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Vintage sugar beet harvesting star attraction at Skeyton’s Michelmas Trosh and Working Day

10:02 20 September 2012

Graham Kirk with a 1940

Graham Kirk with a 1940's vintage beet harvester

Vintage sugar beet harvesting will be the star attraction at Skeyton’s Michelmas Trosh and Working Day to mark 100 years of sugar production in Norfolk.

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The event is held annually but will this year feature the special harvest to mark the centenary of British Sugar’s processing factory at Cantley.

Plans for the demonstration got under way in the spring, when the beets were drilled or planted in wider rows at the host farm to suit the vintage machinery.

The Michelmas Trosh and Working Day will also feature lifting and troshing of heritage wheats with a steam engine and threshing drum, vintage tractors at work, wood sawing and ploughing demonstrations.

Graham Kirk, who is one of the organisers, said: “It is a demonstration of things that used to happen on the farm. It is not a rally. Machines will actually be working rather than sitting around for people to look at. We try to do everything in a correct traditional manner. We are quite serious in that.”

The Michelmas Trosh marks the end of the farming year and the start of the next. Mr Kirk, who grew up in a farming family and has grown the vintage wheats for the event, said: “Michelmas was an important time of the year in the farming calendar. It was when all the tenancies were renewed. It is certainly a time when a lot of things happen or will start to happen. It is the change over period from harvesting the corn crops to lifting the root crops and planning and preparing for next year.”

The event is being hosted by specialist potato grower Tom Randell at Breck’s Farm, North Walsham Road, Skeyton, NR10 5AW. It will take place on September 30 from 10am to 4pm.

The Cantley factory was the first beet sugar factory to be built. Today, it is one of four British Sugar factories, which process about 7.5m tonnes of beet from about 4,000 growers across eastern England.

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