Biotech Updates

Organic Farming: Limited Benefit to Wildlife Does Not Compensate for Lower Yields

May 7, 2010

The benefits to wildlife and increases in biodiversity from organic farming average just over 12 percent more than conventional farming which does not compensate for the lower yields produced. This was the finding of a study conducted by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and published in Ecology Letters.

Organic farms in the study produced less than half of the yield of their conventional counterparts. Project leader Tim Benton said that "Our results show that to produce the same amount of food in the UK using organic rather than conventional means, we'd need to use twice the amount of land for agriculture. As the biodiversity benefits of organic farming are small, then the lower yield may be a luxury we can't afford, particularly in the more productive areas of the UK." 

The study was conducted in two areas in Central South West England and the North Midlands on 32 organic and non-organic farms. It analyzed the presence of birds, insects, earthworms and plants.

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