Borders date for organic farmers

Sheep on Duncan Shell's farm
Sheep on Duncan Shell's farm

Organic farmers from around Scotland converge on Berwickshire today for an annual conference.

Organised by SRUC and SAC Consulting, producers meet first in Cockburnspath village hall before visiting Luckishiel, part of Godscroft Farm, near Abbey St Bathans.

Morning speakers from Whitmuir Organics, Lamancha, Peeblesshire and the Soil Association will talk about new initiatives, Organic Scotland and Organic Food Trails, and there will be markets overviews and an update on schemes supported by the Scottish Government.

Producers are gathering in good heart, say organisers, for latest figures (September 2013) for the sector show organic spending in Scotland was £56.6million, an increase of 3.3 percent on the previous year, compared to 1.8 percent in Britain as a whole.

Organic farmer Duncan Shell, who runs 750 hectares (over 1,850 acres) over three farms, hosts visitors in the afternoon.

SRUC’s senior organic specialist, David Michie said: “Duncan has an almost New Zealand approach to management. Through rigorous recording and selection, he has improved the genetics and performance of his sheep and cattle so they need less individual attention.

“In reaction to the recent bad winters he has adapted his winter feeding regime around a silage made from spring barley to ensure quality and quantity of fodder. Duncan really is an innovator and is keen to share his knowledge and experience.”

To book a place at the free event contact or 01835 823322.