Regular farms, or large scale corporate farms, usually practice a farming method called mono-cropping. This is when farms produce one crop on a very large scale. The mono-cropping standard crops are soybeans, corn, no-till corn, and alfalfa. However, organic farms grow how ever many different types of crops that they want, and are limited to only the soil and time of year.
Yes, a study conducted by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in England has shown that organic farms have a more diverse range of fungi living in the soil than on conventional farms. While the use of herbicides and pesticides and the constant tilling breaks down the fungi on intensive farms, the use of no chemicals on organic farms allows a more diverse range of microbes to live in the soil. This allows the crop to grow without the cost of artificial fertilizers. Dr. Christopher van der Gast of the CEH said, “the findings could help farmers around the world to understand how to make plants grow better in the long term, without destroying the nutrients of the soil with intensive farming.”
As a point of principle, organic farms should have more diversity than non-organic farms of the same scale. This is because non-organic farms kill many local species by use of pesticides and herbicides. Organic farms, on the other hand, seek to promote diversity because certain companion plants can replace the need for herbicides or pesticides. Lambsquarter, for example, is an edible weed (and good forage food!) that can draw away leafmining pests. Pumpkins, too, are often grown alongside corn because they act as a good ground cover to keep weeds down.
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