Rodale says 35 years shows organic gives better soil health and yields

Rodale Institute is claiming that soil health attributed to organic farming is driving higher yields during many crop years because of the quality of the improved soil in which the crops are being grown.

"In its 35th year of existence, the Farming Systems Trial (FST) at Rodale Institute continues to demonstrate, through scientific research data, that organic farming is superior to conventional systems with regard to building, maintaining and replenishing the health of the soil. This is the key to regenerative agriculture as it provides the foundation for its present and future growth," Rodale Institute is reporting.

The report goes on to explain that organic systems "perform especially well during drought years," and this is attributed to more soil organic matter, which helps with nutrient and water supply to crops.

"FST is America's longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. It was established in 1981 to study what happens to soil health and agricultural productivity when transitioning from conventional to organic agriculture.

"While organic agriculture practices result in higher soil organic matter (SOM) contents and, in turn, higher nutrient- and water-supplying potential to crops, transition to organic farming typically involves a lag time of several years in which yields can suffer and input demands increase as rebuilding soil microbial communities compete with crops for nitrogen and other available nutrients. This was evident in the initial decline in yields at the FST during the first five years of transition. Beyond this period, the organic system rebounded and consistently produced corn and soybean yields that matched or surpassed the conventional system," the researchers report.

They proceed by writing that "oganic systems perform especially well during years of drought.

During a five-year period between 1988 and 1998 when total rainfall from April to August was less than 14 inches (compared to 20 inches in normal years), average organic corn yields were 31% greater than conventional system. This performance can be attributed to greater SOM in organic systems. The full report can be read by clicking: Read full report


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