On the farm with Farmer Tom

Every month, Farmer Tom, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, will be filling us on what’s taking place on his busy livestock (cows and sheep) and arable (crops like wheat, that make our bread) farm.

September

“With the busyness of harvest now behind us, our minds as farmers turn to next year’s crop. At this time of year one of the jobs is to spread manure on the ground. The manure (or ‘muck’ – it’s a mixture of straw and poo) comes from the cattle yards after the cattle spent the winter housed in the warm, and protected from the worst of the weather. We clean the yards after they’ve gone out to pasture in the spring, and put the manure in a heap on the farm to rot down a little bit, much like a gardener might do – it’s a type of compost really. After harvest, with the fields clear of crops, and before we plant the seeds for next year, we spread the manure on the ground.

“The manure is packed full of nutrients that the plants need to grow, and also contains lots of healthy bacteria and fungi which is important for soil biology; it’s basically super health food for the soil and plants. The seeds that we plants later in the autumn, will grow up to become plants, and those plants will be able to use the nutrients from the manure to help them grow healthy and strong. Nature is full of cycles like this!”