New Analysis Reveals Organic Agriculture Less Productive than Conventional Agriculture
Scientists from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) have published a new
analysis of research results that were published in February this year. The
said research, conducted in collaboration with other institutes, concluded
that after 13 years of organic cultivation, organic agriculture was almost
as productive as conventional agriculture, and with less nitrate leaching
into the groundwater.
However, other scientists from WUR identified inconsistencies in the
publication regarding the approach of the research and the interpretation of
the results, and decided to reanalyze the setup and results. The crops
cultivated were inconsistent over the 13 years: the early years involved
more sugar beets while the later years saw more maize. This made it seem
like the yield of the organic crops increased on average, although this was
not the case for each crop.
In a comparison between the systems in later years (2011-2016), which saw
the same crops being cultivated every year, the difference between organic
and conventional agriculture in Vredepeel was a constant 20%. This
percentage is in line with all recent meta-analyses, which examined the
difference between organic and conventional agriculture based on a large
number of studies.
Further analysis showed that the soil of the organic testing fields in the
research in Vredepeel had different properties than the soil of the
non-organic fields (different groundwater levels and, originally, a higher
soil organic matter content), which may have reduced the leaching of