Plant pathologist Steve Savage has analyzed the data from the USDA’s Organic Production Survey (the largest ever survey of organic farming in the United States) and finds that organic yields per acre are substantially lower than the yields of conventional crops.
By far the biggest negative environmental impact of farming comes from deforestation to clear new land for farms. Lower yields mean more land is necessary to produce the same amount of food, which should make organic food proponents rethink whether or not organics are good for the planet.
An excerpt from Savage’s analysis:
In the vast majority of cases national Organic average yields are moderately to substantially below those of the overall, national average.
Examples for row crops include Winter Wheat 60% of overall average, Corn 71%, Soybeans 66%, Spring Wheat 47% and Rice 59%
Examples for fruits include Grapes 51%, Apples 88%, Almonds 56%, Avocados 62%,Oranges 43%, Strawberries 58%
Examples in Vegetables include Tomatoes 63%, Potatoes 72%, Sweet Corn 79%,Celery 50% and Cabbage 43%