ISSN: 2297-6485 doi: 10.12924/librello.OF

Organic Farming (OF; ISSN 2297-6485) is a new open access academic journal that publishes articles on advances and innovations in organic agriculture and food production to provide scholars and other groups with relevant and highly topical research in the field.

Organic Farming welcomes contributions in diverse areas related to organic farming and food production, such as soil and plant management, crop breeding, regulation of pests and diseases, protection of soil, water, biodiversity and other resources, livestock health and management, marketing and acceptance of organic products, food quality and processing, policies and regulations.

The articles of Organic Farming will be immediately accessible upon publication and we aim at making this journal a valuable venue for the communication among scientists, but also between researchers, producers, policy makers, traders and consumers of organic products.

Topics covered by this journal include, but are not limited to: agroforestry systems; biodiversity; biological pest and disease control; certification and regulation; compost and manure management; consumer research; crop rotations; ecosystem services; food processing; food quality and safety; green manures; nutrient cycling and run-off; organic energy production; organic farming for food security; plant breeding and genetics; poverty eradication and human development; regulation and policies; resilience and transformations; social acceptance and marketing; soil and water protection; sustainability and ethics of livestock production; sustainable agriculture; tillage and no-till organic farming systems; veterinary aspects of organic livestock production; weed ecology and management; and related topics.

Organic Farming will specially welcome original interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary contributions.

Latest publications

doi: 10.12924/of2020.06010013 | Volume 6 (2020) | Issue 1
Verena K. Hansmann 1 , Otto Volling 2 and Volker Krömker 3, *
1 Department of Bioprocess Engineering, Microbiology, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, Hannover, Germany
2 Ökoring e. V., Visselhövede, Germany
3 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Section Production, Nutrition and Health, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark
* Corresponding author
Views 263
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Publication Date: 12 May 2020
Abstract: The aim of this study was to examine the opinions of farmers on a consulting project, which was established for organic dairy farms in Northern Germany involving different animal health experts who participated in the meetings. Furthermore, the properties of measures that are of decisive importance for implementation on the farms were identified to improve consultancy services for dairy farming. Once a year, the farmers met on a host-farm in one of three groups consisting of five to nine farms, a facilitator and an expert. At each meeting, a host-farm was visited and the analysed data of all participating farms of the previous year were presented to the group members. Each farmer had the possibility to report on success stories and issues concerning his herd. During discussions, the farmers first proposed mutual farm-specific measures for improving herd health and animal welfare. Afterwards, the expert named possible interventions and commented on the given measures of the farmers. All measures were noted by the facilitator. At the end of each meeting, each farmer could choose which of the given measures he wanted to implement. Open group-interviews as well as anonymous questionnaires for the farmers were used at the meetings in winter 2016/2017 to evaluate their perception of this consulting project and to determine which properties of measures were important for implementation on the farms. Based on the results of this study, the participating farmers were very positive towards this kind of consulting project. They favoured the participation of an expert during the meetings and the analysis of farm specific data. Farmers mostly chose measures for implementation proposed by farmers and approved by the expert, followed by those proposed by the expert only. Measures were chosen when they were practical in the implementation, effective, efficient and took a low additional workload for implementation.

doi: 10.12924/of2020.06010001 | Volume 6 (2020) | Issue 1
Rubaiya Murshed 1, * and Mohammad Riaz Uddin 2
1 Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2 Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies [BIDS], Dhaka, Bangladesh
* Corresponding author
Views 418
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Publication Date: 28 April 2020

The development of organic agriculture in Bangladesh has been slow. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (2018), approximately 12,000 farmers in Bangladesh produce organic crops on around 7,000 hectares of land. The transition from conventional to organic farming has been an issue of debate, especially in the context of developing nations such as Bangladesh. The debate stresses the urgency for the transition to preserve environment and health and to ensure a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly food production system, but also emphasizes the pressure of maintaining food production for a large growing population. We focus on the debate in the context of Bangladesh, and question whether it is the proper time and stage in the development process to attempt the transition from conventional to organic food production systems. We ask why the organic rice market is not expanding in Bangladesh and explain the slow market growth through the two main factors of income constraint and lack of awareness among people about the environmental and health detriments of non-organic farming. The exploratory study finds that it is not mainly the lack of awareness but the income constraint that can be principally attributed to the slow expansion of the organic rice market in Bangladesh. Through exploring consumers’ awareness about organic farming methods and their demand for organic products, this study shows how income as a major constraint, besides price, affects consumers demand for organic and non-organic rice in Bangladesh. Income being identified as the major barrier reveals the potential of the organic rice market to grow in the future, as Bangladesh continues its journey towards becoming a middle-income country.

doi: 10.12924/of2019.05010066 | Volume 5 (2019) | Issue 1
Sonja K. Birthisel 1, * , Grace A. Smith 2 , Gavriela M. Mallory 3 , Jianjun Hao 1 and Eric R. Gallandt 1
1 Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA
2 Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Department, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA
3 Biology Department, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, USA
* Corresponding author
Views 968
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Publication Date: 30 December 2019
Abstract: Soil solarization using clear plastic is a promising weed management strategy for organic farms in the Northeast USA. Based on grower concerns that the practice might negatively affect beneficial soil microbiota, we conducted experiments to measure the effects of 2 and 4 weeks of solarization in a field and a closed greenhouse. Soil microbial communities were assayed by dilution plating on semi-selective agar media. Populations of general bacteria, general fungi, bacilli, and florescent pseudomonads were unaffected by field solarization, but fluorescent pseudomonads were reduced following greenhouse solarization. At plastic removal, soil biological activity was reduced non-significantly in the field and by 45% in the green- house. Soil biological activity fluctuated following field solarization, being significantly suppressed at 5 but not 14 days after plastic removal. In the greenhouse, biological activity remained suppressed up to 28 days after plastic removal. Solarization increased available nitrogen in the field and greenhouse. Four weeks of solarization reduced viability of buried weed seeds by 64% in the field and 98% in the greenhouse, indicating that the practice can cause substantial weed seed mortality. Maximum soil temperatures, measured at 10 cm depth under solarization, were 44◦ C in the field and 50◦ C in the greenhouse; temperatures were theoretically sufficient for the reduction of some soil borne pathogens. A subsequent experiment measured the effects of solarization and tarping (black plastic) on soil biological activity. During mulching, biological activity was unaffected by treatment, but 14 days after plastic removal, biological activity was reduced in the solarized treatment as compared with the control. Overall, these results suggest that solarization can deplete the weed seedbank. Although soil biological activity was reduced by solarization, it may bounce back after a period. Greenhouse solarization achieved higher temperatures and was more lethal to weed seeds and some microbiota than field solarization.

doi: 10.12924/of2019.05010052 | Volume 5 (2019) | Issue 1
Sonja K. Birthisel 1, * and Eric R. Gallandt 1
1 Ecology and Environmental Sciences Program, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA
* Corresponding author
Views 857
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Publication Date: 30 December 2019
Abstract: Stale seedbeds are commonly used by organic vegetable farmers to reduce in-season weed density. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of soil solarization (clear plastic) with subsequent flaming for stale seedbed preparation. A secondary objective was to compare the efficacy of solarization with tarping (black plastic). Solarization is an established weed management practice in warmer climates, but its efficacy in the humid continental Northeast USA was unknown. We hypothesized that solarization during May-June in Maine, USA would increase weed emergence, and could thereby contribute to depletion of the germinable weed seedbank and, with subsequent flaming, creation of an improved stale seedbed. We expected that firming soil with a roller prior to solarization would further increase weed emergence. Across four site-years of replicated field experiments and two on-farm trials we found that, contrary to expectations, 2 weeks of solarization reduced apparent weed emergence (density) in comparison to nonsolarized controls by 83% during treatment, and 78% after 2 weeks of observation following plastic removal and flaming. Rolling did not significantly affect weed density. Soil temperatures were elevated in solarized plots, reaching a maximum of 47◦ C at 5 cm soil depth, compared to 38◦ C in controls. Weed community analyses suggested that solarization might act as an ecological filter limiting some species. Addressing our secondary objective, two replicated field experiments compared the efficacy of solarization with tarping applied for periods of 2, 4, and 6 weeks beginning in July. Across treatment durations, solarization was more effective than tarping in one site-year, but tarping outperformed solarization in the other; this discrepancy may be explained by differences in weed species and soil temperatures between experiments. Overall, solarization and tarping are promising stale seedbed preparation methods for humid continental climates, but more work is needed to compare their relative efficacy.

doi: 10.12924/of2019.05010037 | Volume 5 (2019) | Issue 1
Sofia Baltazar 1, * , Raphaël Boutsen 2 , Lieven Delanote 3 , Vincent Delobel 4 , Karel Dewaele 3 , Willem Stoop 5 and Marjolein Visser 2
1 University of Namur, Namur, Belgium
2 Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
3 Inagro VZW, Rumbeke-Beitem, Belgium
4 Chèvrerie de la Croix de la Grise, Havinnes, Belgium
5 Consult: R&D for Tropical Agriculture, Driebergen-Rijsenburg, The Netherlands
* Corresponding author
Views 1625
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Publication Date: 2 October 2019

In Belgium and The Netherlands, bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is getting attention within a growing movement looking for more sustainability of wheat cropping and breadmaking. The few varieties available are pure lines that do not match the wide range of environments and organic farming practices, so that yields and milling quality are often disappointing. Composite Cross Populations (CCP) have been created with the idea of evolutionary plant breeding through on-farm mass selection and seed saving. In 2015–2016, one such CCP of winter wheat was cropped side by side with a pure line variety in four organic farms with different wheat cropping practices, as a first step to answer some of the concerns arising from farmers’ networks we work with. Seeding rates ranged from the standard high to the very low ones practiced under the System of Wheat Intensification (SWI). Multivariate data analysis confirmed greater differentiation of the CCP both compared with pure line varieties and within populations on farms where inter-plant competition was less intense. Low seeding rates thus seem to enhance the phenotypic expression potential of a CCP, yet this is a neglected fact among participatory plant breeders. Since both CCP and SWI have great potential for ecological intensification within organic farming, we argue that more work is needed on finding new ways of combining innovation in farming practices and on-farm plant breeding, which also implies new ways of organising research.

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ISSN: 2297-6485
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