Unfortunately war in Ukraine has affected the supply of organic cereals for winter cattle food as well as significantly increasing energy prices. For Bath Soft Cheese and Park Farm this sadly means that we are going to have to take a break from being certified organic. This is because we are going to have to use some non-organic feed (wheat and barley) for the cows, in other respects we expect to maintain organic principles.
This isn’t a decision we’re taking lightly. We’re very proud that we have been certified organic for over 22 years. However the business simply can’t handle the increased costs of organic cereal on top of increased energy costs. If we don’t look to save costs now it could endanger the future of the business as a whole.
Our cheeses that are currently ripening are organic and can be sold as organic. Due to different ripening periods, this means:
- Our Bath Soft Cheese will be organic until the first week in February and non-organic from that point
- Our Bath Blue and Merry Wyfe will be organic until end of March
- Our Wyfe of Bath will be organic until end of June
The war in the Ukraine has sent the cost of organic cattle feed soaring – our cows mainly eat grass produced on our farm however in the milking parlour the cows are fed a few kg of organic cereal to give them essential nutrients and keep them happy while they are being milked. The cost of this has more than doubled as a result of the war in the Ukraine. This is costing the business thousands of pounds extra every month.
In a normal period we might be able to absorb the higher costs of organic cereal but higher energy prices mean that isn’t possible. Our energy bills have gone up 500%. That is despite the fact that we produce a third of our electricity from our roof-top solar panels and produce all our heat from wood pellets. As a small farm and artisan producer it is challenging to cope with these cost increases and we need to find savings.
We still believe in the principles of organic and sustainable farming. We intend to maintain our organic farming practices in other respects. Hopefully the situation in the Ukraine will improve and we will be able to convert back to being certified organic in the future.
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.