Organic and conventional farming

Organic and conventional farming -- Energy efficiency

organic-farming-vs-conventional-farming Energy consumption in agriculture includes the direct consumption of fossil energy (e.g. fuel and oil), as well as indirect energy consumption (e.g. from the production of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides). Leaving aside indirect agricultural energy consumption, OECD statistics indicate that agriculture contributes only 2 percent to total direct energy used in OECD countries. Nevertheless, limited fossil energy resources and the climatic relevance of its use require efficient energy use, even in agriculture. Relevant parameters for evaluating energy use in agriculture are energy consumption and energy efficiency.
Considering both, direct and indirect energy consumption, scientific calculations on energy consumption per hectare indicate that organic farms use less energy than conventional farms: several researchers calculated the energy consumption of organic farms to amount 64 percent of that on conventional farms. Other recent research confirms the figures mentioned above at lower levels, with energy consumption on organic farms amounting to 45 percent or 30 to 50 percent of conventional farms, respectively.
In a recent comparative study in the maize - barly growing region of Slovakia, the energy use in cereal crop rotation in conventional and organic farming system in terms of additional energy inputs, gross energy production, energy profit and energy efficiency, it was observed that increased energy inputs caused the increase of production in the Conventional Farming System. The Conventional System was more energy demanding (about 52.5%) in comparison with the ecological one. The most energy demanding crops were those amended by farm yard manure: maize for grain (21.31 GJ ha-1 in the organic system, 34.18 GJ ha-1in the conventional system) and winter wheat (17.20 GJ ha-1 in the organic system, 24.60 GJ ha-1 in the conventional system). The highest energy gain provided maize for grain in both farming systems (179.22 GJ ha-1 in the conventional system and 177.99 GJ ha-1 in the organic system)