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Project Report Successful Organic Farming



In organic production, farmers choose not to use some of the convenient chemical tools available to other farmers. Design and management of the production system are critical to the success of the farm. Select enterprises that complement each other and choose crop rotation and tillage practices to avoid or reduce crop problems.

Yields of each organic crop vary, depending on the success of the manager. During the transition from conventional to organic, production yields are lower than conventional levels, but after a three to five year transition period the organic yields typically increase.

Cereal and forage crops can be grown organically relatively easily to due to relatively low pest pressures and nutrient requirements. Soybeans also perform well but weeds can be a challenge. Corn is being grown more frequently on organic farms but careful management of weed control and fertility is needed. Meeting nitrogen requirements is particularly challenging. Corn can be successfully grown after forage legumes or if manure has been applied. Markets for organic feed grains have been strong in recent years.

The adoption of genetically engineered (GMO) corn and canola varieties on conventional farms has created the issue of buffer zones or isolation distance for organic corn and canola crops. Farmers producing corn and canola organically are required to manage the risks of GMO contamination in order to produce a “GMO-free” product. The main strategy to manage this risk is through appropriate buffer distances between organic and genetically engineered crops. Cross-pollinated crops such as corn and canola require much greater isolation distance than self-pollinated crops such as soybeans or cereals.

 

Fruit and vegetable crops present greater challenges depending on the crop. Some managers have been very successful, while other farms with the same crop have had significant problems. Certain insect or disease pests are more serious in some regions than in others. Some pest problems are difficult to manage with organic methods. This is less of an issue as more organically approved bio pesticides become available. Marketable yields of organic horticultural crops are usually below non-organic crop yields. The yield reduction varies by crop and farm. Some organic producers have added value to their products with on-farm processing. An example is to make jams, jellies, juice, etc. using products that do not meet fresh market standards.

Livestock products can also be produced organically. In recent years, organic dairy products have become popular. There is an expanding market for organic meat products. Animals must be fed only organic feeds (except under exceptional circumstances). Feed must not contain mammalian, avian or fish by-products. All genetically engineered organisms and substances are prohibited. Antibiotics, growth hormones and insecticides are generally prohibited. If an animal becomes ill and antibiotics are necessary for recovery, they should be administered. The animal must then be segregated from the organic livestock herd and cannot be sold for organic meat products. Vaccinations are permitted when diseases cannot be controlled by other means. Artificial insemination is permitted. Always check with your certification body to determine if a product or technique is allowed in the Permitted Substances List and the organic standards. Organic production must also respect all other federal, provincial and municipal regulations.

Organic produce can usually qualify for higher prices than non-organic products. These premiums vary with the crop and may depend on whether you are dealing with a processor, wholesaler, retailer or directly with the consumer. Prices and premiums are negotiated between buyer and seller and will fluctuate with local and global supply and demand.

Higher prices offset the higher production costs (per unit of production) of management, labour, and for lower farm yields. These differences vary with commodity. Some experienced field crop producers, particularly of cereals and forages, report very little change in yield while in some horticultural crops such as tree fruits, significant differences in marketable yield have been observed. There may also be higher marketing costs to develop markets where there are fewer infrastructures than for conventional commodities. Currently, demand is greater than supply for most organic products.

Tools Used in Organic Farming :

Organic farmers use a number of traditional farm tools to do farming. Due to the goals of sustainability in organic farming, organic farmers try to minimize their reliance on fossil fuels. In the developing world on small organic farms tools are normally constrained to hand tools and diesel powered water pumps. Some organic farmers make use of renewable energy on the farm and can even make use of agrivoltaics or other onsite colocation of power production and agriculture. A recent study evaluated the use of open-source 3-D printers (called RepRaps using a bioplastic polylactic acid (PLA) on organic farms. PLA is a strong biodegradable and recyclable thermoplastic appropriate for a range of representative products in five categories of prints: handtools, food processing, animal management, water management and hydroponics. Such open source hardware is attractive to all types of small farmers as it provides control for farmers over their own equipment; this is exemplified by Open Source Ecology, Farm Hack and Farmbot.

Project report Organic Agriculture

Project report Organic Farming



 

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