Acting sensibly economically and ecologically – this is the principle that Dirk Peters follows when operating his farm AGRO-FARM GmbH in Nauen near Berlin. Every season, the farmer confronts yet again the challenges of combining good harvests with sustainable practices; innovative solutions and projects in the areas of biodiversity and bee health, to groundwater and safety protection, customized advice, and digital services. One such example is the Phytobac® system. This system uses micro-organisms to degrade crop protection residues that occur when sprayer equipment is cleaned.
Dirk Peters’ most important mainstay is renewable energy. Visible from afar, AGRO-FARM GmbH Nauen supports renewable energy. Nestled in fields with windmills, the roofs and open land are dotted with solar panels – but this isn’t enough for Dirk Peters. He also produces raw materials such as oilseed rape for biodiesel and fast-growing trees for firewood pellets, as well as running a biogas plant. In addition to renewable energy, the farm also works to support pollinators and birds. Dirk Peters, together with Bayer, has incorporated flower strips into his fields, providing insects and birds food and shelter. Bee hotels and beetle banks are also used on the farm to support biodiversity.
Location: Nauen, northwest of Berlin, Germany
History: The Peters family are fourth-generation farmers in Nauen. AGRO-FARM GmbH Nauen was founded in 1991.
Farmer Bernd Olligs and his family live and work on the Damianshof farm. The Olligs family has been managing this farm for six generations. They cultivate sugar beet, potato, winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, and winter barley on around 115 hectares. The soil quality at the Rommerskirchen loess plain is exceptional and Olligs works on further improving the quality of the soil. The farm supports pollinators and biodiversity with the use of flowering strips, skylark plots, beetle banks, shrub gardens as well as nesting boxes for bees, owls and songbirds. With the Phytobac system, installed in 2012, they also contribute to local water protection. The farm has a high technical standard. An important next step in innovation is integrating digital technology to obtain a better picture of what is happening in his fields. Digitization gives real-time and field-specific decision-making support, from the selection of the correct variety and most exact dosage of crop protection products to the determination of the optimum time of application, and the early identification of plant stress factors. This results in greater sustainability, both ecologically and economically.
Location: Rommerskirchen, Germany
History: Farmed in the sixth generation, since 1845.