Ensuring Sustainability at Polkadraai Farm
We are committed to conserving our local environment, in protected well tended sites that our strawberries can thrive and develop their famous flavours.
Managing our Water & Fertilisers
Polkadraai Farm and its management are acutely aware that our region is water scarce and as such needs to be vigilant when consuming water. For this reason, we employ the following strategies to use as little of our precious resources as possible. We plan our crops water requirement on a weekly basis using current weather data to forecast exactly how much water the plants need. Precise amounts of water are given through drip irrigation (which is more efficient than overhead irrigation) and we use a plastic mulch to cover our strawberry beds. This prevents evaporation and saves a lot of water. Through the use of tunnels, we are able to channel every drop of rain water into our storage dams for use at a later stage when the crop requires more water. 1mm of rain allows us to store 28000 litres of water in our dam. This has allowed us to save millions of litres of water by not withdrawing it from the local eco-system.
Every year, we add organic material back into the soil to replace what the previous season took out. We have our soils tested every 2-3 months by accredited laboratories to ensure that the correct nutrient balance exists and, if not, change our fertiliser recipes so that the plants received the correct nutrients to produce the best strawberries. We employ expert consultants from all over the world to help us make these technical decisions.
Reducing Agricultural Chemicals
Polkadraai Farm continues to pursue a strategy of reducing our dependence on agricultural chemicals. We are in the process of implementing a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan. Firstly we employ scouts who identify which pests are present and the level of infestation. We then act according to this level and not according to a fixed schedule. We introduce natural insect predators to control pest populations such as thrips, aphids and red spider (two spotted) mites.
We also routinely review our use of conventional pesticides in an attempt to replace them with newer, effective and target specific alternatives where possible. We prefer to optimise plant health and employ disciplined field hygiene methods as a way to naturally combat the plant pathogens which typically thrive in weaker fields.
Polkadraai Farm is currently trialling grass inter-row furrows to control weed populations and protect bare soil from erosion. Grass kept at a height of 10cm improves soil structure, provides the ideal microclimate for plants and creates a healthy environment for natural insect predators to survive.
We add valuable organic mulches to the fields to enrich soil life and structure as well as make use of natural windbreaks, namely trees to protect the crops from wind damage.
Growing Strawberries Safely
Polkadraai Farm is committed to employing the best food safety assurance system available.
GlobalGAP is an annual audit by an accredited and independent third party, which safeguards our employees and consumers alike. The GlobalGAP protocol provides a reference system for the implementation of good agricultural practices and forms the framework within which new activities are introduced. Its protocols cover issues such as product traceability, environmental safeguarding, correct use and recording of chemicals and fertilisers, product quality specifications, food hygiene and employee health and safety.
Polkadraai Farm supports various community organisations and projects primarily in the areas in which we operate.
A Fair Price
At Polkadraai Farm, we aim to grow and deliver the best quality strawberries on the market at any given time. This quality is achieved through the use of multiple growing sites, careful attention to variety trialling and timely cutting edge cultivation techniques.
It is through the return of a fair price that we are able to continue to not only produce a safe product, but also a production system that has a net positive effect on the local communities in which we operate.