Organic Milling Morning - 29th June 2011
06 July 2011
Over thirty farmers and growers joined us for an excellent organic milling wheat event at FWP Matthews, kindly sponsored by Robin Appel.
The morning involved two technical sessions on soil and crops, followed by a tour around the mill, offering delegates a miller’s perspective on operations. The morning session ended with a hearty lunch, with plenty of baked treats produced from the on site bakery and healthy discussion on how growers can hit the magical 11% protein levels that are desirable for millers.
We were very fortunate to have Dr Vinodh Kirsnompherey from Laverstoke Park at the event. In a fascinating 20 minute presentation, he explained the benefits of understand the ‘soil web’ (picture below). He explained that increasing soil biology through careful management and practicing organic farming methods leads to increased humus production and greater nutrient cycling of the chemical components in your soil by microbiology. This results in healthy more productive plants.
To emphasise his points, Vinodh showed a picture of plant succession. As time progresses, soil naturally changes from being bacterial dominated to fungal dominated due to changes of cropping and increasing humus upon the soil. He explained that in order to sow a perennial crop such as wheat you need a balance in soil which is mainly bacterial dominated.
Few people have an clear understanding of this balance within their soil as, until recently, this type of soil analysis was not available. However, Soil Association and Laverstoke Park have joined forces and we can now offer a wide range of biological and chemical soil analysis – please book a test on our website here – http://www.soilassociation.org/Shop/Item/tabid/533/List/1/CategoryID/27/Level/a/Default.aspx
To download Vinodh’s presentation please click here.
Fresh from his international travels studying agroforestry systems, Stephen Briggs then gave an excellent presentation on how to hit the specifications of millers under organic management. He covered a host of management issues, from specifications, to establishment, seed, fertility, pest and disease control, as well as the latest organic research on current varieties. Stephen delivered superbly and many delegates will have come away with the top management issues firmly at the front of their minds. Those who were unable to attend can review Stephen’s presentation below – or contact him at Abacus Organics for more information.
We then all put on our fluorescent safety jackets and hair nets and headed out to the mill, under the careful supervision and good humour of production director Glynn Williams. Glynn took the groups on a step-by-step tour of the milling process – from intake and the quality control of each load, to the blending or ‘gristing’ of different quality wheats, to the milling process with either by modern ‘break rolls’ or using traditional stone mills. For full details on the process please look at FWP Matthews website here- http://www.fwpmatthews.co.uk/mill_process.php
This was a fascinating part of the day, and it was encouraging to see additional manufacturing areas that have been built to increase production in the future, along with heavy investment in technology such as a colour separator to improve the quality of product. Please see the photos below of our mill walk.
Lastly, the free organic beers gifted by Robin Appel went down very well, and therefore lead us to think about an ‘Organic Malting Morning’…. look out for details in our event calendar soon!
We have received a lot of positive feedback from attendees and would like to thank Robin Appel and FWP Matthews once again for providing a fascinating and successful event.
Producer Support Team