This post discusses some of the major changes to farming in Meppershall between 1959 and 2009.
1959 – 1984
The demise of a significant greenhouse industry in the village. The rise of chilled transport and the introduction of perishable produce from southern Europe.
The move away from traditional mixed farming, with each farm probably rearing cattle, pigs, poultry and growing brussel sprouts / cabbage, clover, beans, potatoes and spring barley.
Availability of hydraulics to lift all manner of commodities and waste materials.
1 tonne bags rather than 50 / 75 kg bags
Less local labour available and involved by the end of this period.
Significant developments in genetic improvement of cereal varieties
Membership of the EEC ( as it was then ) and the significant rise at that time in cereal prices[/listitems]
1984 – 2009
No significant livestock left in the village. Dairy and pig herds gone. ( Mick Trundle stands alone against the tide I think ! )
Straw burning banned after harvest
Bigger capacity machinery, especially combines, allows more land to be worked by fewer people. Mark now manages 5 arable units with one combine and one full time employee. Each unit would previously have had a combine and 1 or 2 employees
Availability of ‘ safer ‘ and more sophisticated agrochemicals.
Use of GPS soil and yield mapping allowing variable rate and targeted application of soil nutrients.
Floor storage of grain post harvest, as opposed to bin silos.
Earlier start to harvest beginning of August rather than the end and planned 100% autumn drilled crops.[/listitems]