Organic, biological or conventional cultivation?
In an ever changing swirl of opinion, some might say: "Conventional agriculture destroys our nature, is harmful to health and only yield-oriented" others might comment "organic farming is backward, damages the soil through more use of copper and cannot feed the growing world population of tomorrow" - these are frequent titles, topics and comments that do not only appear in the social media, but also again and again in magazines and newspapers. This gives rise to a wide variety of claims and counter claims about both conventional and organic farming. In the end, a production method is adopted by the suitability of the land/ circumstances, individuals personal opinion and beliefs. But those initial statements are not only the basis for discussions among farmers, they are particularly controversial among consumers.
But is it only organic or conventional? Rarely is it so black or white in agriculture? Or are there ways to combine these two approaches? Is "bioventional" cultivation also conceivable? Numerous practical examples currently provide an answer to these questions.
If one considers the developments in agriculture, there are now techniques that support conventional farmers in making their work more environmentally-friendly and also support organic farmers in making their work more productive. For example, milking robots are considered techniques that contribute to animal welfare, as cows can decide for themselves when they are milked. A wide range of systems are produced by multiple manufacturers.
Agricultural machinery manufacturers have developed precision application equipment which not only optimise applications of either seed, crop protection or fertiliser, but also offer efficiencies reduced wastage and environmental benefits. The agricultural market research company Kleffmann Group, with its new business unit My Data Plant, has developed a service with which farmers can fertilize and sow their fields according to field conditions and demand. This service also supports the farmers decision making and helps to minimise the impact on the environment. At the same time, My Data Plant offers the farmer economies in efficient use of inputs.
Many observers will agree that somewhere between the extremes differences of production systems there exists grey areas; a space to reflect on the merits of either approach and perhaps a chance to learn from each other. Innovation will drive change and assist in capitalising on the best of both. The market today provides a wealth of products and services to illustrate that the grower does not necessarily have to decide for an extreme: organic or conventional, both clearly have their advantages and disadvantages, by maybe a hybrid of the two is a happy medium. The wise grower embraces change, reviews innovation and the possibilities of digitalisation, because conventional agriculture has enormous potential to meet the future challenges agriculture will face with a more environmentally friendly approach with new developments and ideas that work in a more efficient way.