At Stracathro we have embraced IFM (Integrated Farm Management) to maintain the highest standards demanded by our customers.
Sustainable agriculture is the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species.
GPS technology is employed to ensure that our crops get exactly the right amount of fertiliser for each growth stage. This starts when we create a detailed soil nutrient map for each field in order for base fertiliser to be accurately applied at variable rates. Later in the growing season satellite imagery of the crop accesses the nutrient requirement based on the levels of chlorophyll in the plant leaves. From this information very accurate application maps are produced allowing us to apply nitrogen fertiliser at exactly the right amounts across the whole field with no wastage or unnecessary over applications. An exciting new development for the 2014/15 growing season was the switch from solid to liquid fertiliser; this improves overall accuracy to within 5% of the desired rate, while with solid fertiliser the variance is 10 - 15%. This isn't a difference you can see when inspecting the crops, but you would certainly notice it on the combine yield meter.
Concerned with the soil structure damage associated with growing potatoes, we have for the last three years not let any ground for this purpose. In a further attempt to minimise damage to soils we have introduced minimum tillage cultivation for two years in every five years of the crop rotation. This greatly improves soil structure and drainage, and has the added advantage of being able to travel on the fields earlier in the season which in turn improves timeliness.