RESULTS OF the first survey of all organic producers in Scotland could help build confidence in the continuity of supplies, as required by processors and retailers, according to experts.

The Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) survey of around 660 organic farmers is part of the Organic Market Link project and has been conducted for the first time this year, said David Younie, the SAC‘s organic farming specialist.

The Link project aims to improve the flow of information between traders and processors and the producer survey is one way of doing this by quantifying the supply situation, the SAC said.

In 2004, around 14,900 tonnes of Scottish organic grain was produced, with 32% destined for home feeding, the survey found.

Oats (5,000t produced in 2004) was the main grain crop, followed by barley (4,250t), wheat (3,500t) and pulses (1,500t), the results also showed.

While the number of large scale hill sheep farmers has been dropping over previous years, arable production may increase, as the number of mixed lowland farms is rising and could continue to do so, Mr Younie said.

“With the Single Farm Payment coming in, we are anticipating an increase in the number of lowland farms converting to organic. The attraction is particularly strong for AAPS eligible land.”