DEMAND FOR organic cereals could be boosted this year by changes to animal feed regulations, growers have been told.

Changes to the derogation allowing a proportion of organic animal feed to come from conventional sources could increase organic cereal demand, said the Soil Association‘s Anna Jonas.

“The derogation ends on Aug 24 this year and while we don‘t know exactly what will happen, the regulations should go to a requirement for 100% organic feed.”

Currently, up to 10% of feed for organic ruminants can come from approved non-organic sources, while for pigs and poultry this is 20%, she said.

“Producers in a position to grow cereals and looking to convert to organic – particularly in light of CAP reform – should be encouraged by this potential increase in demand,” she said.

Higher demand is likely to come not only from feed mills, but also from producers feeding straights on-farm, she noted.

Demand for organic cereals in the UK is currently around 60-70% more than production levels, according to Gleadell, which is looking for more organic suppliers to come forward.

“We market a wide range of organically grown crops to maltsters, millers and feed compounders across the UK,” said the firm‘s organic trading manager, Brian Wilburn.

“But we soon run out of home-grown crops and have to import thousands of tonnes from abroad to fulfil the demand.”

Paul.Spackman@rbi.co.uk