Summary of Organic Farming – In short, organic farming includes farming techniques and methods that attempt to protect the environment, humans, and animals through sustainable agriculture. Producers of organic farming are not allowed to use anything other than organic matter for both fertilization and crop protection. As for fertilization methods, they mainly use manure, compost, or special organic synthetic fertilizers. As measures to protect the crop, traps and natural predators are mostly used. This type of farming requires a lot of effort and the yield is also much less than that of traditional farming. However, organic producers can sell their products in the market for more expensive than conventional products.
Definition of organic farming
According to the Act of the European Parliament Brussels, 27 April 2018, organic farming is a holistic system of farm management and food production, based on the best environmental and climatic activity practices, high levels of biodiversity, conservation of natural resources, and animal welfare. The use of high standards of products includes high production standards to meet the demands of an increasing number of consumers for products produced using natural substances and processes. Biosoilz
In organic farming, farmers try to limit all inputs in their everyday routine and use eco-friendly techniques. For example, as far as soil management is concerned, organic farmers mostly rely on crop rotation to reduce nutrient deficiencies in the soil. They primarily use nitrogen-binding bacteria as organic fertilizers, in legally directed amounts, and as nitrogen boosters.
As far as weed management is concerned, they prefer mulching, manual weeding, and plowing. In many cases, they remove weeds using specialized equipment specifically designed for organic farming. Organic farmers try to minimize the use of synthetic chemicals. Therefore, for crop protection, they mainly use traps and natural predators for crop insects.
How can a farm be certified as organic?
Organic farming is specifically described and defined by law in each country, and any commercial use of the word ‘organic’ is subject to government control. There are certain activities every prospective organic farmer must follow (and avoid) to become certified as an organic farmer. The slightest violation of the law can end the biological condition.
If you want to join organic farming then you can apply to the certification body in your area. If you meet the standards then after a certain period (for example 3-4 years if you grow trees) you will get approved by the authorities. Farmers who comply with the regulations can market their products as “certified organic” and display the official organic seal on their packaging, allowing the products to be sold at higher prices.
Principles of organic farming
According to IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), the principles of organic farming are described below:
- It is imperative to maintain and improve the health of the soil, plants, animals, and humans through organic farming.
- Organic farming should be based on living ecosystems and cycles, it should work with them, emulate them and help maintain them.
- In order for organic farming to be successful, it needs to be based on relationships that ensure fairness to the environment and life processes.
- The health and well-being of present and future generations as well as the environment should be protected by organic farming.
The general objectives of organic farming are:
Production of safe and nutritious food, free from agrochemical residues
- Overall protection of the environment through sustainable management (protection of soil and aquatic life, biodiversity assurance)
- Sustainable use of energy and natural resources (eg water, soil, organic matter)
- Conservation and enhancement of fertility and biological activity of soil
- Protecting the health of farmers from the danger of harmful chemicals
- Ensuring the health and welfare of animals
- The exact rules and regulations of production technology and control measures for organic products depend on national and community legislation and may vary from country to country.
However, some of the basic practices and methods of organic farming are listed below:
Examples of organic farming practices:
- Crop rotation (avoid planting a single crop, which gradually depletes the nutrients of the soil)
- use of green manure
- Use of manure and vegetable residues (compost)
- recycling of organic materials
- Use of alternative plant protection (natural enemies) and nutritional products
- Use of local varieties and breeds of animals adapted to the particular conditions of the area
- Maintaining a high standard of animal welfare
- Avoiding the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as well as products produced by or with GMOs.
General principles of organic farming
As a general principle, the prospective organic farmer needs to fully understand the principle of closed natural ecosystem (with minimum inputs and outputs) and first of all use all the healthy ingredients already present in the ecosystem. Must try By this we mean that the organic farm is treated as an isolated ecosystem with very few inputs and outputs, and most of the elements are recycled within the farm itself, ensuring sustainability. For example, suppose we manage an organic garden of olive trees. After pruning, organic farmers, instead of throwing or burning the cut branches (as is usually the case in traditional farming), crush them with special machinery, disintegrate the tree branches and throw the sawdust onto the soil. goes. It has very beneficial effects, as it is believed that for every 1000 kg of olive wood (with 50% moisture) added to the soil, 4 kg nitrogen, 0.5 kg phosphorus, 4 kg potassium, 5 kg calcium, and 1 kg Magnesium is present (Amirante et al., 2002). In this way, we have the fewest possible inputs and outputs and this encourages the recycling of elements in the olive orchard. Obviously, there are also cases in which tree branches from organic gardens must be removed immediately, for example, if the tree is infected with insects or diseases.
Understanding and preventing pollution
Some of the practices used in the surrounding farms can cause pollution in our organic farms. For example, if our neighbor is a traditional farmer and sprays insecticide on a stormy day, the organic farm can get polluted. However, this pollution is not caused by pesticides alone. Even during pruning or harvesting, the mere use of machines (eg: oil spills from the machine) increases the risk of contamination of soil or water sources. Farmers should carefully consider all the risks that may pollute the organic farm and take appropriate measures.
To avoid the risk of pesticide contamination from a neighboring farm, farmers may consider using natural hedge plants. Planting these types of plants gives the farmer an opportunity to create a safer area and reduce the risk of pesticide pollution through the air. In addition, the farmer can divert the direction of the flowing water. This method will reduce the risk of pesticide contamination caused by running water. When it comes to organic farming, GMOs can also be a polluting factor. It is very important to observe the crop history of the fields used for organic farming. Farms with potential for organic farming should have a crop history free of GMOs. Farmers can also consider using untreated seeds. In addition, seeds should be procured from traders who are not involved in polluting production. Finally, all farming and harvesting equipment, as well as all transportation and storage facilities used in organic farming, should not be used by conventional farmers, otherwise, we increase the risk of pollution. However, these are just some common activities that should not be followed without doing your own research. You can consult with your local authority and your certification partner.
Fertilizers used in organic farming
Most chemical fertilizers are not allowed in organic farming (eg, mineral nitrogen fertilizers). For this only fertilizers approved for use in organic farming are allowed.
However, proper soil fertility is important for plant growth. Most of the nitrogen, in addition to phosphorus and potassium, is needed during the growth stages of the plant. Since conventional fertilizers are not permitted, some of the best organic fertilizers include:
Green manure production begins with the sowing of an annual or evergreen plant (Rizka, Shimbi) in the field. This method improves the fertility and structure of the soil. It increases water absorption and soil moisture. This method is also used as a method of weed control. For this reason, nitrogen-fixing plants, such as rijka, creeping clover, bakla, lupine, pea, chickpea, etc., are widely used. Cereals like oats and millet are also used. Since these plants (especially legumes) absorb a large amount of nutrients, their incorporation into the soil provides essential nutrients to the plants. If the grower decides to use this technology, it is necessary to use the material (seed) to grow it that does not belong to the category of genetically modified organisms.
Composting is a natural process in which special groups of microorganisms, such as bacteria, turn organic matter into compost. After the process is complete, the compost is ready. Compost includes a mixture of organic matter, nutrients and elements present in small amounts. It is a method of natural fertilization, which makes the soil quality very good. However, you should consult with your local licensed agronomist before adding compost.
Using cow dung manure is another method of organic fertilization. Dung manure is commonly used in organic farms. This compost should be well decomposed, which can be applied around the plants. However, you should consult with your local licensed agronomist before applying manure. Other farmers cover the soil surface with dry plants to make the soil more fertile and control weeds. This method is known as mulching.
Generally, hydroponic production is not allowed. Hydroponic is a method by which growers do not use soil to grow plants. Instead, they use a dormant medium rich in a nutrient solution, where they root their plants. According to the authorities of most countries, organic crops must be grown in live soil. However, United States authorities have recently allowed some hydroponic farms to label their produce as organic.
Crop protection and weed control in organic farming – organic pest and disease management
In organic farming, most chemical insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc. are not permitted unless they have been authorized for use in organic farming. Environmental methods can prevent insect and disease outbreaks.
Prevention of any damage caused by insects, diseases or weeds is primarily based on:
- Use of natural enemies (eg, ladybug)
- Selection of resistant species and cultivars
- crop rotation
When it comes to tree cultivation, proper cultivation techniques, such as proper pruning.
Sowing a few plants (eg, Shimbi) in the middle of our main crop. Some plants (eg, Shimbi and some Trifolium species) are known to naturally reduce weed growth; in addition, farmers can choose a time of sowing that prevents pest infestations and improves soil health. makes improvements. Disease-free seeds and transplanting material are also needed. Generally, organic farmers are advised to choose local seeds or species, which perform well under local conditions.