Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Crop production
      • Crop rotation
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Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Conversion, crop rotation - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Fields starting organic conversion, which have grown a nutrient exploiting crop in the previous two years, such as cereals in the previous 2 years, must start the conversion with a fertility building phase of the crop rotation. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 4.2.5.) Soil Association standards are more detailed and have additional requirments than EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association Standards require that fields entering organic conversion, which have grown nutrient exploiting crops must start the first rotation of their organic conversion with a fertility building phase. EU Regulation does not contain this requirement, but only a requirement for a multi-annual rotation, including legumes green manures or deep-rooting plants, as the primary means to maintain or increase fertility. This Soil Association requirement enforces best agro-ecological practice at the start of organic conversion. It reduces any possibility that a producer might try to produce a nutrient exploiting crop by applying nutrient inputs to land with low nutrient levels entering conversion. Thus, this rule functions both as a guide for the producer and as a safeguard against poor practice in in-conversion crop production.
Crop rotation - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005
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Any crop rotation must maintain long-term soil fertility and guarantee prosperous growth. The rotation must minimise the loss of nutrients by erosion or effluent water. A rate of 20% leguminous or soil building crops are required by BIO SUISSE and winter cover of at least 50% of arable land area. Cereals/grain legumes 67%, wheat and others not more than 50% to the rotation. Leguminous soil buildung crops must cover at least 25% of the share in the rotation. A break of at least one vegetation cycle is required before a crop of the same family shall be planted again.
Whereas BIO SUISSE regulates the crop rotation requirements in detail, the EU Regulation 2092/91 is more general in this area. A balanced and sophisticated crop rotation is crucial to maintain long term soil fertility, to enhance natural nitrogen level and humus accumulation. Therefore clear requirements are necessary to support this aim.
Crop rotation - CH Demeter Standards 2005
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Crop rotation is mentioned in a general way in the preamble of the standard. Since all farms must have their own animal husbandry, rotation must include fodder and roughage production for these animals. However: all DEMETER farms have to comply with the Bio Suisse standards of crop rotation.
EU Regulation 2092/91 in general requires the rotation of green manures or deep-rooting plants in an appropriate multi-annual rotation programme with no minimal rates for specific soil enhancing crops. DEMETER farms are forced into a very diverse crop rotation scheme since they must produce fodder for their own animal husbandry. Since own fodder production and own animal husbandry is required, the crop rotation must be balanced with leguminous crops as well as other fodder crops in order to keep the farm self-sufficient in its fodder supply.
Crop rotation - Demeter International 2005
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Sustainable soil fertility requires sufficient legumes and a high proportion of leaf crops in the rotation. (DI production standards, 3. Arable plant production)
The DI standard is slightly more precise in the aspect of how to design an adequate crop rotation. The prerequisite for good development of leaves, flowers and fruit/seeds is a vital living soil that allows good root penetration. The design of this growing area is of greater importance for the health of the plant than are individual plant husbandry measures.
Crop rotation - Italian Organic Standards 2005
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The operator should adopt a rotation plan. The rotation should include crops belonging to different species, and should include at least an annual or perennial legume. The certification body may not authorize the growing of the same crop, in the same field, for more than two consecutive years (3 consecutive cycles for horticultural cultivations).
Compared with EU Regulation 2092/91 there are more detailed rules for crop rotation and specific requirements to avoid monoculture. Rotation is the base of soil fertility and therefore of organic agriculture. For this reason the IOS defines detailed guidelines for crop rotation.
Crop rotation - PL Ekoland Standards 2005 To satisfy nitrogen needs of the farm at least a 20% share of legume crops (as a main crop) should be grown on arable land. Catch crops should be grown on at least 20% of arable land acreage. (3.2.4) The EU Regulation 2092/91 demands the cultivation of legumes, green manures or deep-rooting plants in an appropriate multi-annual rotation programme, but does not specify minimal shares as the PL Ecoland standards do. One of the basic methods of soil conservation is properly designed crop rotation system.
Crop rotation - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
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Soil Association standards require that, where a crop rotation is possible, it must use a sequence where the fertility building and fertility depleting crops maintain a balance, it must include crops with various root systems, it must include a legume crop, and it must leave enough time between crops with similar pest and disease risks. Where the rotation is not to this standard and relies on inputs, the farmer must show that the rotation is improving, is reducing the inputs, and is making maximum use of legumes and green manures. At least 3 seasons must be allowed between outdoor crops of alliums, brassicas or potatoes, but successional crops in the same year are allowed. With permission, two crops of the same family may be grown in successional years followed by a 6-year break. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 5.1.10-5.1.13.)
Soil Association require: where a crop rotation is possible, it must follow a number of specified rules regarding the types of crop and their sequence in the rotation. EU Regulations 2092/91 requires that the soil fertility and biological activity must be maintained by a multi-annual rotation including legumes, green manures or deep-rooting plants, but the requirements for the rotation are no more detailed than that. The Soil Association standards on crop rotations are intended to ensure that the rotation will be an effective means of maintaining soil fertility and of controlling pests and diseases without the need for recourse to excessive or restricted inputs. The crop rotation specifications are intended to achieve maximum environmental benefits and minimum risks of environmental pollution or harm to biodiversity. The standards anticipate some of the most likely ways that rotations may be compromised by poor practice, and they include requirements and restrictions that aim to prevent these problems.
Crop rotation, legumes - DE Naturland Standards 2005
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The minimum share of legumes in the crop rotation is 20% (with exemptions). (NL standards on production, Part B.I. Plant production 7.)
In the EU Regulation 2092/91 legumes are required in the crop rotation as a measure to maintain and increase the soil fertility. A minimum share is not indicated like it is in Naturland The incorporation of legumes in the crop rotation is a vital element to ensure the long-term fertility of the soil.
Free range conditions, grazing rotation, pigs - UK Soil Associaition Organic Standards 2005
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Soil Association standards recommend that pigs should be kept in rotational grazing systems, moved at least every 6 months, and not returned to the same land more than once in 4 years. There is a table, detailing the number of different age/size/group types of pig that will produce 170 kg nitrogen per year, together with a worked example of a 100-hectare farm. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 13.3.3, 13.3.4 and 13.3.5.)
Soil Association contain recommendations that pigs should be kept in rotational grazing systems, and further related guidance and recommendations, that are not in EU Regulation 2092/91. EU Regulation does not include these recommendations and guidance items. Long intervals in the grazing rotation ofpigs helps to reduce the infectivity of pasture with parasitic worms. Soil Association standards aim to encourage best practice among organic pig producers for soil management and animal health and welfare by including this recommendation and guidance on rotational grazing systems, which are not actually required in the standards.
Plant protection, crop rotation - UK Soil Association standards 2005 It is permitted to grow crops without the use of a multi-annual rotation in such cropping systems as protected cropping, permanent pasture, perennial crops and wild harvesting, but the cropping system must not rely on external inputs nor involve continuous arable crops. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 5.1.14 and 5.1.15. Soil Association standards contain further detail to the EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards set out the circumstances in which it is permitted to practice cropping without a multi-annual rotation. EU Regulation requires a multi-annual rotation for crop production to maintain soil fertility and to control weeds, pests and diseases, but it does not explain clearly those cropping systems that would not require such a rotation. The Soil Association standards are intended to place clear and unambiguous requirements on the producer regarding when it is appropriate to make use of crop rotations and when it is not. For example, it could be harmful to biodiversity and could cause pollution to initiate a cropping rotation on land that had been in permanent pasture.
Plant protection, documentation - US NOP 2002
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The producer must use management practices to prevent crop pests, weeds, and diseases including but not limited to crop rotation and soil and crop nutrient management practices, sanitation measures and cultural practices that enhance crop health. A biological or botanical substance or a substance included on the national list of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production may be applied to prevent, suppress, or control pests, weeds, or diseases: provided, that, the conditions for using the substance are documented in the organic system plan.
No differences in general except that the US has slightly different concept regarding documentation of farm practices compared with the EU Regulation 2092/91. No justification could be provided by USDA.
Soil management, steam sterilisation - CH Regulation/Ordinance 2005
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Steam sterilisation of the soil is prohibited in open fields.
The Swiss Ordinance prohibits steam sterilisation of the soil in open fields, whereas EU Regulation 2092/91 does not list this as a prohibited practice. Adapted crop rotation schemes and soil management in organic farming should do enough to avoid soil born diseases and unwanted herbs. Steam sterilisation demands a high input of energy and it cures only the symptoms of the problem but not the cause of unappropriate soil management.