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Open Farm Sunday: Thousands enjoy countryside fun as East Anglian farmers meet the public

PUBLISHED: 16:55 11 June 2017 | UPDATED: 16:13 13 June 2017

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Jimbo, a Suffolk Punch, is led to go ploughing in front of the visitors having a tractor ride. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Jimbo, a Suffolk Punch, is led to go ploughing in front of the visitors having a tractor ride. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

The story of how food gets from field to fork was told to thousands of public visitors who donned their wellies to join the farming industry’s biggest open day.

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Contract shearer, Kaylee Campbell shows brothers, from left, Harry, three, Ben, 11, and Luke, five (front), the sheared fleece after demonstrating shearing sheep. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Contract shearer, Kaylee Campbell shows brothers, from left, Harry, three, Ben, 11, and Luke, five (front), the sheared fleece after demonstrating shearing sheep. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Gates were flung open across East Anglia to welcome people to Open Farm Sunday, an annual showcase of the industries dominating our countryside.

A diverse range of events included major arable estates in the bread basket of England, as well as family enterprises and livestock businesses.

They explored the traditions of the industry, from the agricultural revolution at the Holkham Estate, to demonstrations of heritage barley varieties and Suffolk Punch horses at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

But they also explained the new techniques and technologies helping modern growers maximise their yields and productivity, including aerial drones, satellite-guided tractors and robotic milking parlours.

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. William Ottaway, nine, meets Reggie, a Suffolk Punch. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. William Ottaway, nine, meets Reggie, a Suffolk Punch. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Families took tractor trailer rides to see crops growing and cattle grazing, they watched demonstrations of milking, shearing and feeding, and children took the opportunity to sit in combine harvester cabs while their parents spoke to experts in machinery and technology.

One farm taking part for the first time was Oaklands Farm at Aldeby, near Beccles, where the Burroughs family keeps an award-winning dairy herd.

Lindsay Miller, who organised the farm’s event, said she wanted to illustrate the whole food chain by providing milking demonstrations, showing machinery, encouraging discussions with vets about animal welfare, and hosting a stand with the dairy products made by dairy processor Arla, which buys the farm’s milk.

She said: “I think it is important that we start educating the general public about farming, because we get quite a lot of bad press and by learning the basics about what goes on, especially with the low milk prices being in the news recently, they can see the work that goes into putting a pint on their table.”

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Emma Goddard, six, gets the best seat in the front of a tractor. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Emma Goddard, six, gets the best seat in the front of a tractor. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The food chain behind a different kind of pint was explained at Clarke’s Farm in Martham, near Great Yarmouth, where visitors were taken on tractor trailer rides to see fields of barley, before meeting grain merchants and trying beers made by Panther brewery in Reepham.

The farm is run by James Chapman, who joined forces with about 10 surrounding farms which contributed volunteers, animals and machinery to an Open Farm Sunday event which attracted more than 4,000 visitors.

He said: “It is to get the public to understand where their food comes from and how it is produced, but also to follow the local markets through. They are seeing the crops in the field and learning how the grain and the malt go into beer.

“We are showing them a sprayer and explaining that we use it as a ‘crop doctor’ to ensure we are producing something that is healthy and of a high standard.

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Stanley Oram, seven, takes a close look through the header of a combine harvester. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Stanley Oram, seven, takes a close look through the header of a combine harvester. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Everyone is enjoying it, and the car parks have been full. The attendance keeps going up year on year.”

Send us your Open Farm Sunday photos – contact chris.hill@archant.co.uk.

Open Farm Sunday 2017. Clarke's Farm at Martham. Open Farm Sunday 2017. Clarke's Farm at Martham.

Open Farm Sunday 2017. ES Burroughs & Son at Aldeby, near Beccles. Open Farm Sunday 2017. ES Burroughs & Son at Aldeby, near Beccles.

Open Farm Sunday 2017. ES Burroughs & Son at Aldeby, near Beccles. Open Farm Sunday 2017. ES Burroughs & Son at Aldeby, near Beccles.

Open Farm Sunday 2017. ES Burroughs & Son at Aldeby, near Beccles. Open Farm Sunday 2017. ES Burroughs & Son at Aldeby, near Beccles.

Open Farm Sunday 2017. Clarke's Farm at Martham. Open Farm Sunday 2017. Clarke's Farm at Martham.

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Suffolk Punch horses Reggie, left, and Jimbo, demonstrate their ploughing skills with farm manager Richard Dalton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Suffolk Punch horses Reggie, left, and Jimbo, demonstrate their ploughing skills with farm manager Richard Dalton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Contract shearer, Kaylee Campbell demonstrates shearing sheep. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Contract shearer, Kaylee Campbell demonstrates shearing sheep. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Visitors enjoying tractor ride. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Visitors enjoying tractor ride. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Annalise Lawson, 22-months-old, from Wicklewood, learns how to milk a cow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. Annalise Lawson, 22-months-old, from Wicklewood, learns how to milk a cow. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. A bit of a butt between friends as two-year-old Polly, left, a British Toggenburg, comes head to head with Dylan, three, a Boar cross with a Golden Guernsey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Open Farm Sunday at Gressenhall Farm. A bit of a butt between friends as two-year-old Polly, left, a British Toggenburg, comes head to head with Dylan, three, a Boar cross with a Golden Guernsey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Old Hall Farm, Westfield, Dereham. Photo: David Myhill Open Farm Sunday 2017: Old Hall Farm, Westfield, Dereham. Photo: David Myhill

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Old Hall Farm, Westfield, Dereham. Photo: David Myhill Open Farm Sunday 2017: Old Hall Farm, Westfield, Dereham. Photo: David Myhill

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker Open Farm Sunday 2017: Walsingham Farms Shop. Photo: Elizabeth Meath Baker

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Hundred River Farm. Photo: Chloe Donovan Open Farm Sunday 2017: Hundred River Farm. Photo: Chloe Donovan

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Hundred River Farm. Photo: Chloe Donovan Open Farm Sunday 2017: Hundred River Farm. Photo: Chloe Donovan

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Hundred River Farm. Photo: Chloe Donovan Open Farm Sunday 2017: Hundred River Farm. Photo: Chloe Donovan

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George

Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George Open Farm Sunday 2017: Manor Farm, Fundenhall. Photo: Shan George

Shotford Hall Open Farm Sunday 2017. Pictured is Cooper Alfredson. Photo: Heidi Crisp Shotford Hall Open Farm Sunday 2017. Pictured is Cooper Alfredson. Photo: Heidi Crisp

Shotford Hall Open Farm Sunday 2017.  Pictured is Ellie Mae Sharman. Photo: Libby Alexander. Shotford Hall Open Farm Sunday 2017. Pictured is Ellie Mae Sharman. Photo: Libby Alexander.

Shotford Hall Open Farm Sunday 2017. Pictured is Niamh Raines. Photo: Libby Alexander. Shotford Hall Open Farm Sunday 2017. Pictured is Niamh Raines. Photo: Libby Alexander.

Lucky members of the public enjoyed visiting the bee hives at South Angle Farm Park on Open Farm Sunday. Photo: South Angle Farm Park Lucky members of the public enjoyed visiting the bee hives at South Angle Farm Park on Open Farm Sunday. Photo: South Angle Farm Park

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