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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Oct 13th A-maize-ing

Joined by the French Alumni of Nuffield Scholars we began our day with a visit to Daniel & Jerome Martins Farm. Daniel is also Chairman of the French Irrigated Maize growers association. The Martins businesses consist of Maize growing, grain strorage and handling and Infrastructure investment. The farm in the shadow of one of 19 french Nuclear power plants, producing some amazing yields of irrigated maize on some pretty ordinary soils. Maize yields can be up to14t/ha and is by far their most proffitable crop. To some it may be disconcerting farming so close to a nuclear power plant, but the farmers here seem to be comfortable that the appropriate safety measures are all in place. Power prices of just 7c/kwh off peak & 12c/kwh peak, speak volumes for the efficiency of nuclear power when you compare Australian prices of 25 to 35c/kwh Check out this crop of maize, you could easily get lost in that. 

They irrigate out of the river Rhone 80% & from bores 20%. Though this river does not look that big it packs a punch. By the bank it is about 3m deep, it drops away to 18m deep in the channel, it is flowing here at 2meg/sec and further downstream at 3meg/sec.

We had lunch at a Medieval village and enjoyed a stroll around the cobblestone streets afterward

We finished the days farm visits off with a visit to a "beer farm", Patrice Pobel owner of  "De Brasseur" brewery provided us with some of his exceptional beers as he guided us around his boutique brewery. Patrice is very passionate about his business, he has developed his own styles of beer from scratch and in the last few years has experienced exceptional growth as he aims to produce a very high quality product. He amused us with his explanation of beer production, that like a dairy farmers farms cows to produce milk, he farms yeast to produce beer.

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