Field Crops and Grains
At SERKKA we believe that good soil health and farmland management is at the core of producing high quality crops. By maintaining a broad crop rotation, and using cover crops whenever possible, we create a diverse biology in our soil, which in turn allows us to grow the high quality crops we are known for.
The field corn we produce is used for animal feed, starch/fructose, and commercial ethanol. We grow corn using a conservation tillage system that limits tillage to as little as possible and allows for maximum yield potential. When it comes to our corn production, we continue to adapt the latest technology to further maximize yield and minimize our environmental footprint. After harvest, the corn stover is left untouched, creating a great barrier to soil erosion, while the untouched roots support a living biology under the soil that maintain excellent soil structure.
Southwestern Ontario’s great corn-growing climate is ideal for commercial corn seed production. Both local and international seed companies contract growers in this area to produce the quality seed it takes to support large-scale corn production.
SERKKA produces sweet corn for the processed vegetable sector. This corn is meticulously cared for from seeding to harvest. Local processors will clean and pack this corn into cans or frozen bagged product.
The protein and oils of the soybeans we produce are used for all types of animal feed and food products. We usually follow our field corn with soybeans. Soybeans are seeded directly into the untouched corn stalk residue. Rugged no-till seeding equipment slices through the cornstalks and places the soybean seed nicely into the soil just below the surface. The heavy cover residue protects the seed while preserving soil moisture, allowing the soybeans to get a great start.
Winter Wheat Production:
The wheat we produce is shipped to be milled into flour for all types of food products. Winter wheat is no-till seeded directly into the field immediately after soybean harvest. The same rugged no-till seeding equipment is used to cut through the current year’s soybean residue and last year’s cornstalk residue. A healthy and thriving population of all types of underground life live in the undisturbed crop residues and vast root systems. This no-till system builds vital organic matter and soil structure within the soil. The wheat is seeded in the fall and after emerging, it goes dormant for the winter. In April, when the temperatures start to warm up and the snow melts, the fields come alive again with the rapid green growth of wheat. Wheat is harvested in late July and the wheat straw is left in the field, adding organic matter to feed the soil.
In Southwestern Ontario, we have a unique geography and climate relative to the rest of Canada which allows for the production of various types of vegetable crops. Our climate warms up by early May and stays warm until mid October. This, together with our flat farmland and rich, deep topsoil, make this area ideal for vegetable farming. SERKKA is located in and around the heart of the Great Lakes, which usually generates timely rains, and also gives us access to an abundance of clean irrigation water when needed.
Field peas are seeded in the early spring and harvested by mid June. Large capacity mechanical pea harvesters are used to harvest these peas at their optimum tenderness. It will then be cleaned and pack by local processors into cans or frozen bagged product.
Pickling cucumbers have been grown in this area of the province for generations. We grow both hand pick and machine harvested varieties. These cucumbers are seeded in late May and harvesting begins in early July, continuing for 5-7 weeks into late August. Cucumbers are hand-picked multiple times, or machine harvested. They are then shipped to local packers and made into all your favourite jarred pickle products within hours after harvest.
We grow hot and mild banana peppers for the pickling industry as well. Starting in April, these peppers are seeded in the greenhouse, then transplanted into the warm fields late May. The fragile pepper plants are meticulously cared for with hand picking begining late July. Peppers are picked multiple times, up until frost occurs in late October. Peppers can be picked when yellow, colour blend, or red depending on the customer’s request. They are cooled and shipped within hours of being picked to local pickle packers, where they are cut into pepper rings and pickled. Try them on your burgers or sandwiches to add some delicious pep!
We also produce green and coloured bell peppers. Most of our bell peppers are picked and shipped to processors where they are cut, diced, sliced, roasted or frozen. Peppers are hand picked according to our customer’s size and colour specifications. Our onsite cold storage and shipping facilities allow for maximum flexibility in meeting our customer’s demands.
Roma tomatoes for the canning industry have been a staple crop in Kent County for generations. Research and innovation have advanced the industry over the years, but the passion for tomatoes has remained the same. Advances in technology have allowed us to drastically increase our capacity to harvest perfectly ripe tomatoes and deliver them to local processors, where they are canned within hours of harvest. Today, we can produce almost twice as many tomatoes on an acre than we could 50 years ago.
Tomatoes are seeded in greenhouses in late March, then transplanted into the warm fields in May. The plants are meticulously cared for and the vine-ripened fruit is ready for harvest from mid-August until mid-October. Local processors turn these delicious tomatoes into all your favorite canned or bottled tomato products.
In the early 2000’s SERKKA decided to venture into the livestock side of farming. After much consideration, we decided that turkey farming was the perfect complement to our operation. We took the same passion we have for crop production and applied it to a modern, commercial-scale turkey operation, and we haven’t looked back.
We start our day-old turkey poults in a small “brooder barn”. This keeps the young poults warm cozy and dry. Small, specially-designed feeders and drinkers get these birds eating and drinking within minutes of being placed in the barn. Computer-controlled heating and ventilation maintain optimum air and litter quality, creating the perfect microclimate for these poults to thrive.
After a few weeks, when the young turkeys are well feathered and are looking to spread their wings, we move them to the grower barns. These barns are bedded with clean wheat straw and provide the turkeys with plenty of space to roam around and be turkeys. The grower barns are naturally ventilated with sidewalls that open completely, allowing plenty of sunlight and fresh air into the barn, while still keeping the turkeys safe and secure.
Our dedicated flock care staff monitor the condition of the flock multiple times per day, 365 days a year. High tech monitoring equipment can alert staff of any swings in temperature or air quality, and adjustments are made immediately to maintain the best conditions possible to keep these turkeys healthy and happy.
We work closely with experts in animal nutrition to make sure we are feeding the highest quality feed that gives the turkeys everything they need to thrive. Drinking water and equipment are monitored regularly to ensure these birds have unlimited access to clean, fresh water.
Corn grown on our own farm is shipped to HACCP-certified feed mills where it is turned into high quality complete turkey feed and shipped back to our flocks.
Market-ready turkeys are shipped to a local processor where they are made into nutritious, delicious turkey products.