After an initial decline in yields during the first few years of transition, the organic system soon rebounded to match or surpass the conventional system. Over time, FST became a comparison between the long term potential of the two systems.Year after year, Rodale found:
Organic yields match conventional yields.
As Tom Philpott reported for Mother Jones 17 November 2011, Yet Again, Organic Ag Proves Just as Productive as Chemical Ag,
And now comes evidence from the very heart of Big Ag: rural Iowa, where Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture runs the Long-Term Agroecological Research Experiment (LTAR), which began in 1998, which has just released its latest results.Norman Borlaug, instigator of the “green revolution” of no-till and pesticides, when asked in 2000 whether organic agriculture could feed the world, said:
At the LTAR fields in Adair County, the (LTAR) runs four fields: one managed with the Midwest-standard two-year corn-soy rotation featuring the full range of agrochemicals; and the other ones organically managed with three different crop-rotation systems. The chart below records the yield averages of all the systems, comparing them to the average yields achieved by actual conventional growers in Adair County:
That’s ridiculous. This shouldn’t even be a debate. Even if you could use all the organic material that you have—the animal manures, the human waste, the plant residues—and get them back on the soil, you couldn’t feed more than 4 billion people. In addition, if all agriculture were organic, you would have to increase cropland area dramatically, spreading out into marginal areas and cutting down millions of acres of forests.And pesticiders have parrotted those same arguments all along. Yet Norman Borlaug was wrong, and so are they.
In short, Borlaug’s claim of huge yield advantages for the chemical-intensive agriculture he championed just don’t pan out in the field.
Organic crops draw a higher price in the market and don’t require expenditures for pricy inputs like synthetic fertilizer and pesticides.Sure, it’s a bit more complicated to plow up weeds and plant cover crops than to just spray everything and hope you can stay ahead of the mutant weeds you’re creating. But if you like health and profit more than the great god efficiency, you’ll go organic and you’ll never go back.
We not only can feed the world with organic agriculture, we need to, so we can have healthy food and a healthy environment. Rodale also reports:
Organic outperforms conventional in years of drought.All that and you don’t get pesticides in your food.
Organic farming systems build rather than deplete soil organic matter, making it a more sustainable system.
Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient.
Conventional systems produce 40% more greenhouse gases.
Organic farming systems are more profitable than conventional.
For health and profit, grow organic, and buy organic.