Growing support for British horticulture at Shrewsbury

NFU members and farmers Kate Mayne, Simon Latter and John Morris at Shrewsbury Flower Show

Shropshire farmers discussed food production and the environment when they met hundreds of people on the NFU stand at Shrewsbury Flower Show to talk about the many benefits of grassland.

Thousands of people attended the two-day horticultural spectacle in The Quarry, Shrewsbury, (11 and 12 August) and the NFU had its regional farming discovery trailer at the event alongside grass trial plots in one of the main floral marquees.

NFU Shropshire chairman Graham Price who farms at Ludlow, vice chair Kate Mayne who farms at Ruyton XI Towns and Worthen farmer John Morris joined Calverhall farmer and Shrewsbury NFU group secretary Simon Latter on the NFU stand.

NFU growers on show

NFU members’ produce from Battlefield 1403, Rowton Vineyard Wine, Shropshire Petals and other businesses were on display including beer from the Salopian Brewery.

Kate said: “The flower show is an excellent event showcasing the best of plant and flower production.

“The NFU is proud of all of its growers, be they producing flowers, shrubs and grass for our gardens, or great tasting, climate friendly fruit and vegetables for our tables.

“This year, alongside showcasing county food and flowers grown by Shropshire farmers, we decided to bring along three grassland trial plots or lays, to show the many benefits of grass.”

One of the trial plots was for a grass mix that contained an abundance of plants attractive to bees and bugs like bird’s-foot trefoil, cocksfoot, yarrow, plantain, sheep’s parsley and at least three types of clover, among others.

I think it would be great if the next time someone took a drive out into the countryside, they looked out of the window and saw grassland in a completely different way.

NFU Shrewsbury group secretary Simon Latter

The other grass plots featured a seed mix good for growing and harvesting for animal feed and a further robust variety that could be grazed more rigorously by livestock but also cut for animal feed at the same time, both also had environmental benefits.

Horizon Seeds provided the seed mixes for the grass plots and cereal samples including wheat, barley and other crops for people to see and JC and MW Suckley put on a display showing different potato and carrot varieties.

Mr Latter grew the grass on pallets at his North Shropshire farm and then transported them to the show site, while JP&AL Morris, who are county agents for Horizon, provided the seed samples.

Describing the Shropshire countryside as a “multifunctional, dynamic space”, Mr Latter said that all farmers and growers are part of “the same important game; to product food from the land, whether that is grass for our animals, root vegetables, soft fruit or cereal crops”.

“We are growing and rearing this food while protecting our soil and environment and doing it in the most sustainable way possible.

“Many people have grass in their lawn at home; we are just growing grass on a much larger scale and for different purposes, whether that’s as a carbon sink, or to produce climate friendly beef and lamb. Our fields are our workplace and provide an important home for wildlife.

“I think it would be great if the next time someone took a drive out into the countryside, they looked out of the window and saw grassland in a completely different way.”


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