It’s a method of crop and livestock production that involve more than just choosing not to use pesticides fertilizers and genetically modified organisms, antibiotics and growth hormones.
GENERAL PRINCIPALS OF ORGANIC PRODUCTION
- Protect the environment minimize soil degradation and erosion decrease pollution optimize and promote a sound state of health.
- Maintain for a long time the soil fertility by optimizing conditions for biological activity within the soil.
- Maintain biological diversity within the system
- Recycle materials and resources to the greatest extent possible within the enterprise.
- Provide alternative care that promote the health and meets the behavioral needs of livestock.
It relies on fertilizers of organic origin such as:
- Compost manure
- Green manure and
- Bone meal
It places emphasis on techniques such as:
- Crop rotation
- Companion planting
- Biological pest control
- Mixed cropping
- Fosterling of incest predators
Naturally occurring pesticide such as pyrethin and rotenone are encouraged.
Legumes are planted to fix nitrogen in the soil natural insect predators are encouraged crops are rotated to confuse pests and renew soil, and natural material such as potassium bicarbonate and mulches are used to control disease and weeds.
CROP DIVERSITY- planting a variety of vegetables crops supports a wide range of beneficial insects, soil microorganisms and other factors helps environment thrive and protects species from going extinct.
ORGANIC FARMING relies heavily on breakdown of organic matter using techniques like green manure and composting to replace nutrients taken from the soil by previous crops. It uses a variety of methods to improve soil fertility including reducing tillage and application of compost.
By reducing tillage the soil is not inverted and exposed to air less carbon is lost to the atmosphere resulting in more soil organism carbon
Plants need nitrogen phosphorus and potassium as well as micronutrients and symbiotic relationships with fungi and other organisms to flourish.
Mixed farms with both livestock and crops can operate as they farm where by the land gathers fertility through growing nitrogen fixing forage such as white cover and grow cash crops when fertility is established.
Soil and soil organism has proven beneficial to organic farming. Varieties of bacteria’s and fungi breakdown chemicals plants matter and animal waste into productive soil nutrients.
Organic weed management promotes weed suppression rather than weed elimination by enhancing crop competition and phytotoxic effects on weeds.
Organic farmers integrate cultural biological mechanical physical and chemical tactics to manage weeds without synthetic herbicides.
Organic standards require rotation of annual crops meaning that a single crop cannot be grown in the same location without a different intervening crop.
Organic crop rotation frequently include weed suppressive cover crops and crops with dissimilar life cycle to discourage weeds associated with particular crop.
Other cultural practices used to enhance crop competitiveness and reduce weed pressure include, selection of competitive crop varieties high density planting tight row space and planting into warm soil to encourage rapid crop germination.
Mechanical and physical weed control practices used on organic farms can be broadly grouped as;
- Tillage- turning the soil between crop to incorporate crop residue and soil amendments
- Mowing and cutting- removing top growth of weeds
- Flame weeding and thermal weeding using heat to kill weeds
- Mulching blocking weed emergence with organic material
CONTROLLING OTHER ORGANISMS
I.e. arthropods (e.g. insects, mites) nematodes, fungi and bacteria.
- Rotating crops to different locations from year to year to interrupt pest reproduction cycles
- Planting companion crops and pest repelling plants that discourage pests
- Using biological pesticides and herbicides
- Using raw covers to protect crops during pest migration periods.
- Using insect traps to monitor and control insect population.
Organic livestock may be and must be treated with medicine when they are sick, but drugs cannot be used to promote growth, their feed must be organic, and they must be pastured.
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 developing world on small organic farms tools are normally constrained to hand tools and diesel powered water pumps.
This is a non-exhaustive list of organic approved pesticides with their median lethal doses.
- Copper (ii) Sulphate is used as fungicides and is also used in conventional agriculture.
- Boric acid is used as stomach poison that target insects.
- Pyrethrin comes from chemicals extracted from frowers of the genus pyrethrum. Its potent toxicity is used to control insects.
- Lime sulphur (calcium polysulfide) and sulphur are considered to be allowed systhetic materials.
- Rotenone is a powerful insecticide that is used to control insects.
- Bromomethane is a gas that is used in nurseries of strawberry organic farming.
- Azadirachtin is a wide spectrum a potent insecticide.
FERTILIZERS USED IN ORGANIC FARMING
- NPK (amino acid organic fertilize)
State – granule
Solubility – 100%
Shelf time – 3 years
Can be applied to drip irrigation or splay irrigation organic + inorganic NPK with amino acid.
- Bulk humic acid organic liquid fertilizer
State – liquid
Appearance- dark brown liquid
Shelf life – 2 years
It is a very good liquid fertilizer for foliar application and root irrigation. Mainly used in agricultural crops, fruit trees, pasture cereals, horticulture crops, landscaping and gardening.
- Humic acid organic Granular fertilizer
State- granular fertilizer
Color – black
- Black phosphate organic fertilizer
State – Granule
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC FERTILIZER
- Fixed nutrients.
- Fungal control
- Eliminate drug toxicity
- Eliminate fertilizer toxicity
- Decomposition of root poison
- Enhance yield and quality of crops vegetables and fruits
- Reduce disease, improve yield
- Increase stress resistance.
- Pollution free environment.