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Essebeare Farm School 2022

22/09/2022 Class 4 Group 1

This week we returned back to Essbeare Farm with the Year 6 pupils to visit Farmer Ollie.
It was great to be back on the farm seeing what developments have been happening.

Farmer Ollie had been busy using his seed collecting hopper to collect the seeds from an area of red clover. He uses red clover in some of his fields as they are very deep rooted (almost 100cm) and are very drought tolerant. He had also collected some of the flower seeds from his hay. The pupils used a giant sieve to separate the seeds from the stalks and then a smaller sieve 2.5mm square to separate this even more. Finally using his new seed blower box to get the final collection.  Because Essbeare farm is an organic farm and have such a diverse range of plants Farmer Ollie sells some of his seeds to other farms.

We discussed the effect of the hot summer temperatures on farms and the concern with the “greenhouse effect” on future farming practices. At Essbeare farm they had grazed the cows in a 75 acre woodland area over the summer because of the high temperatures. The woods having its own micro-climate, about 5 degrees centigrade cooler.

We then visited one of his top fields that had flowering chicory (which is also a very deep rooted plant) and watched the Goldfinch birds come in to feast upon it. They love the chicory seeds off the plants. We learnt that ´╗┐the Goldfinch female lays 3-4 eggs, two to three times a year. The eggs are incubated for 13-15 days and then the birds leave the nest after being fed by their parents for one week. A lot of the males stay in the UK but most females travel abroad to France and Belgium.

Farmer Ollie said earlier in the month he had about 1000 Goldfinch on Essbeare farm.Wow !

 

06/10/2022 Class 4 Group 2

This week some of the Year 5 pupils visited Essbeare farm to see what Farmer Ollie has been doing. He had earlier used his seed hopper to harvest some of the organic flowers and grass seeds.

 

The pupils used some of his sieves to sort out the seeds from the stalks/chaf. They started with a 10 square mm gauge sieve reducing eventually to a 2.5 square mm sieve to collect the seeds.

Within the seeds there were Bird Foot Trefoil which is part of the pea/legume family this fixes nitrogen back into the soil. 

Also seeds from meadow thistles, yellow rattle, red clover, sharp-flowered rush, crested dogs-tail grass, sweet vernal grass and knapweed. 

Farmer Ollie estimated that there was probably about 30 different types of seed.

The pupils then used his vacuum seed cleaner which separates the chaff and seed cases from the seeds.

The end product being a mixture of organic seeds. Farmer Ollie prepares the seeds to sell by the kilo.

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