Calls preventing the use of in-conversion grain in organic livestock diets from some quarters could act as big disincentive for entrants into the sector.

Qualifying grain has to be in its second year of conversion and, according to the managing director of a leading organic feed manufacturer, its withdrawal would reduce prices to conventional levels.

It would also do nothing to improve the UK’s poor position of 25% self-sufficiency in home-grown organic cereals, he claimed.

Ian Proctor of Hi Peak Feeds of Killamarsh, Derbyshire, said: “Whenever possible we have always resisted the use of conventional feed in organic rations, often believing policy to be too relaxed. But to compare second-year conversion with conventional grain is entirely to miss the point.

“Second-year conversion grain typically fetches a price midway between organic and conventional and, with home-produced organic cereals only able to provide a quarter of our national requirement, the current policy is a good initiative for greater domestic supply,” he said.