Sustainable Development

Combining agricultural benefits and biodiversity

15 July 2013

CIPAN

To help its customers comply with the “Nitrates Directive”, Soufflet Agriculture is developing effective, advantageous agricultural solutions for arable farmers, as well as beekeepers, livestock farmers and the shooting sector. 

Having to comply with regulations that have changed greatly since 1991, producers no longer have any choice. In 2012, French regulations implementing the 5th Nitrates Directive requires 100% plant cover for arable land in winter in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. So intermediate nitrate retaining crops (INRCs) are now very much to the fore to meet the challenge of water- table pollution by nitrates. Powering innovation in this field, Soufflet Agriculture is taking the steps to build an attractive INRC range: ETAMINE brown mustard and MICAs (Catch-crop mixes) have multiple advantages and benefit biodiversity.

Etamine brown mustard  

Developed in 2009 via a partnership with the Burgundy Mustard Seed Producers Association, ETAMINE promotes good restructuring of the soil due to its exceptional root system and ability to produce more dry matter than white mustard to better capture nitrates in the soil, to prevent them being leached by rainwater. Suitable for early sowing, it is an ally of choice together with pulses. The experience from several catch crop ground cover campaigns has confirmed other advantages: substantial nectar and pollen production during flowering that is beneficial to bees, good weed suppressant power, physical support for other plants, etc..


 

The advantage of catch-crop mixes

Another step crossed by Soufflet in 2011: the MICA range includes pulses that fix nitrogen from the air and improve soil fertility after incorporation. So arable farmers thus have several agricultural benefits. An offer with no equal on the market, the various seed mixes are suited to producers’ cropping, situations and requirements. Used correctly, catch crops are progressively becoming the margin of progress for tomorrow’s farm land. 30,000 hectares transformed into a larder for bees. In autumn 2011, when the European Parliament’s Agriculture Commission was approving a report on bee health recommending improving their pollen and nectar food resources, the Soufflet Group was working with the Biodiversity for Bees Network. More than 30,000 ha of flowering catch crops provided the pollen and nectar vital at that time of year for bees to survive and winter well. The trials are continuing.

 

Our approach

Right from the outset, the Soufflet Group developed itself in the wheat and barley industries by broadening the scope of its activities and acquiring more in-depth expertise from collection to transformation. Controlling all aspects of the production chain, in order to serve all its stakeholders, has always been our culture.