Rob Daykin, UK Sales Manager at Hi Peak Feeds provides his thoughts on the European Parliament’s Proposals on organic feed rule changes:
The above proposal, as it stands and if adopted, is wholly unworkable, illogical and would set back the organic sector in the UK to a very significant degree. For example there would probably be no organic industry in Scotland at all, and production elsewhere would fall markedly because of the added difficulties in manufacturing animal feed.
Sourcing organic raw materials for animal feed can be challenging enough – as was witnessed this year with the Ukraine’s temporary loss of organic certification status. This proposal will make it even harder for organic farmers to provide their animals with the quality and range of feed required. Not only will the organic market suffer, but so too would animal welfare.
Pigs and poultry obviously are wholly reliant on supplied compound feed. But dairy cows cannot live on grass or forage alone either. The latest Kingshay figures, for example, show that, on average, organic dairy farmers feed nearly two tonnes of compound feed per cow per year.
In order for GB to adhere to the proposal as it stands there would probably need to be a minimum of ten new organically approved and certified mills in the UK. This is assuming that all of the other mills in the UK are, or become, organically certified.
The proposal for a 150km limit for producing animal feed is also entirely illogical because the UK is far from being self sufficient in organic raw materials. Cereals and protein sources will still need to be imported hundreds if not thousands of miles (some raw materials are sourced from China and India, for example.)
However, the proposals should act as a further galvanizing force for organic livestock farmers to team up with and work closer together with organic arable farmers to source more locally produced organic raw materials. This move is essential to reduce the cost of sourcing raw materials and to make the sector more sustainable in the long run.