You may have wondered why your social media newsfeeds yesterday were filled with pictures of tractors, animals and views of the beautiful British countryside. The answer is that UK farmers were using #Farm24 to tell the story behind the food and countryside as part of “24 hours in Farming”.
Here’s a glimpse of yesterday at Slamseys Farm.
A walk through the fields before the combine started work in Gardeners Field where everywhere seemed very quiet. As we walked back to the yard, the pick-up drew into the field with a bowser full of diesel to fill the combine and the noise and busyness of the day fired into action.
Back home, I had some work to do in the farm office. I trained as a farm secretary so while many people hate paperwork and book-keeping, I rather enjoy it.
In the fruit field, there were raspberries to pick with Beth, which she took to her unit to make into Raspberry Gin.
Never underestimate the role of Food Provider, I tell my son when he accuses me of doing nothing all day. Today, there were lunches to pack for meals in fields or in the barn; Huffers and Harvest Butterscotch Bars with tomatoes and plums picked from the garden.
In Lakes Field, the combine methodically worked up and down the field cutting the wheat, storing the seed in the large tank behind the cab as the wheat stalks and chaff were chopped and spread behind, creating clouds of dust. When the tank is full, the driver swings the spout out to empty the wheat into the trailer driven alongside.
After a couple of empties, the trailer is full and the tractor driver headed back to the yard
to empty the load onto the floor in the barn. This is the barn where we sell Christmas trees, so you’re more used to seeing it look like this.
Our wheat goes to a central co-operative within a couple of days of harvesting, so that some days, like yesterday, there are lorries being loaded and tractors tipping trailers at the same time. Things sometimes get a little frantic. I noticed yesterday that while Bill was buzzing around on the telehandler like a blue arsed fly, two waiting lorry drivers lay on the grass with their shirts off, sunning themselves. Had they been more photogenic, I might have taken a surreptitious snap.
By late afternoon, the wheat had all been cut and the combine moved out. Barriers were replaced in gateways next to roads and bollards pulled back up to secure the field and (we hope) block access for joy riders, fly tippers and burglars. The joy of farming in Essex.
By early evening, the last lorry had been loaded, the barn floor swept and barn doors locked. The ducks were fed and shut in for the night and and we settled down after supper to watch the hockey at the Olympics.
Today, the combine has moved to another farm and will return in a couple of weeks to cut the field beans. There are more lorries to load and floors to sweep. Also, there are deliveries to receive because the lawn artist is returning to cut another piece of lawn art. But that’s a story for another day.
If you’d like to see what was happening on farms yesterday, check out #farm24 or look at the 24 Hours in Farming Media Wall