Buckwheat & Barley Mow

9/13/2016 09:27:00 am , , 0 Comments

A Novel Old Idea From Arthur Young

We’ve sown buckwheat as a companion crop for the herbal ley in the first reseed of our new mixed farming rotation. The large leaves of the buckwheat act like an umbrella, effectively shielding and protecting the new ley and stopping the sun burning down on the bare soil and drying it out fast as the seedlings come through. The buckwheat will then be killed off by winter frosts, leaving only the grass. It’s an ingenious method but it’s actually an old technique, observed and recorded by agricultural writer Arthur Young back in the 1800s.

Before sowing the grass we sowed the buckwheat at a rate of 20 kilos per acre. At this rate the buckwheat was open enough to leave space for the grass. If it was denser, the grass would be smothered and at 15 kilos per acre, our first sowing, it was too light.


Barley Mow

Our combine has been busy. We retained four acres of spring barley which we’ve managed just as the previous farmer at Honeydale had done in order to give a controlled measurement, against which to gauge changes we’re implementing. The yield was similar to the previous years at 1.5 tonnes per acre. As we only had 6 tonnes of grain we’ve delivered this to the neighbouring livestock farmer who will be able to mill and mix it for winter feed. Next up for combining are the spring oats which we hope to be able to make into porridge.

Matthew Johnson

Graphic Designer at Cotswold Seeds Google

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