Organic Farming For Sustainable Agricultural Production

Definition

  • Organic farming is a type of ecological production management that emphasizes biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain, and enhance ecological harmony.

What We Can Understand By This Definition Is

1. What does biodiversity mean?

  • It means that we need to include multiple crops at once to reduce insect, pest, and disease pressure.

2. What does the biological cycle mean?

  • The biological cycle mandates that you must rotate your crops. As a result, by doing so, you can improve your soil fertility while also reducing the impact of insect pests and diseases.

3. What is soil biological activity?

  • Soil biological activity means the soil with a diverse microbial population. As a result, the microbial community that lives in the soil contributes to the pattern of nutrient release which is very essential for crop growth and development.

  • So, by doing organic farming we maintain the microbial populations and make the soil such a living body as active with or the management practices like crop rotations and the crop diversification.

History Of Organic Farming

History of organic farming- 13angle.com
  • Sir Albert Howard, F.H. Lord, Rudolf Steiner, and others developed the concepts of organic farming in the early 1900s, believing that the use of animal excrement (commonly made into compost), cover crops, trim revolution, and biologically and organically based pest controls resulted in a better farming system.

  • The history of organic farming may be traced back to 10000 years ago when crop cultivation began with arable crops such as wheat, barley, and rice, followed by pulses. There were no artificial fertilizers available during those times, and the only farming method available consisted of crops and animal husbandry.

  • The origins of agricultural production have been debated during the previous few decades, with a focus on the negative effects of conventional farming. Conventional farming has presented a major threat to the quality of food, the environment, and water.

  • Organic farming is getting popular around the world to give better surroundings and food quality to people. So, people again shifted to organic production.

Components Of Organic Farming

Components of organic farming- 13angle.com

Crop Rotation:-

  • It is a method of producing various crops in a regular sequence on the same piece of land over two or more years. For successful sustainable agriculture, choosing the best crop rotation is essential.

  • As you go on practicing this method then you can see an increase in soil fertility, weeds can be managed easily, can break the insect cycle and diseases can be controlled.

Year

Type of crop can be grown

Year 1

Solanaceous crops and tuber crops (tomato, onion, brinjal, capsicum, chilli, potato, etc) can be grown.

Year 2

Legume crops (beans, pea, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, etc) can be grown.

Year 3

All the crucifers (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, pak choy, mustard, turnips, etc) can be grown.

Year 4

All root crops (carrot, radish, beets, etc) can be grown

Organic Manures:-

  • Plant and animal wastes are used as sources of plant nutrients in manures. After the breakdown, they release nutrients.

  • Agriculture includes the skill of gathering and using waste from animal, human, and vegetable sources to improve crop productivity.

  • Manures are organic compounds generated from animal, human, and plant waste that include complex organic forms of plant nutrients.

  • Fertilizers are naturally occurring or manmade compounds that contain plant nutrients. In comparison to fertilizers with high nutrient content, manures with low nutrient content per unit quantity have a longer residual effect while also enhancing soil physical qualities.

  • Organic manures such as FYM, cow dung slurry, and compost, can be used to replace the inorganic fertilizers to maintain environmental quality.

  • Organic farmers can also use the see weeds, fish manures, bone meal, rock phosphate, etc.

The following are some of the most common sources of manure:-

  1. Cattle shed wastes like cow dung, cow urine, and slurry from biogas plants.
  2. Human habitation wastes like night soil, human urine, town refuse, sewage, sludge, and sullage
  3. Poultry litter, droppings of sheep and goats.
  4. Slaughterhouse wastes like bone meal, meat meal, blood meal, horn and hoof meal, and fish wastes.
  5. Byproducts of agro-based industries like oil cakes, bagasse, molasses, press mud, fruit and vegetable processing wastes, etc.
  6. Crop wastes like sugarcane trash, stubbles, straw, and other related material
  7. Water hyacinth, weeds, tank silt, and
  8. Green leaf crops can be used as green manuring.

Based on the concentration of nutrients the manures are divided into 2 types bulky organic manures and concentrated organic manures.

1. Bulky Organic Manures:-

  • Bulky organic manures contain a small percentage of nutrients and they are applied in large quantities. Farmyard manure (FYM), compost, and green manure are the most important and widely used bulky organic manures.

  • The use of bulky organic manures has several advantages:-
  1. They supply plant nutrients including micronutrients.
  2. They improve the soil’s physical properties like structure, water holding capacity, etc.,
  3. They increase the availability of nutrients.
  4. Carbon dioxide released during decomposition acts as a CO2 fertilizer and
  5. Plant-parasitic nematodes and fungi are controlled to some extent by altering the balance of microorganisms in the soil.

Farmyard manure (FYM):-

The decomposing mixture of dung and urine of farm animals, as well as litter and leftover material from roughages or fodder fed to cattle, is referred to as farmyard manure (FYM). On average, well-decomposed farmyard manure contains 0.5 percent nitrogen, 0.2 percent phosphorus, and.05% potassium.

Manure from sheep and goats:-

Sheep and goat droppings contain more nutrients than farmyard manure and compost. On average, manure includes 3% nitrogen, 1% phosphorus, and 2% potassium.

Manure from Poultry:-

Bird excreta ferments quite quickly. If left exposed for 30 days, it will lose 50% of its nitrogen. In comparison to other bulky organic manures, poultry manure includes more nitrogen and phosphorus. 3.03 percent nitrogen, 2.63 percent P2O5, and 1.4 percent potassium are the average nutritional contents.

2. Concentrated Organic Manures:-

Organic manures that are concentrated have a higher nutrient content than bulky organic manures. Oilcake, blood meal, and fish dung are examples of concentrated organic manures. Organic nitrogen fertilizer is another name for this type of fertilizer. Before their organic nitrogen is utilized by the crops, it is transformed into easily available ammoniacal and nitrate nitrogen by bacteria. As a result, these organic fertilizers are extremely slow-acting, but they provide available nitrogen for a longer period.

Organic nutrients can be given in the form of N, P2O5, and K2O.

Nutrient content of oil cakes

Other Concentrated Organic Manures:-

  1. Blood meal contains 10-12 (%) of N, 1-2 (%) of P2O5, and 1.0 (%) of K2O.
  2. Meat meal contains 10.5 (%) of N, 2.5 (%) of P2O5, and 0.5(%) of K2O.
  3. Fish meal contains 4 – 10 (%) of N, 3– 9 (%) of P2O5, and 0.3 – 1.5 (%) of K2O.
  4. Horn and Hoof’s meal contains 13 (%) of N.
  5. Raw bone meal contains 3 – 4 (%) of N and 20 – 25 (%) of P2O5.
  6. Steamed bone meal contains 1 – 2 (%) of N and 25 – 30 (%) of P2O5.

Vermicomposting

  • Vermicompost is a method of making compost with the use of earthworm, which eats biomass & excreta in digested form. This compost is generally called Vermicompost. This gradually takes 3 to 4 months. Then the results obtained are vermicompost which is also called Black gold.

  • The worms live, eat, and excrete the pit itself.

Selection Of Suitable Earthworm

Locally available earthworms are used for vermicomposting, but their mode of feeding is very slow & the earthworm which lives below the soil is also not suitable for Vermicompost production. The red worms and African earthworm (Endrilus engenae) are promising worms used for vermicompost production. All the two worms can be mixed for vermicompost production.

Selection Of Site

Vermicompost can be produced in any place with shade, high humidity & cool. Abandoned cattle shed or poultry shed, or unused building can be used. If it is to be produced in an open area, a shady place is selected. The attached roof may be provided to protect the process from direct sunlight & rain. The waste heaped for vermicompost production should be covered with moist gunny bags.

Different structures of vermicompost production

A cement tub may be constructed to a height of 2.0 – 2.5 feet & a breadth of 3 feet. The length may be fixed to any level depending upon the size of the room. The bottom of the tub is made to slope structure to drain the excess water from the vermicompost unit. A small tank is necessary to collect the drained liquid. vermicompost can also be prepared in wooden boxes, plastic bins, or any containers (except metal) with a drain hole at the bottom.

Waste selection for vermicompost production
Cattle dung (except the pig, poultry, and goat, farm wastes), crop residues, vegetable waste, agro-industrial waste, fruit market waste & all other biodegradable waste are suitable for vermicompost production. The cattle dung should be decomposed before being used for vermicompost production. All other waste should be pre-digested with cow dung for twenty days before being put into a vermi bed for composting. Heavy spices & metallic products are not used in this process.

Green manuring

Green manure is an organic fertilizer in which a full fresh plant or plant part (for example, a leaf) is utilized as manure in agricultural lands without any decomposition or composting. Green manures must be added in large quantities. This concept is quickly gaining ground in organic farming, where it plays an important role in a long-term cropping system.

Crop residue

Crop residues/straw from some of the major cereals and pulses are being used. About half of crop wastes are used as animal feed, while the rest might be very useful for nutrient recycling. Adequate care is required to use the residues after proper composting with efficient microbial inoculants. While the incorporation of crop residues e.g. Wheat and Rice straw, as such or inoculated with fungal species had beneficial effects on crop yields and was important in the Physico-chemical properties of soil.

Biofertilizers

Biofertilizers are substances that contain living microorganisms, when applied to the seed, plant surfaces, or soil they colonize the rhizosphere or the interior of the plant and promoted growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the host plant.

The biofertilizers add nutrients through the natural processes of nitrogen fixation, solubilizing phosphorus, and stimulating plant growth through the synthesis of growth-promoting substances.

Types Of Biofertilizers:-

1. Bacterial biofertilizers

  • Symbiotic Nitrogen fixers: For Example, Rhizobium, Azospirillium.
  • Asymbiotic Nitrogen fixers/free living: For Example, Azotobacter, Klebsiella,

2. Fungal biofertilizers

  • Fungal biofertilizer example VAM (Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza).

3. Algal biofertilizers

  • Algal biofertilizer examples, Blue-Green Algae (BGA) in association with Azolla. And some other examples like Anabaena, Nostoc, and Oscillatoria.

4. Phosphate solubilizing bacteria

Phosphate solubilizing bacteria example, Pseudomonas, Bacillus megaterium.

Biological Management

To eliminate pest insects in an environmentally friendly manner, biological control entails mass production and release of natural enemies like parasitoids and predators. Radiation is utilized to improve the applicability, cost-effectiveness, and safety of growing, transporting, and deploying natural enemies.

Global Share Of Organic Farming

Name

Percentage (%)

Oceania

45%

Europe

25%

South America

13%

North America

6%

Asia

8%

Africa

3%

Organic Products Sale

Organic products

Sale percentage (%)

Fruits and vegetables

40%

Beverages

16%

Dairy and egg

15%

Bread and grains

12%

Packaged foods

8%

Condiments

4%

Snack foods

4%

Meat, poultry, fish

1%

The Largest Organic Producers Are Listed Below

Country

No. of producers

India

58520

Ethiopia

203602

Mexico

200039

Uganda

190670

Philippines

165958

Tanzania

148610

Peru

96857

Turkey

69967

Paraguay

58258

Italy

52609

Organic Certification

  • An organic certification system is a quality assurance initiative intended to assure quality prevent fraud and promote commerce based on standards and ethics. It is a process certification for producers of organic foods and other organic plant products.

  • These certifications will facilitate and will make a trust-building among the consumers for the getting the assurance of the quality of the organic products.

Best Organic Certification Agencies In India:-

1. In Maharashtra

  1. Bureau Veritas Certification India Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai
  2. Control Union Certifications, Mumbai
  3. International Resources for Fairer Trade, Mumbai
  4. Ecocert SA, Aurangabad

2. In Karnataka

  1. IMO Control Private Limited, Bangalore
  2. Skal International, Bangalore
  3. Aditi Organics Certification Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore
  4. APOF Organic Certification Agency, (AOCA) Bangalore

3. In Hyderabad

  1. FoodCert India Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad
  2. Vedic Organic Certification Agency, Hyderabad

4. In Kerala

  1. Indian Organic Certification Agency (INDOCERT), Ernakulam
  2. Lacon Quality Certification Pvt. Ltd., Thiruvalla

5. In Rajasthan

  1. Rajasthan Organic Certification Agency (ROCA), Jaipur 
  2. OneCert Asia Agri Certification Pvt. Ltd., Jaipur

6. In Haryana

  1. SGS India Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon

7. In Uttarakhand

  1. Uttaranchal State Organic Certification Agency (USOCA), Dehradun

Top 13 Interesting Facts About Organic Farming

  1. Organic farming may be traced back to 10000 years ago.

  2. Initially, agriculture started with organic farming then people gradually started with inorganic/ conventional/ chemical-based farming, and now again people shifted to practice organic farming.

  3. The organic farming concept was developed by Sir Albert Howard, F.H. Lord, Rudolf Steiner, and others in the early 1900s.

  4. The crop cultivation began with arable crops such as wheat, barley, and rice, followed by pulses.

  5. Shifting to organic cultivation is an eco-friendly approach.

  6. The Farmer’s current way of processing farmyard manure is ineffective. So, they need to enrich the manure and its concentration before the application.

  7. Organic farming reduces the use of non-renewable resources in agriculture including fossil fuels.

  8. Organic farming work to ensure that the waste products from towns and the food industries achieve a quality that allows their re-use as fertilizers in agriculture. 

  9. It Provides all animals with living conditions that satisfy their natural behavior pattern needs because the animal is an integral component of organic farming.

  10. Practicing organic farming is the best way to reverse the adverse effects caused to the soil by chemicals.

  11. Organic farming has the potential to be a profitable alternative production strategy for farmers, but it comes with several drawbacks.

  12. Being open to various organic approaches to tackling manufacturing difficulties is one key to success.

  13. Determining the root of the problem and considering measures to avoid or mitigate the long-term issue rather than a quick remedy.

Nitya M- 13angle writer

Nitya M

Writer

13angle