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Rodale Institute: organic has many advantages

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

After 30 years of side-by-side research in a Farming Systems Trial (FST)®, Rodale Institute has demonstrated that organic farming is better equipped to feed us now and in future. The trial at Rodale Institute is America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture, which started in 1981. 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. Carbon increase was highest in the organic manure system, followed by the organic legume system. The conventional system has shown a loss in carbon in more recent years. In organic fields increased groundwater recharge and reduced runoff. Water volumes percolating through soil were 15-20% higher in the organic systems than the conventional system. Rather than running off the surface and taking soil with it, rainwater recharges our groundwater reserves in the organic systems, leaving soil in the fields where it belongs. Soils of the organic systems are better equipped to store and use water efficiently.

Over the 30 years of the trial, organic corn and soybean yields were equivalent to conventional yields in the tilled systems. Wheat yields were the same for organic and conventional systems. Water leaching from the conventional system more frequently exceeded the legal limit of 10 parts per million for nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in drinking water compared to the organic systems. Atrazine leaching in the conventional system sometimes exceeded the maximum contaminate level set by the EPA for drinking water. Concentrations in all conventional samples exceeded 0.1 parts per billion, a concentration that has been shown to produce deformities in frogs.

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