Organic farming emerged for decades of years ago before the introduction of agrochemicals currently used in farming.
Before the modern-day technology, agriculture has been in organic ways which means that whatsoever thing such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. used in any agricultural practice is natural NOT genetically modified.
Agricultural produce gotten from organic farming has the essential nutrients and customers don’t need to worry about the effects it can cause. This is the reason it is said to have a great financial reward of high output value for farmers who practice it.
The point above provides an answer to the question Is Organic Farming Profitable?
Starting organic farming is applicable to every farmer, you can start new with this farming practice and for those already into farming you can gradually make a switch.
The following written 11 tips can help new startup farmers to successfully establish an organic farm.
How do I start an organic farm?
Follow the steps below one after the other.
1. Understand the Basics of Organic Farming
First of all, you have to understand what an organic farm is; it is actually nothing of the ordinary just that you are being restricted to some certain things which you have to strictly adhere in your farming practice.
Organic farming is an alternative agricultural system used in the production of both livestock and crops which do not in any way encourage the use of genetically modified organisms.
Fertilizers, growth hormones and even antibiotics should not be involved in this type of farming to keep the crop and the soil in healthy conditions.
2. Land for Organic Farming
Get a suitable land depending on the kind of farming business you choose, make sure that the land has suitable soil for cultivation and sizeable enough for your farming needs.
Check the pH value to make sure it’s normal and as well prepare the land using organic manure if the soil composition is not okay.
3. Get The Optimal Temperature & Timing For Crop Growth
At every step you take, always remind yourself that you are practicing natural farming system.
Now that you need to prepare the soil which is the doorway to successful organic farming you should avoid all kinds of artificial soil additives.
Considering the type of crop you intend to plant on the land, soil prepping should be done at certain times before planting.
The temperature of the soil at planting time must not stay below 12°C i.e. 55℉.
If you intend growing organic crops such as corn, you should find a way to get organic manure such as animal manure and other organic compost to mix into the soil a few weeks before the planting time to ensure nutrient retention.
Generally, if you propose planting the corn seeds two weeks after the last spring frost date, don’t omit the point mentioned above.
The point here is that you should know the optimal timing and the ideal planting temperatures adequate for different crop growth.
Listed below are the ideal temperatures for different crops:
Hardy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, onions, peas and other related require dry soil and are planted 2 to 4 weeks before the date of average last spring frost.
They can survive at low temperatures of 4°C i.e. 40℉.
Semi-hardy vegetables such as carrots, parsley, potatoes, Swiss chard, etc. can survive in dry soils as well with minimum daylight temperature between 4°C (40℉) to 10°C (50℉).
They are sensitive to frost just like the hardy vegetables; they are planted 2 to 4 weeks before the date of average last spring frost
Tender vegetables: For examples cucumbers, beans, celery and summer squash among others can survive on dry soils at daytime temperatures above 12°C i.e. 55°F. They should be planted around the date of the average last spring frost.
Very Tender Vegetables also survive on dry soil temperature and should be planted around the date of average last spring frost at daytime temperatures more than 12°C i.e. 55°F.
4. Match The Land with Suitable Plant
Decide on what kind of farming or agriculture you want to engage in carrying out on the land. This is important to make sure that the intended crop will match the land perfectly.
Make sure you have gained enough capital and knowledge so that you can be able to understand the challenges you can encounter, how to avert it and manage the farming operation very well.
Get the right seedling specifically from farms that encourage or practices organic farming.
Remember that you are not supposed to use genetically modified seeds, therefore to make sure you get the right one you can also request that from the necessary organization as mention above which will gladly help you in procuring the right organic seedlings.
5. Make Good Organic Additives
Consider how to make your own manure, natural pest, insect and weed control, how to make animal feeds, etc., depending on your agricultural practice which will help to reduce the cost which might be incurred in purchasing them.
Preparing organic fertilizer is the major thing involved in this kind of farming system. It is so because optimal nutrients are required to enrich the growth of the crops.
6. Cover Cropping is Important
Cover cropping is a planting method that helps to increase the efficiency of the soil nutrient and its fertility just as organic manure.
Cover crops are crops grown for the purpose of protecting and enriching the soil. It helps in the proper management of soil erosion, weeds, soil quality, pests, diseases, biodiversity as well as wildlife in an agroecosystem.
7. Weed Management
Weed is a major factor that can affect crop yield. It can lessen the yields of your crops and consume the nutrients and resources intended for crop growth.
Most of the time weed management becomes a stumbling block for organic crop production because it doesn’t permit the use of chemical herbicides.
However, some of the manual methods by weeds are controlled and managed appropriately include hand pulling, weeding with simple farm tools, mowing, thermal and mechanical weed control.
8. Crop Rotation Play Important Role on Organic Farms
Organic farming practices depend on natural soil health to produce a better yield. One good process that contributes to achieving this is crop rotation.
Planting different types of crops annually in particular order in your field helps to keep the soil balanced and stops the reduction of certain nutrients that helps the crops to do well.
Crop rotation is very crucial in organic farming as it reduces reactions from weeds, diseases and crop pests by reducing their life cycles also enhance the soil nutrients.
Just to mention but a few, crop rotation has numerous benefits it supports organic farming system because less artificially made fertilizer is used since nitrogen is naturally fixed in the soil.
9. Consult Organic Farmers
It is important to seek directives from farmers who are already into organic farming practices.
You can as well source for detailed information from them and they will guide understand the farming practice and make sure that you adhere to the associated requirements.
This kind of farming practice has so many advantages such as being environmentally friendly, no worries of harmful effects from chemicals, improve the soil and more.
Alternatively, you can consult organic farming agencies that will also make provision of an extensive guide where organic farmers can find details on how to get started.
The guide from such agencies can give a clear insight into organic farming starting from soil prepping to the making of organic fertilizer such as vermicompost (vermiculture).
10. Get Organic Farming Certification
Organic farming, unlike inorganic, has great impacts on farmers who practice it. It has boundless potential to provide benefits in terms of environmental protection, improved food quality and reorientation of agriculture to the change in market demand of organic produce.
Know the certain requirements for the certification and follow the requirements accordingly to get the right certification. Once you become a certified organic farmer, it implies that you are a certified organic distributor as well.
Your products are considered sure organic produced without the application of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, conventional pesticides, irradiation, and other inorganic processes.
11. Harvest Right
As mentioned earlier in this article, the financial reward of organic farming is of high production value.
Know the proper time for harvesting any type of crop you plant organically in order not to experience a reduction in the yield.
Harvesting at the right time is very important both in the organic and inorganic type of farming system. This will guarantee you to get the best result from the effort you have made so far.
Note that optimal harvesting time varies according to the type of crop or crops you are growing on your farm.
How much do organic farmers make?
Generally, organic farming is a sustainable type of farming that has numerous benefits over the inorganic type of farming.
Some of these benefits include that organic farming requires less capital investment; organic agricultural products are sold for over 30% of that of artificial farming products.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, organic farming keeps the soil rich all year round to produce nutritious crops free of artificial fertilizers.
It is also beneficial to the environment because there will be no secretion of chemicals or toxic substances to the surrounding areas of the farmland.
However, it can be stressful because you have to source for a natural alternative of whatever you thing to be used on the farm yet people still prefer organic foods regardless of its price because of its health benefits.