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The well-proportioned farm organism. Just a pleasing image of a mixed farming system or rather a basic requirement for functioning organic husbandry?

Raupp, Dr Joachim (2000) The well-proportioned farm organism. Just a pleasing image of a mixed farming system or rather a basic requirement for functioning organic husbandry? In: Alföldi, Th; Lockeretz, W and Niggli, U (Eds.) Proc. 13th Int. IFOAM Sci. Conf., August 2000 Basel, vdf Hochschulverlag (ETH Zürich), pp. 700-703.

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The basic references and textbooks of organic farming describe this agricultural method as aiming at and using the benefits of a certain farm structure. Similar concepts and ideas of a farm have been described both by the pioneers of organic farming and by the pioneers of agricultural sciences, although using various terms: agricultural individuality (Steiner in 1924), self-sufficient organic whole (Lord Northbourne in 1940), the proportioned farm (Young in 1770), the farm organism (Koepf in 1976), the branches of a farm are like organs in a body (Aereboe in 1920) having a certain size and being dependent from each other (Brinkmann in 1922). The various terms, ideas and aspects are explained and compared with each other.
In the 1970s and 1980s, some decades later than most of these references have been published, scientific activities called ecosystem research have been undertaken to investigate the structures and processes in natural or almost natural ecosystems as well as in agricultural ecosystems. Particularly, the effects and the significance of human impact (e.g. tillage, fertilization, plant protection) as regards structure, functioning and long-term stability or productivity of agroecosystems have been investigated. These results considered in the light of experiences gained in both organic and conventional farming practice can explain the linkage between structures and functions of a farm, i.e. why not only a certain diversity but also a ceratin set of operation (“impacts”) is necessary for the long-term fertility and sustainability of a farm if it is managed organically.
Different, partly the opposite consequences can be observed with the specialisation versus the diversification of the farm organism. The effects of agronomic tools and techniques mainly depend on whether they support the ability of self-regulation in agroecosystems or they act as an external (anthropogenic) regulation, as different types of feedback can be provoked in the system.
The paper is a contribution to the general concept of organic farming and to the present tendency in organic farming practice to accept more simple, specialized farms.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:farm organism; agroecology; self suficiency; mixed system; sustainability; diversity; stability; biodynamic
Subjects: Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
"Organics" in general
Farming Systems
Farming Systems > Farm nutrient management
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Research affiliation: Germany > Institute for Biodynamic Research - IBDF
Deposited By: Raupp, Dr. Joachim
ID Code:602
Deposited On:22 Jul 2005
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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