Translations Best practice in Spanish version Best practice in French version Best practice in English version

MCCAIN uses research drones to optimize potato production consuming less water and pesticides

4. Environment

Energy / Greenhouse Gases (GHG)


McCain Foods Limited is an international leader in frozen food industry, it was found in 1957. It is the world’s largest processor of French fries and specialty of potatoes’ products. McCain Foods Limited has more than 18,000 employees working in 48 factories around the world.

In Canada, McCain uses drones technologies for precision agriculture. Using this new tool, farmers can distinguish which piece of land lacks of water or fertilizers and where the harvest is insufficient. McCain contributes to the optimization of this important resource.

Sustainable development plays a significant role in the strategy of McCain called “Be good, Do good” whose goal is to drive sustainable and profitable growth by creating “Good Food and a Better Life” for their customers and consumers through the social development of their employees, preservation of the environment and actions as a responsible corporation. 


  • Improve the production of potatoes
  • Optimize the productivity thanks new technologies
  • Reduce the amount of water and pesticides


A team of scientists from Agriculture and Agri Food Canada in New Brunswick is using drone technology and specialized cameras to help improve potato yields. It is a collaborative project between government, producers, McCain Foods and several regional organizations.

Key steps of the process :

  • Scan the land with GPS, satellite images, cameras and drones;
  • Analysis of areas where more irrigation and more pesticides are needed;
  • Irrigate this precise area, and use fertilizers when it’s requested;

With the drone imagery, the researchers study all factors that pose limitations to a healthy potato crop. It's giving them a better understanding of why some potato fields perform better than others. When producers can identify issues precisely and quickly, they can mitigate the problems and get a more consistent crop from year to year.


  • An increase of $3 millions in their yield thanks to new technologies;
  • Reducing the needed quantity of water and fertilizers, that will have an influence on the production cost;
  • Increase in production and better quality that implies more profit;


  • Reduction waste of land and water waste;
  • Reduction of the use of pesticides, and fertilizers;
  • Ensuring food safety and quality control;
1100 salariés (2015)
374 millions d’euros (2014)


Mr Dirk Van de Put, Vice Président

Mise à jour le 13/02/2017

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.