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Advances in Organic Farming
2021, Pages 17-37

Conservation agricultural practices under organic farming

Agniva Mandala,b, Salwinder Singh Dhaliwalc, et al.,

Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, Bidhan Chandra Agricultural University (BCKV), Mohanpur, West Bengal, India.


Conservation agriculture (CA) is a resource-saving strategy encompassing three broad principles viz., minimum soil disturbance, diversified crop rotation and adequate soil cover through residue retention. Nowadays organic farmers are encouraged to adopt conservation practices to ensure soil quality and sustainability along with food security. In this chapter, we aimed to disseminate comprehensive knowledge regarding recent findings, advantages, drawbacks and opportunities of introduction of conservation practices in organic farming (OF). The possible potential benefits of adopting CA in OF are less soil erosion and degradation due to improved soil structure, rise in soil carbon stock, augmented biomass and diversity of macro- as well as micro-organisms, and reduced loss of nutrients through run-off and/or leaching. As CA and OF relies on principles of contrasting strategies of practices, introduction of CA in OF also poses challenges like difficulties in weed control, soil compaction, restricted nutrient availability due to slow mineralization rate and restricted choice of crops. Apart from these, some other constraints such as unavailability of suitable equipment, low incentives and funding from Governments and lack of organic market development strategies are also hindering the spontaneous adoption of CA by the organic farmers. Thus, practicing conservation techniques in OF strongly requires modification of traditional management practices into well optimized practices with some degree of flexibility depending upon pedo-climatic conditions, equipment availability and targeted objectives of farmers.

Keywords: Conservation agriculture, Organic farming, Tillage, Soil quality and fertility, Sustainability.

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