Peppers grow in a high tunnel on an organic farm (Saucier, Miss.). Photographer: Stephen Kirkpatrick. Photo Courtesy of USDA NRCS.
Nutrient Management, Manure Mangement, Erosion Control
Row Crop, Pasture, Fodder, Rice, Small Grains
Temperate, Semiarid, Tropical
North America, Europe
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment
Ecological/organic production systems use a systems approach that relies on organic inputs to manage nutrients in such a way that mimics natural ecosystems. Nutrient management and manure management should be standard requirements for ecological agriculture and many other practices, such as buffers, should be expectations. Organic farmers manage crop nutrients through a crop rotation that includes cover crops and the application of plant and animal organic matter, generally in the form of compost. Appropriate tillage and cultivation practices improve soil structure, organic matter content and soil microbial life. The procedures and approaches used to implement these types of systems will determine the ultimate benefit to reducing nutrient pollution. 1
Growing crops ecologically (organically) still requires nutrient management and erosion control. Marketing produce with an “ecological” label would require a level of practice verification which could increase the cost, but the farmer should receive a premium for the product.
Scalable to small farms?
1 "EU Database of Best Practices." Living Water Exchange: Promoting Replication of Good Practices for Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe. Web. Sept. 2013. http://nutrient2.iwlearn.org/nutrient-reduction-practices/eu-database-of-practices/view .