Just how do organic farmers do it?


Growing organic crops

There are two key tenets in growing organic crops:


to minimise pest and disease threats

Biological Nitrogen Fixation

via the use of legumes such as clover, lucerne, peas and beans


Other things you need to know about growing organic crops

  • Agro-chemicals in herbicides, pesticides and granular fertilisers are NOT PERMITTED. These upset the natural microbiology of soil, inhibit the cell structure of the growing plant.  Agro-chemicals consume fossil fuels and Greenhouse Gases are a significant by-product of the production process.

  • organic seed must be used

BUT a standard 30% non-organic derogation is permitted in grass mixes.  Complete a derogation form BEFORE you buy.

  • there is a list of permitted inputs to help correct specific soil deficiencies.   Check the SOPA standards.


Rearing Organic Animals - answers to some common questions

  • All organic animals are free-range.

  • All organic ruminants are fed 100% organic feeding - we advocate Grow Your Own for food sustainability and food security.

  • Vaccinations are permitted

just speak to the SOPA office & use the SOPA Livestock Management Plan

  • It's about timing - Using Veterinary Medicines

Use the right dose of veterinary medicine at the correct time to ensure full coverage of the disease threat. 

Vetmeds can not be used preventatively - this means you can only use a product if you have evidence (faecal, tissue, blood etc) of infection. 

Protect your biosecurity at all costs - with strong fencing, isolation of new animals and careful screening of replacements including Bulls.

All organic animals have to comply with double the standard industry withdrawal period for veterinary medicines

  • You can use Organically-Approved Minerals for supplementation - look for the SOPA logo

but synthetic vitamins are not permitted.  We advocate you base your mineral supplementation on a representative blood sample of the herd/flock. Don't mineralise for the sake of it, but take specialist advice based on a full spectrum of farm analsyis including soils, forage and bloods to inform you what supplements are needed.

  • Sick animals MUST be treated 

  • Male Breeding animals (Bulls, Tups, Boars) do not have to have organic status to serve females.


  • Converting breeding females to organic status requires attention to specific conditions.  For instance, a non-organic cow can give birth to an organic calf ONLY when she is treated organically at least 12 weeks prior to the birth of the calf.  The cow will never become organic, but she will become Converted Breeding Stock. The conversion start date must be discussed and agreed with the SOPA office prior to conversion.

There are different conversion conditions for different species, so call the office to discuss your unique situation.