Land Use

...Permanent Pasture

...New Leys



...Fertilisation of Grassland

...Farmyard Manure




...Make or Buy?

...Crop Rotation

...Why Rotate?

Having said then that a tractor is a necessity, the next decision is how large should it be.

There is a vast range to choose from, starting at the humble grey Ferguson that was our first and certainly most loved tractor up to the vast monsters often seen ploughing in lines on the great expanses of Salisbury Plain. These monsters can cost you as much as a country cottage whereas the little Ferguson will cost you only a few hundred pounds.

Of course, the little Ferguson will handle only light jobs, pulling trailers and light ploughing if you are lucky with your land. To do really heavy work you need a big machine although not a monster something that costs around the same as a family saloon.

You can still cultivate your acres without this capital expenditure if you employ a contractor. Many farmers use contractors on their land. The contractor covers thousands of acres a year and can justify the most up-to-date equipment. It is often more economic to employ such a contractor. Some are large companies, covering most of Britain; many are family-based organisations. The points to check are that the contractor has the sort of machinery you want used on your land and that the labour he employs will be capable of using it.

Many contractor-farmer relationships are very happy. It is always worth asking around and getting a contractor who you know of at least by reputation. We once had a bit of ploughing done by a neighbour. We had omitted to check where he ploughed last and the result was a hitherto clean piece of land turning into a piece of land densely populated with docks. The labour required to remove the weed was far more than if we had ploughed the field ourselves. Finally, it is always worth checking that tractor tyres are washed off before they can contaminate your land.