Notes from Langley Bottom Farm – Michael Jelley

For those that don’t know me, I have lived and worked on Langley Bottom Farm since 1983 when I started working as an apprentice tractor driver.  We have seen many changes over the last forty years, the greatest of which was when the Woodland Trust purchased the majority of the land and planted what had been a working farm with trees. We have subsequently worked extremely closely with the Woodland Trust and graze our flock of herdwick ewes on their ‘open spaces’ as part of their conservation policy.

As well as the sheep, we are also arable farmers. We grow 107 acres at Langley Bottom Farm, along with a further 350 acres at Perrotts Farm, Burgh Heath. In order to minimise the build-up of disease and weeds and to maximise yields we rotate different crops around the entire acreage. Last year we grew field beans at Langley Bottom Farm, which were sold as a protein source for pet foods. Field beans naturally collect nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it into the soil for the following crop. Nitrogen is an essential element for plant growth. This year we are growing wheat, which was sown in September, will be harvested next August and hopefully sold for bread making.  The arable side of the business calms down in November, but work starts for our rams, Reggie and Ralph. They will be visiting the ewes and hopefully in mid-April we will see the arrival of next years lambs. Over to you boys!!!!!

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