Is Organic the right choice for your farm?

If you answered YES to the self-assessment questionnaire then organic farming could be the right choice for your farm. Please find the following quick guide to some of the immediate requirements of organic certification:

Cropping systems

1. Agrochemicals

Most manufactured agrochemicals (fungicides, herbicides, insecticides) or growth regulators are prohibited.

2. Conversion timing

Land managed for cropping and grassland must undergo a minimum 24 months conversion after the last use of fertilisers and agrochemicals prohibited under organic standards, before the land can become eligible for full organic status.

3. Separation

Organic land must be separated from conventional land by a physical barrier (road, hedge, wall) or a 10m buffer strip.

4. Crop rotation

The balance between fertility building crops, such as grass clover leys and exploitative crops such as cereals and potatoes is critical in a crop rotation.

5. Fertilisers

Soluble mineral fertilisers are prohibited, but some such as lime and phosphate are permitted.

6. Certification audit

Organic farms and business undergo a certification audit on an annual basis.

Livestock systems

1. Organic products

The production of products of organic livestock from animals that have been raised on organic holdings since birth and throughout their life.

2. Preventative treatments

The use of chemically synthesised allopathic veterinary medicinal products or antibiotics for preventive treatment is prohibited.

3. Antibiotic control

The use of antibiotics to treat individuals and the use of immunological veterinary medicines is allowed under strict conditions.

4. Landless livestock

Landless livestock production (where no agricultural land and/or cooperation with another operator), is prohibited.

5. Stocking density

The total stocking density shall be such as not to exceed the limit of 170kg of nitrogen per year and hectare of agricultural area.

6. Organic land grazing

Organic animals must only graze land registered as organic.