Monday, 18 June 2012

Open Farm Sunday (Part 2)

Here's Mary Poppins (AKA William Fox) from Frontier Agriculture standing out in the rain talking about what happens to our crops after they leave the farm.  He spoke about the wheat going off to be milled and turned into flour for biscuits or bread, we talked about the oilseed rape being ground up and pressed to extract the oil to be used in bio diesel or to provide vegetable oils.  Most of all we enjoyed talking about the malting barley that we sell, as part of the Molson Coors Growers Group, that gets malted and brewed into Carling beer.
Next up was Dominic Swainson from Agrii who introduced our 36m Bateman sprayer and discussed how we apply chemicals to the fields, from the surveying (crop walking) and trapping that we do, to writing the prescription and getting the chemicals or fertiliser applied.  We talked about the GPS variable rate application of fertiliser and steps we take to reduce the impact of the chemicals on the environment.  Things like nozzle selection, sprayer testing and operator Continual Personal Development.
Finally the groups were given the opportunity to meet up with Stuart Veall (syngenta) and Jodey and Jo from the  Centre for Ecology and Hydrology who were taking part in the national pollinator survey.  The groups had 5 minutes to survey the crop and a stewardship pollen and nectar margin to see what flies, beetles, butterflies and bumble bees we could find.  Considering the weather, heavy showers on and off all day, we found some really great pollinators including about 5 species of bumble bees!

I really would like to take this opportunity to thank every one who helped out for this years Open Farm Sunday.  Our speakers for their time and energy, the farm staff for setting out the machinery and driving the tractors and the office team, headed up by Howard, for sorting all of the promotional material, signs and e-mails.  Thanks also to the local press and radio for helping with the publicity making this years event one of the best yet.  I guess it wouldn't have happened with out the visitors actually making the effort to come out and hear what we all had to say so a big thanks to you too.

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