The first growing season at McCain Food’s Farm of the Future in Florenceville, N.B. was a success, a report released on June 7 said.
There were a total of 28 crop species planted in different fields to enhance biodiversity and regenerate soil. The soil surface was covered with green vegetation for 181 days, which the report noted early indications show is improving soil health.
To reduce soil compaction controlled-traffic farming, GPS technology and a customized tractor to utilize pre-established tram lines for every pass through the field, was used, the report said. Fall bedding and equipment were used to reduce tillage and replace traditional mouldboard ploughs with a chisel plough while maintaining soil structure and keeping carbon in the soil.
Fertilizer application for the first year on the Farm of the Future was 16.7 per cent less when compared to a typical McCain grower in the area, the report noted.
Second Farm of the Future to be Built in South Africa
McCain has chosen two South African locations totalling 465 hectares irrigation and 90 hectares of dry land on which it will grow 125 hectares of potatoes per year for its second Farm of the Future, a June 7 news release said.
“At Farm of the Future Africa, the potential to grow multiple crops per year, innovate with irrigation technology in a water-scarce region as well as the challenges arising from the presence of soil-borne pests and diseases make it the ideal location for transferring learning to other parts of the world, including China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia,” the release said.
The release noted all potatoes grown on the farm will be made into french fries and other frozen potato products to service consumers across Africa. The food processing company plans to open three Farms of the Future in different growing regions around the world by 2025.