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Risks and opportunities of increasing yields in organic farming. A review

Röös, Elin and Mie, Axel and Wivstad, Maria and Salomon, Eva and Johansson, Birgitta and Gunnarsson, Stefan and Wallenbeck, Anna and Hoffmann, Ruben and Nilsson, Ulf and Sundberg, Cecilia and Watson, Christine (2018). Risks and opportunities of increasing yields in organic farming. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 38, 1-21
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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13593-0...

Abstract

Current organic agriculture performs well in several sustainability domains, like animal welfare, farm profitability and low pesticide use, but yields are commonly lower than in conventional farming. There is now a re-vitalized interest in increasing yields in organic agriculture to provide more organic food for a growing, more affluent population and reduce negative impacts per unit produced. However, past yield increases have been accompanied by several negative side-effects. Here, we review risks and opportunities related to a broad range of sustainability domains associated with increasing yields in organic agriculture in the Northern European context. We identify increased N input, weed, disease and pest control, improved livestock feeding, breeding for higher yields and reduced losses as the main measures for yield increases. We review the implications of their implementation for biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient losses, soil fertility, animal health and welfare, human nutrition and health and farm profitability. Our findings from this first-of-its-kind integrated analysis reveal which strategies for increasing yields are unlikely to produce negative side-effects and therefore should be a high priority, and which strategies need to be implemented with great attention to trade-offs. For example, increased N inputs in cropping carry many risks and few opportunities, whereas there are many risk-free opportunities for improved pest control through the management of ecosystem services. For most yield increasing strategies, both risks and opportunities arise, and the actual effect depends on management including active mitigation of side-effects. Our review shows that, to be a driving force for increased food system sustainability, organic agriculture may need to reconsider certain fundamental principles. Novel plant nutrient sources, including increased nutrient recycling in society, and in some cases mineral nitrogen fertilisers from renewable sources, and truly alternative animal production systems may need to be developed and accepted.

Authors/Creators:Röös, Elin and Mie, Axel and Wivstad, Maria and Salomon, Eva and Johansson, Birgitta and Gunnarsson, Stefan and Wallenbeck, Anna and Hoffmann, Ruben and Nilsson, Ulf and Sundberg, Cecilia and Watson, Christine
Title:Risks and opportunities of increasing yields in organic farming. A review
Series/Journal:Agronomy for Sustainable Development (1773-0155)
Year of publishing :2018
Volume:38
Page range:1-21
Number of Pages:21
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1773-0155
Language:English
Publication Type:Article Review/Survey
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Agricultural Science
Keywords:Organic agriculture, Yield, Biodiversity, Soil fertility, Animal welfare, Nutrition, Environment
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-94074
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-94074
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1007/s13593-018-0489-3
Web of Science (WoS)000430228400008
ID Code:16036
Faculty:LTV - Fakulteten för landskapsarkitektur, trädgårds- och växtproduktionsvetenskap
NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(LTJ, LTV) > Department of Plant Protection Biology
(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Economics
(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Energy and Technology
(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
(VH) > Dept. of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:03 Apr 2019 05:49
Metadata Last Modified:03 Apr 2019 05:49

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