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Yield gap between organic and conventional farming narrows with time

May 09, 2018

Photo credit: Victor Salaman

Data from numerous studies demonstrate that on average, organic farms produce less crop per acre than conventional farms – known as the yield gap. Now, a new study published in the scientific journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment has found that with time, the difference in yield between organic and conventional systems may decrease. Researchers in the Netherlands compared one organic and two organic systems established on the same soil type after 10 to 13 years. They found that early on, the organic system had lower yields compared to the conventional systems. Over time, that gap decreased. Meanwhile, they discovered that the soil health of the organic system improved compared to the conventional system. “Closure of the yield gap between organic and conventional farming can be a matter of time, and that organic farming may result in greater spatial stability of soil biotic and abiotic properties and soil processes. This is likely due to the time required to fundamentally alter soil properties,” they concluded.

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