HomeAbout the Chilterns > Farming & Land Use > The Farming Year

The Farming Year

January

This is one of the quietest months on the farm.

  • Fruit trees are pruned to ensure a good crop later in the year
  • Some flocks start lambing indoors to produce lamb ready for the traditional Easter market
  • Conservation works take place such as planting, coppicing and laying of hedges; also work in farm woods, before the birds start nesting
  • Farm maintenance of buildings, tracks, fences and machinery
  • Shooting season draws to a close

February

  • Early lambing continues
  • Orchard pruning continues
  • Fungicide sprays are applied to crops showing signs of disease
  • First top dressings of fertiliser are applied to winter sown arable crops
  • Winter stubbles are ploughed and a seed bed is prepared for spring crops if the ground is dry enough

March

  • Farmers continue planting spring cereal crops, barley, wheat and oats
  • Main lambing season starts and housed ewes go out to grass
  • Spring calving of dairy and beef cows
  • Spring beef cattle sales held at livestock markets

April

  • Fruit orchards begin to blossom
  • Crop planting continues – maize, linseed, vining peas and game cover crops
  • Turnout of winter housed dairy herds and beef cattle
  • Grass and arable crops are fertilised

May

  • Fruit orchards in full blossom
  • Oil seed rape in flower
  • Arable crops are checked regularly for pests and disease and sprayed if required
  • First silage of the year made from surplus grass to be fed to cattle over winter
  • Sheep shearing begins
  • Early strawberries harvested
  • Arable crops checked regularly for pests and disease and are sprayed if required
  • Lambing season finishes

June

  • Salad vegetables and soft fruit harvested (cherries, gooseberries and strawberries)
  • Hay making in full swing
  • Second grass silage cut of the year taken
  • Sheep shearing continues
  • Dairy and beef cows mated now for calving in the spring

July

  • Harvesting of winter sown arable crops (oil seed rape, barley and wheat) commences using combine harvesters
  • Grain is taken from the fields to the farm by trailer
  • Baling of crop residues (mainly straw) starts
  • Harvesting of soft fruit continues (raspberries, cherries, blueberries and black/redcurrants)

August

  • Harvesting of arable crops reaches its peak
  • Straw is transported to livestock farms to be used for winter bedding and feeding
  • Early cultivations (ploughing, seedbed cultivations, liming etc) and sowing of arable crops begins
  • Third cuts of grass silage taken (depending on how well grass has grown)

September

  • Harvesting of top fruit (apples, pears and plums) reaches its peak
  • Harvesting of late varieties of soft fruit (raspberries and blackberries)
  • Maize harvested to make into silage for winter feeding to cattle
  • Tupping starts - Ewes are mated with rams for spring lambing
  • Autumn calving of dairy cows
  • Spreading of farmyard manure onto farmland before autumn cultivations
  • Autumn cultivations (ploughing, seedbed preparations, liming etc) and the sowing of arable crops (winter barley, oats and wheat) in full swing
  • Herbicide sprays are applied to crops if required, to kill emerging weeds
  • Local and county ploughing matches take place

October

  • Grape picking and wine making commences. There are several vineyards producing quality award-winning wine in the Chilterns region
  • Autumn cultivations (ploughing, seedbed preparations, liming etc) and the sowing of arable crops (winter barley, oats and wheat) continue
  • Summer grazed dairy and beef cows are housed for the winter and fed preserved crops (grass and maize silage) and supplementary concentrated feed
  • Ewes are mated with rams for spring lambing
  • Autumn calving of dairy cows
  • Harvest festivals held across the region
  • Pheasant shooting season starts

November

  • Autumn cultivations to prepare the ground for planting crops near completion
  • Harvesting of winter vegetables (cauliflowers, beetroot, swede, parsnips and leeks)
  • Summer grazed dairy and beef cows are housed for the winter and fed preserved crops (grass and maize silage) and supplementary concentrated feed
  • Christmas trees are harvested

December

  • Harvesting of winter vegetables (cauliflowers, beetroot, swede, parsnips and leeks)
  • Turkeys and geese plucked in preparation for Christmas market. See local produce section
  • Conservation works take place such as planting, coppicing and laying of hedges; also work in farm woods, before the birds start nesting
  • Farm maintenance of buildings, tracks, fences and machinery
  • Holly and ivy gathering for Christmas decorations
  • Fatstock shows are staged at major livestock markets

Some activities go on throughout the year…

  • Dairy herds produce milk all year round. Each cow has a calf every year and gives milk for the next 300 days
  • Poultry units produce meat and eggs
  • Pig units, both indoor and outdoor produce pork and bacon
  • Beef cattle are fattened for market

Visit the UK Agriculture website for more information on food, farming and the countryside.

Chilterns Map

Find walks, cycle routes, rides, places to visit
Search the map

Stay in Touch

Sign up for our email newsletter to ensure you never miss out on news about the Chilterns area, just enter your email address below.

Don’t forget, you can always follow us on our social media channels

Facebook Twitter YouTube Flickr RSS

Bookmark and Share