There is so much public awareness of the perceived issues with Glyphostate at the moment even though 3300 studies have shown it to be a very benign chemical when used correctly in the field. With any potential restriction on its use being enforced on us I wanted to have a look at an alternative method of killing a cover crop before we plant our harvestable, or cash crop, into the field. To me a cover crop can only enhance the soil and the wider environment. It shields the soil from rain, reducing runoff and erosion; it feeds the soil biology with carbohydrates and encourages the development of below ground microbial populations; provides winter feed for our sheep; increases soil organic matter to hold more nutrients and water - it’s a no brainier for the farm and the wider environment.
For the last 3 years we have been experimenting with companion crops in our oilseed rape fields, that is growing more than one species of plant together. The companions are mainly based around legumes to try and increase the amount of atmospheric nitrogen that we can capture and then make available to our farming system, and why wouldn’t we? The atmosphere is 76% nitrogen, yet our cereal and brassica plants cannot use any of it. But legumes can-and they do it very quickly.
We started this years autumn drilling (planting) right up on the top of Bredon Hill with winter malting barley. The seeds were planted into the chopped residue (straw) of the previous crop (spring barley) and rolled in.
We are finally approaching the end of Harvest 2017.
We had been waiting for some more sunshine and so, between the showers, we have managed to harvest all the Linseed. The harvested seeds should hopefully be used by other farmers next spring to plant in their fields.
COCO is the Conderton and Overbury Community Orchard.
This is a lovely place for local tenants and residents to come together to look after the orchard, learn new skills, do things as a family and meet new friends. Members can join in at events throughout the year.
Don’t take our word for it. Here is what existing members have to say.