Organic farmers in Wales stand to earn less than half from land management grants than those in England because they will not be rewarded for their way of farming under the current Glastir payment formula, according to the Soil Association.

The charity said organic farmland in Wales would attract just £28/ha maintenance payments while the Organic Entry Level Scheme in England paid £60/ha.

While organic farmers only needed to amass half of the points conventional farmers needed to apply to join Glastir, the Soil Association said the concession was not enough.

It said the Welsh Assembly Government should increase agri-environment payments to organic farmers because the sector delivered more environmental benefits than conventional farming.

Phil Stoker, Soil Association director of farmer and grower relations, said that unless changes were made the number of organic farmers in Wales could fall.

“Unless something changes there may be no agri-environment benefit in being an organic farmer in Wales which risks many dropping out altogether,” he said.

“And for many there is very little market benefit given that any premium that might be available is soon taken up by increased feed costs or other higher costs associated with organic farming methods.”

An independent review panel is currently reassessing Glastir after less than 3000 farmers applied to join in its first year.

The panel is tasked with examining how practical and relevant the All-Wales Element prescriptions would be to implement on-farm and whether they could be made more practical and flexible. Accessibility is being examined too.

The Soil Association said it was urging its farming members in Wales to lobby their farming union on a fair representation for organic producers.

The panel, which included representatives from the organic sector, will deliver its findings in March.