Becoming an Organic Farm
Last month, we began to convert our Downfield Farm into an organic farm. The transition will take two years and we are working closely with Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA). So by 2021, Stagison meat will be organic.
Why go organic?
As a company, we already strive to be ethical and sustainable in our farming. We believe the best meat comes from healthy, happy animals. We ensure our livestock have plenty of outdoor space and they eat a natural diet. They are not transported for slaughter because we have our own humane abattoir on site. We don’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides on our crops either. Organic farming uses natural processes to achieve a sustainable production system at each stage with limited external inputs. Working with SOPA, we want to make sure all our processes are fully organic. Every step of production must pass inspection before we receive an organic certification, and we are committed to achieving this.
What steps are we taking?
We plan to increase our herd of native breed Black Galloway cattle. We’ll keep the females as replacement breeding heifers, and the bullocks will produce meat for our Ceres Butchers shop. The Black Galloway is a good-natured and easy-keep cow. We outwinter them on a fodder crop of rape, lying back on the stubble straw and supplemented with home grown straw and silage.
We have a small flock of Manx Loaghtan sheep, another hardy native British breed. The farmyard manure from the cattle housed over the winter will be our main fertiliser for the ground. Supplemented with trace minerals, as soil analysis recommends.
Cereal crops we grow on the farm are currently winter wheat and spring barley, without chemical fertilisers and pesticides. We hope to improve the soil and manage the crops using crop rotation so that the farm is sustainable and self-sufficient in the future.
Ultimately, we will produce organic cereal crops, organic native breed beef and organic lamb. We look forward to Downfield becoming an organic farm, as we continue to support ethical, sustainable and local farming.