Organic Eprints

    Questionnaire on organic fruit and berry production in Europe

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    On the EUFRIN meeting in Girona, Spain, November 1998 it was decided that one of the specific tasks for the meeting in Laimburg should be preparing a questionnaire for organic fruit production in Europe. In August 1999 we send out a questionnaire for all the EUFRIN participants. All 14 members have answered the questions

    Organic fruit production in Denmark

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    Organic agriculture covers app. 6% of the Danish agricultural land. There are app. 200 fruit- and berry growers, totally they grow app. 350 ha, which are 5 percent of the total Danish area grown with fruit and berries. Converting to organic agriculture are national subsidised. At the moment the yearly subsidy is 291 GBP to 49 GBP pr. ha depending on the type of farm. Pear and especially apple production are huge challenges to the Danish growers, as the humid climate favours apple scab and other diseases. It has not been a profitable production up till now. To control scab infections some growers use sulphur. In Denmark it has been forbidden to use copper since 1995. Organic strawberry production is profitable in Denmark. The main variety is ‘Honeoye’, which is quite resistant to diseases. If total conversion of the Danish fruit and berry productions happened in 1998 the apple yield would have decreased with 86 percent. Black currant and pear yield would be reduced with more than 50 percent. Strawberries would keep the highest yield compared to conventional production. There are many ongoing organic trails in apples, some in black currants and a few in prunus and strawberries

    A policy relevant assessment of the environmental impacts of organic farming

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    Organic farming has become an important aspect of European agri-environmental policy. Since the implementation of EC Reg. 2078/92, the EU promotes organic farming based explicitly on its positive effects on the environment. The objective of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of organic farming's effects on the environment in comparison to conventional farming and to discuss the policy relevance of these issues. For this purpose the OECD set of environmental indicators for the agricultural sector has been adapted, taking into consideration only those indicators that are directly affected by the system of organic farming, as are the indicator categories ecosystem, natural resources, farm input and output, and health and welfare. Based on a survey of specialists in 18 European countries (all EU-member states plus NO, CH, and CZ) using a structured questionnaire and an extensive literature review, a conclusive assessment is given for each of the indicator categories. For most of the chosen indicator categories organic farming performs better than conventional farming on a per ha basis. These results are discussed with respect to their policy relevance. An increase in the area of organic farming would clearly improve the environmental performance of agriculture, as long as food production level is not a limiting factor. The question of whether there are other agri-environmental means of achieving a desired level of environmental performance that might be cheaper for society than organic production is discussed. It is concluded that the support of organic farming can be a useful part of the agri-environmental tool box, however, other, more specific instruments are also needed. Organic farming seems especially useful if broad environmental concerns are to be addressed

    Vergleichende Qualitätsforschung - Neue Ansätze und Impulse täten gut

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    Eine am FiBL durchgeführte Auswertung neuer Studien im Bereich der vergleichenden Qualitätsforschung brachte die Bestätigung bekannter Befunde und Tendenzen, zeigte aber keine grundsätzlich neuen Ansätze. Für den biologischen Landbau bleibt die Qualitätsforschung von zentraler Bedeutung

    The side effects of lime sulphur on predaceous arthropods, i.e. Typhlodromus pyri, and other leaf occupying arthropods

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    Conclusions and further studies The significant reduction of T. pyri and of larvae of predaceous gall midges, the complete loss of mite-diversity and the possible enhancement of P. ulmi and other harmful mites (i.e. C. vitis) are clear disadvantages of lime sulphur. Densities of T. pyri between 0.5 and 1 mite per leaf as mentioned to be necessary for controlling harmful mites (BOURQUIN 1989, FORTMANN 1993, HARZER 1993, KARG 1992, KOHLER ET AL. 1991), were never reached in lime sulphur treatment, while the untreated control always showed densities above this value. On the other hand low densities of predaceous mites are quite normal in intensively sulphur treated, biological orchards and are often replaced by other mite predators, like predatory bugs (Miriadae, Anthocoridae) or the coccinellid beetle Stethorus punctillum (HÄSELI & BOSSHARD 1994). Therefore further studies should include these arthropods, because lime sulphur may also have adverse effects on them (BORIANI 1994, BROWN 1978). Furthermore the lowest application strategy in terms of frequency and concentrations for scab control should be examined to minimise the quantity of applied lime sulphur (ZIMMER 2000). In addition the effects of different application methods, for example by sprayer or overhead irrigation on beneficial arthropod as well as on scab should be studied (KELDERER ET AL. 2000). The side effects of lime sulphur should not be considered separated from other used fungicides, moreover the whole spraying program should be included, because wettable sulphur (MILAIRE ET AL. 1974) and clay powder (HÄSELI & BOSSHARD 1994) also harm arthropods. For agronomic interests but also from the points of view of the registration of lime sulphur and the public image of organic apple growing, the question is: whether lots of preventive applications with copper, sulphur and clay powder have more adverse effects on beneficial arthropods than fewer curative applications of lime sulphur by using an infestion prediction model. Only by further studies under realistic farming conditions it is estimable, whether the use of lime sulphur in organic orchards can be accepted. In the common enthusiasm about this new curative fungicide, we should not forget the important role of beneficial arthropods. In this context the registration without any indication in the EU should be critically discussed

    Desk study on homeopathy in organic livestock farming: Principles, obstacles and recommendations for practice and research

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    Organic livestock farming has its own concept of health and welfare. The approach to health can be characterised by the key words human, preventive, self-regulating and holistic (Chapter 1). This has consequences for the way we deal with diseases and problems, the nature of the solutions and the use of medication, among other things. In terms of therapeutic and regulatory measures this health concept is based primarily on natural food supplements and homeopathic remedies, which in view of their origin fit in well with the natural character of organic agriculture (Verhoog et al., 2002). Apart from various forms of potentised remedies (classic, clinical, anthroposophic, isopathic; Chapter 2) and all manner of applications within phytotherapy (Bach flower, aromatherapy), there is interest in organic livestock farming in complementary health treatments other than acupuncture. We also need more detailed research into the practical implications of possible self-medication by animals (Engel, 2001). Complementary medicine demands a new type of knowledge in relation to its working mechanism, testing for authenticity and the way it is used (Chapter 3). The thinking behind the use of homeopathic remedies often based on a preventive approach to health. With the aid of these remedies the doctor seeks to create a more balanced environment in and around the animal and to improve the animal’s resistance to infections (Baars en Ellinger, 1997). Striezel (2001) calls homeopathy a regulatory therapy, which heals the body by stimulating the individual immune system and regulating the metabolism. The use of homeopathic remedies is still limited in practice, partly due to a lack of suitably trained veterinary practitioners (Chapter 4). In the elaboration of the research questions the authors discovered that the use of homeopathic remedies meets with particular resistance which can be traced back to philosophical assumptions (sections 4.1-4.3). As the research is fleshed out it is therefore important that it is not simply carried out in conformity with currently valid scientific standards. The research design must also be in line with the philosophy of homeopathy in terms of both quantity and quality (Chapter 5). This is particularly important for homeopathy because its therapeutic methods are based on principles which do not fit in with conventional notions about life. The similia principle (law of similars) is an important feature of homeopathy and homeopathy shares the second key concept of potentisation with anthroposophy (Chapter 2). There is limited acceptance of homeopathic remedies in particular, despite the fact that there is some empirical evidence for the efficacy of homeopathic treatments. Both outcome research into homeopathic treatments of humans and animals and fundamental empirical research into the validity of the similia law and the efficacy of high dilutions produce results which tend to bear this out. However, it is rejected out of hand on ontological grounds and because of the assumed working mechanism. Follow-up research into homeopathic remedies is desirable, but must be in line with the underlying complementary health and welfare concept of organic agriculture, which includes treatment with veterinary medicines. Randomised Clinical Trials are thus only of limited use, since they disregard the individually tailored nature of the treatment. In practice however, sufficient alternative therapies have been developed which can be used in outcome research. The researchers propose a graduated structure for the outcome research (Chapter 6). The first step is to join in with the monitoring of experience in practice, and follow this with casuistic outcome research

    Will policy support for organic farming be justified in the future? The environmental impacts of organic farming

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    Introduction: In the European Union, organic farming has experienced a dynamic development in the 1990s, in part debited to financial support from agricultural policy measures. The most commonly used argument in support of organic farming is its positive environmental effects. However, support of organic farming practices on those grounds is only justified if these actually result in less negative environmental impacts than conventional farming. Stolze et al. (1999) reviewed existing research results up to 1997 on this topic and compiled a qualitative comparative evaluation based on an adapted OECD environmental indicator concept for agriculture (OECD 1997). On a per hectare basis, organic farming showed to be less detrimental with respect to most indicators than conventional farming. This paper will evaluate new evidence on the issue, taking results on a per output basis and the most recent developments in general EU agricultural legislation and organic standards into account. Materials and Methods: The OECD set of environmental indicators for the agricultural sector adapted by Stolze et al. (1999) is used. Based on a literature review of research results compiled between 1997 and 2002 a qualitative assessment is given for the following indicator categories: i) ecosystem, ii) natural resources (soil, ground and surface water, climate and air), iii) farm input and output, iv) animal health and welfare. The effect of recent developments in general agriculture EU legislation and organic standards on the relative benefits of organic farming is evaluated to assess if conventional agriculture is approaching organic agriculture due to tightening general legislation. Additionally, the option of achieving beneficial effects on some indicator categories when combining organic production with a targeted management of non-productive areas is reviewed. Results and Discussion: Organic farming seems to perform better than conventional farming with respect to all considered indicators, but large differences exist between indicators. New evidence permitted the evaluation on a per output basis for some indicators. This changes the final qualitative assessment for some indicators or indicator categories compared to the results of Stolze et al. (2000). Recent developments in EU legislation on agriculture in general do not seem to fundamentally change the relative assessment of the environmental impacts of organic in comparison to conventional agriculture. However, some important developments are not yet reflected in research results, e.g. the EU organic animal husbandry standards (European Commission 1999) which were implemented only in the year 2000. Conclusions: Support to organic farming is justified due to its positive environmental effects. However, the relative benefits must continue to be monitored in the light of current developments in agricultural legislation and organic standards. Cost-benefit analyses of the environmental effects of organic farming support in comparison to other agri-environmental measures and conventional farming are needed

    Nicht mehr am Katzentisch

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    Der ökologische Landbau schob sich in den letzten 20 Jahren weit nach vorn im öffentlichen Bewusstsein. Verunsichert von Lebensmittelskandalen und Tierseuchen, interessieren sich Konsumenten heute mehr für ökologisch erzeugte Nahrungsmittel als in den 80er Jahren des letzten Jahrhunderts. Parallel dazu verdreifachte sich die ökologisch bewirtschaftete Fläche innerhalb der EU zwischen 1993 und 1999. Trotz dieses Wachstums werden nur drei Prozent der landwirtschaftlichen Flächen in Europa ökologisch bewirtschaftet. In diesem Beitrag wird auf folgende Aspekte eingegangen: „Wo sitzen die Öko-Bauern in Europa?“ , Markt für ökologische Lebensmittel, EU-Agrarpolitik und der ökologische Landbau, und „Was ist der Stand der Dinge im Öko-Landbau in anderen europäischen Ländern?

    Bulgaria. A relatively short organic history

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    Organic agriculture in Bulgaria has a relatively short history. The concept of organic agriculture was only introduced after the fall of the communist regime in 1990, when the process of land restitution started. Below is an account of developments over the following thirteen years and a report on the current status of organic agriculture in the country

    Effect of concentrate supplementation level on production, health and efficiency in an organic dairy herd

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    The proportions of organic feed and roughage in the feed ration for organic dairy cows have to reach 100 and 60%, respectively, in 2005. The aim of this study was to elucidate the long-term effects of reducing or omitting concentrate supplementation to high genetic merit dairy cows on a basal ad libitum diet of clover-grass (silage and grazing). Three concentrate levels, N, L and L+ (38, 0 and 19% of dry matter (DM) intake, respectively) were investigated in a herd of 60 cows during 3 years. The production in group N was 6723 kg energy corrected milk (ECM) per cow year, based on an intake of 6226 kg DM of which 38% was concentrates. In group L the omission of concentrates reduced intake to 4770 kg DM, and milk production to 5090 kg ECM per cow year. Milk protein content was reduced and milk free fatty acid content was increased, and the first calving interval was significantly increased, as compared to group N. The intake in group L+ was 5226 kg DM per cow year of which 19% was concentrates. Milk production in group L+ was reduced by only 493 kg ECM per cow year as compared to group N, primarily due to a significantly improved feed conversion ratio (12%). There were no indications of health problems associated with the reduced feeding levels
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