Welsh Organic Production and Market Report 2008
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The Welsh organic sector has grown to over 950 producers in 2008, with up to 150 additional producers per year entering conversion in 2007 and 2008. Organically managed land in Wales now extends to over 100,000 ha, most of it grassland. Organic cropped land areas are still small, although a relatively high proportion of horticultural and arable land is now organic.
The primary concern for Welsh organic farmers is the reduction in organic premium in many sectors. There is evidence that the credit crunch has reduced demand for more expensive cuts of meat, affecting demand for prime stock. Sheep farmers in particular expressed concerns that the lamb market was over-supplied, with apprehension at the large numbers of sheep now in-conversion. Organic dairy producers are generally receiving a significant organic premium on their milk, though many indicate they need a larger margin over conventional prices to pay for expensive organic feed. Egg producers vary considerably in size, with many small producers finding feed prices to be prohibitive, whilst new poultry enterprises tend to be on a large scale.
Estimated fully organic livestock numbers remained similar in 2008 compared with 2007, though significant numbers are now in conversion – however, these are not expected to come on to the market in significant numbers until 2010/11 and beyond. In the beef sector, around 25 % of store cattle and 6 % of finished cattle were sold into the conventional market. In the sheep sector, 25 % of finished lambs and 60 % of store lambs were lost to conventional markets, partly due to attractive conventional prices. Despite large numbers of livestock in-conversion, it will be a number of years before they produce any organically marketable livestock, which will allow time for the market to adjust. The full report can be downloaded here:
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