Long-term study finds organic farming is good for soil organisms

Photo credit: NRCS Soil Health Photo credit: NRCS Soil Health

A recent study published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development found that conservation and organic farming increased the number of soil organisms when compared to conventional farming. Scientists compared conventional agriculture, organic agriculture and conservation agriculture over a period of 14 years. They found that compared to conventional farm systems, the organic and conservation agriculture systems saw an increase in earthworms in the soil, 30 -70% more microorganisms, and improved bacterial pathways. Overall, the results suggest that “long-term, no-tillage, and cover crops are better for soil biota than periodic legume green manures, pesticides, and mineral fertilizers.”