Earlier in April, our Society chairman put together a fitting tribute to thank the hard work of the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how he did it.

How big is the tribute?  

It’s roughly 4.5 acres in all. That’s about the size of three football pitches.

How long did it take you to do?

It took about one hour in all. I drove out the shape with a truck and then my colleague, James, followed behind in a tractor to mark it out.

Did you ‘draw’ it freehand or did you use GPS?

Normally, we have GPS in all our tractors to help guide the driver and prevent them going over the same areas twice. This prevents overuse of seed and over cultivation. However, we didn’t use GPS this time and decided to draw out our tribute freehand.

What is the field used for normally?

The field was in winter wheat last year and produced 80 tons of wheat for making bread. That amount of wheat would make 50,000 loaves of bread. This year, the field will be going into peas which will be sent to the supermarkets for people to buy or be used as animal feed.

What tractor did you use?

The tractor is a John Deere 195 horsepower. It’s used mainly for sowing seeds, ploughing, cultivation and carting the crops back to a store at our farm.

How did you take the picture of your tribute?

We used a drone to take the picture. Usually we would use the drone whilst working on the farm. A drone has turned into a very useful tool in farming. We can fly it over crops when it is too wet to get out in the field to see how the crop is looking. We can also see if there are bits that need attention before the next crop goes in like low nutrients, weed problems or compaction where heavy machinery has gone over it or where heavy rain, like we’ve had this winter, has compacted the ground.

Why did you want to put this together?

The NHS is very important to the farming community. Farming is one of the most dangerous industries to work in at the moment, so having the NHS there to help you in case you have an accident is really important. As for COVID-19, farmers are classed as key workers because we produce food for the country so the public can buy their weekly shop. From one key worker to another, I wanted to thank the staff in the NHS for all their work.

Anything else you think would be of interest to non-farming folk!  

When you go out into the countryside, have a look at what is growing in the fields. It could be wheat for your bread, barley for your beer, oilseed rape for cooking oil. So next time you go out, have a good look around because the land around you is used to produce your food and you might find out something you didn’t know before.