Organic farming works in harmony with nature rather than against it. This involves using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural environment or the people who live and work in it. The methods and materials that organic farmers use are summarised as follows:
To keep and build good soil structure and fertility:
- recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures
- the right soil cultivation at the right time
- crop rotation
- green manures and legumes
- mulching on the soil surface
- careful planning and crop choice
- the use of resistant crops
- good cultivation practice
- crop rotation
- encouraging useful predators that
- eat pests
- increasing genetic
- using natural pesticides
- careful use of water resources
- good animal husbandry
A modern approach to farming
Organic farming does not mean going ‘back’ to traditional methods. Many of the farming methods used in the past are still useful today. Organic farming takes the best of these and combines them with modern scientific knowledge.
Organic farmers do not leave their farms to be taken over by nature; they use all the knowledge, techniques and materials available to work with nature. In this way the farmer creates a healthy balance between nature and farming, where crops and animals can grow and thrive.
To be a successful organic farmer, the farmer must not see every insect as a pest, every plant out of place as a weed and the solution to every problem in an artificial chemical spray. The aim is not to eradicate all pests and weeds, but to keep them down to an acceptable level and make the most of the benefits that they may provide.
On an organic farm, each technique would not normally be used on its own. The farmer would use a range of organic methods at the same time to allow them to work together for the maximum benefit. For example the use of green manures and careful cultivation, together provide better control of weeds than if the techniques were used on their own.