Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Conversion Paying Off

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Conversion Paying Off

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer MacKenzie

Winning a silage competition against opposition from across the UK is an accolade but the victory is even greater when the crop has been produced on an organic farm.

Pedigree dairy farmer John Jamieson began converting his 680-acre farm Upper Locharwoods at Ruthwell, near Dumfries, six years ago.

And this autumn he entered his first silage competition ( organised by AgriScot and John Watson Seeds ( beating competition from conventional farms in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with his organic clamp silage.

The Jamieson family has farmed Upper Locharwoods for just over 50 years and it is now farmed by John and his wife Helen, assisted by Holstein enthusiasts, daughters Emma, 19, who is studying law at Glasgow University, and Hannah, 18, who is in catering management, along with son Graham, 14, who is still at school, who are all members of the Border and Lakeland Holstein Young Breeders Club.

Emma recently won the Wolfa trophy for showmanship at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

While the farmland's organic conversion took place a number of years ago, the Jamiesons decided to assess the demand for organic milk and dairy products before converting the cows. The pedigree Firth herd of 140 milkers, based on PI bloodlines, was converted in July 2003.

With reduced inputs of fertiliser, good herd health ( and rising yields, John Jamieson is well pleased with the decision to farm organically.

"We could revert to a conventional system overnight but if I decided to stop I would still adopt a lot of the principles of organic farming," said John.

"In the past we fed the crops. Now we manage the soil and the soil feeds the crops.

"Since June 2003, sales for Scottish organic milk and milk products have risen by 160 per cent from 2. …

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