Farming is the act of cultivating crops and livestock on a farm. The farming industry is a huge and important industry in the UK and a large contributor to our economy. In spite of this traditional farming experienced a turbulent time several years ago and is still rebuilding as an industry.
But the UK’s agriculture sector has defied the recent recession to contribute over £8 billion to the UK economy. As a result, farming is a lynchpin in the socio-economic makeup of the United Kingdom.
As the world changes, we have seen the need for change in other arenas. As such it has been necessary to take steps to evolve farming. This is to ensure that it maintains its usual production and services, but also offers us something new. The direct result of this has seen a move towards sustainable agriculture. A subsidiary of sustainable agriculture is organic agriculture, otherwise called organic farming.
The two are similar; however an important difference is that organic crops can also be produced on farms that are not sustainable.
Simply put organic farming is the process of working with the environment, rather than in spite of it. The principle is to achieve good crops and harvest without harming our environment or the people working and living in it. This is done by using techniques and methods that are synonymous with organic farming.
It does not include the use of chemicals for fertilising crops or additives for food. Instead, it involves things like crop rotation and biological pest control. There are several benefits to organic farming as opposed to regular agricultural practices.
For one thing, organic farming benefits the environment as less natural habitats face damage. Preservation of the environment means an increase and longevity in the agricultural industry. Furthermore, it benefits the soil by making it richer. As such the food produced is healthier for consumers and biodiversity increases exponentially.
Organic farming significantly decreases our carbon footprint as well as helping preserve the ecosystem. Organic farming is becoming more popular due to consumer demand for healthier food.
Furthermore, conventional farms can also install organic farming methods, which help keep them healthier
Organic farming is growing at a steady rate and is considered the future of the agricultural industry.
There are several processes and techniques involved in organic farming that we should look at:
Green manure is a method involved in organic agriculture.The purpose of it is to help in the process of growing crops and keeping soil healthy.
The basic principle of green manure involves growing a crop with the express purpose of using it to benefit the soil. You might find that your soil isn’t as rich or fertile as it needs to be, and you are finding it difficult to grow things. If so ‘green manure’ is the way to go. This crop is not cultivated for a food source but is instead uprooted and then returned to the ground.
The plants act as crop cover and are grown over bare soil. They are usually fast growing and are grown for a specific period. These plants serve an important purpose on your farm as they prevent soil erosion and negate the impact of weeds.
After a while they are dug up whilst still green and then plowed back into the soil, adding valuable nutrients to the ground.
Green manure helps to improve your soil structure whilst also helping with sustainable crops.
The nutrients found in green manure help to improve crop growth and development.
Biological Pest Control
Pest control is not a new concept in the agricultural world. But biological pest control is. This is a process confined to organic farming.
Biological pest control is a method of pest control that provides an alternative to the use of pesticides. Pesticides can be toxic and damage crops as well as cause long term damage to soil structure and consistency. They can also have a bad impact on our health and the health of others around us.
A key principle of biological pest control is to deal with a pest by introducing a natural enemy into the environment. In this scenario, it is necessary for the natural enemy to have the ability to colonize if needed in order to keep up with the pest.
Biological pest control is an easy and cost effective way of controlling pest problems on farms. It also ensures that the environment is not compromised.
This method is also long lasting. Once introduced the predatory insect requires no further input from you and continues to kill the pest.
Organic Farming Equipment
The equipment and machinery used in organic farming are no different to that used in conventional farming. But many farmers like to take steps to ensure they stick to the principles of organic farming.
If you want to move more towards organic farming you will no doubt need to consider machinery. There are several pieces of equipment and machinery you may wish to look at.
These include tractors, cultivators, tillers, combine harvesters and seed drills, among others.
If you have or want any equipment for your farm it is probable that you will want to insure it as well. Farm equipment isn’t cheap and so it is important to protect against damage and breakdown. Nowadays much of this insurance information can be found online at places such as FarmTrader.
Many farmers favour old farming equipment which cuts down on their carbon footprint and is often all they can afford. If you want to keep organic-friendly, then don’t rush to replace an old machine just because it needs a new part.
One important thing to consider as an organic farmer is that a computer is of vital importance. There are a lot of records to keep and paperwork to store. It will also be important to keep details of seasonal rotation and monthly yield.
It is not efficient to try to keep this much information by way of actual paperwork; for one thing it would take up too much space. A computer can hold everything necessary and allow you quick and stress-free access to your information at the click of a button.