Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to johnc@cfra.org.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Organic corn and soybean yields measure up

- from the desk of John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs - johnc@cfra.org - a report from the journal Bioscience that I thought was interesting and that some of you might find of interest too.

Organic corn and soybean yields measure up long-term, with extra benefits.

Organic and conventional farming yield the same long-term production of corn and soybeans, and organic farming uses 30 percent less energy and less water, as well as the most familiar benefit of avoiding pesticides, a Cornell University professor has concluded after reviewing a 22-year study.

"Organic farming offers real advantages for such crops as corn and soybeans," ecology and agriculture professor David Pimentel writes in the July issue of Bioscience, reviewing the Rodale Institute Farming Systems Trial, the longest-running comparison of the two methods. Organic farming also causes less erosion, maintains soil and groundwater quality, and conserves more biological resources, he reports.

"The study compared a conventional farm that used recommended fertilizer and pesticide applications with an organic animal-based farm (where manure was applied) and an organic legume-based farm (that used a three-year rotation of hairy vetch/corn and rye/soybeans and wheat). The two organic systems received no chemical fertilizers or pesticides," says Newswise, a research-reporting service.

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