Memorandum submitted by Barrington Park
Organic sugar beet ensures the organic
arable rotation is more profitable than the equivalent conventional
A reduction in the conventional sugar
beet price would have a disproportionately negative effect on
the organic sugar beet price.
If the organic arable rotation were
less profitable than the conventional arable rotation, the organic
area would be replaced with conventional cropping.
Grey partridge, native song birds,
flora and fauna have increased significantly since the development
of the organic arable rotation but these species may be lost if
the land is returned to conventional production.
I am a farm manager responsible for the Barrington
Park Estate farms situated in the Cotswolds. The farms produce
arable crops and organic beef and sheep. Part of the arable area
has been converted to organic production to supplement livestock
feed requirements and produce high quality crops for the milling,
malting and sugar sectors.
Organic sugar production represents a very important
crop to the viability of the organic rotation and I would therefore
like to submit the following points.
A financial review of the farm's organic and non-organic
rotations was undertaken in September 2003. One of the conclusions
reached was that only through the organic sugar beet crop is the
organic rotation able to generate a higher level of profit above
the conventional rotation.
The price paid for organic sugar beet is based on
a 50% premium of the conventional price. This premium is essential
to compensate the farmer for the reduction in yield, currently
35%, and the additional costs of hand labour for weed control.
A reduction in the conventional price would disproportionately
affect the organic sugar beet price.
The farms have to be profitable. If the organic rotation
produces a lower return to the conventional rotation then the
organic land will be converted back to conventional production.
The estate has observed an increase in the flora,
fauna and wildlife following the development of the organic rotation.
In particular song birds and grey partridge populations have flourished.
If the organic arable land was returned to conventional production
these environmental benefits could be lost.
25 March 2004