The end of harvest 2016….what next?
With thanks to a dry Summer we had a consistent and successful harvest without too many hold-ups.
On our farm, as well as rapeseed, we grow wheat, beans and linseed, all of which is now cut and ready to go off to be used in the next part of the food-chain whether it be for bread or animal feed. For us this means we have replenished rapeseed stocks ready for plenty of cold-pressing over the Winter and into 2017.
As of today we have finished drilling – this is the planting of the seeds by a set of ‘drills’ pulled behind a quadtrack. These are the real beasts of the farm tractors and an evolution of the draft horses seen in fields 100 years ago. After working hard all the farm equipment used for harvest is now cleaned and back in the shed and everyone working on the farm can soon enjoy a well-earned rest.
So what have we been doing since we finished cutting all the rape crop back in August? Here is a simple step by step…..
Since the rape was harvested (cut) the land has been cultivated which is a way of lifting and working the land to create a seed-bed for next year i.e. the stubble is turned into the ground using sub-soiler/ cultivator before the seed can be planted. The planting of the seed is called drilling and is simply a process of putting the seed into the ground to the right depth. The ground is then rolled to create good soil to seed contact. We rotate our crops each year to create the best soil conditions which means that those fields that rape was harvested from in 2016 have been drilled with wheat seeds for 2017 and those fields that were wheat in 2016 have now been planted with rapeseed for 2017. On our better land – where the soil is lighter we have been able to direct drill which means putting the seed straight into the stubble saving the need to cultivate which cuts time and costs.
With the growing conditions we have had so far this year it is already looking like some of the best rapeseed we have had so fingers crossed for 2017.
Now for the easy bit…..we leave it to grow over the next 10 months. Just like your garden the rape will soon stop growing as the temperature of the soil drops but it will soon fire up again once Spring arrives and all greenery reappears. www.cotswoldgold.co.uk