We are arable farmers, so the main crop we grow is wheat. The plan is that in every season half of our land grows wheat and barley, and the other half grows break crops such as oilseed rape, field beans, peas, oats or linseed. That’s the plan, but quite often, the weather changes the plan!
On some of our fields we grow cover crops in the winter. These are mixtures of crops like mustard, fodder radish, vetch, sunflower and oats, which improve the soil for the following crop. Our friends bring their sheep to graze the cover crops in the winter. They make nice fertiliser, and even spread it themselves! They also trample the crop down to feed the soil biology. We plant straight into the ground using a low disturbance direct seed drill, without the need for ploughing and cultivating. This saves fuel and time. It’s also really good for the soil, disturbing the soil micro flora and fauna less, and reducing carbon loss into the atmosphere.
Another way we save fuel and time when we are planting, protecting and harvesting our crops, is by using precision technology. Our tractors and combine harvester are fitted with technology that uses satellites to steer the tractors in set tracks all around the farm. There is less overlap when we are planting, spraying or harvesting, saving fuel and time. We also use our technology to reduce compaction, helping protect the soil.
Most of our wheat leaves the farm in lorries to go to mills in the South East to be made into flour for the likes of Kingsmill and Hovis. We keep some of our best grain and turn it into our own Strong Stoneground Wholemeal Flour, and strong Stoneground Wheat & Barley Flour (seived flour).
All of our rapeseed crop is pressed into Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, and marketed under our Pure Kent brand. Most of our oil goes into the catering sector. We are proud suppliers to COOK, the frozen food magicians! We love their ethical policies, and they like our farming philosophy.
The field beans are either exported to Egypt or go to feed mills to be used as an ingredient in animal feed.
If you would like to keep up with the farm, please follow @no1farmerguy on Twitter – he posts lots of pictures of tractors!