3
$\begingroup$

I read more and more stuff about alternative method of agriculture such as permaculture. Howerver, I'm not an ecologist or biologist so I don't know where to look for really good and serious articles / paper on the subject. I am really interested in food production methods that may be efficient and respectful for both the environment and the health.

The question that interests me the most is the question of crop yield and environment. I wonder if there are studies that compares the crop yield of the different production methods AND if there are scientific researches on the optimisation of the food production under ressources constrains.

Do you have any reading suggestion? I'm mostly interested in scientific papers but I'm open to anything that may be interesting.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Google Scholar is often a good place to start your searches. Start big (broad topics, review papers), and work your way into more specific topics as you learn how different terms are used in scientific publishing. You may not be able to access certain (probably most) literature without institutional credentials, but you should at least get to a summary/abstract page, and you can always try SciHub for the full text (I'll let you figure out how that one works). $\endgroup$
    – MikeyC
    Sep 17 '20 at 18:26
1
$\begingroup$

I believe you are looking for information on "sustainable agriculture". There are many aspects of production in agriculture like: fertilization, irrigation, pesticides and (no-)tillage. One can try to calculate the carbon foot-print of food (beware of the calculations, they might be misleading).

Crop rotation is helpful in sustainable agriculture but it is not always available, making traditional (industrialized) agriculture the only viable option. The economic aspect is also important. Agricultures need to grow the food and they will grow it only if the make money from it. Organic and sustainable agricultural products get a premium for being cultivated that way but these premia go down as more farmers use them.

The question "How the yield is affected by the agricultural method" is a broad question that attract interest in research. We need to break it down to: What is yield (biomass? marketable product?) and what is agricultural method.

A great study conducted in Ontario, Canada by Stonehouse et al, 1996 compares the herbicide treatments in 3 types of farms: conventional, reduced input and organic and the yield, investment and profit for three crops: grain corn, beans and cereal grains. The data arrives from self-reported data by the farms. This is not a fully randomized experiment and there are many differences between farms (size, investment, land) but precautions were taken to reduce them. Reduce input farmers used less herbicides than the conventional ones.
This is the table from the article enter image description here There reported more information as profitability but since this study is from 25 years ago I believe it is no longer relevant.

This study is only one showing the complexity of the subject and one of the methodologies employed. One can write various books about the subject so I hope this post gives you the direction that you needed

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Publications by the Food and Agriculture Organization http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/ca9692en of the United Nations would be a good place to start as they are freely accessible. There are plenty of articles looking at crop yield of different production methods and different management techniques. You may consider subscribing to a journal, like Agronomy https://www.agronomy-journal.org/, or CAB Abstracts https://www.cabi.org/publishing-products/cab-abstracts/ as those would contain most of the subject material you're looking for. Those would also contain information on optimizing food production under resource constraints. Happy researching!

$\endgroup$
1
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome and thanks for your post. Can you add links to websites or add other linked resources in your answer to enable other users to check out your suggestions more easily? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Feb 3 at 8:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.