Blurred lines: Traditional and organic farming

  • Today's modern grower is incorporating organic practices into conventional approaches.
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When choosing between organic and conventionally grown produce, we tend to see it as an “all or nothing” decision. However, many growers are using techniques that have traditionally been seen in organic farming and are incorporating them into conventional farming. 
 
The gap between organic and conventional growers is narrowing with every passing year as new technology is making it easier to incorporate more natural methods into traditional management practices. 
 

Soil management

 
Many growers are turning away from using traditional tillage practices in an effort to nurture the agribiome in the soil. Instead of churning the soil annually, many will now till only when needed to combat soil compaction.  
 

Soil testing

 
Soil testing is done to guide precision nutrient application. The grower can apply only the nutrients that are shown as deficient on the tests and only in the correct areas, thus increasing the efficacy of the nutrients while decreasing some of the costs associated with soil treatments. 
 

Cover crops

 
Many conventional growers are also using various cover crops and polyculture, the practice of growing multiple crops in the same area. These practices aid in maintaining nutrient-rich soils through organic matter breakdown, and they also help prevent weeds.
 

Crop scouting

 
Early detection of pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies through crop scouting can reduce the use of pesticides and other inputs and allow for more precise applications of treatments to address crop issues.
 

A natural approach

 
Naturally based crop inputs, such as those that use amino acid technology, are being used by growers throughout the plant growth cycle. These inputs result in improved soil biology, plant health and greater yields, all while decreasing the use of synthetic inputs.  
 
More growers are coming to the realization that there is no need to compromise growth, yield or profit in the pursuit of improved sustainability.
 
For more information, or to discuss ways in which you too can incorporate some of these techniques into your operation, contact your local Alltech Crop Science representative.