Today's Organic farming: Need of both life of Human and Soil
Authors: Sarla Kumawat, Palak Mishra1, Kana Ram Kumawat and Shubham Sharma2
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Department of Extension Education1, Student of B.sc. Agriculture2
What is organic farming?
Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves much more than choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organism, antibiotics and growth hormone provide attentive care that promotes the health and meets the behavioural needs of livestock.
Why need of organic farming?
• Attaining balance ecological production and management system that encourages and improves soil biological activity and biodiversity.
• To preserve, replenish and enhance ecological stability of soil.
• For environmental sustainability and food security.
• Highly profitable and growing fast.
• To improve human health.
Key features: The fundamental features of organic farming are based on maintaining a natural system that includes
• 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, behavioural 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.
1. Natural Livestock and Poultry Production
By natural production, it means raising livestock and poultry for production of their products such as meat, eggs, and dairy by providing natural living conditions and feeds. Any forms of hormones, antibiotics, and medications are unacceptable, especially if used for promoting growth and productivity. Feeds have to be organic and livestock have to be pastured. Farm features such as using livestock for plowing, hauling, fuel, and even recycling their waste for manure are key aspects of organic farming.
The control of parasites and diseases is accomplished through preventative measures such as balanced diet, sanitary housing, rotational grazing, and stress reduction.
2. Natural Crop Production
Natural crop production encompasses crop diversity and organic systems for enhancing crop fertility as well as controlling pests, weeds and diseases. Organic farming requires a variety of crops that can support numerous and different types of beneficial soil microorganisms, insects, and promotes overall soil management for improved farm productivity.
Weed and pest management is to be done without the use of synthetic herbicides or pesticides respectively. Control measures should be through flame weeding, mechanical tillage, mulching, use of cover crops, crop rotation, mechanical tillage and hand weeding. Organic farming also needs to depend on predatory beneficial insects, beneficial soil microorganisms, companion cropping, birds, proper sanitation, and crop rotation for pest control.
In extreme cases of pest infestation, farmers can implement measures such as use of barriers and traps, mating disruption, biological pesticides, and insect predators. Soil biota, building soil structure, use of compost, and biologically based soil amendments are utilized to promote healthy plants that are tolerant and resist to diseases. Botanical measures can also be used to control diseases.
3. Soil Management Organic farming extensively relies on nourishing the soil naturally by using compost, natural mineral powders and green manure. Crop rotation, inter-cropping and minimal tillage is also used to improve soil fertility, structure, and water holding capacity in organic farming. As a result, it helps to support the soil microbial activities that transform and release soil nutrients.
4. Buffer Zones and Record Keeping
Submission to an organic system plan is a key feature of organic farming. It requires the practice of buffering between organic farms and adjacent conventional farms. Keeping records of the entire farm activities is as well a necessity to ensure standard organic farming practice. It ensures proper sanitation, quality monitoring system for pests, parasites, diseases and productivity, and farm integrity.
Benefits of organic farming: Beyond money and ethics, though, organic farming practices result in numerous environmental benefits.
• organic farming discourage environmental exposure to pesticides and
• organic farming builds healthy soil
• organic farming helps combat erosion
• organic farming fights the effects of global warming
1. Gehlot, D. and Purohit, S. S.(2006) Trends in Organic Farming in india Agrobios first edition jodhpur publication
2. Internet (www.conserve-energy-future.com)
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