Experts claim rigid crop rotation schedules can threaten businesses' viability

Rigid adherence to crop rotations can threaten the viability of businesses, according to experts who launched a consultation on new standards for protected crops last week.

Members of the Soil Association used the seminar on organic standards to suggest that growers should avoid being too prescriptive in their rotation regimes.

Policy director Peter Melchett said: "In this economy you need to grow something that is productive and economic and people want to buy. If you are too prescriptive it can hamper your business viability."

The Soil Association launched its consultation because its current standards for glasshouses and polytunnels "were probably a bit ad hoc and we want to get our ideas in order to encourage sensible new EU regulations," said Melchett.

Organic Growers Alliance chair Alan Schofield said: "When it comes to prescription verses flexibility in harsh economic times, I need freedom to choose varieties, inputs and situations that work for me.

"If I make a loss through a decision I've made, that's my fault. But if I make a loss because of a decision the Soil Association has made, I want to take someone to task."

Adrian Izzard, who runs Wild Country Organics, said: "You can have best practice but not fixed rules otherwise you can lose thousands on plants by having to pull up everything to stick to a rigid rotational plan. This can put businesses out of operation."

Peter Dollimore, a grower at Hankham Organics, asked: "What is best practice? Some people don't use rotation in a glasshouse and achieve good results, while others rotate lots of crops but fail to grow good-quality vegetables."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Tractors for growers

Tractors for growers

The latest specialist tractors are providing wider choice for growers working in narrow rows, Sally Drury reports.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon