Comparing organic vs. conventional farming on plant yield and nutritional content

Researchers have found that the treatment of soil for organic farming increases its biochemical quality and makes it more sustainable in the long run. In this study, published in the Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science, organic and conventional means of farming were compared based on onion yield, biochemical quality, soil organic carbon (SOC), and microbial population after their sixth cropping cycle.

  • Six setups were used, one for each treatment added and another for the control setup (conventional farming).
  • The organic treatments that were added to the soil included farmyard manure (FYM), poultry manure (PM), vermicompost (VC), neem cake (NC), and a combination of all four.
  • For six years, the yield for the organically treated setups was 24.6 to 43.6 percent lower compared to the control setup.
  • Bulb yield for FYM, PM, and VC treated soil had no significant difference.
  • The onion bulbs that grew in the sixth year under FYM, PM, and VC treatment contained more total phenol, total flavonoid, ascorbic acid, and quercetin-3-glucoside than the control bulbs.
  • All five of the treated setups exhibited an increase in SOC, microbial population, fungal-to-bacterial ratio, and dehydrogenase activity.

The results of the study highlighted the different advantages that would be experienced from organic farming. Although organic farming produced lower yield compared to conventional farming, the advantages it offers means farmers can sell their produce at a much higher price, according to the researchers.

Find the full text of the study at this link.

Learn more about organic farming by reading

Journal Reference:

Thangasamy A, Gorrepati K, Ahammed TPS, Savalekar RK, Banerjee K, Sankar V, Chavan MK. COMPARISON OF ORGANIC AND CONVENTIONAL FARMING FOR ONION YIELD, BIOCHEMICAL QUALITY, SOIL ORGANIC CARBON, AND MICROBIAL POPULATION. Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science. 19 June 2017;64(2). DOI:10.1080/03650340.2017.1341045

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