There is research to confirm that “organic methods for growing rice, corn and wheat all produced significantly higher yields—and at less the cost—than monoculture farms”
(see article Can Organic Farming End World Hunger under the heading “Research Confirms Organic Farming” http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/a/organicfarming.htm)
Dr. Liz Stockdale of Britain’s Institute of Arable Crops Research agrees and points out in the same article above under the heading “Organic Methods More Cost-Effective for Farmers”…
“that even when organic yields are less than conventional ones, organic farmers make up the financial difference by not having to buy costly pesticides and fertilizers...” and “that improved growing techniques and new natural pest controls could eventually level the playing field, giving organic farmers the economic advantage.”
One can reasonably infer from the analysis below that conventional farmers will invariably adopt the biological approach to farming for the sake of reducing reliance on plant feeds and pest and disease management methods that are harmful to the soil, health and environment and for the sake of improving the quality and taste of produce for the benefit of consumers.
Currently, conventional farming is still the predominant system of farming practised by the majority of commercial or industrial farmers. It is a system of farming which focuses on feeding the plants and was first introduced to meet the widespread shortage of rice, wheat and maize occurring after World War II and since the “Green Revolution” in 1950s and 60s.
Monoculture, aggressive tillage and excessive use of inorganic fertilizers (like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and inorganic pesticides are farming techniques used in conventional farming to support fast growth of plant and produce and to control pathogenic organisms and such techniques could only result in the soil not producing its own nutrients and not having beneficial living organisms in it to build soil health. To supplement for such lack of soil nutrients and living organisms to combat plants diseases and weeds growth, increasing dose and strengths of artificial fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides have therefore to be used.
Due to difficulties in farm management caused by increasing reliance on pesticides, herbicides, artificial fertilizers (apart from the concern of the impact of conventional farming on nature, health and environment), farmers around the world are looking for alternatives to overcome the difficulties.
An alternative that has been proposed is to use a “biological approach” to farming
“based on measuring microbial life in the soil and applying microbes, nutrients, compost tea that the soil needs to regain balance… and understanding the Soil Succession Cycle” (see article entitled Biological Farming http://www.groundgrocer.com/pages/Biological-Farming.html) and based on the control of pathogens and pests by “use of live predatory insects, entomopathogenic nematodes, or microbial pathogens to suppress populations of different pest insects…and use of microbial antagonist to suppress diseases as well as the use of host specific pathogens to control weed population” (see Biological Control of Plant Pathogens http://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/advanced/topics/Documents/PHI-BiologicalControl.pdf )
The part of the biological approach requiring regain of soil balance as mentioned above involves
In other words, the biological approach to farming or biological farming:
It is believed that biological farming includes organic farming, biodynamic farming, sustainable agriculture and natural sequence farming and adopts 80% of the farming techniques used in organic farming.
They include the use of:
Farmers who have been farming the conventional method for some years find it extremely difficult to convert to organic farming. This is because conventionally farmed soil lacks biological fertility and health, it being due to artificial fertilizers providing only short term nutrients to plants. Artificial fertilizers do not feed soil life or add organic matter to the soil nor do they help to build a good soil structure or improve the water holding capacity or drainage in the soil. They help plants to grow quickly but only with soft growth thereby resulting in the plants becoming incapable of withstanding drought, pests and diseases.
Conventional farmers have therefore to first restore the soil minerals and health of the soil through biological farming before they can convert to organic farming.