Elements of Organic Farming: Putting Your System Together
Putting YourSystem Together George Kuepper Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture
This publication outlines theorigins of organic agriculture. Ithighlights the concepts, ideas,and milestones that define it as adistinct and sustainableapproach to farming thatinvolves more than simplyprecluding synthetic pesticidesand fertilizers. 23 pages.Copies can be downloaded free-of-charge at:http://www.kerrcenter.com/publications/organic-philosophy-report.pdfPrint copies can be requestedfrom: The Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture P.O. Box 588 Poteau, OK 74953 Tel: 918-647-9123
A Production System that… respond(s) to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. §205.2
A group of interacting,interrelated, orinterdependentelements forming acomplex whole. from: Answers.com
Evolution Of and the Influences On American Organic Farming Organizations F.H. King J.I. Rodale Wm. Albrecht OFPANA/ NOP Pioneers OTA Events R. Steiner & A. Howard E. Balfour Silent Spring Standard USDA’s Anthroposophy OFPA Implemented L. Bromfield E. Pfeiffer Organic Report USDA Countercultural Influences Organic National Environmental Consciousness Certification Standard Organic By Neglect &Sustainable Practices Industry from the Asian Standards Continent Certified Organic ProductionConvertible Husbandry (America Mid-1800s) Humus Organic Eco-Agriculture High Farming Farming Farming (Europe 1800s) Integrated Production, etc. Agroecology & Permaculture Demeter Biodynamics Certified Production ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲ ▲1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2006
Organic Soil Management — An Old Saying among Organic Farmers
The Soil Food Web 2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology
What the Food Web Needs Sunlight Air WaterOrganic NutrientMatter 2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology Elements
Organic Soil ManagementFeeding the Soil Food Web meansproviding organic matter as food. Inorganic farming, this has been calledthe Law of Return—returning mineral- richorganic material tothe soil.
Plant Nutrition Under Natural Conditions Source of plant nutrition: Digestive - plant residues processes and - animal remains nutrient recycling - animal wastes in the Rhizosphere: The Soil Food WebParent Soluble Minerals Plant Rock 11 Organic Compounds Other “phytamins” RootsMaterial 2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology
Conventional Management Organic Matter Conventional ζ as Crop Soluble ζ Residues Fertilizers Digestive ζ processes and nutrient recycling in the Rhizosphere: The Soil Food WebParent Rock 12 Soluble Minerals Plant Organic CompoundsMaterial 2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology Benefits Other Roots
Humus Farming/Organic Management Organic Materials and Methods: Composts Crop Residues Green Manures Livestock Manures Natural Fertilizers Biological Inoculants Digestive Rotations w/ sod crops processes and nutrient recycling in the Rhizosphere: The Soil Food Web Parent Soluble Minerals Rock 13 Organic Compounds Plant Material Other Benefits 2005 National Center for Appropriate Technology Roots
Organic Crops Resist Pests•Predisposition theory•Insect pests asnature’s garbage men•Organic as plant-positive vs. pest-negative approach
Organic Crops Resist PestsMycorrhizalAssociations asan element instress reductionand inducedresistance Root from sorghum with vesicles ("little sacs") of the mycorrhizal fungus called Gigaspora rosea. http://microbezoo.commtechlab.msu.edu/zoo/zdrm0194.html
A Greenhouse N Kerr Center’s B Cannon Horticulture Plots 2011 Boundaries & Dimensions Total area: 6.67 acres Herb Bed Block Bed Dimensions: Greenhouse: 22’ x 30’ Herb Bed: 10’ x 32’ Block Bed: 5’ x 38’ Fields A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4: 90’ x 282’ Field A-1 .58 a Field U: 56’ x 308’ Buffering:Kerr Road All fields and beds have 25 feet Field A-2 .58 a of organically managed buffer. The Greenhouse has 15 feet of organically managed buffer on the NW side. However, no doors or air intakes occur on691 ft Field A-3 .58 a that side. Field A-4 .58 a Denotes Hydrants/Irrigation access Field U .35 a = approx. 50 ft CD
Heritage Vegetable Trials(Okra & Sweet Sorghum in 2008 shown)
Copies can be downloaded free-of- charge at:http://www.kerrcenter.com/publications/summer- cover-crops.pdf Print copies can be requested from: The Kerr Center forSustainable Agriculture P.O. Box 588 Poteau, OK 74953 Tel: 918-647-9123
1. Crop Rotation (the sequencing of crops over time on a field)2. The inclusion of cover crops and/or perennial forage crops within a crop rotation
Cover crops are plants you grow or allow to grow, not for harvest, but for purposes such as preventing erosion, improving the soil, and weed control. Can be categorized by season— winter & summer
Kerr Center’sA-1 2008 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch Cannon Horticulture Plots 2009 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2010 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2011 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2012 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch Winter Season:A-2 2008 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2009 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch What you’d find 2010 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2011 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch In the fields. 2012 Rye w/peas, clover or vetchA-3 2008 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2009 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch Fall-seeded winter cover crops 2010 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2011 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2012 Rye w/peas, clover or vetchA-4 2008 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2009 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2010 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch 2011 Rye w/peas, clover or vetch *
Winter 2012 Cover Tomatoes Crop Winter 2013 cover Tomatoes CropThis is NOT what we mean by rotation!
Kerr Center’sA-1 2011: Early Vegetables Cannon Horticulture Plots 2012: Summer Cover Crop 2013: Late Vegetables Crops and Cover Crops 2014: Summer Cover Crop DURING THE GROWING SEASON 2011: Summer Cover CropA-2 2012: Early Vegetables 2011-2014 2013: Summer Cover Crop 2014: Late vegetables Summer Late Cover 2011: Late Vegetables VegetablesA-3 Crop 2012: Summer Cover Crop 2013: Early Vegetables 2014: Summer Cover Crop 2011: Summer Cover Crop Summer EarlyA-4 2012: Late Vegetables Cover Vegetables 2013: Summer Cover Crop Crop 2014: Early vegetables
One in which a significantpercentage of the land is planted toseason-long cover crops each year.
INSECT & DISEASE CONTROL Clubroot, fusarium yellows, blackleg, & black rot in cole crops Black rot in pumpkins Northern & Western Corn Rootworm in sweetcorn, popcorn and decorative corn Root rots in beans & peas Gummy stem blight in Photo: Gummy Stem Blight cucurbits
Early blight in solanaceous crops—2 years Black rot in cucurbits—2+ years Blackleg in brassicas—3-to-4 years Fusarium wilt in peas—4-to-5 years Clubroot in brassicas—7 years White rot on alliums—20 years
Green manures are cover crops grown primarily to improve the soil by adding organic matter and nitrogen (in the case of legumes), and making nutrients more available Summer green manure crops include annual sorghums, millets, buckwheat, soybeans, southern peas, sesbania, crotalaria, sweetclover
Nitrogen is the most limiting crop nutrient in most crop and garden soils.Legumes include: English peas,southern peas, peanuts, beans,faba beans, soybeans, alsoclovers, sweet clovers, alfalfa,vetch, and lespedeza.
#1 As a winter cover crop when you can’t grow most vegetables.#2 As an option for a green fallow #3 In rotation with other vegetablesplanting. Peas, Late Cowpeas Beans, Green Sweetcorn Vegetables edamame fallow soybeans Tomatoes, Soybeans Early Sweet peppers, Green Vegetables potatoes eggplant Fallow
Buckwheat and southern peasare exceptionally good forbeneficial insect habitats. Beneficials include pollinators, predatory and parasitic insects, predatory mites and spiders.
Provides for soil fertility, especially nitrogen Suppresses many crop diseases Thwarts many insect pests Reduces weed pressure Creates a biologically healthy soil which in turn: Self-generates soil fertility Suppresses Disease Reduces insect pests Suppresses weeds
Good Organic Crop Off-Farm Inputs F e r t i l i z e r s — Pe s t i c i d e s Compost, ManureOrganic Cultural PracticesA Sound Organic SystemRotations—Cover Crops Biologically Healthy Soil
Good Organic Crop Off-Farm Inputs F e r t i l i z e r s — Pe s t i c i d e s Compost, ManureOrganic Cultural Practices A Sound Organic System Rotations—Cover Crops Biologically Healthy Soil
Summer Squash Root Crops Beans Cucurbit beets, carrots, etc. legume 8-Year Rotation Proposed TomatoesIrish Potatoes by Eliot Coleman Solanaceous Solanaceous Described in The New Organic Grower English Peas Sweet Corn Cabbage Family + winter-killed Graminae + hardy cover crop cover crop (grass) Brassicas Legume
Good Organic Crop Off-Farm Inputs F e r t i l i z e r s — Pe s t i c i d e s Compost, ManureOrganic Cultural PracticesA Sound Organic SystemRotations—Cover CropsBiologically Healthy Soil
Kerr’s 4-Year Bio-extensive Rotation Winter cover crops of grain rye with winter annual Legumes—all plots. Typically a Green Vegetables warm season Fallow smother crop of sudangrass Green Vegetables Fallow
Alternate BioextensiveRotationWinter cover cropsof grain rye withwinter annualLegumes—allplots. Green Vegetables Fallow Vegetables Vegetables Green Fallow
Alternate Green Fallow RotationWinter cover cropsof grain rye withwinter annualLegumes—allplots. Green Vegetables Fallow Vegetables Vegetables Green Vegetables Fallow
Alternate Green Fallow RotationWinter cover cropsof grain rye withwinter annualLegumes—allplots. Green Vegetables Fallow Vegetables Vegetables
Theoretical Relationship Between Green Fallow and Need for Fertilizer and Pest Control Inputs INCREASING NEED FOR OFF-FARM INPUTS INCREASING PERCENT OF LAND IN GREEN FALLOW
BFRDP Main Demo Plot 2012 (Field A2 Eight-Field Rotation This is a single long raised bed, 10 ft X 280 ft. Plots shown are about 10 ft X 30 ft. (This allows about 5 ft buffer between plots for turning tillers and other equip around.)← ← ←Kerr Road → → → Okra 1 Green Fallow Sweet potatoes 1 row Peanuts Buckwheat Dbl Crop: Eng. peas Dbl Crop: Spring-planted Proso Millet Southern Peas Broccoli, Cabbage, Cucumber Chinese Cabbage White Potatoes 1 row Beans Dbl Crop: Greens & radishes Sweetcorn 3 rows Green Fallow Dbl Crop: Buckwheat Caged Tomatoes 1 row Squash Dbl Crop: Greens & radishes 2 or 3 rows Iron & Clay Eggplant & Peppers 1 row Dbl Crop: Beans Cowpeas 280 ft
Crop Rotation and Cover Cropping on the Organic Farm by Seth Kroeck.NOFA Organic Principles and Practices Handbook Series. 95 p.Gaining Ground by Canadian Organic Growers, Inc. 2005.COG, 323 Chapel St., Ottawa, ON KIN 7Z2. 311 p.Organic Crop Production Overview by G. Kuepper & L. Gegner. 2004.http://www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/organiccrop.htmlCrop Rotation on Organic Farms: A Planning Manual (NRAES-177)by C. L. Mohler & S. E. Johnson. 2009. NRAES/Cornell CooperativeExtension , Ithaca, NY. 156 p.Cover Crops on the Intensive Market Farm by John Hendrickson. 2003.CIAS, University of Wisconsin–Madison. 20 p.
Anne & Eric Nordell, Beech Grove Farm, Trout Run, PA.Look for their column: The Bioextensive Market GardenIn The Small Farmers Journal
the international agrarian quarterlyMailing address Physical address Phone numbersPO Box 1627 192 west Barclay Drive 800-876-2893Sisters, Oregon Sisters, Oregon 541-549-206497759 97759 541-549-4403 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.smallfarmersjournal.com