Intrinsic Productivity of Land
In conventional production, adhering to the right mix, volume and timing of fertilizers and pesticides is the most critical factor in a successful harvest. In organic farming the land is the primary influence on short and long term yields and vitality. The underlying health and condition of the soil and ecosystem is one of the primary risks associated with the switch to organic farming.
Transitioning land or soil previously treated with chemicals may react in unforeseen ways, such as becoming heavily infested with weeds or lacking the necessary organic matter, soil microbiology or nutrients to be productive. Land that was productive in a conventional system may not necessarily be productive under an organic regime, even over the long term.
Understanding the intrinsic and potential productivity of your land is critical to make an informed decision about transition. Some farms may do very well right away, while others may take a significant effort and financial investment. In the case of the later, it can increase transition costs and expose the farmer to additional risks due to potentially reduced productivity, yields and revenues.
New organic farmers tend to buy farms that havenít been farmed in many years, and often find out that thereís a reason for that. Some experienced organic farmers suggest buying the most fertile land you possibly can. On the other hand, land quality can be greatly improved through organic farming methods. One successful organic farm in Nova Scotia is on land that was mined for topsoil for decades. The organic farmer started off with subsoil but ended up with a highly productive fertile soil.
The following strategies and tactics can be employed to manage the risks associated with the Intrinsic Productivity of Land: