true F1 hybrid seed and these particular varieties can not be produced generatively. In the opinion of the seed companies, most vegetable seed production is for hybrid varieties rather than for open pollinated varieties. However, hybrid varieties are very difficult to produce conventionally because the process can be affected by many uncontrollable factors. One problem is bad weather because the flowering of the two parent lines has to be co-ordinated so that pollination can take place between the parent rows. Humidity and temperature also affect the pollination process, both in terms of influencing the availability of bees or other pollinating insects, and the development of one parent in relation to the other, which may mean that simultaneous flowering can not be achieved. It was argued by some of the seed companies that these are the problems faced in the large scale production of conventional vegetable seed and the situation for organicseed is likely to be worse because of the extra burdens of increased disease and pests. Moreover, due to the unpredictable UK weather, it is unlikely that F1 hybrid varieties could be produced on a large scale in the UK for the organic market. Another problem with some F1 hybrid crops is inducing sterility in the male sterile parent lines. Male sterility is increasingly being used for F1 hybrid production. One of the problems raised was that for some vegetables, a common method for inducing male sterility is to use chemicals and some seed companies assume that this technology would not be permitted in organicseed production. In Holland, the use of silver nitrate for inducing male sterility is currently permitted, according to a Dutch seed company that uses this technique. However, this company is currently investigating alternative methods for producing this seed. One seed company said that if F1 hybrids could not be produced using chemicals, this would have a great effect on the availability of certain vegetable seeds such as pumpkins, marrows and courgettes which are almost all produced in this way.
The sector has requested the government to consider the introduction of a so-called percentage rule. In this approach, a specified percentage (25 %) of the seed used should be organic. The percentage rule should apply to crops for which organicseed supplies are too limited to list them on the Annex, and for which supplies are not expected to increase because demand will remain low; partly due to high seed prices and unfair competition. With this percentage rule farmers want to show their commitment to the seed companies. The percentage should be raised in the following years (50, 75, 100 %) if the supply increases and other countries follow this example. At this moment, it is yet unclear whether a percentage rule will be implemented, because the government is concerned about legal implications. A pilot project with a limited number of crops may be initiated.
Micaela Colley (from the OrganicSeed Alliance in the USA) will examine many parallelisms that exist between the United States (US) and Europe regarding the motivations, initiatives and emerging models for organicseed systems development. Differences in governance, history, and social factors impacting progress will also be highlighted.
One important issue which remained open was organic plant breeding. Although this topic was deliberately not included in the Conference agenda, all parties agreed that breeding should the subject of a dedicated meeting. Organicseed production is a crucial step on the way to organic (and more adapted) varieties. Several examples showed that crop management simply comes to an end if appropriate varieties are not available. Under western European conditions, modern varieties can perform better than old varieties, there is a need to identify special traits that can guarantee successful seed-to-seed cycles.
The estimated increased cost of sourcing organicseed (compared to the cost of buying conventional, untreated seed) ranged from 10% to 40%. The availability of graded seed for precision drilling was included in the questionnaire in response to grower concerns raised in 2004. This is still a major issue for those growing field scale vegetables. Only spinach (Palco) and a few but unspecified varieties of carrots, beetroots and swedes were available to the 4 growers who used precision drills.
The demand for organicseed in a given country can be better covered if seed suppliers of neighbouring countries or similar pedoclimatic conditions are also taken into consideration. This is especially true as the organicseed supply is very limited in some European countries, while there is a growing supply in others. Moreover, there are international organicseed suppliers that offer a broad range of cultivars that could potentially be grown in several European countries. As of today, seed suppliers must enter and update the amounts of the organicseed they make available in each country of interest in the respective National Databases (which may also mean in different local languages). If the market potential of a given country is too small, there is limited interest to enter available organicseed in that country’s database. Moreover, some Member States only allow organicseed to be listed in their National Database if the seed supplier has a registered office in their country. This further limits the availability of organicseed.
For an effective treatment with hot water, the temperature of the seed batch should be raised quickly to a level detrimental for the pathogen but not for the seed, after the treatment temperatures should be lowered quickly. Typically, seeds are treated for 10-30 min between 50 and 55°C. Pre-soaking of seeds in cold water to remove air and enhance heat transfer is described (Baker, 1962), but it is unclear if it is also practiced, as detailed protocols are the propriety of seed companies. Soaking of seed requires re-drying which should be done rapidly to avoid recolonization of the sterile surface of seeds with detrimental microorganisms. Heat transfer in hot air is less efficient than in water and treatments will last longer than hot water treatments. Also for hot air, relatively simple ovens can be used. As a result, seeds can become dehydrated and they may require rehydration. Dry heat has been successfully applied for bacteria and fungi, but also for viruses (Ling, 2010). For treatment of seeds with aerated steam, an equipment is required where seeds are successively placed in a thin layer and treated homogeneously for some time with vapour injected from a steam generator. After treatment, seeds are placed in a cooling chamber for quick cool down and drying (Forsberg, 2004).
All organic farmers should be provided with Soil Health Cards to monitor regularly the physics, chemistry, microbiology and erodability of their soils. Care of soil health is fundamental to a productive agriculture. Sustainable organic farming will also need bioremediation agents which can help to improve soil health through the sequestration of salt, heavy metals and other yield reducing constraints. A consortium of micro-organisms each capable of performing important functions like nitrogen fixation, phosphorus solubilisation, and sequestration of salts and pollutants will have to be developed for each major agro- climatic and agro-ecological farming system.
Seed yields were recorded, and comparisons with disease contamination, germination and vigour were made against seed of the same variety produced conventionally by the collaborating seed company. Yields were unpredictable for some crops in the early stages of the project, but this problem was overcome as techniques were better understood and more experience gained. Seed quality was generally very good for most crops, and few problems were encountered with seed borne diseases for most crops. High levels of seed surface contamination with saprophytic fungi (Penicillium and Cladosporium) may have masked the presence of other fungi. Where equivalent comparisons with conventional seedlots could be tested for disease and vigour differences were small. However, major problems were encountered with bulb onion seed production as neck rot resulted in loss of stock material (around 50% of bulbs were lost). Hot water treatments were used in this project and were found to be successful against a range of pathogens on infected onion seed. More research into organicseed treating is advocated.
demand for white clover (Boelt et al., 2002). There is also grass seed production by Dutch seed companies (Karsdorp, 1999). Borm (2001) did research on the possibilities for improving the organic grass seed production in the Netherlands by enlarging the row distances (50 cm) for better mechanical weed control while maintaining yield. Adequate nitrogen supply through animal manure needs further research for optimisation. That is why grass-seed companies in the Netherlands and Denmark switched from monoculture to undersow in a cover crop of a cereal. After the harvest of the cereal crop, the grass vegetation can be used for grazing and control of weeds, and after that one can allow the grass to set seed in the second year. Yields and seed purity in Danish seed production are now satisfactory (Lund-Kristensen et al., 2000). Because of lower nitrogen level used in organic grassland some diseases are less important in Dutch organic grassland than in conventional grass seed production, such as black rust (Puccinia graminis). But black rust does occur during seed production and reduces the organicseed production so much that one has to look for varieties with more resistance to this fungus, like some of the French varieties (M. Nas, pers. comm., 2002). Because of standard chemical protection in conventional grass seed production breeders have not focussed on such a trait for seed production of Dutch grass varieties until now. Furthermore, the choice for grass varieties in the organic sector largely depends on the ability to grow grass in a mixture with clover, and thus to allow clover to establish and persist in the grassland, and to maximise the use of nitrogen fixed by the clover in the grass (Van Eekeren, 2001).
A combination of consumer demand, agri-environmental payments and market incentives has resulted in a rapid increase in organic production in Wales which now has a target of 10% by 2005. Forage production is key to the predominantly grassland based organic systems and rotations based on white and red clover leys mean that currently reseeding is reliant on conventional seed for 65% of the mixtures. Conventional methods currently employed to achieve economic seed yields and to meet UK Seed Certification Scheme standards of quality and purity are not acceptable under organic standards. From January 2004 EU regulation 2092/91 states seed used in organic systems must be produced to organic standards. There is a high demand for organicseed to meet the producers needs and currently much seed is sourced from abroad. The key challenges for Welsh and UK seed producers include weed control, plant nutrient supply at specific growth stages, harvesting methods and developing the links between farmers and seed companies to build a local organic forage seed industry. Building on on-going plot work at IGER, techniques will be developed for field scale production working with a group of farmers and seed companies. This will include growing, harvesting, cleaning and drying as well as an economic appraisal and the exploring potential for local marketing. A. Four farms 'recruited' and plots sown
The selection of varieties for the trials was based on the results of a survey, also fund by Farming Connect and conducted by OCW, in which growers assessed the performance of varieties they grew from organicseed in the 2002 season. Varieties showed some potential, but which had variable results as indicated by the range of scores, were prioritised.
under derogation. In the past if the only available seed has been treated permission was given for its use. This is no longer possible and the practice of seed companies to treat seed of certain crop species as a matter of course has meant that some varieties have been put out of reach. Particular problems have been encountered with celery, some winter cauliflower varieties and other brassicas. The only way that such problems are to be avoided for next season is for growers to contact their seed suppliers at the earliest possible opportunity. This may not be as straightforward as it sounds, as growers will need to know the position on organicseed availability and acquire appropriate derogations before deciding to place firm orders for conventional seed. Most of the major seed companies are still in the business of producing organicseed despite their general disappointment at the extension of the derogation at EU level. The sales of organicseed have been generally quite buoyant which suggests that the pressure applied by certifying bodies is having an effect. This is absolutely vital in keeping the industry on-side.
Therefore, the conventional seed industry is (gradually) becoming interested in contributing to a larger availability of organically produced seed. Also in the US such regulations are coming into force, but harmonisation between the two parts of the worlds is needed (Sundstrom, 2004). For developing countries, such European regulations may cause problems for the development of certified organic agriculture because of a lack of harmonisation concerning private standards and official regulations (Hermoso, 2004). Many small farmers in developing countries use uncertified seeds bought on the local market or exchanged among farmers. The concern here is focused on the question when or to which extent such countries need to comply with such European or US regulation in order to be able to export their products to Europe or to the US. In all cases more research seems to be needed to support the optimisation of organicseed production and the development of effective seed treatments that comply with the organic standards. Finally to the concerns for the future in relation to GM: For a variety of reasons, the impact of a possible GMO spread in the environment will affect organic farmers to a larger extent than conventional, non-GM farmers. Those include (i) the fact that often diverse organic practice of plant production (including continued farm saved seed, on-farm breeding etc.) is more vulnerable to GM contamination, since seed lots are not completely renewed by certified, i.e. non-contaminated, stock yearly; (ii)the risk of losing markets is greater for organic farmers since many consumers require not only the rejection of GM use by the organic sector but also the general avoidance of genetically modified material in the produce is seen as an important added value. Therefore, in the future, even with the help of suitable co-existence measures some (organic) farming activities - especially seed multiplication, continued seed saving and breeding related to ‘vulnerable species’ - could become feasible only in GM free areas or regions. For this reason the continued establishment of GM-free areas or regions merits special attention. However despite all signalled problems, the development of a GM-free plant breeding and seed production for improved varieties meeting the needs and values of organic agriculture is a challenging task for practice and science in the future.
Unfortunately only small amount of information about seed supply is available in databases of the Baltic States now. Necessary quantities of organicseed based upon the acreage of organic production in Estonia in 2004 shows that demands of seed for all field crops are insufficient (Aavola R, Bender A., pp. 81-86). For instance, in Estonia no data is found in the seed database regarding to availability of organic seeds (total demand of cereals 1205 t). In Latvia, there is offered only 8 t barley (demand 233 t), 3 t oats (demand 326 t). In Lithuania only grass seed market is fully provided (1000 t) and there is offer also for partly meeting of demand of Latvia’s grass seed market. Lithuanian farmers are active in this question and work of organicseed production has already started there.
are non significant to each other. Similar results are in agreement with those of Kumar and Khanna (2006) who reported that the NSKE drench produced the best plant growth, closely followed by Econeem. Meena et al. (2009) also reported biopesticidal of some organic cakes, viz. neem cake, sesamum cake, mustard cake, cotton cake and castor cake at the dose of 3g and 5g/pot were found significantly effective in plant growth promotion and reduction in nematode population (Heterodera cajani) in the following order: neem cake>sesamum cake>mustard cake>cotton cake>castor cake.
Thus, sowing seeds with 20% Ascochyta is expected to give a yield reduction of 1.18 hkg/ha (Planteavlsorientering nr. 09-696). In similar organic trials, no significant relationship between seed infection levels and yield was found (Table 1). This can probably be explained by the fact that factors other than Ascochyta have a higher influence on yield in organic peas. Under humid conditions the disease can develop and spread quickly. Therefore, there is no correlation between infection levels in the seed sown and in the harvested seed.
Then, we found out microbes imported from Japan and tried to domestically produce it. Many experts including professors participated in the project. Finally we discovered brewing method of microbes, and then supplied it to farmers. Organic farmers wanted us to supply all kinds of organic agricultural materials, so we established Heuksalim Co.,Ltd. According to expansion of organic agriculture, government felt to certify the organic produces, then we attended enacting project, and become accredited certification body.
4 According to ETC Group (2008) the top three seed companies, Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta, owned 47 % of the global proprietary seed market in 2007. This development has reduced the competition among plant breeders and according to Howard (2009) the consolidation is associated with a number of impacts that constrain the opportunities for renewable agriculture. Among these he mentions declining rates of saving and replanting seeds, as a result of companies successfully convincing a growing percentage of farmers to purchase their products year after year, since the technology fee on the seeds usually only covers the use of a single harvest. The development has furthermore made a shift in both public and private research toward the most profitable proprietary crops and varieties, but away from the improvement of varieties that farmers can easily replant. This has caused an erosion of the seed diversity, as remaining companies eliminate less profitable lines from newly acquired subsidiaries. Cultural knowledge of how seeds can be saved and replanted may be lost if farmers do not maintain these practices (Howard, 2009). Since the 1900s, approximately 75 % of agricultural plant genetic diversity has been lost as farmers worldwide have left their multiple local varieties for genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties and more than 90 percent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ field (FAO, 2004) .
The parties agreed that the Marsh farm is an organically certified farm, certified by NASAA Certified Organic (NCO) the certifying arm of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA). In anticipation that GM canola would be exempted from the WA moratorium on GMOs, Marsh alerted Baxter to the risk to his organic certification of GMO contamination of his farm prior to the exemption. Nevertheless in the 2010 season, the first planting season subsequent to the lifting of the ban on such crops, Baxter planted GM canola, a Monsanto product (RR canola). Baxter was legally entitled to do this. Baxter took the advice in the planting and harvesting of GM canola from an agronomist. The crop was planted with a five metre setback from Baxter’s fence line as was specified in the agreement between Baxter and Monsanto (Monsanto, 2010). The Baxter’s GM canola was planted in the paddocks adjacent to the Marsh farm. There is a dirt road separating the two farms. Baxter harvested the GM canola using the method of swathing. This involves cutting off the heads the plants, and letting them drop in situ, gathering this loose cut GM canola material into windrows (long piles) and leaving it for some weeks before collecting it. Baxter was an experienced canola grower. He had previously always direct harvested his canola (i.e non-GM canola) so this was a novel harvesting method for him. Wind blew cut GM canola material from the Baxter’s farm to the Marsh farm. This had not happened previously from Baxter’s growing of non-GMO canola which he had always direct harvested (i.e. the seeds were removed from the canola plants and out of the paddock) and never swathed. 245 GM canola swathes were found by Marsh on his farm. Swathes included seeds and seed pods. Marsh advised his organic certifier, as he was obliged to do under his certification contract. The Marsh farm was inspected by the certifier and subsequently his organic certification was withdrawn in December 2010. Organic certification was reinstated in 2013. Damages to Marsh’s enterprise were agreed between the parties at A$85,000, mostly due to the loss of the organic premiums on farm outputs due to the loss of certification.