Technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have also made its way into the farming businesses. Today’s technology is not only about better and faster, but also about sustainability. Sustainability and profitability are crucial as it is predicted that from now to 2050, the earth’s population is expected to grow to 9.7 billion (according to Future of Agriculture in The Economist).

Schoonbee Landgoed employs the following technology:

1. Netting

Citrus trees and grape vineyards are like an open banquet for birds, bats and other wildlife, offering sweet fruit right out in the open. Currently the farm boasts hail and shade netting covering 451 hectares of the grape vineyards and 425 hectares of the total 919 hectares of citrus orchards.

The netting offers the following advantages:

  • Hail protection
  • Nets change the micro-climate beneath them which assists the fruit to develop a greater eye appeal at maturity.
  • Reduced blemishes on fruit due to less wind damage.
  • A decrease in the climatic stress on the fruit results in uniform sizing and elimination of damage to fruit.
  • Assist in the sustainable supply of special and select fruit to specific markets.
  • Increased profitability due to higher pack outs.
  • Global warming cause netting to be an essential element.
2. Solar Farm

In the sun-drenched Loskop Valley, a remarkable transformation has taken place on Schoonbee Landgoed’s open fields. Against the verdant green citrus orchards and grape vineyards, a new solar-power generating plant was erected. The installation of this renewable energy plant forms part of Schoonbee Landgoed’s rapidly changing views on how the business acquires its electricity. READ MORE

3. Technological systems in packing facilities
  • We currently offer 14 300m² of citrus packing facility, 8000m² grape packing facility and 500 pallet coldroom facility.
  • Three Compac packing/sorting machines [Vision 9000 which will be upgraded to the Spectrum version soon], imported from New Zealand. These sorting and packing machines can pack up to a maximum of 80 tons per hour.
  • Proseal heat seal machine. A high speed and throughput modular automatic, in-line tray heat sealing system with extra-large capacity and full vacuum facility. Heat seal punnets boast 30% reduction in plastic.
  • Self-Packers were implemented to assist in peak weeks of increased volumes. It offers flexibility on our night shifts.
  • The Marco and Soft Pro Scales used in the grape packing facility ensures punnets, cartons or specific packaging are not overweight (give away) or underweight (not tolerated in any markets).
  • Dry Humidity is used on our 1000m² de-greening facility to reduce moisture build up.
  • Application of the ozone natural product to the pack line to provide Chemfree Sanitation.

4. Technology in orchards & vineyards
  • Computerised irrigation systems
  • Terrain contour mapping with smart tablets to ensure better data keeping with a direct link to production managers and partners including Laeveld Agrochem. This assists with the spraying programs and the monitoring of pest control.
  • EFS System of GPS tracking to control a more effective spraying program.
  • The use of probes for monitoring soil moisture and water efficiency. 
5. Administration
  • We moved from Pastel Partner to Pastel Sage Evolution
  • QX (Quality Exports) exporting system, an export control management system on pallets movement, sales, account sales and reporting.
  • Pal track – Pallet tracking and logistics systems.
  • MB 4000 – A spray and chemical control system.
  • Bengu Farm program is used in the wildlife and game administration.
6. The future…
  • Expansion of the packing facilities and cold rooms to cope with the multiplying of the current volumes on high quality product grapes and citrus.
  • Development of new product lines and varieties.
  • Recyclable packaging and material usage.
  • Rail cargo to reduce carbon footprint on road transport.
  • Internal and external training facilities for our valued personnel and community. The aim is to empower the people in the agricultural sector.
  • Brand penetration into current global markets, new market development and direct exports to international clientele.