Managing Energy, Nutrients, and Pests in Organic Field Crops

Ralph C. Martin, Rod MacRae

February 7, 2014 by CRC Press
Reference - 436 Pages - 38 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781466568365 - CAT# K16384
Series: Integrative Studies in Water Management and Land Development

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  • Provides information on managing energy, nutrients, and pests in organic field cropping
  • Identifies strengths, weaknesses, and challenges of organic production in the industrial world
  • Integrates agronomic, economic, and policy interpretations
  • Summarizes the latest data and analysis from a wide range of sources
  • Describes how innovative farm designs can enhance organic performance
  • Creates a comprehensive and coherent picture of the issues in each chapter
  • Offers cost-effective options for conventional farmers interested in organic techniques
  • Addresses localized adaptations necessary for organic management
  • Contains information on how organic farming systems help solve environmental problems and how government support can help farmers overcome common challenges


The use of organic management practices in field cropping continues to rise globally, and these methods have proven to be a viable way to produce food with reduced resource use and environmental damage. Managing Energy, Nutrients, and Pests in Organic Field Crops challenges the popular misconception that organic systems are weak at managing energy, nutrients, and pests and shows how innovative farm designs can enhance organic performance. It provides information for assessing the current state of knowledge on organic field cropping and for making the systems more viable.

Each chapter summarizes the latest data from a wide range of sources, creating a comprehensive and coherent picture of the issues and integrating agronomic, economic, and policy aspects. Many chapters also include recent research from the authors. Section I, Soil Health, examines the importance of phosphorus balance, soil fertility, and tillage reduction. Section II, Pest Management, focuses on integrated weed management and long-term approaches to insect management.

Section III, Integrating Approaches, addresses multiple field cropping challenges. Chapters cover the oldest organic rotational trials in Canada, the issue of using cereals bred for conventional systems and more targeted organic cereal breeding strategies, and case studies of a broad spectrum of farming experiences that explore the broader social and ecological landscape. The final section, Economics, Energy, and Policy, examines environmental issues not previously addressed in the text as well as consumer, economic, and rural community matters. It also presents a reprint of an article that describes policies and programs (and their costs) needed to advance adoption of organic farming in Ontario. The text wraps up with key conclusions and a discussion of overarching themes for the book, summarizing the strengths of the available tool box for organic producers and the challenges that remain.