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Organic agriculture more resistent to drought

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Since 1981, the Rodale Institute, America’s oldest organic research institute, has conducted North America’s longest side-by-side farming systems trial: comparing organic, conventional and, for the last handful of years, GMO agriculture, collecting data on yields, economics, nutrition, soil health and energy, explains the Rodales’s Organic Life. The foundation of organic agriculture is not only the absence of the use of toxic chemicals in food production, it's also the active practice of soil stewardship.

Organic fields in the FST produce just as much as the chemical-reliant fields, despite claims that organic farming uses more resources to produce less food. But it is the performance of the organic fields during drought years that is truly amazing. In four out of five drought years, organically grown corn produced significantly more than conventionally grown corn. The organic corn of the FST was even more successful under drought conditions than drought-tolerant corn varieties were in industry trials. The Institute’s organically managed fields produced between 28.4 percent and 33.7 percent more corn than conventionally managed fields under drought conditions.

“The current toxic-chemical approach to growing our food destroys the life of the soil with pesticides, herbicides, and high levels of inorganic fertilizers,” says Elaine Ingham, chief scientist at the Rodale Institute. “They are destroying the support system, developed by nature over the last 4 billion years, that grows healthy plants.”  That natural support system is what makes plants more drought-tolerant. Rather than crop failure in times of stress, the organically cultivated plants can rely on the soil to provide what the weather has not.


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