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Organic Horticultural Seed Trials in Wales

Robertshaw, Paul and Hitchings, Roger (2004) Organic Horticultural Seed Trials in Wales. Organic Centre Wales.

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Summary

Under the organic standards, producers are required to use organic seed. However, a derogation can be obtained from the appropriate certification body that allows the use of (untreated) non organic seed where appropriate organic material is not available. There are, however, a number of barriers to the wider use of organic seed including:
• Many of the industry’s standard varieties are not available in organic seed. The lifting of the derogation would oblige growers to use varieties of which they had little of no experience
• By extension of the previous point, many popular varieties will no longer be available on the organic markets. It uncertain whether retailers, and in turn their customers, would accept alternative varieties
• There is little information on the agronomic performance of varieties that are available in organic seed, making variety choice a difficult decision for growers.
• The quality of organic seed is perceived to be of lower quality in terms of viability, vigour and freedom from pest and disease problems than conventional seed. As of 1 January 2004, growers cannot obtain a derogation on the basis of quality, and this potentially brings an element of urgency to the situation.
In the long term the organic sector remains committed to lifting the derogation on a crop-bycrop basis as and when conditions allow, and the industry needs to be prepared for this eventuality. This work aims to make a contribution to this end by providing information on the performance of varieties that are available in organic seed, thus helping growers to make a more informed decision about variety choice.
The trials were carried out at Welsh College of Horticulture, and were funded by Farming Connect. They were coordinated by Organic Centre Wales as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme.
Objectives
The objectives of the trial was to assess the performance of selected varieties grown from organic seed in terms of:
• Germination
• Vigour
• Uniformity
• Pest and disease incidence
• Yield
• Marketable yield (as percentage of total yield)
• Faults


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:seed, varieties, performance, vigour, viability, pests, disease, quality
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Values, standards and certification
Research affiliation: UK > Other organizations
UK > Univ. Aberystwyth > Organic Centre Wales (OCW)
Deposited By: Powell, Ms Jane
ID Code:10833
Deposited On:19 Jun 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:35
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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