Rodale 15 year trials: organic farming finishes first (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Venaura Farm

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 20:41:33 -0400
From: Patricia Dines <PDines@compuserve.com>
To: Patricia Dines <73652.1202@compuserve.com>
Subject: Rodale 15 year trials: organic farming finishes first

Thought this might be of interest to you - P. Dines

--- FORWARD ---


One of the commonly heard arguments in defense of chemical farming is that
it is more productive than organic agriculture. Proponents of toxic
pesticides and synthetic fertilizers claim that farmers could not grow
enough food with organic methods to feed the people of the Earth,
therefore, chemical use is necessary and justified.  But, one long-term
study indicates this might not be the case.

The longest-running experiment in the U.S. comparing chemical and organic
farming is the Rodal Institute's Farming Systems Trial. For over 15 years,
it has compared three farming systems side by side at the Rodale Institute
Experimental Farm in Pennsylvania. One field has been farmed by
conventional rotation of corn and soybeans, using chemical fertilizers and
herbicides. Two other fields rotate corn, soybeans, grains, and hay - one
using legumes for fertilizer, and the other manure, and both using
mechanical weed controls. 

The organic fields produced the same yields as the chemical fields in
normal years and greater yields in dry years. The soil quality of the
organic fields was higher - holding more water and air, and suffering less
erosion - enabling their organic fields to out-produce the chemical ones
during years with low rainfall. In 1995, for example, the organic,
legume-based system produced 148 bushels of corn per acre, compared to 115
bushels with the chemical system.

SOURCE: Spectrum: The Wholistic News Magazines, May/June 1997, p. 6. 
BASED ON INFO IN: Organic Gardening magazine, April 1997.

NOTE:  Spectrum is a great source of lots of short wholistic news/info
summaries, like the above, on health, environment, society, mind and
spirit, etc. It's a print periodical, only $20/yr. 
CONTACT INFO: wholenews@msn.com, (919) 493-2181, 3519 Hamstead Court,
Durham NC 27707.