Understanding farming crops.

Lucyw3088

Member
Hello,

I’m researching agroforestry and i would like to understand more about farming in the UK. I’m designing a plan for a university project in particular the use of alley cropping. I was thinking of having a cereal intercropped with apple trees in one field. In the other field I was thinking of doing alley cropping again with willows for biomass and another arable crop. As farmers would you use the same arable crop across different fields or use different arable crops in different fields? Thanks for your time.
 
Is there much market for UK grown apples?

Is it true that conventionally grown apples get the most spray passes of any fruit or veg in the shops?
 
Hello,

I’m researching agroforestry and i would like to understand more about farming in the UK. I’m designing a plan for a university project in particular the use of alley cropping. I was thinking of having a cereal intercropped with apple trees in one field. In the other field I was thinking of doing alley cropping again with willows for biomass and another arable crop. As farmers would you use the same arable crop across different fields or use different arable crops in different fields? Thanks for your time.
the inter crop of arable crops will need a rotation of different crops spring and autumn planted crops

example wheat beans wheat barley osr

drill width combine size and sprayer will need to be matched for width to be most efficient

eg 9m drill combine with 27 m sprayer
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
There will also need to be an acceptance that tree roots will have a long term negative effect on any existing field drainage, which will in turn detrimentally affect both trees and rotational cropping.

Field drainage is usually made up of an underground series of buried clay or plastic pipes laid out in either a herring bone or parallel pattern. Tree roots can grow inside the pipes and impede or completely block the flow of water. It would probably be possible to design an efficient field layout using new drains which avoid the trees, but it would horrendously expensive. It would perhaps be possible to align the trees with the existing drainage, but it would probably not correspond with the correct layout required to maximise the 'field efficiency' of the arable operations.
 

Brisel

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North Yorkshire
Why is this kind of agroforestry so fashionable? As above, it destroys land drains and IMO is best used for grazing land only. What happens if your crop between the trees suddenly needs a buffer strip for a particular product?

I have no problem with this where the longer term goal is forestry but if you start this, you are nearly guaranteeing that you will lose that land to the trees taking over eventually. It has a good place in blowing topsoil (sand or peat) but there are alternatives for managing that kind of soil e.g. inter cropping, under sowing, continuous green cover.
 

D14

Member
Hello,

I’m researching agroforestry and i would like to understand more about farming in the UK. I’m designing a plan for a university project in particular the use of alley cropping. I was thinking of having a cereal intercropped with apple trees in one field. In the other field I was thinking of doing alley cropping again with willows for biomass and another arable crop. As farmers would you use the same arable crop across different fields or use different arable crops in different fields? Thanks for your time.
Our crops are always poor next to trees as they utilise all the moisture and nutrients due to deeper roots.
 
Trees and arable crops don't fit together well.

1) Moisture taken by trees in summer and rainfall shading.
2) Poor soil condition and nutrient uptake by trees.
3) Crop predators sheltered, roosting and nesting in trees.
4) Reduced light on crops, shading, reduced temperature and inability to dry land in autumn/winter. Retention of frost.
5) Windfall damage and machinery damage if not identified before cropping.
6) Blocked drainage from tree roots.

Trees are a liability.
 

Lucyw3088

Member
Hi everybody. Thank you very much for all your comments, the common opinion seems to be that alley cropping with trees may not be the best way to go. I’ll now ask what things you have done or could do to improve biodiversity on your farm, that would still work with your current farming system? Thanks again
 

Brisel

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North Yorkshire
I’m not against agroforestry as such, I just think it needs to be well thought out as a long term project.

I have preferred to keep conservation features at the edge of fields when thinking of habitat options. The exception is when they are truly integrated with cropping, such as beetle banks and cover crops.
 
Hi everybody. Thank you very much for all your comments, the common opinion seems to be that alley cropping with trees may not be the best way to go. I’ll now ask what things you have done or could do to improve biodiversity on your farm, that would still work with your current farming system? Thanks again
I have carried out a number of options here since the mid 90s, some worked, some less so effective...

I still believe that one of the best things that I did, was to put a large block of tough clay from arable into a super low input grassland reversion in 1999. At the end of the 10 years, Natural England in their infinite wisdom, had decided to in effect, defund it, so that Autumn, back into Arable it went. Pity, as the wildlife in it was impressive... Extensively grazed with the Dexter suckler herd, although any trad breed would have worked.

In hindsight and after hearing of NE behaviour with other growers who had got land in Reversion schemes, I was lucky to get out when I did.

I still have several areas of semi naturalised grass that was originall set-aside and has changed status over the years, with each of the latest ideas from central Govt! From the hawks and owls floating around, it must be full of small mammals!! Too small for hares and curlew though.

Well managed margins are useful wildlife areas, but the usual 6m buffer strip of grass, hard mown, has little benefit IMO.

Like many others, I have embraced the support payments for putting large tranches of land into Bumblebird and Wild Bird mixtures. I await their effects with some interest.
 
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Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
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