Comparing yields: Organic versus conventional agriculture

Verena Seufert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionaryAcademic


Yields of organic agriculture have been the center of many debates about the advantages or disadvantages of organic management. Recently, evidence has been accumulating that yields under organic management are, on average, 19%–25% lower than under conventional management. But there remain many open questions, including (1) the factors contributing to low or high yield gaps between organic and conventional agriculture, (2) whether yields on organic farming system trials can be replicated on farmers’ fields, (3) the impact of organic management on yield stability, and (3) the comparative yields of organic agriculture at the cropping system level. This chapter provides an overview of the existing evidence on each of these points, while also highlighting important knowledge gaps. In addition, this chapter highlights that - given the limited attention from agricultural research and extension that organic agriculture has received to date - there is ample room to address yield-limiting factors in organic systems and to improve organic yields.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Food Security and Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 3: Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture
EditorsPasquale Ferranti, Elliot M. Berry, Jock R. Anderson
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128126882
ISBN (Print)9780128126875
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Organic agriculture
  • Cropping systems
  • Yield stability
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Yields


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