It’s Organic September, one of our favourite times of the year. It means that we can really focus on what organic means and how a small swap to an extra organic product can actually make a huge difference.
On our Yeo Valley farms, we know that it’s better to work with nature rather than against it, following the seasons and planting different crops and grasses to take care of the soil for us. This is why we farm organically.
But what does organic farming really mean, and does it make a difference?
It means no chemical pesticides, fertilizers; not using antibiotics as a preventative measure (antibiotics can be used if the animals are sick when it becomes a necessary medicine). It means higher animal welfare and truly free-range livestock fed on a grass based diet. We feed our cows over the winter with the silage that we’ve made over the summer. Click here to find out how we make it.
Working with Nature
The cornerstone of our whole operation is the soil. With 2,000 acres of land, over 400 British Friesian cows and 800 sheep we firmly believe that if they get the soil right everything else will follow. We caught up with owner Tim Mead to find out more.
“Like all things in nature, healthy soil is about balance and we spend a lot of time ensuring our soils have the right balance of nutrients, air and water, just like any living thing.”
“We plant up to 10 different species of grass, clover and herbs in the grazing lays, this helps boost the soil fertility and makes the soil structure more resilient to extreme weather conditions like drought or floods. We keep our fields covered with crops throughout the year to ensure all these elements aren’t then lost.
“Farming a mix of cows, sheep and crops is essential on our farm as the manure from the animals is what gives the soil such life and is the catalyst for its health. It also helps make organic soils more effective at storing carbon in the long-term,” added Tim.
Helping the planet
It’s this locking up of carbon in the soil which means that organic farmland stores more carbon – on average 3.5 tonnes extra for every hectare (the size of nearly two football pitches). This is the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving your car around the world almost one and a half times (31,844 miles).
Organic farming can help to slow down climate change. And because organic farming doesn’t use chemical fertilisers they are havens for wildlife. On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms. We help this along by looking after habitats like hedgerows, giving wildlife the space to thrive! You can read more about how we manage our hedgerows here.
So, this Organic September and beyond choose homegrown organic and help put nature first.