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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 16:15 GMT
Research helps new organic farmers
The demand for organic food is growing
Researchers in Nottingham have been examining ways in which farmers can go organic without facing severe financial problems.

It is hoped they will use the results of crop tests to decide what they should do with their own land.

At the moment if a farmer wants to go organic, the rules say this status cannot be achieved until land has been left for two years without man-made fertilisers or pesticides being applied.

For those with livestock to graze it is not necessarily a problem.

Individual circumstances

But arable farmers often cannot afford to leave fields lying fallow for so long.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have been examining what sort of crops could be grown in the meantime.

They are looking for plant types that do not use up important nutrients from the soil that will be needed for future organic crops.

One strategy involved growing clover for seed - but researchers stressed the action each farmer takes needs to depend on their individual circumstances.

MSPs reject organic farming bill
06 Feb 03 |  Scotland

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