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Potatoes – France, Leprince

Leprince is a family-operated farm that has adopted quality systems within the business to help drive efficiencies, achieve best practice and, through the use of up-to-date technology, maximise the effectiveness of all inputs.

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Key areas of good practice
Assurance/certification:

Leprince farm became ISO 14001 accredited in 2009, in co-operation with a group of farmers (Terr’Avenir) working together. The ISO 14001 certification comprises a management system that allows the farm to continuously improve its environmental performance. Leprince farm is also GLOBALG.A.P assured, and is in the process of becoming part of the High Environmental Value (HEV) programme.

Agrotechnology:

The farm has incorporated the Mileos® decision support system into its blight management programme. The system gathers information from a weather station, and enables the farm to apply fungicides only when there is an established risk, provide optimum results for applied products.

A Global Positioning System (GPS) is fitted to the sprayer and the fertiliser spreader. This limits application inaccuracies by automatically switching off the sprayer boom sections or the fertiliser spreaders when they pass over previously treated areas, or when they go beyond field boundaries. Improving application accuracy saves on inputs (and their associated cost), limits crop stress, and reduces application time and operator stress.

Crop initiatives:

Yellow coloured traps are placed in the potato fields to monitor aphid levels. This policy ensures that aphid control is targeted at periods of high activity/infestation and results in the optimum economic and environmental outcome.

Water:

The farm’s regime of irrigation scheduling ensures water is applied in accurate quantities as weather, soil and crop conditions dictate. This guarantees potato crops are able to maintain consistent growth throughout the season and ensures sufficient soil moisture is available during important growth stages such as tuber initiation and potato bulking.

Soil:

Soil nitrogen levels are tested in spring to ensure nitrogen application rates are matched to soil reserves and plant requirements, which limits over-application and losses.

Sufficient high quality production:

The farm has in place a comprehensive training and development programme, resulting in consistently high quality products, low staff turnover, and good staff morale.