>>I can't recall whether this has been addressed in this forum before
>>or not...but an organic farmer I am working with recalls a federal
>>study which found that organic food is superior in some nutrients
>>to conventional food.
>there exist several studies in europe, which found differences in
>nutrient content between conventional and organic food, some
>nutrients are higher in conventional food (magnesium, mangan,
>zinc), some are higher in organic food (dry matter [not a real
>nutrient], sugars, calcium, phosphor and iron, several feeding
>studies showed higher contents per d.m. in vitamins).
One of the reasons results are all over the map is that when it comes
to mineral nutrients, the vast majority of organic farmers do not take
significantly better care of their soil than their conventional
Some do (pay more attention to mineral nutrients), and if their crops
happen to be included in a study, organic comes out looking not too
bad. Some conventional growers also do an excellent job looking after
calcium, magnesium, micros, and so on. If *their* products are in the
study, most organic will come off a poor second.
At least 90% of the farms I have inspected for organic certification in
the last eight seasons don't even know what what their mineral status
is. At least half haven't done a soil test in four or more years. No
more than 2 or 3% have any kind of a coherant mineral nutrient
management plan that they actually follow.
The problem has become substantially worse (not better) over the years,
which I attribute to the increasing number of producers drawn into
organic certification in an ultimately futile attempt to save their
farm by capturing a premium at the same time they elimate all costs for
It's rather unfortunate that even though organic agronomy has learnt a
lot in the last 15 years, that knowledge is simply not being applied.
Until it is, I suspect that organic vs. conventional comparisons will
continue to be inconclusive.
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