Jasper Roubos runs a farm 6 metres below sea level, or as he puts it, "on the bottom of a lake."

Roubos is an intensive arable farmer who farms outside Amsterdam right beside the extremely busy Schiphol international airport and alongside one of Europe's busiest train routes.

The Country's Jamie Mackay caught up with Roubos as part of the Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 conference.

There are challenges to farming six meters below sea level, as being close to the ocean means the salt water causes problems when conditions get too dry. However, Roubos says the heavy clay soil is "very good."


"In Holland we have a very good water system so they pump good water from the river ... to flush the region we can [then] irrigate."

Potatoes have been the most profitable crop this year, says Jasper with onions performing strongly the year before. In fact, Mackay is conducting the interview in a shed with 11,000 tons of onions.

The Netherlands has approximately 350,000km of waterways and water quality is a big issue for the intensive farming nation. As a result there are huge environmental constraints.

"We have some rules of course," says Roubos who admits it is difficult to keep water clean and that farmers use a lot of spraying techniques, but there is a subsidy so they have access to "use the good techniques".

Listen to the full interview below: