The Clerk in the Country

Friday 2nd October 2020

Rotating the crops

The cereal harvest is now over for another year and, with memories of last year’s disastrous autumn planting season still fresh, there’s been a rush to get seed in the ground before the current spell of wet weather.  Over the next few weeks the rotation of crops will become clear with oil seed rape germinating in fields that have just yielded wheat, wheat and barley changing places, and perhaps sugar beet or linseed making an appearance.

Some years ago in Doncaster Archives a friend came upon an estate map showing the fields around here in about 1800 and, in a different hand, a later farmer’s record of three years of his cropping.  The wheat field I’ve watched this summer, although divided into smaller units at that time, grew wheat then too, rotating with oats and a year left fallow.  I look forward to seeing what comes up in it next.

To celebrate National Poetry Day, another rhyme …

The Field

I am Barter’s now; last year for Gatehouse I

Nurtured a pretty crop of rye.

When Barter’s dead, some new-named man will say,

“All this is mine,” and go the deathward way.

Rye, vetch and man, all to the seasons yield,

While I lie low, the same old smiling field.