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Conventional and Organic Farming: A Comprehensive Review through the Lens of Agricultural Science


Victor M. Shorrocks


Organic farming comes with many connotations of ‘natural’, ‘wholesome’, ‘healthy’, ‘superior’, ‘environmentally friendly’, and ‘sustainable’. But just what is the scientific evidence behind the claims of healthier food and better farming systems made by the organic movement?

Using peer reviewed literature, the latest studies and a rigorous investigation of claims made by opponents of conventional farming, the author provides an even handed and scientifically objective review of the contributions of organic farming to human health, crop yields, the environment and agriculture from a global perspective.

The aim is to separate out the marketing spin, the claims of one camp or another and political ideologies to provide a straightforward appraisal of both the benefits and exaggerated claims of organic farming. The approach taken is to present the evidence – in the form of data, study results and presentation of source material for the claims made by conventional and organic, and leave the reader to make their own judgements on the validity of the case for organic over conventional farming.

The book also addresses a fundamental question in modern farming – organic agriculture’s ability to feed the world in the face of a growing population and growing demand for meat, and provides a timely scientific comparison of the practices, relative yields and benefits of organic versus conventional agriculture. The ways conventional farming has progressed from hunter gatherer days and possible future developments are discussed.

Conventional and Organic Farming is an ideal book for agricultural policy makers, researchers and academics, as well as agricultural students, conventional and organic farmers.

Vic Shorrocks is a specialist in the mineral nutrition of crops gaining his D.Phil. at Oxford with work on the uptake of phosphorus and potassium by barley and sunflower in 1957. In the latter part of his career he concentrated on the mineral micro-nutrition of plants, animals and man with his quarterly publication Micronutrient News, consulting worldwide. He has continued to keep up with developments in organic farming a topic which he has followed for over 60 years and which led to him study plant breeding.

Additional information

ISBN 9781910455999
Product type HB
Publication date 18-Dec-17
Dimensions 246 × 172 mm
Product options

eBook (ePub), eBook (pdf), Print version

5 reviews for Conventional and Organic Farming: A Comprehensive Review through the Lens of Agricultural Science

  1. John V. Possingham, Acta Horticulturae

    There is a lot of information in this wide-ranging book that will be of value to agricultural science students. I am sure it will also be useful to graduates of a few years standing seeking to keep themselves informed of new developments. It is an easy-to-read book and may find its way onto the coffee tables of those who want to be better informed about contentious agricultural topics that extend to aspects of human health. I found the layout used throughout of listing at the end of each chapter both the salient points made and the references used, particularly helpful.

  2. Professor Geoffrey R Dixon, The Biologist

    Conventional and Organic Farming is a book for all sectors – practising farmers and growers, students, scientists and those members of the public who want to understand the economic, environmental and social importance of agriculture.

  3. Prof Dr Holger Kirchmann

    ‘It is a timely and impressive scientific comparison, an eye-opener for certain aspects of the soil-plant system and a great source of information.’ – Prof Dr Holger Kirchmann, Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science

  4. Agricultural Science

    Understanding the present dynamics in the production and marketing of ‘organic’ products is a complex issue. Thus, it is a delight to read this contribution from Victoria Shorrocks… Shorrocks provides an evenhanded, comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of organic and conventional farming. Much of the value in the book is this unbiased treatment… This contribution by Shorrocks is ideal for students, researchers and farmers. It should be read by policy makers. And it will appeal also to consumers wanting to understand better how food is produced and grappling to understand the often-exaggerated claims made about both organic and conventional farming.

  5. Chemistry and Industry

    Overall, an enormous amount of information has been collated, providing a comprehensive and enlightening read.

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