Organic Farming Practices

Course CodeBAG305
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment
Learn How to Farm Organically.
For most organic producers, organics is more than just farming without chemicals. It means promoting the existing biological cycles, from micro-organisms in the soil to the plants and animals on the soil. It entails careful and efficient use of local resources, minimising pollution, and maintaining genetic diversity.
This course raises both your awareness and understanding of organic farming; providing insights and prompting you to explore the endless scope of possibilities emerging in this all important area of agriculture.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Organic Farming
  2. Farm Management Systems (rotation design, cash cropping, polyculture and biodynamic practices, etc)
  3. Management Issues for an Organic Farm (Organic certification schemes, marketing, public relations, managing the environment responsibly, etc)
  4. Soil Management on an Organic Farm (Compost Making, Fertility and Nutrition, Using Mulch, Cover cropping, Organic Fertilisers, etc)
  5. Managing Weeds
  6. Managing Health of Animals and Plants
  7. Mainstream Farm Livestock (Cattle, Sheep, Pigs)
  8. Other Livestock (Poultry, Goats, Alpacas, Ostriches, Venison)
  9. Managing Pastures
  10. Managing Agronomic Crops (Grain, Fibre, Hay, Silage, etc)

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

In many developed countries, including the US, the UK, and Australia, organic produce has been the fastest growing sector of agriculture over the last decade. In Australia farmers cannot grow enough organic produce to meet local demand. There is a significant demand in Japan and Europe for quality organic produce, so there are strong opportunities for organic farmers to supply produce for export markets. In the UK in recent years sales through box schemes, farmers' markets and farm shops have grown faster than any other retail outlet. Around 47% of organic farmers in the UK are likely to sell direct to the consumer, compared to 19% of non-organic farmers.

Some of the techniques used in organic farming may include the following: 

Crop rotation
– rotating crops to rest the soil, to prevent the build up of pests and diseases, and to improve soil quality.

– growing one or more temporary crops such as vegetables or herbs between rows of permanent crops such as fruit trees to improve diversity.

Manurial systems
– growing legumes and green manures to improve soil fertility; adding animal manures to improve soil structure.

Composting and mulching
– adding decomposed organic matter (compost) to the soil; covering the soil surface with organic matter; using sheet composting for larger areas.

Cultural control of pests/diseases/weeds
– using resistant, hardy varieties; mulching; increasing the farm’s diversity; practising farm sanitation; rotating crops.

Physical control of pests/diseases/weeds
–mowing, grazing, cultivating, burning; using traps and barriers.

Biological control of pests/diseases/weeds
– using companion plants; introducing predatory insects.

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