Giving Organic Farming The Bird
Birds such as the skylark and lapwing are less likely to be found in organic fields than on conventional farms, according to a study that contradicts claims that organic agriculture is much better for wildlife.
It concludes that organic farms produce less than half as much food per hectare as ordinary farms and that the small benefits for certain species from avoiding pesticides and artificial fertilisers are far outweighed by the need to make land more productive to feed a growing population.
The research, by the University of Leeds, is another blow to the organic industry, which is already struggling because of falling sales and a report from the Food Standards Agency that found that organic food was no healthier than ordinary produce.
Organic farmers who shun herbicides may also impose higher costs on nearby farms because the weeds that they have tolerated spread to neighbouring fields....