Suez Agriculture will be responsible for changing an extensive alfalfa and corn-based farming system to a system based on intensive cultivation of almond trees, through the implementation of the company’s specialised turnkey service on a 140-hectare farm.
The project encompasses all the tasks related to planting, irrigation management and optimisation, as well as the implementation of the necessary technology to obtain the highest possible profit margins for farmers.
The decreasing margins of the extensive crops grown until now on this farm in Huesca, together with the continuous decrease in aid following successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), have led the owners to opt for this new strategy and enter into a 20-year contract. The project will avail of the favourable soil and climate conditions, as well as the availability of water resources in the area for the intensive cultivation of almond trees.
Suez Agriculture is the Suez Group division that specialises in optimisation of the use of water for irrigation, and the provision of integrated technological and agronomic services designed for the management of high added value crops. It has the backing, and the technical and human resources of this multinational, one of the world’s leading companies in the management of water resources and environmental services. The company has consolidated its position in Spain as a leader in the promotion of high-value crops and the provision of customised advisory services to enable farmers to maximise the profitability of their farms.
Irrigation is one of the main keys to achieving adequate profitability in the cultivation of almond trees. In Spain, 90% of almond production is dry-farmed, which considerably reduces productivity, with an average yield of 150 kilos and a maximum yield of 500 kilos per hectare. However, it has been possible to achieve yields of 2,500 kilos or more per hectare thanks to the installation of irrigation systems, the use of self-fertile, late and extra-late flowering varieties and the application of new, more cost-effective and efficient agronomic models.
To achieve this level of productivity, it is necessary to introduce mechanisation into farm management, to achieve an early entry into production, with continuously high yields and continuous harvesting. All this can be accomplished through intensive planting density, optimal choice of variety depending on the climate, the conditions of the farm and its tolerance to pests and diseases, and optimised performance of tasks, including pruning, pest control and fertigation, as well as energy and irrigation efficiency.