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February 7, 2015 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley farming – the crop cycle

Combining by Ian Edwards

Combining by Ian Edwards

Every year, I’ve try to record a year in the life of one field. So I begin, then the record is never quite complete 12 months later. So instead, I asked our farm manager Adrian Joynt to double check my attempt here at explaining the crop timeline / crop cycle which we see taking place in the fields around us:

“After August, when 2014’s crop was harvested, the fields were cultivated up by ploughing them & breaking up the soil with metal disks (discerator, carried on the back of the tractor like most other farming equipment). Seed for the 2015 crop is then planted between August & October.  The first shoots appear as quickly as 1 – 2 weeks later, which are 10 cm tall by March 2015. Those shoots will be 20 cm by April, 30 cm by May & ready to harvest by July/August depending on the crop. Straw will be baled up & stored in our straw barns for livestock winter bedding (ie for cows to lie on) from November to March.  We keep them inside as they’d make the fields too muddy if they were left out. Sometimes the straw is ploughed back into the soil to provide organic matter. Some of the grain is kept for seed to resow at Apley. If not kept to sow, it’s sold for a variety of uses – for animal feed, for milling flour (for bread & cakes etc), for starch extraction, for industrial uses. Other seed is used for bioethanol processes – turning the starch in the grain seeds into ethanol which is used in bio fuels”.

 

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