Borders Monitor Farm: Going organic

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Preparing and managing change in the lead-up to organic conversion at Whitriggs in 2020 was the focus of the Borders Monitor Farm meeting on Wednesday (July 31).

Whitriggs is a partnership between Robert and Lesley Mitchell, and their son Stuart.

The Mitchells run a herd of 170 suckler cows at their 442-hectare farm, as well as a breeding herd of 300 red deer.

Stuart took on the responsibility of day-to-day decision-making at Whitriggs last year and initiated the conversion to organic earlier this year.

A strong line-up of speakers – including James Bretherton from Agscope Ltd, who has been working alongside farmers for more than 20 years, and agronomist David Cairns – offered insight into reviewing the barriers of organic conversion, as well as tips on soil, grassland and weed management relevant to both conventional and organic farmers alike.

It’s a big decision to convert to organic farming and good technical performance and careful planning are fundamental.