We cultivate spelt, emmer wheat, buckwheat, green manure crops like field peas with oats and mustard. We grind our crops in our own stone mill to produce whole flour. This is packaged for retail and used to make our own whole grain spelt pasta.
Working in harmony with nature; not depleting soil quality but sustainably improving it by natural means.
Summary of ecological farming practices
We follow the rules of crop rotation, we cultivate crops which are not overbred and are not susceptible to diseases or pests, and that do not require high levels of industrial fertilizers (particularly nitrogen) to grow. We grow green manure, which increases both the amount of organic matter in the soil and its microbiological activity. We use preparations and organic fertilizers approved for organic farming.
Technical information on this agro-ecological practice
The advantage is that we do not contaminate the environment we live in, our fields sustain more small animals (hares, partridges, pheasants) and there is a greater variety of plants and animals in general.
The disadvantage is that if we make a mistake in the agricultural process or crop rotation, we cannot “correct” it chemically, e.g. if harrowing for weeds is done too late, conventional agriculture would apply herbicides, but we cannot.
Economical information on this practice
- Our costs are 30 – 50 % higher.
- The cost per unit is higher than in traditional agriculture. We need to spend about €700 /ha which translates to €230 – 280 /tonne at a yield of 2.5-3 tonnes per hectare. Conventional methods also require €700 to 900 /ha, including about €150 for pesticides, but yields are higher at 6-7 tonnes/ha which means a production cost of €110-130 /tonne. Comparisons have to consider the same crops, similar growing areas and subsidies per hectare. A reliable and meaningful comparison would require more input data over at least 3 consecutive years and recognition of the environmental effect.
- But even though the cost is higher for ecological production, value is higher too, as production will sell for higher prices and there’s the added value that comes from milling etc. and from building up healthier soil, natural pest control and so on.