Farming is about a wide range of jobs. Moving towards simplification will put us out of business: you have to constantly think hard about how to diversify.
Charles and Victor Schneider
- A cooperative farming enterprise (GAEC) and an agroenergy limited company (5 FTE + 2 people working for the GAEC)
- Cereal farming + Charolaise cattle breeding (suckler cows and fattening):
- 585 ha, comprising 60 ha of pasture and 525 ha of rapeseed, wheat, barley, maize crops
- 320 Charolaise bullocks and 50 suckler cows
- A family farm going back 3 generations. In 1988, Charles took over the farm in the aim of diversifying production.
- In 1989, he converted a natural meadow into a golf course.
- In 2005, he developed a 6 MW straw combustion plant (6000 tonnes of straw and 4,000 tonnes of wood chips per year).
- In 2015, Charles’ son Victor joined the farm.
- Generation of renewable energy:
- Installation of solar panels on hangar roofs
- Development of production of biogas from anaerobic digestion: installation of anaerobic digester using dry process to make use of manure, the main input from the farm
- Road works (snow clearing in the village and on industrial facilities).
- Development of a rapeseed oil production activity. This leads to four products:
- Rapeseed oil for animal consumption (a customer pig farm)
- Oil for human consumption
- Oil for fuel (dual fuel anaerobic digestion engines)
- Rapeseed oil cake to feed bullocks bred on the farm
- All produce stored at the farm with “zero insecticide” for past 10 years.
- Diversification of productions and therefore of revenue sources = better resilience to price volatility.
- Energy generation on site leading to higher revenue for GAEC whilst also making used of by-products and reducing dependence on external energy sources.
- Increased added value from rapeseed production, with 4 different value channels including the self-consumption of by-products.
- Production of ash, used as a soil amendment on the fields.
- 13 tonnes/ha of digestate spread on the farm per year.
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This profile was written by AgrOnov, the agroecology innovation hub.