Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Animal husbandry
      • Stocking rates (land)
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Free range conditions, access - US NOP 2002 There no provisions for maximum number of animals per ha. EU Regulation 2092/91 specifies the minimum surface areas indoors and outdoors and other characteristics of housing in the different species and types of production. Both US and EU require outdoor access for any animals. US requires in addition pasture for ruminants and does not allow derogations. EU requires pasture for herbivores 'wherever conditions allow'. EU waves outdoor access for herbivores in winter under certain conditions. There was no justification available.
Free range conditions, area, cattle - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Cattle must be allowed fresh forage throughout the grazing season with a specified minimum total grazing area. Buffer feeding of grazing cattle is permitted. Soil Association standards state that cattle must be allowed fresh forage throughout the grazing season with a minimum total grazing area of 0.27 hectares per cow per season and that buffer feeding is permitted. Soil Association Organic Standards Paragraphs 11.3.3 and 11.3.4. Soil Association standards are more specific than the EU Regulation 2092/91 with regards to minimum grazing areas for cattle. EU Regulation only states that herbivores must have access to pasture whenever conditions allow and that outdoor pasture must be of sufficiently low stocking density to prevent poaching and overgrazing without giving a minimum figure for the grazing area per cow/season. The Soil Association sets a minimum grazing area for cows, taking account of UK organic grassland productivity, to help ensure the following: that soil condition and grassland habitats are conserved; that the cattle have an adequate ranging area to optimise their health and welfare; that an adequate proportion of their forage during the grazing season is grazed, not conserved; and that the risk of water pollution is minimised.
Housing requierements / stocking rates - cattle / sheep for meat production
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Skal has defined the norms for cattle and sheep held for meat production (Rule Text: 2.7 cattle and sheep held for meat production article 5 and 7): Until the age of 15 weeks, 4 till 6 animals must be housed as a group. After 15 weeks a minimum of 5 animals per each group is required. The space in the stable has to be 1,8 m² per animal till the age of 15 weeks, 2 m² till the age of 9 months and 6 m² starting from the age of 9 months. Calves till 15 weeks must have 125 m² outdoor access per animal. Sheep must have 2 m² per animal and 2.5 m² with lambs and be at least 300 days a year on the pasture.
In the EC-regulation Annex VIII of the EU Regulaton there it is only mentioned that 2.5 m² and 2.5 with 0.5 m² with lamb/kid per is requiered per head. It is not further specified. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour. COMMENT: This could be included in the EEC regulation.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, area, pigs - NL Skal Standards 2005
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Skal has set specific norms for sows and pigs (Rule Text: 2.6 article 7 and 8): A sufficient amount of maternity stables, a minimum of 4.4 m² per sow space to lie down in, a total minimum space of 7.2 m² per sow and 40 m² of unpaved outdoor area per sow is required. Indoors the surface area per pig must be 0.6 m². Per 20 kg pig 0.1 m² extra outdoor area is required.
Skal has set more detailed norms for sows and pigs, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 has not regulated these norms in detail. Annex VIII in the regulation only mentions 7.5 m2 per sow and 2.5 m2 unpaved outdoor area. All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, area, poultry, NL Skal Standards
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Skal has defined the norms for turkeys (Rule text: 2.11 article 3, 4, 5 and 6): Turkey pullets must have access to 10 m² outdoor areas with shrubs and trees, during the daylight, when they are 8 weeks old, except from winter days in case of sickness. A maximum of 25 kg of animal per m² is allowed at any age. In the stable 50% of the surface must be available for scratching. Animals must have access to perches or elevations with a minimum length of 20 cm per animal. The stable must have openings to the pasture with a total length of 4 meter per 100 m² stable surface evenly distributed over the sides of the stable.
Stable and detailed outdoor requierements for turkeys are not defined in EU Regulation 2092/91 with the exception of the minimum outdoor area of Annex VIII (10 m² per head). All animals need enough space and outdoor areas for natural behaviour.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, stocking rate, minimum - Demeter International 2005
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The stocking rate is determined by the possibilities for fodder production, as dictated by climate and the local conditions. Soil fertility should be maintained and developed by keeping animals and applying their manure. The minimum stocking rate has to be defined by the certification organisation in each country. The maximum stocking rate may not exceed 2.0 livestock units/ha, corresponding to a maximum of 1.4 manure units/ha, if feed is brought in. (DI production standards, 5.2. Stocking rate)
Compared to the EU Regulation 2092/91, the DI standards define not only a maximum but also a minimum stocking rate. Furthermore, the maximum stocking rate as defined by Demeter Interantioal is lower than the one indicated in the EU Regulation. Demeter farms must incorporate livestock, but they must be kept and fed in accordance with the given conditions of the site.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - CH Demeter Standards 2005
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DEMTER has to comply with the Swiss Ordinance on animal husbandry and rules the area of stable size in the same way as the latter. In the stable not more than 6 hens per m2 can be kept, additionally a wintergarden must be provided with 43m2 per 1000 animals and in addition to this there must be an outdoor area (pasture) of 5m2 per animal.
EU Regulation 2092/91 also requires no more than 6 animals/m2, but the size of wintergarden is not defined, and the size of pasture required is 4m2/animal which is less than the size required by Swiss Ordinance and therefore also by DEMETER. From an ethological point of view a lower number of animals per surface area and a lower maximum number of animals per stable is seen as more animal-friendly.
Manure fertilizers, application - US NOP 2002
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US requires composting of manure unless it is applied to land used for a crop not intended for human consumption or it is applied 90/120 days prior harvest of a product for human consumption (depending on whether the edible portion has direct contact to the soil or not)
EU Regulation 2092/91 requires that the quantity of manure applied annually may not exceed 170 kg of nitrogen/year/ha; US does not. US sets restrictions on the time between application of raw manure and the harvest of crops for human consumption; this is not addressed by EU. EU requires controlled fermentation and or appropriate dilution of slurry/urine; US sets restrictions only if applied on land used for a crop intended for human consumption. EU sets specific requirements for the capacity of manure storage facilities; US does not. EU requires consideration of the source of manure allowing manure from organic production units and regulating the amount of manure from conventional sources. EU prohibits manure from "factory farms" (but still allows from "extensive husbandry" under certain conditions). US does not address manure source. Raw manure contributes significant benefits to soil nutrient, structure, and biological activity that other soil fertility practices and materials do not provide. The responsibility to use raw manure in a manner that is protective of human health applies to all producers, whether organic or not, who apply such materials. USDA acknowledged the commenters who noted that the OFPA cites food safety concerns relative to manure use and, therefore, that food safety considerations should be reflected in the practice standard for applying raw manure in the final rule.
Manure fertilizers, export - SI Rules 2003
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SI Rules 2003 foresee a possibility of co-operation of an organic holding with other holdings in order to spread surplus manure. Further there are no specific demands related to the storage facilities for livestock manure in SI Rules.
SI Rules state that organic-production holdings may establish co-operation with other agricultural holdings with the intention of providing areas for the use of organic fertilizers, are more specific whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 only speaks about establishing such co-operation with the intention of spreading surplus manure from organic production (EU Regulation Annex I. B 7.). SI Rules do not describe the demands related to storage facilities for livestock manure as EU regulation does in Annex I. B 7.6.-7.7. Re storage facilities: The requirements for manure storage being identical to those in EU Regulation 2092/91 Annex I. B 7.6.-7.7. are in Slovenia a part of other national regulations.
Manure fertilizers, intensity - Int. Codex Alimentarius Guidelines 2005
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Manure application rates should be at levels that do not contribute to ground and/or surface water contamination. The competent authority may establish maximum application rates for manure or stocking densities. The timing of application and application methods should not increase the potential for run-off into ponds, rivers and streams.
Whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 strictly limits the input of farmyard manure to a maximum level of 170kgN/ha, CODEX Alimentarius Guidelines does not set any limits for the level of nutrient input but leaves this up to the competent authorities. As the Codex Guidelines are a guidance for national regulations it does not make sense to set a maximum limit which would be applicable everywhere in the world.
Manure fertilizers, intensity and export - CH Demeter Standards 2005
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The aim is to create the operation as an organism, which is a closed circle of nutrients and crop and fodder production - neither fodder nor fertilisers should be imported or exported. The operation is expected to be balanced in this regard. If at all, manure can only be exported to other organic units complying with the maximum stocking rate. For transporting manure the maximum distance of the Bio Suisse regulation is applied, which requires not more than 20-80km transport distance depending on the kind of manure.
DEMETER is striving for a balanced autonomous operation based on own fodder and fertilizer production (excessive manure does not occur in these operations). EU Regulation 2092/91 limits the farm yard manure used on the own farm to 170kg N/ha, if manure is exported this can be done to another organic unit, not exceeding the limit fo 170kg N/ha and year. The balance between farmyard manure produced on the own farm and the nutrients required by plant production is essential for a sound and sustainable organic production method. The need of manure export does not occur on DEMETER farms - the opposite is more often the case.
Manure fertilizers, origin - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005
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Farm yard manure must originate from organic farms. If not available from organic farms, not more than 50% of the necessary N and P205 may origin from non-organic farms, which are managed according the integrated production standard and additional ecological requirements as defined by Swiss ordinance. However at least 50% of manure produced on the farm must be used on farm. If farm yard manure is sold to other farms, these must be certified organic farms. The distance for transporting manure and slury is restricted to 20 - 80 km depending on the kind of manure.
The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not limit the export of farm yard manure to other farms as long the limit of 170kgN/ha among organic farms is respected; it only restricts the maximum stocking rate to an equivalent of 170 kg N/ha. No limits for transporting distances for manure to other farms are foreseen in the EU Regulation. Organic farming should be performed based on the principle of a closed system with self-sufficiency in fertilizer supply but no excessive manure should be produced.
Manure fertilizers, stocking rate - DE Bioland Standards 2005
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The maximum stocking density for animals is limited to the equivalent of 1.4 animal unit/ha, which corresponds to 112 kgN/ha and 98 kg P2O5/ha. (Bioland production standards, 4.4 Animal Density and Purchase of Additional Feedstuffs, 4.4.1 General; Bioland production standards, 10.3 Calculation of Animal Stock per Hectare)
The BIOLAND standard is more restrictive. The maximum animal stocking density per ha is lower in terms of kg N/ha than that allowed by the EU Regulation 2092/91 (170 kg N/ha). However both numbers are interpreted to be equivalent of two cows by the EU Regulation as well as by the BIOLAND Association. In fact the stocking density for cattle is the same, but it is lower for laying hens (140 instead of 230 animals/ha), broilers (280 instead of 580 animals/ha) and fattening pigs (10 instead of 14 animals/ha). The animal production must be adapted to the conditions of the site (capacitiy to produce animal feed and to use animal manure on the land).
Manure fertilizers, stocking rate - DE Naturland 2005
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The maximum stocking density for a NATURLAND farm is calculated by the equivalent of 1,4 dung units (equivalent to 112 kg N/ha and 98 kg P2O5/ha). (NL standards on production, Part B.II. Livestock production and Appendix 4)
The NATURLAND standard is more restrictive. According to the EU Regulation 2092/91 the maximum stocking rate is an equivalent of 170 kg N/ha (approx. 2.9 du/ha). To limit the input of nitrogen.