Hanging on a gate is a sign studying: “Potatoes — wholesome and scrumptious.” The slogan, to which the word “uncommon” may just justifiably be added, is consistent with Cornel Lindemann-Berk’s philosophy of high quality over quantity. “We do not need enough rain in the summer,” he tells DW. “And since we do not want to water them, we’ve became this weak spot into a power.”
The yields are 50 % not up to they could in a different way had been, but even the rare sorts such as Bergerac or Bamberg aren’t watery. Customers from around the region come to the farm store to buy those spuds known for his or her rich taste and high mineral content.
Those who came ultimate summer time also were given to witness the strips of brightly coloured flora around the fringe of the Lindemann-Berk’s fields. His mixes of brilliant crimson poppies, cornflowers and wild daisies attracted an abundance of insect lifestyles.
“The collection of [plant] species has increased, and the selection of each and every insect species has long past up fourfold,” says the agronomist.
Scientists started recording the growth of the plants after wearing out focused planting for insects and birds. Here, the animals can to find food and nectar, as well as a protected place to reproduce.
This Is Conventional Organic Farming
This family-run trade in Germany’s Rhineland area is one among 10 farms across the country participating in a mission to test and put in force practical and economically viable conservation measures along traditional agriculture.
By taking part in the challenge, which is known as F.R.A.N.Z. (Future Resources, Agriculture & Nature Conservation) and runs from 2017 to 2027, Lindemann-Berk is on his solution to turning into an natural farmer.
“As part of this venture, we don’t use liquid manure or crop coverage brokers,” he says. “The yield is every now and then 0, as a result of weeds reminiscent of thistles and burdock are rampant here.” For each crop plant, around 30 undesirable herbs and grass additionally push in the course of the ground.
Lindemann-Berk has been making losses on grain and rapeseed for years. But when he took over the Gut Neu-Hemmerich farm three decades ago he converted several disused structures into residences and places of work, and so he does not have to rely on agriculture by myself to make a dwelling. Nonetheless, it’s still important to him to plant a variety of grains. He doesn’t cultivate monocultures but practices crop rotation, simply as farmers did centuries in the past. Varying what he grows every 12 months is helping to regenerate the soil, whilst additionally lowering disease and pests.
As part of different experiments for F.R.A.N.Z, Lindemann-Berk has sown corn and runner beans together. The beans develop up the corn plants and prevent light from attaining the soil, thereby significantly reducing the growth of weeds. Because the beans are wealthy in protein and the corn accommodates starch, the combo also lends itself to livestock feed.
“Skylark-windows” — rectangular strips in the shape of home windows that are reduce into the vegetation — were also presented within the fields. This allowed the closely decimated fowl inhabitants to breed undisturbed on the floor a few of the dense grain.
Lindemann-Berk handiest makes use of fertilizers and pesticides in an emergency — or even then in homeopathic doses.
“Too much fertilizer may also cause undesirable weeds to multiply. We’ve been calculating the necessities for greater than 40 years. Using soil samples, we read about the amount of nutrients within the soil and calculate precisely how a lot fertilizer we wish to use with the intention to get a good yield. Only then can we purchase what we need,” he says.
High Tech in the Fields
He additionally prefers to make use of natural fertilizer made from animal excrement. “It’s delivered from the Netherlands, because there may be infrequently any farm animals within reach,” he says. His farm provides grain for the Dutch farm animals. “So why should not we get the animal’s excrement again?” he asks wryly. “Organisms in the soil digest the precious liquid fertilizer and excrete minerals like nitrogen, which the crops then soak up through their roots.”
This liquid crop coverage aggregate can also be implemented to tough crops using a satellite-navigated and digitally managed syringe. This more or less paintings is especially efficient after sundown.
With the assistance of his own weather station, information gathered from the soil and the meteorological provider, Lindemann-Berk can make forecasts with a purpose to calculate the risk of assault from fungus. Even then, pesticides must best be used if the plant isn’t ready to assist itself.
By the use of lactic acid micro organism, Lindemann-Berk used to be able to dramatically reduce his use of chemical fungicides.
Once the harvest is entire, he’s taking soil samples once more. “So far, the measurements have proven no residues of glyphosate and its breakdown merchandise within the grain,” he says.
He points to the shelf at the back of him, which is stuffed with recordsdata, explaining how he has to keep his records for 5 years. Although fertilizer rules have been tightening for many years now — inflicting many farmers to give up on agriculture — he says the certain affects may not display up in groundwater for 30 years.
Not an Organic Farm — but Still Environmentally Friendly
Organic farms can handiest treat their vegetation with copper formulations, which stimulate expansion and act as deterrents against fungus. Although it is a heavy steel, people nonetheless need copper in small doses to help with blood formation and to strengthen a functioning worried system.
“We do the whole thing we will to be environmentally friendly, and do what the organic farms accomplish that well,” says Lindemann-Berk. “Because no one desires to harm the environment. Agribusinesses were operating in the same places for centuries.”
Sustainable observe is a priority here. But to be able to be certified as an natural farm, he would want to pluck the weeds by means of hand and — as was once completed centuries in the past — regularly rake the soil across the plants to uproot unwanted herbs and grasses.