At the moment we are growing:
• Winter Wheat – Seed and animal feed
• Oilseed Rape, Mayonnaise and vegetable oil
• Spring Peas – freezing green and harvested dry
• Linseed, Animal feed / Omega 3
• Naked Oats, Seed, pet food, oil for Boots sun cream
• Wild bird cover, wild birds in winter
The wheat’s are grown to produce biscuits and animal feed. The oil seed rape is grown to produce vegetable oil and bio diesel. The linseed is used for oil extraction and animal food (High in Omega 3). The Wild Bird Cover crop we put a special mix for the wild birds during the winter months and the grass is either permanent pasture for HLS or used by the cl caravan site.
The idea of this page is to give some information about ‘why’ and ‘how’ these crops are grown instead of being very specific and naming varieties etc. The first thing to point out is the fact that we are not an Organic farm. We produce all our crops in an environmentally friendly manner within all guidelines laid down by the government and European Union.
The Farm is run with Integrated Farm Management in mind, although this is nothing new to us.
We look at every square metre of the farm, to see what is the best use, which can be done with it.
Year 2013 Cropping
|W Wheat||Commercial & Basic Seed|
|222 Ha||Oakley &||Santiago Revelation|
|80 Ha||W Oilseed Rape Camelot||Camelot for vegetable oil & Mayo|
|66 Ha||Vining Peas||Vining Naches, Freezing & Harvest Dry|
|50 Ha||Linseed||Animal Feed & High in Omega 3|
|31 Ha||Spring Naked Oats||Lennon, Seed, Feed or Boots Sun Cream|
|15 Ha||ELS / HLS Margins / Pollen & Nectar, & Wild Bird Cover|
|24 Ha||Woods, Conservation Areas, Buildings Roads, Ponds Etc.|
Organic farming has a relatively small following compared to normal farm practices. There are many reasons for this but it’s ultimately down to the fact that it’s not necessarily any better for the environment, because there is more mechanization required to grow an organic crop with results in far more carbon being released into the atmosphere. Organic crops are also prone to disease which we feel cannot be good for human health.
All of the crops we grow are treated with chemicals and fed with fertiliser’s, water and sunlight. These are all called ‘Inputs’. The water and sunlight comes from the atmosphere, which is something beyond our control, but is without a doubt the most important input required to grow a crop. If we do not get the correct amount of water and sunlight it can be detrimental to the crops. This is why countries like Australia can suffer badly from droughts due to their hotter climates than what we get in the UK.
Many people are scared of the words ‘Chemicals’ and ‘Fertilisers’ but this is because our industry is very poor at telling you what they are! Space is limited here but whenever I get asked about this, my reply is as follows:
Q: “So why do farmers put chemicals and fertilisers onto crops?”
A: “A ‘farmer’ and a ‘crop’ is very similar to a ‘parent’ and a ‘child’ respectively. As a parent you look after your children and should they become ill, you take them to the doctors where they might be prescribed with some medicine. Chemicals applied to crops are very similar in that the crop becomes ill so we as farmers use an Agronomist (effectively a crop doctor) to prescribe a medicine for it, to make it better.
Fertilisers for crops are very much like food and vitamins for children, in that a parent will feed the child a healthy diet to enable it to grow and become strong, so that it can survive on its own. Well a crop is no different because fertilisers are feeding it to enable it grow to produce food to for people to eat. Here at Hillhouse Farm House Farm we also use a lot of compost as our fertiliser. This is better for the environment but also it’s great for the soil because we are building up organic matter into the soil profile which is crucial to growing good crops. Organic matter gives life to the soil which in turn frees up nutrients that are already in the soil, but can be locked up – this is all to do with something called Cation Exchange Capacity.
Contrary to popular belief we as farmers do not just put any old amount of chemical and fertilisers on to crops. We put on just enough to keep the crop growing. The rules and regulations around this area of farming are extremely strict. The UK has some of the hardest rules and regulations to stick to compared to anywhere around the world. All food produced in the UK is produced to a far higher standard than any other place on the planet.”
Hopefully that might have explained why farmers put ‘medicines and foods’ on to crops. The small amounts we use ensure the food you eat is not full of disease and is as healthy as it can be.