The unique characteristic of organic farming that distinguishes it from other forms of farming is Polyculture. While conventional farming methods employ mass production of only one crop on a given piece of land (also termed as monoculture), organic farming uses the concept of polyculture. In this method two or more varieties of crops are grown on the same land; this is supposed to increase the cost factor of the farming method while also increasing the health benefits of the plant food. Growing together different varieties of crops is known to boost the number of beneficial insect and the microorganisms found in the soil. However, polyculturing the land requires correct knowledge and expertise to handle multiple varieties of crops at one go.
While polyculture requires plenty of hard work and close detailing, it has any advantages as well that cannot be found in monoculture.
- The wide varieties of crops used in polyculture makes the plants less sensitive to the plant diseases. In fact, a study in China supports this theory as it revealed that adopting the method of polyculture in a rice field boosted the output of rice by 89% since there was a sharp downfall (almost 94%) in the diseases that further decreased the amount of pesticides used.
- The diverse range of crops used in the field helps increase the biodiversity in the air and soil since it lends the environment favorable for the existence of different species. Polyculture is a great way of increasing biodiversity in the local environment especially since the insects and microorganisms perform the function of natural pesticides.