On 1st February, Digni van den Dries, project leader of Akker van de Toekomst (‘Field of the Future’), spoke with a group of farmers from Flevoland about the project on Zwijnsweg in Ens. The first growing season is over and the preparations for the next season are underway. Therefore, it was the perfect time to share experiences and provide each other with inspiration.

Akker van de Toekomst is a project that is striving to meet a few challenging objectives. The most remarkable challenge is perhaps the aim to grow crops using 90% less pesticides. The most difficult challenge is to balance the environmental and nature-related goals against the minimal growth in the cost price. To this end, experiments are being done with strip cropping and controlled traffic farming. The activities at Akker van de Toekomst are carried out with as little mechanisation as possible. For a previous project, called Lasting Fields in Practice, a self-driving tractor is in development.

Sustainable agriculture
At Akker van de Toekomst, the optimisation of methods for sustainable agriculture is the central aim. The project does not differentiate between conventional and organic agriculture. The aim is to inspire farmers to experiment on their farms.

Results of the experiments
During the meeting on 1st February, participants in the Flevoland Duurzaam Door groups expressed an interest in the results of the experiments. Some of the effects have become apparent over time during trial runs on conventional farmland. Since each plot and each area of a plot is different, the results do vary. “The standards are high for this demo project and these high standards make it easy for farmers to see which methods are feasible in the short or long term and which are perhaps not. They can see and experience them in practice and determine whether this is something they would like to implement at their own company,” says Digni van den Dries.

Digital meeting
“There’s nothing quite like the conversations that arise with the farmers around the kitchen table under normal circumstances. During the pandemic, we are trying to exchange as much knowledge as possible digitally,” says Jessie de Lange from Horizon Flevoland, project leader of Landbouw Meerdere Smaken.

Landbouw Meerdere Smaken
Akker van de Toekomst is one of the testing grounds of the programme ‘Landbouw Meerdere Smaken’ (‘Agriculture of Different Tastes’) by the Province of Flevoland. In this programme, Flevoland’s agricultural companies put new developments, business structures, techniques and knowledge into practice. The business owners and researchers in this testing ground can count on support from Horizon Flevoland in the coming years for the continued development of their plans.

For information about this project or if you are interested in participating in a future meeting, please contact Jessie de Lange, via jessie@horizonflevoland.nl