Down on the Farm - Harvesting our Summer Crops (Leanne)

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Following a very wet winter, we have had a great blend of sunshine and rain which has helped our cereals to grow quickly and healthily, ready for harvesting.

Harvesting

Over the last couple of weeks, we have harvested our oilseed rape and winter barley, and in the last couple of days, we have begun harvesting the winter wheat, which is great.

The majority of the winter barley will be kept at the farm but some of it, along with the oilseed rape and winter barley, will be taken to our local grain store. Transporting to our local grain store is about an hour and a half round trip in a tractor with a trailer and is quite labour intensive as we need to ensure that we have enough tractors and trailers to complete the haul.

After the combine has finished in the fields we will bale the straw ready for collection as most of our straw is sold per acre. 

Alongside harvesting cereals, we have also started to pick our runner beans.  We have two beehives in the field to make sure our crops are pollinated and currently, due to the sunny weather, we are also using an irrigator to help water the runner beans.

In the coming weeks, we will have about 20 people picking the runner beans daily to ensure none are wasted.  Our runner beans will then get sold to food markets and directly to local greengrocers.

Flowering potatoes

Our potatoes have started to flower, making the fields look pretty and indicating that there is a crop under the soil. 

To make sure our potatoes are growing healthily we have been spraying them weekly for blight and have recently dug, by hand, our first crop sample of potatoes - they are looking great!

Currently, our potatoes are ‘new potatoes’, which I think are the best – there is nothing better than a new potato salad.  However, we don’t sell our potatoes at this stage as they are maincrop varieties but once our potatoes reach a size that we are happy with, we will spray them to stop them from growing any bigger.  The potatoes will then set their skin to protect themselves, ready for us to gather and store.

What next?

As soon as we have completed our final harvest we will focus on moving our rams in with the ewes so that we are ready for lambing in February 2021. 

Life down on the farm is consistently busy and we have to plan ahead.  After each season we will review how we can: become more efficient, take advantage of new technology, diversify, and prepare for the changing seasons. There will, of course, be things, such as the weather (and a global pandemic!), that we can’t predict but the more knowledge we have of all the different factors that may affect our business, the greater prepared we can be.