Eckley is an arable farm, near Tonbridge in Kent, and they’ve just started supplying us with their award-winning Pure Kent Strong Stoneground Wholemeal flour and cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Their plan is that in every season half of their land grows wheat, and the other half grows break crops such as oilseed rape, field beans, peas, oats or linseed. That’s their plan, but quite often, the weather changes the plan!
Growing cover crops in the winter like mustard, fodder radish, vetch, sunflower and oats, improves the soil. Their friends bring their sheep to graze these cover crops and make nice fertiliser, they even spread it themselves! They also professionally trample the crop down to feed the soil biology.
Eckley farmers plant straight into the ground using a low disturbance direct seed drill, without the need for ploughing and cultivating. This saves fuel and time. It’s also really good for the soil, disturbing the soil micro flora and fauna less, and reducing carbon loss into the atmosphere.