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Labour and machinery systems in organic farming

Sørensen, C.G. and Nielsen, V. (2003) Labour and machinery systems in organic farming. In: Piccarolo, P. (Ed.) XXX CIOSTA-CIGR CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS, Universita degli Studi di Torino, 2, pp. 525-533.

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In order to analyse and evaluate the future development of organic farming in Denmark efforts are needed to extend and improve the data on labour and machinery input. Previous investigations have not been able, in a uniquely way, to describe the labour requirement related to factors like farm type, type of production, level of mechanisation, etc. Existing modelling approaches on labour demand and machinery input, used for conventional farms, has only been scarcely used on organic farming systems. There is a need for a systematic analysis of the technical operational consequences and subsequent prognosis of the labour requirement, capacity, and labour profiles for specific organic production systems, including the evaluation of innovative cropping and mechanisation systems. The latter is important, as the continuing development of organic farming systems will probably imply an increased application of innovative types of machinery and systems, which are specifically adapted to the principles of organic farming.
A number of model farms illustrating “future organic farms” have been designed. For these farms the analyses of the labour and machinery systems dependent on different technological assumptions (existing and new innovative technologies) have been carried out. The analyses comprise all work operations in the field and the animal houses together with a selection of machinery types and an estimation of machinery sizes. The analysis use prerequisites like cropping plan, an optimised animal manure application, norm yields adjusted to the cropping plan, etc. The output from the analysis comprises labour profiles, labour budgets related to the specific fields, to the specific crops, to the specific periods (week, months, etc.), to the specific machines or treatments, etc. The labour demand for the production farms range from 6.1 to 16.6 h ha-1 and from 16.5 h LU-1 to 39.6 h LU-1 for work in the animal houses. Also, results indicate that the inclusion of row crops in the cropping plan demand a high labour input, which would reduce the uptake of row crops in the cropping plan. In terms of labour input, organic cattle production is comparable with conventional cattle production.
Current as well as innovative technologies and work methods related to organic farming have been identified and evaluated. Technologies that are expected to be implemented in the next 5-10 years have been selected for further elaboration within the context of model farms. As examples, the new technologies chosen consist of a weeding robot and an integrated system for thermal band treatment. The selected technologies are either available or have been tested as a prototype technology. The labour demand is reduced by 80-85% by introducing these technologies.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:organic farming; labour input; machinery input; innovative technologies
Subjects: Farming Systems > Buildings and machinery
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF II (2000-2005) > III.2 (ECON-ORG) Analyses of the future development of organic farming
Deposited By: Soerensen, Senior Scientist Claus
ID Code:2435
Deposited On:26 Mar 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:29
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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