The Van den Borne Farm in the Netherlands grows 550 hectares of potatoes, as well as 300 hectares of maize and 50 hectares of sugar beet.
Run by brothers Jan and Jacob Van den Borne, the farm is a results-oriented business with innovation and ethics at its heart. By adopting precision technologies like drones, GPS and detailed soil data, the brothers have succeeded in increasing yields while reducing water usage by 20%.
Working with the nearby Farm Frites, the Van den Bornes are enthusiastic to share their learnings and best practices with the rest of the industry.
Real-time variable fertilizer applications based on soil nutrient availability and crop requirements.
Soil sampling and scanning ensure applicable soil properties are measured and relevant actions are taken – from addressing areas of compaction through monitoring of nutrient profiles.
Global Positioning System (GPS) assists with improving the efficiency of field operations.
Drones are used to scan fields to provide data to help determine management decisions and actions.
Crop measurements and monitoring provides further data to determine management decisions and actions.
Positions of tramlines are calculated to ensure that field operations are undertaken in the most efficient way.
Decision support software and hardware provide real-time data to determine management actions.
Variable rate crop protection applications optimize chemical use and efficacy.
Yield measurement at harvesting provides data to help define future management decisions.
The farm provides potatoes to the local community food bank.
The farm has constructed a straw bio-bed system where any residues from spraying are deposited and then allowed to degrade. The basis of the system is that it uses wind and sunlight to evaporate the water constituent and the remaining chemical residue is broken down within the straw bio-bed.
The farm has calculated its “carbon footprint” with the total direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions being assessed; the aim is to devise an action plan to reduce both emissions and energy use.
Biodiversity and ecosystems
The farm has several field borders planted with species-rich flowering plants, and insect hotels have been placed in appropriate locations around the farm. A local beekeeper also has hives on the farm.
Learn more about Jacob Van den Borne’s story
Explore the case study, where you’ll find extra details on how the farm has performed against the program’s good practice standards and criteria, what external research reveals about the producer’s actions and how improved sustainability benefits them.
“Being selected as a McDonald’s Flagship Farmer is a real honor, and is recognition for several years of hard work and effort in producing potatoes sustainably. This recognition provides us with the motivation to continue to improve our business and develop sustainable solutions for the future.”
“The family’s approach comes from a commitment to their workers, their ethics and their business sense. Regular assessment ensures the farm stays productive while investment in technology and modern equipment is safeguarding the farm’s future – ensuring that Van Den Borne Farm will not just be a Flagship Farmer of today but tomorrow as well.”