Oats

  • Oats are a cereal crop.
  • They are a strain of grass that are cultivated and harvested for their grain.
  • Oats were commonly fed to cattle and horses.
  • The production of oats has declined since the mechanisation of farming and the replacement of the horse by the tractor.
  • The decline has also come about because barley is a higher yielding crop with a better animal feed value than oats.
  • Harvesting oats is difficult since the grain and ears fall off easily if they become over ripe.
  • Oats are still grown as animal feed and also for porridge and other cereal foods.

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Oilseed Rape / Canola

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Oilseed rape is known as canola in America. 

Oilseed rape is grown for the oil extracted from it’s black seeds.

It can be used as a break crop in a rotation mainly based on cereals.

Oilseed rape can be Spring sown but it is mainly Autumn sown.

Autumn sown rape has a higher yield and oil content.

This crop is harvested with a combine harvester and yields 1.5 tonnes of seed per acre.

The crushing process to extract the oil is very specialised.

The oil is used in the manufacture of margarine and cooking oils.

This oil is believed to be even healthier than olive oil in the human diet.

It is also used to manufacture other products such as paint, lubricating oil and detergents.

Oilseed rape is becoming increasingly important in the manufacture of biodiesel as mineral oil reserves become depleted.

The byproduct of the processing is rapeseed meal and this is used in animal feed concentrates.

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Wheat

 

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Wheat is a cereal crop which typically yields 3.5 tonnes per acre.

It is a strain of grass that is cultivated and harvested for it’s grain.

An ear of wheat contains an average of 54 grains.

Wheat is a popular crop because it is used to make bread, breakfast cereals and biscuits.

It is also used as animal feed for pigs and poultry.

Wheat grows well  on a wide variety of soils, but it is particularly suited to clay soils.

It grows well in clay soil because the clay contains many nutrients and preserves moisture for the crop.

The stems and leaves are called straw and are used for animal bedding.

Wheat varieties are classified as either hard or soft.

Soft Wheat

  • Soft wheat has a lower protein content.
  • It contain more carbohydrate.
  • Soft wheat can grow in a colder climate.
  • Most wheat varieties grown in Britain are soft.

Hard Wheat

  • Grown in warmer climates.
  • Hard wheat has a higher protein content.
  • It contains less carbohydrate.
  • Hard wheat is added to soft wheat to make bread.

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Hay Making

 

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Hay is mature grass that has been cut and allowed to dry in the field.

Haymaking is the traditional way of storing grass.

June/July is when the hay is made.

The hay must be turned each day for approximately six days before it is dry.

It is usually collected in bales and stored in a barn.

Successful haymaking is dependent on fine weather because the grass must be dried to about 18% moisture content.

Damp hay will go mouldy and cannot be eaten by animals.

One tonne of fresh grass will produce 250kg of hay.

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Making Silage

Silage is grass that has been preserved by pickling rather than drying. This pickling process is similar to pickling onions.

To make silage

  1. The grass is cut and left to wilt.
  2. It is then collected using a forage harvester or collected in bales.
  3. The 500kg bales are then wrapped in polythene.
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Storing silage in airtight conditions allows the bacteria to grow.

The natural acids (mainly lactic acid) produced by the bacteria living on the grass are used to prevent deterioration and these acids give the silage its sweet smell.

Silage is more palatable to cows than hay.

The grass is cut at an earlier stage of growth than hay therefore it contains more nutrients which helps to produce more milk and meat.

Silage making is less dependent on the weather and is becoming increasingly popular.

Harvesting silage starts in May and the same field of grass may be cut up to four times in one season.

Arable Farming

                               

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Arable farming is the production of crops.

It is predominant in lowland areas where the soils are more fertile and the climate is drier.

The major crops grown in the Uk are wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape, potatoes  and sugar beet.

Vegetables and salad crops are also grown for human and animal consumption.

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