the activity of another.Biodynamic farmingIt views the farm or garden as a "total" organism and attempts to develop a sustainable system, where all of the components of the living system have a respected and proper place.
| Permaculture Systems
Permaculture is a system of agriculture based on perennial, or self perpetuating, plant and animal species which are useful to man. It is a philosophy which encompasses the...
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