19,055 research outputs found

    Organic Centre Wales Factsheet 24: The Organic Farming Scheme (OFS)

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    This factsheet describes the Organic Farming Scheme, an agri-environment scheme that offers payments to farmers in Wales to help them convert to organic farming with the aim of benefiting the environment. It is a key part of the Organic Action Plan for Wales, one of the aims of which is to increase the area of agricultural land in Wales under organic management by 10 – 15% by 2010. The OFS is funded by the EU and the Welsh Assembly Government as part of the 1999-2006 Rural Development Plan (RDP) for Wales, and will be subject to revision for the new 2007-2013 RDP. Issues covered include, how payments are structured, who is eligible, how to apply and how to get advice on organic conversion

    Organic Centre Wales Technical Note 4: Biology and management of slugs

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    Slugs are the most common and widespread pest affecting all farmers and growers. There are 29 species of slugs in the UK. The most destructive are from the Deroceras, Arion and Malix groups. Very few crops are unaffected as slugs are polyphagus and feed throughout the year whenever conditions are cool/warm and damp. With FYM & green manures, soil organic matter levels are increased which favours slugs. Snails tend to be less important, but can cause problems in gardens and on cane fruits. This technical note discusses natural enemies of slugs, nature of damage, life history and control measures, and lists sources of further information

    Organic Centre Wales Factsheet 6: Suppliers of organic seed, feed and fertilizers

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    This factsheet lists suppliers of organic seed, feed and fertilizer for areas throughout Wales. The list is not exhaustive and additions are welcomed

    Organic Centre Wales Technical Note 5: Biology and management of wireworms

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    Wireworms are the larvae of a group of beetles commonly known as click beetles. After falling on their backs they right themselves by flicking themselves into the air and produce a “clicking” sound. There are about 60 species of click beetle in the UK, but the majority of attacks are caused by three Agriotes species (lineatus, obscurus and spuator). This technical notes lists natural enemies of wireworms, nature of damage, life history and control measures, and a list of sources of further information

    Organic Centre Wales Factsheet 11: Benchmarking with Organic Centre Wales

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    This factsheet explains what is meant by benchmarking, a method of assessing the performance of businesses, by comparing them against a ‘benchmark’ or industry standard. It also explains the advantages of getting involved

    Modelling manure NPK flows in organic farming systems to minimise nitrate leaching, ammonia volatilization and nitrous oxide emissions (OF0197)

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    Manure is an important source of organic matter and nutrients in organic farming systems, principally nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Careful management is required during storage, handling and land-spreading to (a) ensure the most efficient use of the nutrients in the farming system and (b) to limit emissions of nitrate (NO3), ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and P to the wider environment. With a likely increase in the organically farmed area, information is needed on best practices for manure management in organic systems to minimise the environmental impacts of these systems. The aim was that software would calculate NPK fluxes associated with each aspect of the livestock system, and provide options to explore the impact of management change at key stages in the manure management process. The end point was to be a working prototype model/decision support system (DSS), which we could be demonstrated to a group of organic farmers and used for discussion of the NPK flows in their systems. Most of the effort in this short-term project was spent on three aspects: 1. Developing databases and the underlying model calculations. 2. Developing the software for the prototype system. 3. Limited validation of the output. The two main challenges in the project were (a) allowing a quick and easy representation of the manure management system, which is often complex and (b) being able to represent complex interactions, simply but robustly. The Manure Model (MANMOD) DSS was developed to allow an iconographic-based model representation of individual farm manure management systems to be readily constructed from a library of system components using a 'drag and drop' operation. This allows the user to construct a diagram of connecting components or ‘nodes’ (e.g. manure source, housing system, storage system) which direct and limit the flow pathway of nutrients through the farming system. Each component or node represents a key stage of the system. Once the system has been constructed, pressing the calculation button calculates the following variates for each component of the system: output (i.e. the amounts of N, P and K that will be transferred from that component of the system to the next); balance (i.e. the amount residing in that component of the system); losses (gaseous and ‘leachate’). Workshops were held at the start and end of the project. The following observations were made as a result of this exercise: - The approach is a relatively quick and simple way of constructing manure management systems. However, it is still quite complex, given the complexity of many management systems. - It may be that it is a better tool for advisers so that they can use it for several clients and become more familiar with the tool, compared with a farmer who might use it as a one-off during planning. - Even at its simplest, some detailed information is required – and in units that the farmer may not be familiar with. For example, washdown volume for the hardstanding, amount of straw (kg/animal/month), etc. However, this is not really a reason for not pursuing this information if it will provide an improvement in management. - One value is the option to scenario test. However, this is reliant on the model being sufficiently refined to be able to fairly represent the changes in response to the system. The aim of the project was to produce a prototype system. We have done this, but because of the complexity of the systems that we are trying to represent, we recognise that much more detailed validation of the model is required before it can be disseminated. There are now several Defra-funded studies that could be used in the next phase of the work. (A more detailed summary is available at the start of the main report

    Organic Farming

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    This booklet outlines the basic principles of organic farming and explains the process of conversion, including the grants and other support that is available. It has been produced by Organic Centre Wales, which coordinates the provision of advice and information to farmers. However, this edition of Organic Farming was published in February 2006. The Welsh assembly Government is currently reviewing the Organic Farming Scheme and advisory support, and so some of the information in this guide is out of date. You should discuss it with a suitably qualified advisor before proceeding

    Organic Centre Wales Factsheet 22: Feeding to organic standards

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    This factsheet states the general principles of feeding to organic standards. Issues surrounding the use of conventional feedstuffs, supplements and the feeding of young animals are also covere

    Soil Fertility: A summary of research conducted under the German Federal Programme for Organic Agriculture and other forms of Sustainable Agriculture

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    Since 2002, the federal research programme for organic agriculture has supported research projects on soil fertility. Research projects at the beginning studied specific subject areas such as comparison of various mulch materials, nutrient mobilisation (especially phosphorus), humus balance and soil erosion. This addressed gaps especially in methods in organic practice, where data acquired from conventional agriculture are not applicable. From 2008, the research on soil fertility significantly increased and there was a special focus on interdisciplinary systems approaches. The joint research project on the management of soil fertility in organic farming, for example, examined a number of factors that interact in this field, such as tillage and soil compaction, fertilisers, green manures and cover crops, weed and disease pressure, crop species and yield levels, energy consumption and the use of machinery, but also cost-benefit analyses of promoting soil fertility and recommendations for farmers. Other projects addressing the need to increase soil fertility investigated the influence of agronomic management measures on soil quality, and of various aspects of reduced tillage; these projects continue the idea of the systems approach. In 2011 a status quo analysis of long-term field experiments in German-speaking countries was conducted, which included comparisons of systems employed to study the long-term impact of management measures on soil fertility, and to identify further research needs. Important results from individual projects on soil fertility are presented below. Based on new data, recommendations are given on the use of different mulching materials and effects on soil moisture and nutrient content. Also results relevant for practitioners were derived from the revision of the method for estimating soil erosion, and concrete suggestions for new methods were made. Similar to the case of the method for estimating humus balance, this method could also be adapted for the conditions of organic farming in Germany. From on-going projects (started since 2008) important first results have been obtained. For example, the status quo analysis of long-term field experiments produced new findings on the long-term effects of different management systems, and new research gaps were identified. Further results from the BÖLN research on soil fertility are regularly published at www.bundesprogramm-oekolandbau.d
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