Integrated Pest Management vs. Organic Farming

2021-05-12 13:33:21
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The farming landscape continues to evolve with the constant introduction of new farming practices. Practices such as integrated pest management (IPM) and organic farming have changed both the practice and outcome of farming across the globe (Mason, 2003). IPM seeks mainly to undermine or eliminate altogether the use of pesticides for pest control, primarily through the adoption of biological and cultural approaches. The rationale behind IPM is to tackle the root of pest infestations, which is often overlooked in conventional pest management strategies (Pretty &Bharucha, 2014). Essentially, IPM adopts a direct approach to pest management by considering the cause and type of infestation and adopts strategies that are not only more efficient, but are also minimally toxic. In dealing with the root of pest infestations, IPM maintains balance in the ecosystem by removing pests that disturb the ecosystem. Furthermore, IPM provides alternative pest management solutions that are cost effective and drastically reduce harm to the public and environment caused by toxic pesticides (Mason, 2003). However, IPM implementation requires constant monitoring and evaluation, which are complex, time-consuming, and can prove to be costly, making it unfeasible for perennial pest problems.

Conversely, organic farming hinges on sustainable approaches that boost the natural fertility of land without the use chemicals (USDA, 2015). Organic farming involves strategies such as biological pest management, companion planting, and use of compost and green manure (Pretty &Bharucha, 2014). A key similarity between IPM and organic farming is the adoption of pest management approaches that avoid the use of pesticides. Organic farming utilizes organic or naturally-occurring pesticides like pyrethrin to get rid of pests, thereby eliminating the use of synthetic chemicals. However, organic farmings pest management approach also involves nurturing natural predators to undermine and eradicate pests. Ultimately, both IPM and organic farming emphasize safety and sustainability. However, organic farming is unfeasible for large-scale farming to facilitate high yield production. Organic farming relies largely on the solid organic matter to enhance land fertility and provide crops with nutrients, but the release of compost fertilizer does not correspond to plant demand (Mason, 2003). In fact, rigorous organic farming that depends primarily on solid organic matter incorporated into the soil before planting causes leaching of nitrate, thus denying crops of this vital nutrient. Furthermore, although the practice of composting or using green manure is arguably good for the environment, it is unsustainable since it is a good breeding ground for pathogenic bacteria, which can be deleterious when applied to crops, undermining crop health and overall yield.

Ultimately, the systematic elimination of progressive technologies and methods in organic farming practices causes low crop yields (Mason, 2003). This is primarily because organic farming presents complications in attaining peak fertilizer demands and significantly limits pest control options. Therefore, increasing the scale of organic production can produce a corresponding increase in low yield production. Conversely, IPM is feasible for enhancing crop yields on a large scale since it relies on ecological solutions for pest management, which are sustainable for the long-term given that they identify the root of the problem and deal with the triggering factor, thus limiting the destruction of crops in the long-term(Mason, 2003).Arguably, IPM and organic farming methods borrow significantly from traditional farming practices that discourage the use of petrochemicals in for crop nourishment and pest management. In fact, like IPM and organic farming practices, conventional farming practices do not use synthetic products, relying instead on natural approaches such as crop rotation that improve land fertility and pest management.

References

Mason, J. (2003). Sustainable agriculture (2nd ed.). Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.

Pretty J., &Bharucha, Z. (2014).The sustainable intensification of agriculture. Annals of Botany,

114(8): 15711596.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2015).Organic agriculture. Retrieved from http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=organic-agriculture.html

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