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Organic production in the hills and uplands - OF0319


Scientific information is required on the development, performance and limitations of organic systems, to facilitate informed decision making and to aid policy formulation. This proposal is for the continuation and further development of core assessments within the organic Unit at ADAS Redesdale. The continuing objective is to assess the environmental and production implications of converting a hill/upland farming system to organic management. This will take account of longer-term trends in grassland and livestock performance, the continuing evolution of markets for organic produce and the development of production standards for organic livestock. Comprehensive measurements will be made of the agronomic and economic performance of organically managed upland beef and sheep production. The integration of Countryside Stewardship with organic production will be assessed. Implications for animal health and welfare will be studied. The Unit is recognised as a valuable source of research and information on upland organic production, and will be used as the focus for significant knowledge transfer activities. Results from the project will be communicated through appropriate media to current and prospective organic farmers, research and extension workers and to DEFRA to aid policy formulation on organic farming. Collaborative research bids will be actively sought with other research contractors, to maximise the benefit from this resource.

Funding from DEFRA is appropriate to further its objective to promote economically and biologically sustainable food production, which meets consumer demand, improve animal welfare, reduce pollution and encourage better protection for the environment.


The overall objective is to maintain a research base to test the functioning, technical performance and longer term sustainability of organic farming in the hills and uplands. The specific objectives are;

1 To maintain an organic unit of 438 ha, and associated sheep and cattle enterprises, to Soil Association Standards.

2 To compare the long-term physical and financial performance of a conventionally managed sheep system, with an organic system at three differing stocking levels.

3 To determine the technical and financial implications of combining Countryside Stewardship with an organic farming system.

4 To compare the performance of organic and conventional suckler herds.

5 To determine effects of organic farming on animal health and welfare.

6 To provide effective knowledge transfer

7 To provide a resource for further research work by a range of research contractors

Project Documents
• Final Report : Organic production in the hills and uplands   (893k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2005

Cost: £366,754
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Organic Farming              
Fields of Study
Organic Farming