High Productivity Farms may be Greener than Organic

While organic farms are great, new research finds that farms that aim for high food production using environmentally-friendly practices could be better for the environment than both organic and conventional farms.

A new study, led by Oxford University scientists, compared the environmental impact of different farming systems.

They found that “integrated” farms that maximized crop yields while using environmentally-friendly techniques — such as crop rotation, organic fertilizers, over winter cover crops, and minimal use of pesticides — would use less energy and generate lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production than both organic and conventional farms.

“Farming in a way that’s good for the environment doesn’t have to mean accepting a dramatic drop in food production,” said Dr Hanna Tuomisto, who led the research at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). “Our research suggests that integrated farming systems, which combine the best practices for producing high yields with low negative environmental impacts, can be more beneficial for the environment than either organic or conventional farming.”

Article by Roger Greenway, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

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