Non-organic seed derogation

Non-organic seed derogation update

With the spring sun shining many growers are looking to secure more seed for the season ahead.  

We understand that there has been a spike in organic seed sales in recent weeks, however, we are reassured to hear that despite the health crisis our country is facing, supply chains are holding up and there is still good availability for many organic seeds.

Non-organic Seed Derogation

Some growers may increase their production this year in response to increased demand for locally grown produce and, as a result, some stocks of organic seed may run out.

You can find details of available organic seeds and seed potatoes online. It is a requirement that when using seed you must, in order of preference, use organic seed if it is available, followed by in-conversion. However, when organic and in-conversion seeds are not available, under the circumstances outlined below, you can request approval to use untreated non-organic seed from your certification officer.  This provision is outlined in standards 2.7.4 and 2.7.5:

  • Where no variety of the species which you wish to obtain is registered on the Organic X Seeds database.
  • Where no supplier, can deliver the seed before sowing or planting where you have ordered the seed in a reasonable time.
  • Where the variety which you wish to obtain is not registered on the Organic X Seeds database, and you can demonstrate that none of the registered alternatives of the same species are appropriate and that the authorisation, therefore, is significant for your production
  • Where it is justified for use in research, tests in small-scale field trials, or for variety of conservation purposes agreed by Defra.

Permission and Approval 

Permission must be requested from your certification officer and approval given before planting. The quickest way to obtain permission is to email your certification officer a completed application to use non-organic seed form, however, if you are unable to do this we can take the required information over the phone.

To approve a request to use non-organic seed we will require information on the variety and crop species name; seed volume, which of the reasons stated above applies to your application and any further justification (e.g. the agronomic reason why the currently available varieties are not suitable).

Any non-organic seed used must not be treated with any products not otherwise allowed under standard 2.6.3 unless this is a statutory requirement for phytosanitary reasons.

Prior approval will not be required for any grass and forage seed mixes with a minimum organic content of 50% (by weight), or 70% organic in the case of arable silage mixes.  Details of the mix used will be requested in your annual questionnaire.

For more information

If you have any questions please contact your Certification Officer or the Producer Team on 0117 314 5046.