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Apr 27, 2012

Researchers at McGill & University of Minnesota - Organic Yields 25% Less Than Conventional Crops, Recommend Development of Hybrid System

On 25 April 2012 Nature published an article by researchers at McGill University and the University of Minnesota, which concludes that organically grown crops yield an average of 25 percent less than conventionally grown crops.  This findings were based on a study of 66 studies across 34 crop species.

According to lead researcher Verena Seufert at McGill University, the reason for the difference in yields centers on nitrogen usage and irrigation.  Conventional crops received large doses of nitrogen from chemical fertilizers while organic crops rely on manure, compost, and cover crops which provide smaller amounts of nitrogen.

Seufert suggests that perhaps there is a "hybrid" system that could be developed to increase yields but still support organic production.  This article does not review this in any detail only suggesting that it could be developed "utilizing management practices from both systems."

For more see:

Meyer, Bob. "Can organic production feed the world?" Brownfield Ag News, 27 April 2012.

Seufert, Verena, Navin Ramankutty, and Jonathan A. Folley, "Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture," Nature, 25 April 2012.

About Margaret


CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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