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Organic cropping: what's in it for conventional agriculture?


Bishop, A and French, J and Wardlaw, F and Orr, R and Gardam, P and McPhee, J and Dennis, J, Organic cropping: what's in it for conventional agriculture?, ARAC Research and Extension Day Handbook, Devonport, Tasmania, pp. 25-25. (2001) [Conference Extract]

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Background: Observation of the increasing interest in organic production systems locally, nationally, and internationally, and the corresponding uncertainty expressed by local producers prompted the design of two projects to address associated production issues. There were two levels of interest; one was with conventional growers who were interested in converting to organic production and the other was a more general interest from conventional growers in gleaning techniques that would improve their current production methods. The projects are:

Organic Production Systems - Technology Transfer (Horticulture Australia Limited-HAL)
Integrated Development of Intensive Organic Vegetable production Systems (Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation-RIRDC).

Objectives: To test and evaluate on a pilot commercial scale, organic production protocols for a range of vegetable crops to provide case study data about the production protocols, cost, net yields achieved, market premiums and cost-effectiveness of intensive organic vegetable production.

To develop, test and document strategies used in organic production that can be readily transferred to conventional cropping and reduce reliance on synthetic pesticides in conventional production.

Work undertaken to date: Two of three international sabbaticals have been completed and recommendations arising from the study tours collated plans for the demonstration phases of the projects. An 'In-conversion' organic farmlet has been established consisting of a total area of 10 hectares. A pilot crop of carrots and large-seeded broadbeans were grown with compliance to organic pre-conversion requirements and were marketed nationally and internationally. A crop of shallots was also grown. The farmlet, currently certified 'In Conversion', will be certified organic for cropping this season. All inputs have been recorded so that the economics of 'going organic' can be fully assessed by conventional growers.

Results to date: The sabbaticals have generated in access of 40 recommendations related to IPM/organic methodologies that have formed the planning framework for this season's demonstrations. Weed control in the absence of herbicides has been the dominant management highlighting need to improve efficiencies in non-herbicide weed management (focus of demonstration work 2001/02). Detailed conversion carrot cropping protocols have been produced resulting in two successful carrot crops (Packouts 76%, yields 42T and 58T).

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:organic cropping
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Horticultural production
Research Field:Horticultural crop growth and development
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Horticultural crops
Objective Field:Field grown vegetable crops
UTAS Author:Orr, R (Mr Roger Orr)
UTAS Author:Gardam, P (Mr Phillip Gardam)
UTAS Author:McPhee, J (Mr John McPhee)
ID Code:112152
Year Published:2001
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2016-10-28
Last Modified:2016-11-01

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