August on the Farm

Photo: Graham Roberts

Richard Fonge writes:

Harvest is now finished, some three weeks earlier than in the average year. A question asked of me recently was what happens to the stems of the corn. The straw as it is known is used to bed the livestock in their winter housing. It then becomes manure which is then returned to the land as an organic material. You will have seen the corn fields around Sulgrave that some have had the straw baled for that reason whilst in others the straw has been chopped by the combine, leaving the residue to be incorporated back into the soil. This is vital for the soil structure. In the fields up the concrete road beyond the bridge and indeed around the area, you may have noticed large heaps of a black material, which is spread after harvest and incorporated into the soil. This is sludge waste from the sewerage works. The sludge and soil are both tested to make sure they are beneficial to the soil and the following crop.

The straw from the linseed is of a high calorific value and can be burnt in burners for central heating. This brings me to the use of crops for alternative energy. As you leave Sulgrave towards the Magpie junction there is a field of maize. Likewise if you take the footpath to Stuchbury, when you get to the parish boundary, it is maize again across a wide area. When harvested later this autumn it will be stored for use in anaerobic digesters, providing electrical power. Most crops have to be rotated but with maize you can grow it continuously without any agronomic failure.

Finally the livestock with the drought we have had, have had to have some supplementary feeding. But the recent rains and shorter days should encourage grass growth. Meaning better Autumn grazing and the sound of law mowers once again.

Richard Fonge

More harvest time photos by Graham Roberts

See Richard’s previous agricultural notes:

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

February 2018

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

July 2018




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