What is organic farming?
Organic farming is a method of agriculture that works in accord with nature. It can be practiced to achieve enhanced crop harvest without deteriorating the environment. Different techniques are used for this farming such as crop rotation, a biological method of pest control by using herbicides, using bio fertilizers. The basic idea is to keep the land in a good health. The use of synthetic material is strictly abolished. Organic farming is absolutely eco-friendly and has zero pollution related consequences.
We need to farm organically
Organic farming is considered better than any other method of agriculture. The most validating reason for this is, this is natural and eco-friendly. It is healthy for the soil and in the long run it wins over. It can be listed as follows.
· Soil fertility- in the long run it majorly contributes keeping up and enhancing the fertility. No other form of farming had been able to match its effectiveness.
· Pest control- the methods used for controlling the pest are natural, organic and adding no harm to the environment. It very efficiently solves the issue of pest control.
· Economic- the farmer uses the resources which are already available to him. Thereby eliminating the need of synthetic fertilizers. This promotes the healthy practice of farming.
· Reduces pollution- as there is no room for the use of synthetic material, hence eradicates any possibility of contaminating water and supply.
· Safe and disease free food- food must be nutritious and safe for health. Organic farming focuses on the high quality and healthy food.
Organic farming has been successful in eradicating the harmful effects of modern practises. The use of artificial fertilizers and synthetic material has been increased tremendously in the modern farming after green revolution. This has no doubt increased the production, adding many fold increase income, but the quality has been compromised. These chemically processed materials somehow find ways to water courses and contaminate it. Not only it has been a potential threat to our ecology, but also disturbs the well-being of soil. The prolonged use has deteriorated the quality of soil and has ill effect on humus. The autocorrecting mechanism fails due to overuse of fertilizers.
The pesticides have worse impact on the human health, as they remain in the soil for a very long time and they enter in the food chain. They have potential of killing the good micro-organism present in the soil, which eventually lead to poor humus structure. Moreover as the time passes these pests develop a certain extent of immune, and controlling them is more difficult than ever. Organic farming is a solution to all these problem.
How old is organic farming?
Organic farming is not a new invention of mankind, it is age-old. People from prehistoric times have been known to practice organic farming. Forest gardening is considered to be oldest method and original form of agriculture. The introduction of fertilizers dates back to the 18th century. While the uses of fertilizers, made up of ammonia, accelerated during 1st world war. This revolution was capable of showing increased yield instantly, but had serious long term side effect. This ultimately increased the soil erosion, infertility and other health hazard. Very lately after the advancement of science the ill effects came into light and awareness was being spread thereafter.
To produce a high quality disease free crop, organic farming involves many methods of farming. It includes the selection of corps, their rotation, using compost and animal decays, mulching, green manure etc. The cultivation of soil aims to provide a natural condition for the soil and humus. It is important to choose the crop wisely as per the specific needs. The soil type, amount of rainfall, temperature, nutrients required must be taken into consideration before any crop is selected for the particular soil. The farming is more likely to give high yields, if the factors are suitable and supporting. There are several techniques which contribute in the organic farming.
Growing same crop every year or season must be avoided. This results in the exhaustion of the nutrients and decreases the soil fertility. The pest and weeds also tend to develop. The crop should be moved to another part of land. The repetition of same crop on the same land must be avoided for at least 3 to 4 years. Meanwhile, the soil should be given a particular time period when no crop is grown. For some time, it should be left for legume crop or grass to grow.
Composts are prepared by the decay of plants and animal waste, by the help of bacteria and micro-organisms. The leaves, branches, rotten fruits and the peel offs, excreta of animal, even dead animals add to the ingredients of compost. It can be prepared very easily and is very economical. Apart from the ease of production of compost they are highly beneficial for the soil structure and crop quality. Over the period of time, its uses can improve the quality of farming, increases the water retaining capacity of soil, and even reduces the weeds and pests.
It is a widely used method where the soil is covered with the layer of composts, dry leaves and grass, crop residues and manures. The addition of green sources is avoided. This has multiple benefits as it reduces the soil erosion to a large extent. As this cover whole farming land, water doesn’t evaporate from the surface and the humidity of soil remains intact. This help in the rise of good organism in the soil and the weeds gets eliminated.
Use of green manure
Green manure is cheap and can be used effectively in the place of synthetic fertilizers. This refers to the green plants that are grown to maintain the structure of soil, and compensating the loss of nutrients from the soil. It also includes animal manures. This is not similar to crop rotation. It has to be dug inside the topsoil well before they flower or produces crops. This method is very effective in recycling the nutrients of plant and compensation of any loss is fulfilled by the other.
Only organic farming gives equal importance to livestock management while farming. This focuses on the living condition of animals and their natural movement. Confining them in a limited place is considered to be a wrong practice; they must be chosen as per the local environmental condition. This method is used to compliment the organic farming at great extent.
Controlling of weed is focused in this mode rather than eliminating. The aim is to reduce the harmful effect of weeds and pest. The use of pesticides is strictly avoided, thereby reducing any risk of harmful effect on nature. Many methods are adopted for weed control like mulching, hoeing, planting crops close to each other and giving no space for weed growth, crop rotation, manual weeding, and use of animals for grazing weeds.