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Organic no-till farming saves resources, nourishes soil
by Global Good News staff writer
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29 September 2012
Near the end of a comprehensive lecture about the dangers of genetically modified food, Dr Peter Swan, an expert in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture, described two organic farming methods that provide solutions to the needs of modern agriculture and food production. Both are 'no-till' methods that are not only simple but also save time, energy, and money, and are less damaging to the environment. Crops are planted in a protective layer of mulch that nourishes the soil, maintains soil moisture, and provides a perfect microclimate for the crop to grow.
The first method, called 'no-till soya in rye', uses rye and soybeans. Rye is sown in the autumn where it over-winters in the field. In spring it grows quickly to maturity. The farmer rolls down the mature rye with a large roller attached to the front of his tractor while at the same time he seeds the new soya crop using a selective seeder attached to the back. The soya sprouts and grows into a healthy, strong crop, coming up through the rye mulch.
The second no-till example is used for growing pumpkins. In the autumn, without plowing, the farmer uses a direct seeder to set down seeds and a combination rye/hairy vetch (a legume) cover crop. In the spring when the rye is mature he rolls it down. Embedded in the rye mulch the pumpkin seeds sprout and grow into large healthy vines.
In both examples the cover crop, called a 'sacrificial crop', becomes a bed of mulch and helps the ground maintain moisture while keeping it weed-free, in addition to providing nourishment to earthworms and other soil organisms.
Generally in Western Europe it is standard to go over a field eight times per crop. In the 'no-till soya in rye' method, the farmer goes over the field a total of three times—once to plant the rye, then to simultaneously roll down the rye and plant the soya, and a final time to harvest the soybeans.
In the pumpkin field the farmer only has to use his tractor on the field twice—once to plant and once to roll down the rye. The amount of time, energy, and money saved using these more efficient, less polluting methods make them very attractive.
Dr Swan referred to a chart comparing cumulative profits between conventional cultivation and no-till farming. Over a ten- year period the profit on the no-till farming method grew to be nine times greater than on the conventional method.
Conventional cultivation gradually damages the soil, resulting in a cumulative decrease in production. On the other hand, no-till organic farming enriches the soil year after year, so yields continually increase. This is the reason farmers are actively changing to these more effective methods.
At the Rodale Institute, USA, a longitudinal study over a 30-year period showed organic agriculture to be more productive, more profitable, and more sustainable than chemical agriculture. It showed that organic farming is more than twice as profitable as conventional methods, in part due to using 40 per cent less energy and producing 40 per cent less greenhouse gases.
Dr Swan concluded his lecture by bringing it back to the most expanded perspective of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture. The supreme level of nutrition and vital food for health, he said, is Maharishi Vedic Organic food. Vedic technologies, applied at each of the eight stages of the crops' growth, enliven the total organizing intelligence of nature for a thoroughly life-enhancing effect, for the crop and the fortunate people who enjoy the food.
See related articles:
∙ Expert in Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture describes dangers of genetically modified food, presents solutions
∙ Understanding the basics of genetically modified organisms: Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture expert's lecture
∙ Studies show perils of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
∙ Actual results with GM crops fall short of biotech companies' claims: Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture expert
∙ Film exposes dangers, ineffective government oversight, of GM food
∙ UN: Ecological farming can double food production in developing nations
Copyright © 2012 Global Good News Service
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