Conventional farming Vs Organic farming
Growing chillies organically is great for the hobby farmer but is organic farming methods better than conventional farming methods? In this article we will look at each farming method.
What is Organic farming?
Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system that depends on fertilisers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting. Biological pest control, mixed cropping and the encouragement of insect predators are encouraged. In general, organic standards are designed to allow the use of naturally occurring substances while prohibiting or strictly limiting synthetic substances. Organic foods are usually assumed to be healthier than conventionally-produced foods.
Using manure as a fertiliser risks contaminating food with animal gut bacteria. Including pathogenic strains of E. coli that have caused fatal poisoning from eating organic food. To combat this risk, manure must be sterilised through high temperature thermophilic composting. If raw animal manure is used, 120 days must pass before the crop is harvested if the final product comes into direct contact with the soil. For products that don’t directly contact soil, 90 days must pass prior to harvest. Organic farming can build up soil organic matter better than conventional no-till farming, which suggests long-term yield benefits from organic farming.
Organic farming requires 84% more land for an equivalent amount of harvest, mainly due to lack of nutrients but sometimes due to weeds, diseases or pests. Critics of organic farming methods believe that the increased land required to farm organic food could possibly destroy the rainforests and wipe out many ecosystems.
What is Conventional farming?
Conventional farming, also known as industrial agriculture, refers to farming systems which include the use of synthetic chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and other continual inputs, genetically modified organisms, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, heavy irrigation, intensive tillage, or concentrated monoculture production. Thus conventional agriculture is typically highly resource and energy intensive, but also highly productive. Despite its name, conventional agricultural methods have only been in development since the late Nineteenth Century, and did not become widespread until after World War 2
Most of the pesticides in our food, by far, are natural pesticides produced by the plants. This leaves open the question of whether the artificial chemicals are worse for us. After all, not all substances are the same, and some linger in the environment for far longer.
Many natural chemical compounds are also toxic or carcinogenic in large quantities, but we consume them in small quantities. Everything has a toxic dose – even water, salt or any nutrient.
There is a common perception that “the poisons are killing us.” So why are we living longer than ever? If there is a negative effect from these traces of chemicals, the effect is much smaller than positive changes in modern times (e.g. better medicines and medical treatments).
Note that these arguments are not saying that “pesticides are good for you” – using them inappropriately, without following directions, has the potential to be very harmful. But when used properly, they appear to not be significantly harmful, and may not be harmful at all. Worrying about them may do us more harm than the chemicals themselves.
There’s actually little doubt that fertilisers harm ecosystems. But is this inevitable, and what are the alternatives?
Exotic Chillies farming method
Exotic Chillies use a method we like to refer to as sustainable farming. This method of farming is based on an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term.
As the global population increases and demand for food increases, there is pressure on land resources. In land use planning and management, considering the impacts of land use changes on factors such as soil erosion can support long-term agricultural sustainability.
The most important factors for an individual site are sun, air, soil, nutrients, and water. Of the five, water and soil quality and quantity are most responsive to human interference through time and labour.
Although air and sunlight are available everywhere on Earth, crops also depend on soil nutrients and the availability of water. When farmers grow and harvest crops, they remove some of these nutrients from the soil. Without replenishment, land suffers from nutrient depletion and becomes either unusable or suffers from reduced yields. Sustainable agriculture depends on replenishing the soil.
Most agricultural professionals agree that there is a moral obligation to pursue the goal of sustainability.