Labor, Overhead and Other Challenges to Organic Farming

organic hydroponics

One of the greatest challenges to organic farming is the overhead cost due to labor. This is true for soil growing. For soilless growing the problem lies in the cost of manufactured liquid fertilizers, which can be very expensive. In this article from the Rodale Institute there are other factors that make it difficult to compete for organic farmers including the challenges of transitioning from conventional to organic, for the purpose of certification. The 3 years required for conventional soil to be considered "organic certification worthy", annual registration fees and other restrictions are also challenging.

Much of the high cost of labor of organic farming is due to the cost associated with composting, soil dressing, nutrient broadcasting and weed management.

New Farm/Rodale Institute

Growers who had adopted organic farming practices primarily for economic gain, rather than a philosophical commitment to organic, were more likely to revert to conventional production with changing economic circumstances.

A number of farmers said they faced steeply higher costs for weed management when they relied on hand weeding along with additional tractor passes. As labor substitutes in part on organic farms for other capital costs and purchased synthetic inputs, the study indicates that wages can typically account for more than 50 percent of all production costs.

As one mixed-enterprise farmer explained, "This is all labor. I've had a few partners that backed out once they saw they had to spend $1,800 an acre weeding spinach compared to $150 an acre in conventional.

An organic farmer in Ventura County stated that "when I farmed conventionally, I had six employees on 300 acres. Now that I'm farming organically, I have 15 employees on 30 acres."

By using juice extracts from food discards or Primoridial Soup dry blends from Bioponica, it makes sense to make liquid fertilizers through nutricycling.

High nutrient costs for growing organic in deep water culture

Unless hydroponics growers are using chemical fertilizers, the cost of manufactured liquid organic nutrients can be unrealistic.

Most hydroponic anything is grown in water with chemical fertilizers. If you have ever tasted organic hydroponic lettuce you can tell the difference. Plus it's more profitable!

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