What will a Soil Association inspector look out for?
We will check all of the farming and/or processing activities and ensure they meet our standards. This means looking at records as well as the crops plants and livestock animals. Our inspectors remain on the look out for indications of not meeting our standards as well as evidence of best practice. All inspectors have been trained to undertake animal welfare assessments. These are output based and look at objective evidence.
Examples of objective evidence of good welfare would include:
- Absence or very low incidence of lameness
- Absence of swollen hock on cattle
- Good fleece cover on sheep
- Clean shiny coats
- Full feather cover on poultry
- Good colour combs on poultry
- Exhibiting normal behaviour - ranging, chewing cud, normal herd/flock interaction
Examples of objective evidence of good cropping practice would include:
- Rotations that build fertility ie clover and other legumes
- Fields with a high numbers of both plant and insect species
- Winter crop cover on fields to reduce leaching out of nutrients
- Intercropping of vegetables – growing different varieties alongside each other
- Timely cultivations to ensure good germination and weed suppression
- Beetle banks
We employ a vet who helps to ensure that the assessment is consistent and accurate. Ongoing crop training ensures that inspectors knowledge of acceptable yields and potential diseases is current.