Intensive farming versus Organic methods - discuss the pros and cons

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Organic farming is the solution to the problems posed by modern intensive farming methods. Argue.

Posted: 16-11-09 23:02 by Mike McNicholas

Well... organic farming for one is free from contamination with health harming chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides and herbicides and as we all know intensive farming uses all of these.A healthy plant grown organically in properly balanced soil resists most diseases and insect pests!

It is also cheaper as you don't use chemicals which can be very expensive, however as it doesn't use chemicals they take longer to grow and require alot more labour. Also produce is more expensive to buy because organic farming do not produce high yields where as intensive farming does therefore produce are cheaper to buy

Posted: 22-11-09 13:14 by Banisha Nayyar

the organic farming crops would be more prone to insect pests because there isnt anything to repell them (pesticides), weeds because they havent used herbisides and fungal infections because fungicides havent been used so over all the organic farming yeild, in comparison with intensive farming, is far lower and that is why is cost more to buy organic produce in the shops.

Posted: 22-11-09 15:38 by Robert Austick

Over the years there has been an ongoing debate over intensive and organic farming. There are many strong arguments presented on for both methods. Organic farming involves no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It was introduced by Sir Albert Howard, who wanted a more “eco-friendly” method of agriculture. Organic farming relies on methods such as crop-rotation and the use of compost. Green manure, biological pest control methods and special cultivation techniques are used to maintain soil productivity. Organic farming is much more economical than most farming techniques. It has a wide range of benefits, including reduced soil erosion, and requires the use of less water. This results in this method of farming being more profitable. As well as being more economical, organic farming reduces nutrient contamination. This is because it stays away from artificial pesticides. This therefore leads to increased biodiversity and reduced carbon-emissions, which contributes towards benefiting the environment. As well as bringing down the expenditure on fertilizers and energy, organic farming gives the same crop variants as other methods of farming. Organic farming also helps the farmers clear the weeds without using chemical or mechanical methods. Instead, more traditional methods such as hand weeding and the use of garlic and other organic products are used to not only to get rid of insects and weeds, but to give better crop quality. Farming in the organic way is very environment-friendly and non-toxic. This is because it uses green pesticides like neem, composed tea and spinosad. These pesticides boost the crop defence systems, by identifying and removing diseased and dying plants. Organic farming is beneficial not only because it reduces costs, but also because it is extremely environmentally friendly.

Organic farming may be advantageous, but it also has its problems. A study by the UN Environmental program in 2008 showed that organic farming gives small yields when compared with other farming methods. It is also argued that world ecosystems are being destroyed by the expanding cropland at an alarming rate, and although organic farming reduces CO2 emissions to a certain extent, it doesn’t really have a huge contribution to addressing the issue of global climate change. Also, in 1998, Denis Avery of the Hudson Institute made public the increased risk of E. coli infection by the consumption of organic food. Organic farming may have its uses, but it seems that its disadvantages cast a large shadow over the benefits.

In contrast to Organic Farming, Intensive farming is a controversial farming method. Intensive farming aims to produce maximum yield from available land. Food is produced in large quantities with the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which is evidently where the difference to organic farming is shown. The products such as eggs and meat are available in many supermarkets are produced using modern intensive farming. Intensive farming is practiced widely by developed economies. Sustainable intensive farming, intensive aquaculture, intensive live stock farming and managed intensive grazing fall under intensive farming. There are many advantages to intensive farming, the main one being the high yield. Organic farming has been shown to produce a small yield, so the appeal of intensive farming is high. Also with the introduction of intensive farming, the cost of food became less expensive, meaning the poorer people can afford it. Organic food is often seen as a privilege that people who earn more money have. Organic farming also takes up vast amounts of farming space; where as the required land for intensive farming is small. More food productivity is possible with less land, and this means that the ever growing demand for food can be met.

When you compare these advantages to organic farming, it seems that intensive farming would be the best option. However, the disadvantages completely out-weigh the advantages. For a start, intensive farming uses chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. As well as this, intensive farming is also associated with farms that keep their livestock above their holding capacity and this could lead to pollution and various diseases. Intensive farming affects the environment in lots of ways. Forests are destroyed to create large open fields, and this leads to soil erosion. The natural habitats of the forest are affected, and bodies of water such as lakes and rivers are contaminated by the chemical fertilizers. The fertilizers affection the bodies of water is one thing, but the pesticides are even worse. They not only contaminate crops, they also kill the good insects as well as the pests. Also eventually, the chemicals from the pesticides are passed on to humans. For example, the residue from the pesticides on fruit and vegetables is not easily washed off, and this is then passed on to humans which can affect their health. This can also be linked to an increase in cancer patients. Animal rights activists against the treatment of animals in intensive farming, because the livestock are often injected with hormones and chemicals to increase yield. Intensive farming also involves genetic selection and breeding of both plants and animals. Artificial growth hormones and inorganic plant nutrients are mixed with the fertilizers and livestock feed. This results in the highest yield of all time. On one side, the health of human beings is largely affected by intensive farming, while on the other side; it is argued that the poorer people simply can’t afford organic food.

Organic farming and intensive farming both have many issues which need to be addressed. They have their advantages, but they both have major disadvantages. However, I have concluded that even though it can be unaffordable for those less well off, and its yield is much less than intensive farming, organic farming is a much better and more friendly method and I think that it should definitely be used instead of intensive farming.


Posted: 22-11-09 20:53 by Lauren Carry

wow your obv so cool for that and now i shall copy and paste this into word and pass it off as my own HAHAHA

Posted: 22-11-09 20:57 by Robert Austick

Hmm... Reply to Banisha... "organic farming for one is free from contamination with health harming chemicals". Yes this is very true, but what if say for instance you use manure as an organic farming product and this manure contained some form of pathogenic bacteria that could be particulary harmful if consumed by humans? Also if the manure that was used came from an animal that was diseased and wasn't allowed to be fully decomposed then surely this would produce a threat to human consumption of vegetation? :)

Posted: 23-11-09 22:47 by Matthew Maguire

In the current economic crisis maybe it would be more advantageous if we used intensive farming. Yes it may sound savage, cold, un-ethical and can pose many risks BUT in all honesty we too are nature are we not?

Take the natural world as an example... Does the polar bear consider for a moment any potential factors with regard to the seal and where it came form? No the polar bear just sees the seal as another snack. The polar bear doesn't care whether or the seal had been given enough space to move or whether it had consumed so much food that it cannot move. Is that not the equivilant to a battery farm where chickens are given no space at all for movement to limit energy lost through movement and the respiration required to produce ATP to allow movement so instead energy can be imput into growth. Also possibly the same as giving a chicken growth hormones to the extent that the chicken can no long support its own weight and collapses?


On the other hand yes organic all the way... the natural world do not deserve to have to endure these conditions just for the sake of faster rates of yield of crops. The leaching of addtional nitrates to soil into rivers and ponds is a significant problem but what if we used genetic engineering to adapt the denitrifying bacteria that exists in the soil that turns nitrates back into atmostpheric nitrogen to exist in these ponds and rivers to prevent eutrophication. Obviously this doesn't solve the worlds problem of atmostpheric nitrogen turning into nirtrous oxide and contributing to climate control but still may be a solution to solving potential eutrophication.

I'm now quite tired all argued out and am in need of serious sleep Good Night! :)

P.s Very sorry if there are obvious grammar or spelling errors, particular apologies to Lauren as she is the English student :P

Posted: 23-11-09 23:21 by Matthew Maguire

Matty, you're a keeno.

Posted: 23-11-09 23:30 by Lauren Carry

thats some propper deap stuff man, bears just dont care about owt, anything moves BAM!! its food. never mess with bears it will end horribly.

n about intensive farming yh in the current state of the ressesion thing yes it would be the cheap option but do you want spongy brain matty, i think not,ull be like those cows wi mad cow disease :| leaning on walls to stand up. abit like a drunk person but ull be like that for ever!!!! i personal would always try to go for organic because i dont agree with how intensive farmers treat their livestock, all fed hormoans to make em grow faster than nature intended so big they cant move, n in the case of the chickens have u seen how they sort out the baby chicks they jus frow em about n that its well crule or cruel or how ever u spell it. and for like organic farmin yeah its abit more expensive but the animals have had a quality life, free roaming n that as nature intended not cooped up in some shed.
and erm in about th crop thing using pestasides n herbisides and that lot couldnt it be jus as effective introducing natural predators into the enviroment and let nature sort it out instead of using all these chemicals that get passed along the food chain( or web).

now i am off. innabit

Posted: 24-11-09 00:07 by Robert Austick

Robert's spelling is truly scary. It is a little like a new form of language. I think we need a change of tack now. Everyone, APART FROM WILL, have contributed now.

Eutrophication could be a discussion point when talking about indiscriminate use of fertilisers. Build up of resistance to antibiotics from pathogens? Lauren covered some excellent points and although she cheated a bit by throwing her essay in, she takes the points.

Posted: 24-11-09 20:54 by Mike McNicholas

New Discussion Topic started - see list.

Posted: 24-11-09 20:57 by Mike McNicholas

Eyyy it wasn't cheating, it was being resourceful! ;]

Posted: 24-11-09 21:42 by Lauren Carry