Sorting The Wheat From The Chaff
"Today Colleen and I are going beyond old school: hand-threshing some wheat as part of one of our field lab DIY trials. As it's a little unusual we thought we'd share it with you, and give you a glimpse of life at Soil Association Scotland HQ.
"We're sat with some coffee and some Soil Association crockery (living the brand!), sorting through some wheat we picked this morning at Hugh Grierson's farm in Perthshire. It's taking a while, but it's a nice change - sifting through and literally sorting the wheat from the chaff as we look out of our Edinburgh office window at the murky clouds over the Pentland hills.
"It may look mad, but there's plenty of method, we promise: we're threshing the wheat to assess yield from three different plots of spring wheat on the farm, that were each established using different tillage methods.
"Our field lab is exploring the impact that reducing how much the soil is tilled has on soil health, and on crop yield. One plot was covered with black plastic before being sown, another was rotovated before the crop was sown, and the third was ploughed as normal - and the crop was sown on all three using a Claydon drill to reduce disturbance to the soil.
"Once we've finished threshing the wheat we collected from each plot (we might be here for a while!) we'll weigh it and assess it, so we can see which performed well, and share the results. We're very interested to see which does best!
"Take a look at our cultivating soil health field lab page for more information on the trial, and check back soon to find out how the results go."