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Giving the bird to Organic farming

Fresh blow to organic as study says organic farms bad for songbirds - Times Online

The latest research, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, suggests that an increase in farmers shifting to organic production could reduce the numbers of songbirds that depend on seeds to survive the winter. Organic farms plough up their fields after the cereal harvest in the autumn so there are no fields of stubble where birds can feed on seeds from weeds and other plants.
Their findings are a blow to organic champions who are still reeling from a study this summer which found that there were no health benefits to be gained from eating organic food.

Expect a dawn chorus of Lesser Spotted Melchetts tweeting that no one understands organic farming....

Comments

This post is a complete deformation of the results of that paper (which is itself quite weak as well).
The paper actually shows that farmland bird abundance is supported by organic farming, and 2 species in particular (starling and greenfinch) are significantly benefitting from organic management.

Despite what DEFRA and its pet sectors (pesticides and biotech) would be keen to see, the paper brings no evidence of negative effects of organic farming on farmland birds.

I don't know about practices in England but on my organic farm in Canada we plant cover crops when haqrvest is done. This is the custom to prevent soil erosionand return nutrients to the soil especially nitrogen. This year on our farm we saw a return of several species of native endangered birds to our property and weren't really sorry to see fewer of your starlings and other species from across the pond. We also suffered far less from mosquitoes despite our horribly wet summer and we suspect this is related to the rise in bird population. We don't have any hard data to support this information, other than organic practices were started two years ago and we have had no neswting pars of barn swallows for at least 5 years and this year there were 2 pair that successfully bred in the barn as well as numerous nests around the farmstead. So I say " Bosh" or Check your farming practices!

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