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East Anglia Future 50

How much Norfolk-grown grain makes a loaf of bread? Ten farming facts you could learn at Open Farm Sunday

A sheep shearing demonstration on Open Farm Sunday at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston.

A sheep shearing demonstration on Open Farm Sunday at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016

Thousands of visitors are expected at Open Farm Sunday events across Norfolk and Suffolk today – an event which aims to shine a light on the fascinating world of food production.

Open Farm Sunday at Place UK in Tunstead in 2016.  Picture: MARK BULLIMOREOpen Farm Sunday at Place UK in Tunstead in 2016. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Farms taking part across this nationally-important region include major arable estates, family-run mixed farms and producers of turkey, beef, pork and dairy products.

Activities on offer include guided farm tours, tractor and trailer rides, milking and shearing demonstrations, and displays of state-of-the-art machinery. But the day is also a chance to ask those who grow our food about how they ensure the health and welfare of their animals, or how they use chemicals to protect their crops.

Here are ten facts you could discover about East Anglian farming:

• Norfolk and Suffolk are responsible for 20pc of the UK’s poultry, 25pc of its pig herd, 20pc of its vegetables and almost 50pc of its sugar beet.

Open Farm Sunday at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston.Open Farm Sunday at Shotford Hall Farm in Harleston.

• But the biggest land use in the east of England is for cereal crops like wheat and barley, which account for almost half of our agricultural fields.

• About 1kg of grain will be harvested from each square metre of wheat, which will make enough flour to make one large loaf of bread.

• East Anglia is renowned for the quality of its barley, much of which is malted and sent to some of the world’s most famous breweries and distilleries.

• A square metre of barley will make enough malt to make 10 bottles of beer – or 265 packets of Maltesers.

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

• Some modern dairy farms use robots to milk their cows.

• British cows produce enough milk each year to fill 6,000 Olympic swimming pools.

• Hi-tech computerised tractors can drive themselves around the field, using satellites to map their route.

• British hens lay 10 billion eggs a year.

• A square metre of sugar beet will produce about 1.5kg of sugar. UK sugar beet farmers delivered a record yield last harvest – more than a third of which was grown in Norfolk – which was processed into 1.38m tonnes of Silver Spoon sugar at British Sugar’s four factories, including at Cantley and Wissington.

For the full list of events, see the Open Farm Sunday website.

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