We are going to introduce you to Scalford’s Top 5 Crops. They are wheat, barley, oilseed rape, field beans and oats. We learnt all about these when we visited Towns Agriculture at the old Scalford Station yesterday.
Crops are planted by a big machine pulled behind a tractor. This is called drilling. The seeds shoot down little tubes and into the soil. This is done either in Autumn or Spring.
When the seeds have been planted, fertiliser is put on the crops to help them grow. When they have started growing, two sprays are used on them to get rid of insects and weeds. When they have grown bigger, another spray is used to kill fungi.
The crops are all harvested by a combine and then emptied into a tractor and trailer. Then they are either taken to a factory and made into food or taken to a grain merchant like Towns Agriculture in Scalford where they buy and sell grain, dry grain that is damp and store grain for farmers.
Wheat is the most common crop grown in the UK. It is very common around Scalford.
Wheat is part of the grass family and the bit we use is the seeds.
Wheat is used for a lot of foods. It is often milled into flour and made into things like bread, biscuits and cake. But it is also used in pasta, cereals, and couscous.
Good quality wheat is used for people and bad quality is used for animal food. On average we produce 15 million tonnes a year in the UK.
Barley is a crop grown all over the country. It is part of the grass family and the part which you use is the seed.
Barley is an important part of animal feed for cows, pigs, chickens and even fish. It is also used for drinks like beer and whiskey and sweets like malteesers.
Did you know that barley is rolled so it becomes flat and then cows can digest it. If it is not rolled, the grains come straight out the other end. 7 million tonnes of barley are produced in the UK every year. That is a lot!
Oilseed rape is a plant that has bright yellow flowers which you see a lot in spring.
It is in the brassica family. Other members of this family include: turnips, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts.
The seeds are crushed and oil comes out. The small black seeds are 42% oil and this oil is used for cooking. All of the left over bits of seed are fed to farm animals such as cows.
Field beans are in the legume family like peas.
This is a really common crop but a lot of people do not realise it.
The beans grown near Scalford are either sent to Egypt where people love to eat them or they are used in this country for animals to eat.
The plant has white flowers with black centres.
Oats are made into a lot of things. Here are some of them, Porridge, flapjacks, granola bars, muesli and Oatabix. The are also used for animal feed.
An oat is a type of grass plant that grows all year to be fully ripe and ready to be harvested in the late summer.
Here are some facts about oats. Around 700,000 tonnes of oats are produced every year by farms in the UK. Surprisingly oats are also put into lotions to sooth inflamed skin, from conditions such as chickenpox, eczema and sunburn.