Organic production is based on positive management systems which reduce or eliminate the need for agricultural chemicals. One of the main differences between conventional and organic food production is the requirement for organic certification. Organic certifiers present the consumer with a guarantee that the food is grown to industry accredited standards.
Organic fresh produce and ingredients are grown without any use of agricultural chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, growth regulators, colour and flavour enhancers.
Organic processed products have been made using organic ingredients and minimal use of approved synthetic additives like stabilisers, emulsifiers, antioxidants, preservatives and colourants. The BioGro NZ Organic Standards Processing Module lists the allowable additives for processed products.
It all starts with the soil.
Organic farmers grow crops naturally without the use of artificial fertilisers and sprays. The key lies in the soil. Healthy soil has a rich biology of micro organisms, fungi and worms which all help to provide the crop with optimum nutrients. Crop rotations which include pasture, grains and green manure composting (e.g legumes) along with shallow ploughing result in an aerobic top layer of soil ideal to grow oat crops that are strong, healthy and do not require additional support. Good soil health along with plenty of clean rainfall, pure air with cold winters and long daylight hours in summer result in southern New Zealand producing high quality organic grains.
Harvest is similar to conventional oat harvesting; storage, transport and processing all require certified cleaning to ensure no contamination with conventional grains occurs.
The transition from conventional farming to full BioGro certification takes 3 years. Harraways supports organic oat growers through this process until full certification is obtained when organic oat growers can earn a premium for the crop.
Competition from conventional oats and other land uses like dairy continue to put pressure on organic farms.
Organic farms are clean, green and sustainable when you purchase certified organic goods you support this sustainable food production system.