By nature, plants have the potential to produce reasonably without the use of inorganic planting aids. What causes low yield or prompt the need for any synthetic planting aids is the inability of the farmer to understand basic factors that influence crop yield and plant growth. All conditions favor crop yield differently and distinctly.
As an organic farmer, you should understand how the local conditions can increase your yield without the need for any agro-chemical. To practice successful organic farming, an organic farmer must monitor these key factors;
- Increase long-term soil fertility.
- Control pests and diseases without harming the environment.
- Use resources within the farm to improve soil and increase yield, thus, reducing the cost of production.
All these can be achieved under organic farming.
What is organic farming?
Organic farming is a system of farming where techniques used to achieve good yield are not harmful to the environment; in other words, it is a system where all planting aids used in terms of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides; to enhance good crop yield are natural and not synthetic materials. Organic farming can be easy when done in the right way and procedures.
What is meant by organic food?
Organic foods are foods produced under natural conditions, that is, without the use of chemicals in form of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. They are produced from natural soil conditions.
What are the key conditions of organic farming?
Without any planting aids, crops have the potential to produce good yield provided all necessary prerequisites and conditions are favored. These conditions are:
- Soil life
- Soil nutrient
- Soil structure
These three conditions are the main factors that determine crop yield. Organic farming favors these factors but inorganic farming partially favors just one of all.
Take a look:
The soil is an ecosystem; it contains copious creatures that live and interact together to keep the soil fit and healthy for planting. All these creatures: organic matter, soil microorganisms, etc.; are relevant and important to your crop growth.
If you plan to plant on any soil, you have to feed the soil as you feed your crops too. When you feed your crop inorganically (inorganic fertilizer), it supplies nutrient on a short-term basis that encourages your plants to grow rapidly, when the inorganic fertilizer is still active. The plants grow softly and become susceptible to pest and diseases.
You know why?
Because their rapid growth is premature, they have evaded some morphological stages of their growth; thus, they become vulnerable to pest and diseases.
In addition, artificial fertilizer does not feed your soil rather it deteriorates it because it harms the soil creatures like earthworms and other microorganisms. They do not provide the soil food (organic matter); without this, the soil cannot build its structure and the soil ecosystem is destabilized.
Inorganic fertilizer reduces the water holding capacity of the soil, reduces the soil aeration and reduces organic matter. These are the major factors of crop growth. Adding inorganic fertilizer to the soil is like planting outside the soil community because the crops get little or no support from the soil, apart from being the planting medium.
In case you don’t know, a greater amount of fertilizer is needed every year to produce the same yield of any crop because the soil is deteriorated each time you apply inorganic fertilizers.
However, using organic fertilizer like compost manure helps our productivity in a great way. Organic manure like compost provides food for both your crop and soil.
It helps to improve and build the soil ecosystem, which includes the soil structure, the soil living organisms, soil aeration and the water holding capacity and conservation of the soil moisture. The nutrient organic manure adds to the soil is long acting; it stays in the soil for a very long time, its release of the nutrient is slow and steady and the soil is greatly protected and preserved.
What are the major factors that favor crop growth in organic farming?
Another important factor that increases the yield of an organic farm is the soil type. If you crave high yield from your organic farm, then follow this duly. When you plant on the wrong soil, you are likely going to have a bad yield at the end. The roles soil plays are:
- A medium of crop growth.
- Provision of nutrients.
- Provision of water for the plants.
If your soil can provide all these adequately, your yield would be massive. Crops love soil with high organic matter, soil with high microbial activities, soil that can conserve water and nutrients and not the ones that leach out nutrient always.
These activities facilitate high yield. If you use inorganic fertilizer, all these can never be achieved rather, they are reduced. Inorganic fertilizer makes soil devoid of all these due to its hygroscopic nature; it burns the soil and kills the soil ecosystem.
When a farmer complains of low yield, you inquire about the farm location. Before delving into any agribusiness, especially crop production, you need to know the topography of the farm location.
The altitude or height of the location of the farmland plays an active role in the productivity of the land because, the higher the altitude, the cooler the area of the farmland. The temperature of the farmland is reduced, and when the temperature is reduced the rate of reaction or activities of the soil is reduced because the rate of reactions or activities of the soil is increased with increasing temperature.
Examples of the soil reactions are the decay of organic matter, synthesis of crop nutrients, the formation of the soil structure, etc. Hence, low temperature reduces the availability of nutrients to the crop, thus, reducing crop yield.
These are the two external factors affecting crop yield in crop production.
How do farmers control pests in organic farming?
The greatest enemy of crops are pests. A pest can cause diseases, thus, reducing the crop quality and quantity.
Use of inorganic pesticides is common but research has shown that this approach is detrimental to humans and the environment. As an organic farmer, you can control pests using any of the below techniques:
How to improve soil fertility in an organic farm
A fertile land increases yield; all your farming activities are justified by fertile land. You can improve your soil fertility through the addition of compost manure. Compost manure is an organic matter, remains of plant and animal that has been rotted and degraded by the action of bacteria and microorganisms over a period. Materials like leaves, animal waste, and household waste can be used to make compost manure. It is cheap and easy to make.
- Benefits of using compost manure
- Compost manure improves the soil structure.
- Compost manure increases soil fertility by adding nutrients and making it accessible for the plant to take up and utilize easily.
- Compost supplies nutrient for a long time in the soil.
Conclusively, organic farming is a healthy way of living. Organic foods are what the body needs to stay fit. Apart from the body, it has a huge impact on the environment; it reduces environmental pollution.
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