Organic answers

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In response to Professor Tony Trewavas of Scientific Alliance Scotland (Letters, 22 March), I agree that “till (of soil) with integrated pest management ticks all the right boxes on yield, sustainable soil, wildlife maintenance and carbon emissions”.

Unfortunately, it still requires the use of copious amounts of herbicides, pesticides and unsustainable oil-based fertilisers.

I would like to offer Mr Trewavas a different perspective on his view that “family farms… based on organic agriculture… would result in half the world starving”.

I manage an organic family dairy farm, which produces 1.2 million litres of organic milk per year, on a grass-based system with yields approaching those of conventional milk.

I use some minimum tillage and the latest grass varieties and scientific knowledge, but I do not use pesticides or oil-based fertilisers.

It may have escaped Mr Trewavas that much of Scotland’s land area cannot sustain arable crop production but can help feed the world’s population.

It is naïve of him to think that the only solution to the growing world population is more chemicals, GM technology and unsustainable oil-based fertilisers. Sustainable solutions must be found.

Organic farming does not have all the solutions but in my 30 years as a dairy farmer I know I can produce the yields with the use of technology yet without destroying the planet in the process.

Ian D Parker

Scottish Organic Milk Producers

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