ORGANIC AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Learning outcomes of the course unit
To provide the student with elementary knowledge related to the process of plant production in conventional farming in comparison with organic agriculture, with indication of current legislation.
Course contents summary
Agronomy and agro-ecosystems. Intensive agriculture. Extensive agriculture. Sustainable agriculture. Organic farming and biodynamic agriculture. Integrated agricultural management.
Introduction to plant production. Factors of production. Origins of agriculture and of cultivated crops. Yield and quality.
Climatic variables: radiation, temperature, rainfall. Damages to crops by high and low temperatures. Agricultural practices in organic farming for changing the climatic parameters.
Soil: physical, chemical and biological properties. Management of water flooding. Avoiding drainage in organic farming.
Plants and water: needs of the crops. Available water in the soil. Field capacity and wilting point. Effects of drought and water flooding. Methods of irrigation and their efficiency in organic farming.
Plants and nutrients. Main mineral nutrients; excess and deficiency. Antagonisms. Interactions. Macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and their management in organic farming.
Soil tillage. Preparatory and complementary tillage operations. Plough and ploughing. Other tillage tools. Alternative techniques. Reducing soil tillage in organic agriculture.
Production systems. Monoculture, polyculture; intercropping; crop rotation and organic farming.
Fertilization. The main available mineral fertilizers in intensive agriculture. Organic fertilizers and the organic farming. Doses and admitted fertilisers in organic farming.
Weeds and weed control in organic farming. Preventive and mechanical controls.
Control of diseases in organic farming. Allowed insecticides and fungicides. Preventive methods and physical methods of control.
EU regulation CEE 2092/91 for organic agriculture in Europe.
Sustainability of organic agriculture: soil fertility, productivity, quality of products, environmental impact.
Conversion from intensive agriculture to that organic. The control system from AIAB in Italy.
Labelling of organic products.
Examples of organic agriculture in field crops, horticulture and fruit production.
Gabriel Guet, 2001. Agricoltura biologica mediterranea. Egagricole.
Schmid O., Strasser F., Gilemon R, Meili E. e Wollesen J., 1991. Agricoltura biologica. Manuali pratici di Eco-agricoltura. Edagricole.
Giorgio Amadei, 2002. Agricoltura biologica. Accademia Nazionale di Agricoltura.
Vizioli Vincenzo, 2003. Conversione al biologico. Biblioteca di Agricoltura Biologica.
Pinton Roberto, 1999. Guida pratica all’etichettatura dei prodotti biologici. AIAB
The written exam will consists of open questions and question with multiple answers.