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The Country Enterprise Handbook
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Land Use

..Permanent Pasture

...New Leys
...Hay
...Silage
...Fertilisation of Grassland
...Farmyard Manure
...Cultivation
...Ploughs
...Tractor
...Make or Buy?
...Crop Rotation
>..Why Rotate?

The benefit of rotation for a grazing animal lies in the fact that the life cycle of many of the parasites of animals is also broken.

If the rotation is staggered around the farm then livestock can continually have clean grazing in front of them. This is an instance where the traditional idea of mixed farming shows its benefit to land and beast. Clearly a livestock enterprise based on permanent pasture has no such dramatic break and the land must be rested to lower the parasite population.

In the cereal break there are new factors influencing the choice of crop. Rye was for many years overlooked. However, with the growing interest in health foods there has been a boom in its demand. It is now one of the most profitable cereal crops to grow and deep ploughing apparently reduces the risk of Ergot; (Ergot is a fungus that attacks rye which if consumed has an hallucinatory effect and is toxic.)

When growing roots, they can either be harvested for sale or you can run sheep on them as winter fodder. The sheep eat the green and tread in the root and dung, adding manurial value to the soil. If you turn the roots up on to the surface the sheep will eat them too.

Potatoes can be grown in the root break although they are in fact tubers. Today potatoes still seem to be the cheapest food on earth.

Planting legumes to increase the nitrogen value in the soil is excellent if the following crop is to be wheat. It is disastrous if the next crop is malting barley as the barley will not be accepted due to its high nitrogen content.

An interesting point about growing field beans is that the straw that remains after the beans have been threshed has an extremely high calorific value. This does not mean very much unless you choose to centrally heat your house using a multi- purpose burner. If your house is heated with such a device then you will probably decide to grow beans for ever. The straw is light to carry and heats magnificently. There is also quite a lot of general enthusiasm for a revival in growing beans to feed to livestock so the humble bean can fill your freezer with meat and heat your house.