Spring is in the air

Hello friends and welcome back to the Mawley Town Farm latest news page.  This week we are looking at our arable enterprise, what we grow and why!

At Mawley Town Farm we have a mixed enterprise comprising dairy, beef and arable.  The arable land provides forage and cereals for our cattle feed, and we also have hay meadows and permanent pasture for grazing.  In March we will get the tractor wheels turning by fertilizing crops that we planted last autumn.  We will also be putting slurry on the grass fields as they wake up for the spring.  Pictured – one of our lovely heifers out at pasture.

We use British built machinery where possible, in particular the blue New Holland tractors, that are manufactured in Essex.

Planning ahead

Most of what we grow and harvest is stored for winter feed.  Rye grass and maize is grown and stored as silage.  Kept airtight, silage provides high energy forage when there is no grass available.  Maize is fed as a whole crop – stem and all, not just the golden kernels.  We grow a variety of rye grass that is sugary and fast growing – we can mow it 3 or 4 times early summer. After the last cut the rye grass fields are planted with a different crop (this is called crop rotation).  Pictured – Adrian mowing with 3 x 3 meter Pottinger mowers and a New Holland tractor, our wind turbine in the background.

Crop rotation

Each crop we grow has different nutrient needs; repeatedly planting the same crop would soon strip the soil of certain nutrients which upsets the natural balance of the land and also makes it diffucult to control weeds.  This is why we plant a different crop to the one we have just harvested.   Cereal crops we grow are oats, wheat and barley.  Pictured – David in the New Holland combine, harvest 2020

Maize – perfect cattle feed

Maize is a perfect crop for cattle feed as they love the sweet starchy whole crop; we can spread plenty of farmyard manure before we plant so it is also great for soil fertility.  Wheat in comparision is quite hungry for nutrients, so its a great crop to follow maize in the rotation.   Pictured – Adrian on the Claas Forage Harvester.

Everything we grow is for our cattle feed. 

Claas-forager

Thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed the insight into our arable farming.  See you next week!  Rachel #TeamMawley

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