the decision was taken to convert Burwash Manor Farm
to an organic form of production.
This decision was taken for a mix of reasons: ideological
(we had long become disenchanted with conventional,
chemical farming), conservationist (we felt that this
was the only way that we could make further real strides)
and economic (we realised that the only way that a small
farm could survive was to find and occupy a niche).
The main difference between an
organic and a conventional farm is that the approach
of organic farms is based on using natural process
positively, rather than combating negative effects.
Being an organic farm, the livestock
and cropping enterprises are closely interwoven; the
livestock (mainly a single suckler herd of beef shorthorn
cattle) graze the fertility building grass/clover part
of the arable rotation whilst the crops (mainly wheat)
rely on the fertility building and pest, disease and
weed break provided by the cattle. One of the many advantages
of being a mixed farm is that we can provide a greater
variety of food sources for wildlife, and also food
sources at different times of the year, as well as a
variety of nesting habitats.