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October

October

Date

15/10/2007

Hello again.  I have found time to write this blog on an evening where the rain has meant the ground is too wet to work.  Our work between the beginning of July and the end of October is very dependant on the weather.  September has been a fairly nice month which has meant I have been working a lot and have spent many hours sat on a tractor working the land in the fields.

Preparing the ground for plantingMost of the work at this time of year is preparing the land for next years crops and then planting the seeds from which our crops will grow.  David, who works for us on the farm drives the tractor with the plough on.  A plough is like a big automatic spade, and it turns over the soil, burying the remains of last years crops and any weeds that may have grown, and turns over nice fresh soil.  My job is then to drive the tractor that plants the seeds.  This tractor also harrows the soil, a process which breaks down any lumps in the soil to produce what we call a fine seedbed, which is basically crumbling the soil into fine particles into which the seeds are planted.  Because the soil is fine and crumbly, it surrounds and makes contact with the seed, from which the seed will germinate and produce a shoot that will eventually grow into a plant.

We can't just plant any crop in any field, we have what is called a rotation, where if one crop is grown in a field one year, it will be followed by a different crop the next.  Crops such as oilseed rape can not be grown in the same field for at least 4 years or it will not survive.  Therefore we have planted all the fields that grew oilseed rape last year with our best quality wheat which when combined next August will hopefully go to make bread.  We can grow wheat for two or more years in a row in the same field, but can only get the best quality wheat if it is grown after oilseed rape.  At the end of September I was busy planting our barley seeds.  Barley is grown on our farm in fields that have had two years of wheat first, as we are only growing barley for animal feed, quality is not a problem.

Also this month we have emptied our manure and slurry stores that have been building up with animal manure over the last few months.  This is spread onto the land before it is ploughed, as the plough will bury the manure.  Manure, is a waste from the animals which we need to get rid of, but it is also a good source of fertilizer which helps the crops to grow so it is actually a benefit to the crops.

As the weather has been quite good, we are getting on with the work very well, and as I write this I predict most of the work in the fields will be done by mid October, so that will give me a chance to tell you all about our animals in next months blog.

See you then,

Paul.




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