What inspires farmers and why is their job so important? Eric Bonnefoy explains:
Why did you want to be a farmer?
My parents chose to settle in the Doubs, in the East of France at 80km from Switzerland, and become farmers. It is this farm that I took over and expanded with my wife. I love working the land, sowing, harvesting and I never thought of another job.
What crops do you grow?
For my part, I grow wheat and maize, but also soy, rapeseed and barley. I also have some grasslands. My farm covers 135 hectares.
What impact do pests and diseases have on your crops ?
I’m in a polyculture and breeding area and so I do not have the disease pressures of the farms on the large cereal areas. I sell my wheat to a regional biscuit factory and I therefore have fairly stringent specifications that require a good proficiency of production and storage. On corn, I have recurrent borer attacks which can affect yields and quality.
How do you protect your crops? How is plant science used to protect crops?
I work in traditional agriculture. I control my weeds through intercropping and crop rotations and I practice mechanical weeding. I use plant products in a reasonable manner. To fight corn borer, I release trichograms (minute wasps that are a natural enemy to the corn borer) as an effective form of biocontrol. I use drones to map and monitor my plots and I plan to release trichograms with this same tool.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
A farmer is essentially an entrepreneur, but to me it is more than that. We have a vocation, a mission, which is to feed the world and pay attention to the planet. I am proud of my production and I like to know its use, as is the case with my wheat. I try to combine the best tools and methods to improve my production and the autonomy of my farm.
Eric is a French maize, wheat, soy, rapeseed and barley farmer from Doubs, Eastern France.