Science and Technology of Organic Farming  book cover
1st Edition

Science and Technology of Organic Farming

ISBN 9781439816127
Published May 6, 2010 by CRC Press
240 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Winner of a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award for 2011!

Organic farming is not only a philosophy, but also a well-researched science that combines soil fertility, plant pathology, entomology, and other biological and environmental sciences. Science and Technology of Organic Farming is a concise, readily applicable resource for understanding the scientific basis for organic farming and the technology required to achieve adequate yields through plant nutrition and protection. It provides the tools necessary to dispel hampering myths about organic farming so farmers – regardless of their experience – can strengthen their own growing practices.

Emphasizes Foundations of Organic Farming – Composting, Cover Crops, & Farm Manures
Addressing relevant issues and concepts along with practical applications, chapters cover soil fertility and plant nutrition; individual plant requirements; liming; farm manures, green manures, and composts; mulching and tillage; and weed, insect, and disease control, as well as companion planting and storage. The text also includes more than 50 illustrations and a glossary with common technical and scientific terms used in conventional and organic agriculture. This valuable reference is ideal for farmers, agricultural advisers, and soil and plant scientists – in both academia and industry.

Table of Contents

Definitions and Philosophies of Organic Farming
Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition
Requirements of Plants for Soil-Derived Nutrients
Management of Farm Manures
Management of Green Manures
Weed Control
Insect Control
Plant Diseases
Companion Planting
Storage of Produce
Glossary of Terms

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Allen V. Barker is a Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, where he has taught and conducted research on soil fertility and plant nutrition since 1964. He has taught a course in organic farming since 1972. He was born and reared on a crop and livestock farm in southern Illinois. He was educated in a one-room grade school and in a local public high school in Hamilton County. He received a BS degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Illinois and MS and PhD degrees from Cornell University. His interests in soil fertility and plant nutrition arise from observations of the needs for improving the productivity and nutritional value of crops grown on poor soils.


This impressive book untangles the complicated and sometimes confusing subject of organic farming. Barker deftly and succinctly not only addresses practical tasks in the field, but also explains both the historical and philosophical theory that has built modern organic practices. … Chapters devoted to individual soil nutrients are not a repetition of those in other soil science books; instead, the author relates nutrient availability to organic practices. Perhaps the most valuable chapters present informed practices of composting, green manure management, companion planting, proper liming, and the correct use of mulches… . The chapters on pest control, with specific tools for managing particular pests including insects and diseases, exhibit the author’s extensive knowledge of organic practices. … Barker uses scientific thought to support his methods, rare in many of today’s trendy treatises, and debunks the nonscientific methods associated with organic practices that diminish the science’s logic and legitimacy. Summing Up: Highly recommended.
CHOICE, January 2011

… Professor Barker draws upon his more than 45 years of experience and expertise to first identify the history and define the practices that comprise organic farming. … an essential, core addition to personal, professional, academic, and community library reference collections. Also very highly recommended from CRC Press for anyone seeking to convert from industrial agriculture to organic farming is Stephen R. Gliessman and Martha Rosemeyer’s The Conversion to Sustainable Agriculture: Principles, Processes, and Practices.
—James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, August 2010

Plant nutrition covers ‘organic’ fertilizers, defined as those derived from biological or mineral materials. This section is a comprehensive summary of the functions of 14 essential elements, including crop requirements and deficiency symptoms. ... the book presents a basic introduction to crop science that is clearly relevant and provides some useful specific insights into crop nutrition.
—Susanne Padel, The Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 47(1), 2011