Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Permitted inputs (positive lists)
      • Use of manure and nutrients
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Fertilization, substrates, heavy metals - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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Best practice recommendations are explained regarding heavy metal in soil. Maximum permitted levels of heavy metals are specified for topsoil and manure. Soil Association standards explain that soil heavy metal concentrations need to be maintained at healthy levels and that nutrient inputs should not increase concentrations above acceptable levels. This is followed by a table specifying the maximum permitted levels of heavy metals (in total dry matter) for soils and manures. These include zinc, chromium, copper, lead, nickel, cadmium, mercury and arsenic. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 4.9.2.)
Soil Association standards contain recommendations and restrictions on heavy metal levels for topsoil and manure, whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 only mentions heavy metal levels for household wastes and phosphate fertilizers. High levels of heavy metals in soil can be toxic to crop plants, and can be taken up by crops and cause health problems to people. High levels of heavy metals in manures can lead to accumulation in the soil to which they are applied. This could lead to longer-term problems for crop yields and safety. Soil Association restrictions on heavy metal in soils and manures are intended to minimise these associated risks.
Fertilizers, origin - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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Soil Association permission is required to use non-organic animal manure or plant waste, which must be used only as a complement to the soil fertility management. Permission will be granted only if information is provided about the material and why it is needed. The types of non-organic agricultural and food by-products that may be used are subject to detailed, specified restrictions, regarding the stocking densities and husbandry systems, as well as the stacking or composting of the material. These include straw, farmyard manure, stable manure, poultry manure (from certain production systems with specified maximum stocking densities for each), straw-based pig manure, food processing by-products, plant wastes and by-products, as well as non-organic slurry, mushroom composts and worm composts from the systems specified. Dirty water from non-organic systems may be applied to in-conversion land. In addition, the Soil Association standards specify that non-organic slurry must have been aerated, pig and poultry manure must have been properly composted, stacked for 12 months, or stacked for 6 months and turned twice, and other non-organic livestock manure and plant waste must have been stacked for half the above-mentioned times or properly composted. Soil Association may request a soil or manure analysis to check the heavy metal levels. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 4.7.5-4.7.7 and 4.7.17.)
Soil Association standards specify that only certain types of manure and plant wastes from non-organic production or processing systems may be permitted to complement soil fertility management. EU Regulation 2092/91 specifies "need recognised by the inspection body". The Soil Association standards aim to avoid providing an organic farming demand for manure products of livestock systems where the animal welfare is compromised by lack of bedding, or by excessive stocking densities or movement restrictions. Soil Association standards try to avoid potential organic consumer health problems by requiring composting or stacking time for the degradation of residues of prohibited inputs or veterinary medicines before application of non-organic manure and plant wastes to organic crops. Consumer health and long-term soil fertility concerns are the reasons why analysis may be required for heavy metal levels.
Fertilizers, substrates - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005
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Fertilization should enhance microorganism and soil activity . The use of synthetic chemical nitrogen fertilizers is forbidden. Dried farm yard manure is in general prohibited.
In general the list of fertilizers is comparable with the EU Regulation. Some fertilizers of the EU Regulation 2092/91 list are not listed in the BIO SUISSE standards. Easily soluble nutrients in general do not support the natural balance of nutrient release in the soil; therefore Bio Suisse does not support such kind of fertilizers.
Fertilizers, substrates - Demeter International 2005
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The fertilizers which can be brought into a biodynamic farm are regulated in the chapter 3.2.2. and by a positive list in the appendix 4. Certain products (such as synthetic nitrogen sources, Chilean Nitrate, water soluble phosphate fertilizers, pure potassium salts and potassium salts with a chloride content exceeding 3%, municipal composts, sewage sludge, animal manure from intensive animal husbandry systems) are explicitly excluded from use. Others (such as natural phosphate rock, ground basic slag, potassium magnesium sulphate, magnesium sulphate, sulphur, trace elements) can only be applied if the necessity has been demonstrated and after approval. Animal manure should be prepared with the biodynamic preparations. The use of brought in fertilizers must be precisely documented. (DI production standards, 3.2.2. Brought in manures and soils; DI production standards, appendix 4)
The list of allowed fertilizers is shorter in DI standard than the EU Regulation 2092/91, i.e. conventional manure from poultry farming, liquid or semi-liquid conventional manures, meal from blood, meat and bone, pure potassium salts and potassium salts with a chloride content of larger than 3% are totally prohibited. The fertilization shall be done as far as possible with the farms own resources, and therefore the import of fertilizers is restricted. Contamination with harmful substances must be excluded.
Fertilizers, substrates, animal by-products - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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With prior Soil Association permission, a number of soil nutrient supplements are permitted for use to treat severe deficiencies. Among these, animal by-products are subject to particular restrictions. Soil Association standards permit the use of meat, blood, bone, hoof and horn meals, with prior permission, only in compost for use in plant propagation and not on units where there are cattle or sheep. Wool shoddy may be used, with prior permission, only if not in direct contact with the crop. Fish meals and fish emulsions may be used, with prior permission, if they do not contain prohibited substances and only in protected cropping, propagating composts or perennial crops. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 4.8.10.)
Soil Association standards restrict the use of animal by products. EU Regulation 2092/91 generally permits animal by-products (such as meat, blood, bone, hoof and horn meals, wool shoddy, fish products) for use where the need is recognised by the inspection body. Soil Association standards are particularly cautious regarding the use of animal by-products as soil nutrient supplements partly due to the risk of contamination of crops with agents or vectors of infectious disease, such as BSE infected prions on pasture. "Intense exploitation of fish stocks to produce fish meal has major implications for the integrity of marine ecosystems." (Little and Edwards, 2003). Regular use of fish products for crop nutrition would not be compatible with organic ecological principles. Reference: Little, D.C. and Edwards, P. (2003) Integrated livestock - fish farming systems. URL: >
Fertilizers, substrates, guano - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 It is prohibited to fertilize the soil with fresh blood, guano, Chilean nitrate, urea, or slaked lime or quicklime. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 4.8.12. Soil Association standards have further restrictions than EU Regulation 2092/91, where for example guano is permitted as fertiliser where the need is recognised by the inspection body. It is prohibited by the Soil Association standards. Guano extraction is unsustainable on a large scale because of habitat damage and limited reserves. Historically, guano was used as a major nitrate source, but nitrogen fixed from the atmosphere should be the main source of nitrate in organic farming.
Fertilizers, substrates, maerl - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Soil Association permission is required to use seaweed sources for soil nutrient supplementation, but maerl from Lithothamnium corallioides, Lithothamnium glaciale or Phymatolithon calcareum are prohibited. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 4.8.5. Soil Association standards prohibit the use of maerl from Lithothamnium corallioides, Lithothamnium glaciale or Phymatolithon calcareum. EU Regulation 2092/91 does not include this prohibition, but it allows seaweed products, where the need is recognised by the inspection body, and maerl with no restriction. The seaweed species named as prohibited inputs in the Soil Association standards are endangered species, and the maerl extraction contributes to the threat of their extinction.
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 - CZ PRO-BIO The basis of good fertilization is using on farm manure and its proper application. Standards allow the purchase 50 kg N/ha/year. The whole total amount of organic fertilizers is 110 kg N/ha/year, and for perennial crops 90 kg N/ha/year. Pro-Bio Standards are more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91, Annex I /B 7, where the use of farmyard manure may not be higher than 170 kg N/ha/year. Closed nutrient cycling, environment protection. An effort to limit only plant production without animal husbandry at farms.
Manure fertilizers, intensity - NL Skal Standard 2005
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At least 20% of the manure used in organic farming has to be from organic farming. SKAL has set a maximum norm of 135 kg N/ha/ year conventional farmyard manure and a total maximum of 170 kg N/ha/year, 35 kg N/ha/year has to be of organic farming origin.
With regard to the use of farmyard manure SKAL sets lower limits for manure from conventional origin, while the EU Regulation 2092/91 only mentions "Need recognized by the inspection body or inspection authority, Indication of animal species." It is important to set a norm for the maximum amount of conventional farmyard manure, since organic farmers tend to use this a lot, because of the lower price. The Regulation has not defined it specifically, stating that there is not enough organic manure at the moment. There has to be a defined way to ensure that organic manure is used first.
Peat - CH Demeter 2005
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Peat can constitute only 70% of the substratum for the production of seedlings.
DEMETER restricts the use of peat to seedling production and within substrata to a maximum 70% whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 only lists peat as admitted 'fertilizer' limited to horticulture (market gardening, floriculture, arboriculture, nursery). Peat is a very limited resource which should be used as little as possible to ensure supplies for future generations. Furthermore peat production infringes on natural habitats, which is not in line with the aim for sound production methods of organic farming.
Peat - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Among a number of other prohibited soil inputs, it is prohibited to use peat as a soil conditioner. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 4.7.10. Soil Association standards have further restrictions than EU Regulation 2092/91 regarding the use of peat as a soil conditioner. Effectively, it may be used only in propogating media. EU Regulation permits peat for use in horticulture (market gardening, floriculture, arboriculture, nursery). Soil Association standard's prohibition on the use of peat as a soil conditioner is intended to reduce the damage to peat bogs. These are important habitats for wildlife, supporting many bird, invertebrate and plant species, some of which depend on peat bogs for their survival. Peat extraction for horticulture has been the main cause of the damage to British peat bogs in the past 50 years. Only 6% of British peat bogs remain undamaged. This damage could be repeated in other countries if its widespread use continues.