DEFRA postpones organic forage seed percentages increases

DEFRA postpones organic forage seed percentages increases

Monday, October 20, 2008

DEFRA has agreed to delay an increase in the percentage of a forage seed mix that needs to be organic, accepting that there is a shortage of organic forage seed resulting from poor growing conditions. 

The minimum organic proportion of organic seed mixes not requiring prior authorisation for use was expected to rise to 70% for 2009, but now this rate will be 65% for the remainder of 2008 and 2009. The move to a minimum organic percentage requirement of 70% has been postponed until 01 January 2010. 

Derogations will be required for single species mixtures which are not 100% organic and for mixtures with less than 65% organic seed each variety of non-organic seed will need to be justified prior to purchase. 

The Defra Organic Control Manual will be amended to read: 

  • At least 65% (by weight) of grass & forage seed mixes must be organic. Producers using a mix containing more than 65% organic seed will not need to apply for approval prior to purchase. However a derogation must be obtained prior to their next inspection. 
  • Producers requesting approval to use a grass or forage seed mix containing less than 65% organic seed will need to apply prior to purchase. Justification will be required for each non-organic variety used. Approval will only be given in extreme circumstances.
  • The 65% approach applies to grass & forage mixes. These include grass clover mixes and unharvestable mixes. An unharvestable mix is a mix containing species from two or more of the following different groups that is not intended for combine harvesting: Cereals, Pulses, Grass and Clovers, Brassicas and Others e.g. Oil Seeds.
  • Overall single species seed mixes should be 100 % organic, However, for fodder crops only, organic/non organic varietal mixes of a single species will be allowed with retrospective derogation at 65/35%. (Ref Defra seed book).
    A mix containing a single species with a single variety must contain 100% organic seed.
  • Therefore, an organic operator must use 100% organic seed for crops intended for fodder and harvested as such where a single species is used with a single variety. A 65% organic mix may be used where multiple species mixes are used or where single species are used that are made up of different varieties within that species.

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