08 May 1998
Few tempted by organics, says RASE
ONLY 2% of cereal producers are considering conversion to organic farming, says a survey by the Royal Agricultural Society of England.
Perceptions of organic farming as a specialist enterprise accounted for the lack of interest, said RASE communications development manager, Alan Spedding.
“RASE members generally have larger-than-average farms and many have the perception that organic production is for smaller-scale, specialist producers,” he said. “Organic farming still suffers from its open-toed sandals, shorts and suntan image. And some non-organic producers underestimate how well developed organic production has become,” he added.
Of 250 producers who took part in the survey last autumn, more than 73% said improving quality grain was the best way to offset the effects of lower cereal prices, 45% said signing contracts to supply end-users directly and 42% identified selling through marketing groups. Asked to identify the recipe for competitive success, more than 80% selected cost a tonne as the most important ingredient.
According to the survey, 42% of farmers said they would increase their use of integrated crop management techniques, and 38% hoped to take advantage of genetically modified plants.
About a quarter planned to use more inputs to lift yields and a similar proportion are considering precision farming technology.
For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 8-14 May, 1998