News from the Field - June 2017
The rain has finally arrived! As I write this we have had a few days of nice, steady rain which is really starting to do some good in the fields, after the period of drought we had previously.
The grain will now start to fill out nicely, as will the oilseed rape pods and we can breathe a sigh of relief!
Towards the middle of this month (weather permitting) we will be cutting grass for haylage, which will be used by local livestock farmers and equestrian customers. Here, we wait to mow the fields until the grass and wild flowers have gone to seed. Then, whilst the grass is drying on the ground, and being turned over before it is baled, the seeds naturally fall out onto the ground, ready to self-seed, to grow again next year. It’s a very simple process which works well.
A process that is not quite so simple, but very effective, is the job of keeping some of the crops under fleece to protect them from frost and pigeons. The process of rolling up the fleeces when we need to access the crops, before re-laying them is rather time-consuming but it pays off; the warmth and shelter it offers can mean crops grow to three times the size of those without this sort of protection.
As we look forward to harvest-time, everything we need has been serviced and checked, from the grain store and the dryer, to the combine harvester and the moisture meter! Another positive is that we have just passed our farm assurance audit – a detailed inspection that looks at everything we do to grow our crops and the records we keep, including the inputs we put onto the fields and the harvest intervals we work to. This accreditation is required by the customers that we sell our crops to, so that they can be sure that we are producing food in a safe and responsible way. Traceability-wise, every load of grain taken off the farm must be accompanied by a ‘passport’. After passing the audit, we are issued with personalised, coded stickers, which we must affix to each passport, to prove to our customers that the grain is assured. This also gives processors a mechanism to trace products right back through the supply chain, to the farm where it was grown. By buying British you really can trust where your food comes from!
Martin Hodgson, Farm Manager