Saturday 13 April 2013

Field of Beans

The Truth Is Out There (John Deere sowing field beans by night, click to enlarge)
It's Friday the 12th of April, the time is about 9pm at night, the sky is dark and the countryside should be quiet. But there's a strange glow in the fields and a mechanical whirring sound fills the air. I step through a gap in the hedge and silhouetted against a distant blaze of lights I can see a spidery machine disappearing slowly into the distance. Has it finally happened? Have aliens come to earth at last? And have they quite rightly chosen Huttons Ambo as their first point of contact?

If John Deere made spacecraft... (click to enlarge)
 No. Actually the noise is a John Deere tractor pulling an Accord seed drill - Richard Wainwright, farm manager, is sowing beans and making use of every available moment of the fine weather.

The John Deere comes back to the barn at the end of the day (click to enlarge)

Refuelling for another busy day tomorrow (click to enlarge)
 Later on I caught up with Richard as he refuelled the tractor ready for duty the next day. It's been a tough year for farming (when isn't it?), the soil has been wet and heavy and difficult to work and the cold winds have held back germination of the crops that have already been sown. At least the winds have dried the surface soil and now that the weather is relatively fine every opportunity is taken to get crops sown.

John Deere 7530 Premium, soil compactor and Accord seed drill (click to enlarge)

Accord pneumatic seed drill (click to enlarge)

The next day Richard was at it again, sowing more beans in Coach Field and in the field behind Valley View. The tractor is equipped with double wheels to spread the load, the tractor alone weighs just under seven tonnes before being loaded with the seed drill. To make sure the surface is evenly compacted Richard runs a soil compactor on the front of the tractor.

A Field Bean (click to enlarge)
 This is the little chap that all the fuss is about: a field bean. These beans will be grown for animal feed, but higher quality beans may be exported to the Middle East.

The end product - a field of beans (click to enlarge)
The field sown, Richard drove the tractor off back down to the Grange Farm, the drill has to be reloaded and he still has to sow the fields over at Hutton Hill. A farmer's work is never done.

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All material © Michelle Stone 2013

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