“Nick and the staff at Hurrells seed supply me with independent top quality advice for my organic farm. They are a small enough firm to be able to be in front of the competition with new ideas and concepts in organic farming. We try to look after the soils and increase biological activity - we have even tested applying mycorrhizal (good fungi) on grass seed with Hurrells and trialled the benefits. We look forward to working with them for many years to come”
Martin Howard Lower North Farm, Launceston Cornwall
Any organic grass seed mixture sown must consist of organically produced and certified grasses within the mixture. At time of writing it is possible to obtain a derogation to use a seed mixture of 65% organically produced grasses, a derogation must be sought first before purchase of seed. Organic Farming is reliant completely upon the use of nitrogen ‘fixing’ legumes in grass mixtures to obtain fertility required to grow crops without fertiliser. Nitrogen fixation and soil improvement can occur in many forms but most popular and reliable in the UK at the moment are short term grass leys with red clover and medium / long term grass leys based around white clover — due to the extra persistence achieved from white clovers.
Other legumes in organic farming used in short term grass mixtures, are Vetches a member of the pea family. Vetches are one of the most potent ‘fixers’ of nitrogen and can also be used in whole crop mixture with barley, oats and peas.
From the organic perspective it is important to format a grass seed mixture not just for yield, but also for its supplementary characteristics and benefits available. Such as the value of using a quantity of a deep rooting species, such as cocksfoot, or even chicory, to penetrate and aerate any hard pan soils.
Species such as chicory have benefited from major breeding advances in recent years, increasing the persistency and reliability of the species. This has had many beneficial effects on stock grazing, particularly since it is widely used as a natural wormer of stock.
Organic Forage Express
Organic Cockle Park: