University of Manitoba: Natural Systems Agriculture: Organic Crop Production
University of Manitoba Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences Department of Plant Science

Organic Crop Production

Organic cropping systems mimic natural systems in a number of ways. For example, by not adding soluble fertilizers to the soil, nutrient dynamics change back to a natural state, with greater reliance on mineralization — a natural soil process — for nutrient release. In fact, crops grown under organic management have consistently shown greater association with beneficial, naturally-occurring, soil organisms such as mycorrhiza. Also, organic farmers generally use more diverse crop rotations than conventional farmers.

One criticism of organic farming is the reliance on soil tillage. Some farmers have been experimenting with no-till organic systems, thereby creating a marriage of two important innovations that bring us just a little bit closer to mimicking the natural grassland system.

Our organic research began (and continues!) with the Glenlea Long-Term Rotation Study, an organic-conventional comparison study that also examines the role of crop rotation in the biological, economic and environmental performance of cropping systems. Visit the Glenlea Long-Term Rotation page for more information, or follow the links below.


Organic Crop Production

The Glenlea Long-Term Crop Rotation Study: Organic vs. Conventional Crop Production



Review: Redesigning Canadian prairie cropping systems for profitability, sustainability, and resilience. Thiessen Martens, J. R., Entz, M. H. and Wonneck, M. D. 2015.


Copyright and Liability

This page created October 2005.
Last updated October 2016.