ERF is the only Dutch agricultural company that is part of lighthouse farms' global network with sustainable, future-proof cultivation systems. The lighthouse farms changed their cultivation system in response to the sustainability issue in agriculture.
As the largest private organic farm in the Netherlands, ERF has the opportunity to apply modern techniques in cultivation and processing and at the same time become '2050-proof', by combining sustainable food production with ecosystem services. ERF shows that it can be done.
Through their contacts with Wageningen University & Research, the Lighthouse Farms have access to the new knowledge and research.
Trying out new techniques
In organic cultivation we are constantly looking for new possibilities that contribute to a healthy soil and living environment. It is important to limit structural damage as much as possible. ERF is therefore increasingly working with machines on caterpillar tracks, controlled traffic farming applied during growing season, and the use of solar weeders. Other innovations also focus on efficient large-scale cultivation by reducing manual work as much as possible.
Changing the cultivation system
Together with Wageningen University & Research, ERF has made a design for a plot on which different crops are alternated at different widths. This strengthens agro-biodiversity and thus also the living environment of natural enemies that fight diseases and pests in our crops. This can increase the quality and quantity of production, especially with more robust crops. As an agricultural company, our mechanization is best suited to widths of 48 metres. We alternated this width with narrower strips to investigate what the best combination is with a functional combination of optimal biodiversity and the deployment of labour.
Integrated development of agriculture, nature, living, working and recreation
Agriculture benefits even more from the power of nature by developing it integrated with each other over a larger area. In the relatively young province of Flevoland, the New Nature program offered ERF and the Flevo landscape the opportunity to tackle this in a pioneering project. The Noorderwold-Eemvallei area will be set up with various components. Arable farming and vegetable cultivation, in which robust crops and integration of natural elements play a large part. Interspersed with various areas in which different types of nature can flourish. There is also space in the area for living and working, in addition, the area is accessible for recreation.