Agroecology and the Disappearing Yield Gap

The more scientists actually study agroecology, the better it looks.

The largest meta-analysis to date comparing yields of organic and conventional agriculture concluded that the “yield gap” between the two is much smaller than previously claimed and for some crops, doesn’t exist at all.

In a new study released in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London entitled Diversification Practices Reduce Organic to Conventional Yield Gap, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley found that when organic farms employ agroecological practices like inter-cropping and crop rotations, the organic-conventional yield gap all but disappears. For legumes, there is no yield difference. The study used three times the number of farms and a more discerning, fine-grained statistical procedure than a previous study published in Nature by Seufert, Tamankutty and Foley in 2012 that due to a statistical bias erroneously concluded organic yielded 25 percent less than conventional agriculture.

Great! But after the celebrating among organic farming enthusiasts is over, what are we to make of this?

First of all, agroecology — the science of sustainable agriculture –must be taken seriously by policy makers, land grant universities, the National Science Foundation and big philanthropy, all of —> Read More Here


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