08 July 1999
Chemical farming OK, says Prince Charles

THE Prince of Wales, long-time champion of organic farming, has apparently moderated his position on intensive commercial agriculture.

Prince Charles appeared to acknowledge yesterday (Wednesday) that farmers using chemical pesticides can achieve at least as much for wildlife as organic producers.

He praised the “imagination and determination” of all producers in a new national environmental award scheme organised by the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers in London.

The award was won by a Kent hop producer, who runs both organic and conventional commercial apple and pear orchards.

He proved he had more wild birds in his chemically-treated orchards than among his organic trees.

Experts at the Central Science Laboratory, York, have found that wildlife flourishes better on land farmed organically or by integrated crop management.

But larger numbers of linnets and finches were found among the ICM trees.