Higher crop yields with Raisio's Next Top Farmer contest
The contest called Huippufarmari Haussa (Raisio's Next Top Farmer) organised for the second time showed once again that competent farming aiming at good crops is also the best option in terms of the environment. Good crops as well as correctly designed agricultural inputs and practices generate the best results, both economically and environmentally. The assessment of the environmental impacts of crop production is what makes this contest different from other crop contests.
Tight battle for the first prize
It was an even contest but finally, there were three farms competing for the victory with small margins. Ari Siivonen's Aittaniitty farm from Huittinen won with his huge crop of Lennox wheat. Tuomas Levomäki from Loimaa school farm finished second with his peas and Kalle Vanha-Perttula from Iso-Hulmi farm in Loimaa came in good third with his Marthe barley.
80 % higher crop yields
These three farms' yields were nearly twice as big as the national ten-year average (Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry). On the whole, the contest participants produced 80 per cent higher yields compared to national levels.
Nutrients effectively bound to the crop
High yields and correctly designed agricultural inputs keep the environmental impact of crop farming low. In terms of energy efficiency and carbon footprint, last year's top results were not quite achieved. For example, farmers needed more energy for drying than last year due to weather conditions.
In this year's contest, phosphorus balances were low with the average phosphorus balance of -9kg/ha. In terms of nitrogen balance, Tuomas Levomäki's pea, a nitrogen fixing plant, with -104kg/ha and Ari Siivonen's spring wheat, grown in organic land, with -75.7kg/ha nitrogen balance clearly stood out from the rest. These professional farmers were able to take full advantage of the natural potential of soil and the grown plant. Low phosphorus and nitrogen balances reduce the risk of nutrient leaching and eutrophication of waterways.
Knowledge intensity allows sustainable farming
Raisioagro's knowledge intensive business model and digital services help to solve the global challenges of food production
The results of the contest show that the importance of knowledge intensity is growing in agriculture. Measuring of the right things and utilisation of information are required in order to enhance both the yields and sustainability of agriculture. In its renewed strategy, Raisioagro has raised knowledge intensity as one of its strategic spearheads.
Crop farmers are important development partners and raw material suppliers for Raisioagro and the company will provide them with new digital services during 2015. These services are designed to make farmer's life easier as well as to allow the competitiveness in the Finnish agriculture and pioneering in sustainable development.