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A case study outlining how a 120 ha organic farm with beef, sheep and arable enterprises, near Crickhowell, Powys, converted to an organic system because they saw the benefits for the farm in terms of soil biodiversity.

Ewan Brook is a 120 ha organic farm with beef, sheep and arable enterprises, near Crickhowell, Powys. Roger Bufton, who owns and manages the farm, converted to an organic system in 2008 because he saw the benefits for the farm in terms of soil biodiversity in particular.

“Being able to access support such as the Organic farming schemes between 2008 and last year was central in my decision to convert to organic farming initially. 

"The Rural Development Plan funded Glastir Organic scheme operating now is a factor in my decision to remain organic for the foreseeable future. Organic production has many environmental and social benefits, but it does have some increased costs associated with it.”

At the time of conversion Roger was running beef and sheep, but about three years ago he decided to take the farm in a different direction.  He now focuses on growing arable crops for feed, seed and, just last year, for milling.

“We’ve got the right farm for the job” 

said Roger. 

“Although we are not really in a grain producing area, the local geography means that we are drier than most round here. We’ve got light, silty, biologically active soils which I’m sure have benefited from organic management judging by the high population of earth worms.” 

While his focus is on crop production, he is well aware of how important livestock are to a productive and sustainable arable enterprise. 

“I want to focus on the cereals” 

he said, 

“but I’ve been looking at how I can make permanent pasture available to other farmers during the fertility building phase of my organic rotation. I’m particularly keen to investigate making land available to young farmers who are looking to start out on their own.”

For more information: www.wales.gov.uk/glastir