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Potatoes Tim Papworth farm_47459When you’re out and about enjoying the British countryside, you’ll notice all kinds of different things growing in farmers fields. Crops look different depending on several factors. These include the time of year, when they have been planted and what the weather has been like during the year.

What’s in my field?

Can you guess what is happening in these photos? We’ve given you a hint to get you going. Click on the image to reveal the answer.

This versatile vegetable is often enjoyed with fish on a Friday night

This is a field of potatoes. Potatoes are usually planted in the spring and harvested five months later, between July and October.

Potatoes are lifted (harvested) using a machine before being graded on quality and size.

Click here to meet Tim Papworth, a potato grower from Norfolk.

Rumour has it this vegetable will help you see in the dark…

Carrots are growing in this field.

Did you know that carrots are Britain’s most grown root vegetable, with British farmers producing over 700,000 tones of carrots each year.

Using the different climates across the UK carrots are harvested all year round.

The leaves from this crop come in all kinds of shapes and colours

These colourful stripes are salad leaves.

Salad leaves are well suited to being grown in the UK thanks to the relatively even climate. During the warmer months, the leaves can grow in just eight weeks.

Did you know, leaves are picked, packed and on the supermarket shelves within as little as 24 hours.

Once harvested, the seeds from this crop are crushed to make oil

This is a field of rapeseed, taken during late spring. Rapeseed is planted around August time, and takes 11 months to reach maturity. It tends to flower in May each year, often marking the start of the summer months. The flowers then drop off and the rapeseed turns to a light brown colour.

Find out more about rapeseed here.

You might enjoy a bowl of this for your breakfast

This is a field of wheat.

Wheat tends to be harvested in July and August. It is the most widely grown arable crop in the UK producing 16.2 million tonnes each year.

Wheat is ground into flour, which you will find in a huge range of food, from bread and cakes to biscuits and breakfast cereals.

Learn more about the UK arable sector.

A key ingredient in a pint of your favourite beer

This is barley.

Although barley and wheat look similar, barley has longer ‘whiskers’ called awns.

British barley growers produce around 8 million tonnes of barley, which is a key ingredient in beer and whisky, as well as the raw ingredient of malt vinegar.

Not many realise we grow this sweet treat here in the UK

This is sugar beet, which is mostly found in the east of England.

Sugar beet is the UK-grown crop that sucrose (what you see in your sugar bowl) is extracted from.

Find out more about how sugar is produced here, and don’t forget to look for Silver Spoon sugar next time you’re in the shop.

Best enjoyed with a slice of tasty British beef

This is a field of mustard.

When in flower, you’ll see a sea of vibrant yellow petals. The seeds are harvested at the end of July, and are then air blown and dried to keep them in perfect condition before they’re cleaned.

Meet Michael Sly, a mustard seed grower and supplier of Colmans.

What machine is that?

This large bit of kit is mostly seen out in the fields during August and September to bring in the crops

This is a combine harvester. It is a modern machine which is used to efficiently harvest a variety of arable crops.

As the combine moves, the header (the front part) gathers the crop and cuts the stems at their base. The cut crops then move up a conveyor belt into the combine where they are then shaken to separate the grain from the unwanted chaff and stalks. The grain falls into a tank where it can then be fired out the arm of the combine into a trailer pulled by a tractor.

This machine helps to collect hay and straw for animal feed and bedding

This is a baler, a piece of farm machinery used to make hay and straw into compact bales. It picks the hay or straw off the ground (which has been left behind by the combine) and feeds it into the bale chamber.

It is then wrapped around itself inside the chamber before being wrapped with either netting or baling twine to keep it together. The bale is then dropped out of the back of the baler as the next bale starts to be collected.

This harvester plays a key roll in bringing in the harvest, which can be found in Silver Spoon bags

A beet harvester is used to harvest sugar beet.

The beet harvester lifts the root and removes the leaves. Spinning disks remove the soil from the beet which is then transported through the machine and goes onto an elevator which lifts them up in to the holding tank ready to go into a trailer.

Find out more about how sugar beet is grown from farmer Kit Papworth.



Last edited: 18 September 2020 at 15:58


Have your say

48 comments
Judie Allen - 03/10/2020 08:17:23

Missed on the mustard! Thought it might be horseradish... Ridiculously happy when I got the answers right!

Deirdre Ann Pawsey - 02/10/2020 12:22:16

Got them all right. I'm so proud of our farmers and what they have achieved in our countryside. I remember the 1960s when everything that wasn't a crop was killed off or grubbed up. This generation of farmers have improved our farming businesses, our countryside, our knowledge of nature and our food. I'm deeply proud of them, I only wish our government thought the same.

Wendy - 02/10/2020 09:35:02

Got them all correct apart from second last one which I think is a baler

Catherine Dyer - 31/08/2020 09:27:45

Got them all right except the mustard! I am so worried by the attitude of our government who seem to think it's OK to sacrifice the standards we have all supported for so long, just to make a deal with the US. If they do this, we will pay dearly in the long term, losing farms, countryside and wildlife.

keith edwards - 27/08/2020 10:49:06

Totally agree with everything Pamela Barnard ( 23/08/20) says. This should serve as a model for every person in this country to follow. We face a grim future what with a 'no deal' Brexit and being under pressure to accept lower standards of cattle and chicken farming so that it leads to cheaper food.

Ruth Cartlidge - 27/08/2020 08:37:04

I buy British as much as I can. I buy meat, poultry, eggs and fresh fruit and veg from a farm near me. The quality is second to none. During lockdown, Torgate Farm was brilliant, arranging safe home deliveries when we were unable to go out. Time for our government to promote British food and farming as the best and most eco friendly in the world.

Penny Fraser - 25/08/2020 14:05:10

Great quiz and I will definitely try harder to buy British in future

Amanda Tidey - 24/08/2020 17:53:03

I buy British as often as I can. Our local butcher knows exactly where the meat is from and I buy british vegetables to supplement the ones we grow ourselves.

Pat Whitten - 24/08/2020 15:10:16

My all out favourite for a model of great british farming with both meat production and vegetable farming are the Riverford Organics at Buckfastleigh. Devon. High standards. Ecologically brilliant and balanced. Effective. Profitable. Healthy foods. Kind to animals and wildlife. Veg box scheme. Happy farming community and customers.

Janet Coomber - 24/08/2020 13:54:20

I buy British as much as poss. I do grow one or two veg of our own. English asparagus is a veg I like and wish supermarkets would sell more whilst in season instead of getting Peruvian all year round! For many years our meat has come from a farm about 5 miles away but I believe they have now retired. It was the finest meat you could wish for so will look for another farm as soon as possible. Will support our farms when I can.

Brenda Bailey - 24/08/2020 10:44:31

I got mixed up with the oats and barley.

Katy - 24/08/2020 10:31:19

Interesting detail of what is produced in our country. I'm sure, like me, a lot of people are wanting to buy British produce, to help our country to thrive after Brexit. Great to see what is being grown locally. I hadn't realised we produced sugar in the UK. Useful Red Tractor & Union Jack packaging will help me to find produce quicker in the super markets. Some good tips on reducing waste in our kitchens too. If ever I end up with fresh produce that has gone too far (it doesn't often happen, I am very creative with leftovers & wilted veg) I compost all my vegetable waste. Great for the garden. Keep promoting our amazing home grown, reared & produced foods. Regards Katy

Deirdre Sudlow - 24/08/2020 10:22:40

My grandson really enjoyed this presentation. As an ex teacher I found this an interesting resource to use in a classroom.

Andrew John Harries - 24/08/2020 10:00:02

Hopefully a positive result from the Covid 19 problem and Brexit, more people will see the importance of supporting British farming and UK produce generally, as a necessity in the future.

Eamonn Geraghty - 24/08/2020 09:14:44

grate pictures of british fields- be nice to see pictures of livestock we live in huntingdon don,t see much livestock here now.

Annette - 24/08/2020 08:26:29

All so true and helpful I hope everyone will buy British now

Jean Anderson - 24/08/2020 08:22:54

The quiz was interesting and informative.

Linda Macutkiewicz - 23/08/2020 20:30:45

I love your page. I have tried to eat more local grown and British food for some time now. Since the corona virus outbreak and all the shortages I think it has made me and others realise just how vital our home produced products are, and how much tastier. A big thank you to all our farmers and producers.

catherine buggy - 23/08/2020 20:11:31

Great quiz for us ignorant city folk

Margaret Auld - 23/08/2020 19:42:14

Brilliant - I will forward this to our village school.

Mrs C A Russell - 23/08/2020 18:29:25

I have been a supporter of British produce for more years than I can remember. I deliberately look for produce grown in the British Isles and believe that our farmers take very good care of their crops and the environment and particularly take care of their animals which is very important to me. I support Compassion in World Farming and do not care for live exports of any kind. I am glad that our farmers are aware of caring for the environment too. Hopefully, gone are the days of spraying chemicals which kill our wildlife and vitally necessary insect life.

Ian Arthur Keech - 23/08/2020 17:58:10

Funny1 What I grow with my Cress looks nothing like your picture, but the packet clearly states MUSTARD!!

Jennifer - 23/08/2020 17:15:59

I think we should have another intensive buy British campaign and Union jacks on all British grown food prominently displayed to support our farmers in this difficult time, of COVID-19, Brexit and lack of pickers.

Keith Kerr - 23/08/2020 17:07:09

British Farming is the best in the world. All the foods produced are the best we can buy locally. We must not allow our Government relax the quality of imported food to compete against our own Farmers.

andrew dimoglou - 23/08/2020 16:57:34

Excellent.Hope the incompetents in Government don't sacrifice our farmers for a toxic US trade deal....Toxic in more ways than one.

Gregory Gudgeon - 23/08/2020 16:33:16

Some say that all that heavy farm machinery makes poorer soil. And that working farm animals fertilise the soil....Just saying!

Karen Mountain - 23/08/2020 16:19:31

Why don't we have more produce grown in industrial size polytunnels to avoid climate change.

Jennifer Raymond - 23/08/2020 16:16:24

I am familiar with the crops and machinery as I live in East Anglia but its well put together and interesting. Keep up the good work.

Maris Sharp - 23/08/2020 16:08:24

such fun!

Marian Silke - 23/08/2020 16:00:06

Love your ‘newsletter’ always interesting to read. I think we should make a real effort to buy BRITISH grown produce, packaging could have the Union Jack on it to make it stand out more

Loreen Smith - 23/08/2020 15:56:14

How nice to enjoy the anticipation of seasonal vegetables again. Grown by our farmers. Make meat more expensive so we eat less but make it pay for getting rid of factory farms completely.

Ronald and Bianche Martin - 23/08/2020 15:53:50

Nice to recognise most crops and machines. A separate close up of each crop leaf would make recognition easier.A real 86 year old country boy.

Ronald and Bianche Martin - 23/08/2020 15:52:08

Nice to recognise most crops and machines. A seperate close up of each crop leaf would make recognition easier.

Judith Jeeves - 23/08/2020 15:44:26

This is so interesting. I was on a hike yesterday in East Devon, and on the Clinton Estate, Stantyway Farm, they have signs on each of the gates to their fields stating: name of field; what crop they are growing; what wildlife is attracted. I think this is a brilliant idea. It doesn't cost much to do but gives ordinary people a real insight into what is growing. Maybe it helps people to understand better and respect farming initiatives too!

Miggie Bruce - 23/08/2020 15:34:39

Not much a quiz if you tell what is growing in the field before I have a chance to even look at the photo!

Peter Nickholds - 23/08/2020 15:26:56

This is such a good idea, educating us townies about the appearance of crops. When I’m cycling, I often stop to have a closer look.

Alan - 23/08/2020 15:18:53

This little quiz is a nice idea. I’m sure children will love it more if they could be told where the different crops are being grown locally. A list of local farm shops would help both farmers and home cooks or restaurant owners.

Roberto - 23/08/2020 15:03:58

This is all very well but the outcome of a No Deal with the EU is likely to compromise food production in the UK. It is critically important for the consumer to maintain standards labels and other practices that keep farming viable and productive. Do we really want to regress to the "war time economy" to maintain home farming or worse rely on non European northern hemisphere imports mainly from the USA to provide our essential survival diet? Best for Britain and its farmers is the maintenance of the policies in force since the 1970's. Perhaps you just like doctrinaire the sound of nationalist rhetoric and contrarian Government policies as supplied by the will of the British People as interpreted by D. Cummings!

Cynthia Price - 23/08/2020 14:55:26

I always try to buy british as I am vegan this is easy

Ken Baines - 23/08/2020 14:42:47

I think I got 100%

Pamela Barnard - 23/08/2020 14:21:11

Having lived on cattle farms (dairy then beef) for many years due to my husband's work, I come at this subject from various angles. I believe that it makes sense to produce as much of our food, animal feed and animal bedding as we can. At its best, you can't beat it. Politically it makes sense to be less reliant on other nations for our essentials and ecologically we desperately need to reduce the distance food travels- which would suggest the seasonal fruit and vegetables of the pre 1960s diet. People need to be helped to understand that cheap food means that someone or some animal has suffered to make that possible. (In 1961-64, when I was training to be a home economics teacher, most average families expected to spend one third of the household income on food, not including alcohol or eating out). Pressure to produce food cheaply has been responsible for the inhumane and totally unacceptable practices such as beef feed lots, cramped pig farming and battery hens. Animal welfare must become top priority, but also the welfare of farming families, who must get a truly fair return for their investment, their knowledge and their hard work. And doing it well is hard work. I can assure you. So, let's make British farming the best, the most respected, the most animal friendly and the most ecologically balanced in the world. Uninvolved people need to be taught how important all these things are for all of us. And if the price of food has to go up and people have to raise their children without Disney World and expensive holidays in far flung places, so be it. Its a question of priorities, ethics and the future of the planet. I could say more but say more but I expect you have glazed over by now. Please, please do promote British farming and high quality, good animal welfare food. Let's show the rest of the world how it's done. May I recommend that you Google: The Ethical Dairy.

Richard Morris - 23/08/2020 14:16:25

Rather a low yield of wheat. Does the ‘run out’ date of 21st Aug assume we stopped importing food on Jan 1st 2020 - not clear. Your article does not make it clear that this is an actually an advert for Silver Spoon.

Martin Yates - 23/08/2020 14:09:21

So many times we walk past a crop and don't know what it is (or what it's for) It would be so easy for schools to impart this knowledge to their pupils and perhaps particularly for city based children, to give them an interest in the big wide world of our hard working farmers and where their food comes from.

jenny teall - 23/08/2020 13:59:38

anything to support good practice in British farming. always buy british whenever possible

Sandra Nicol - 23/08/2020 13:57:32

Very interesting and educational article. Lovely photos too. Thank you.

Lynne McAdam - 23/08/2020 13:52:32

What an interesting email.....really caught my attention....so, a success for you!

Anne Furniss - 23/08/2020 13:34:10

A great way to inform the public what’s happening in our wonderful countryside so that hopefully they will respect it??

patricia n slade - 23/08/2020 13:18:36

Thank you for sending me your 'page' We sometimes forget our history and don't realise that NOW is the time for us to back Britain. We have so much opportunity and you guys, God bless you for the hours you put it, and everything else that goes with it. I always buy British wherever I shop. So will continue, and spread the word. Thank you, tricia


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