Saturday 16 June 2012

Visit a farm on Open Farm Sunday (17th June 2012)

If you're looking for a fun family day out tomorrow, look no further - it's Farm Open Day this Sunday. Read on for more information and some fun facts and figures about farming in the UK.


Discover the facts and figures behind food and farming

Why Open Farm Sunday?

Open Farm Sunday is the only day in the year when farmers and producers across the whole of the UK unite to open their farm gates to the public. It’s organised by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), who established Open Farm Sunday in 2006 and have been managing it annually ever since.

Open Farm Sunday is a great way to discover more about the story behind our food – which is really important as it seems many of us don’t know much about farming and where our food comes from.

Why is the British farming industry so important to everyone?

Farmers have a vital role to play in producing food for the rapidly growing population

The agri-food sector contributed £84.6 billion to Britain’s economy and the total agri-food sector covers 14% of national employment

There are over 195,000 farms in England, 37,000 in Wales and 51,000 in Scotland

What do our farmers produce?

UK farmers produce 52% of all food consumed in the UK

The total area of agricultural land in the UK is 18.3million hectares on which there are:
- 1.56 million dairy cattle
- 4.5 million pigs
- 1.7million beef cattle
- 21 million sheep
- 47 million laying hens 

16% (3 million hectares) of agricultural land is used to grow cereals 

25 million tonnes of crops, including wheat, barley, oats and sugar beet, are grown on UK farms each year. These are used in staple foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits i
6 million tonnes of barley, enough to make 50 billion pints of beer are grown by our farmers! 

There are 1.56 million dairy cows in the UK – who between them produce 13 million litres of milk for dairy foods including cheese, dried milk powder, butter and yogurt

26% of the milk produced in the UK is used to make cheese; 253 million litres is turned into yogurt and 262 million litres of milk is used to make butter

UK farmers grow 60% of all the vegetables we eat - from potatoes and carrots, to peas and runner beans i
17,000 eggs are laid every minute on Britain’s farms

Britain’s farmers produce 91% of the lamb and mutton, 40% of the pork and pork products and 78% of the beef we eat

Farms produce over 6.3 million tonnes of potatoes a year - enough to cover more than 120,000 football pitches

Who looks after the countryside and the environment?

A 2011 survey for Open Farm Sunday revealed that 95 per cent of adults did not know that farmers manage over three quarters of the UK land mass. Less than one in four knew that farmers are responsible for looking after most of the hedgerows, walls and fences outside towns

Farmers manage more than 85% of the countryside, which includes: looking after fences and footpaths; providing habitats for wildlife including insects, birds and animals; sowing wildflowers and planting and maintaining woodland. For example:

Farmers care for most of the 500,000 km of hedgerows in England and Wales – that’s enough to go 12 times round the earth (40,000km)

Farmers manage 323 kms of permissive footpaths

Farmers look after 264 kms of bridleways and cycle paths, as part of Natural England's Environmental Stewardship scheme

Farming is vital in the battle against global warming. Every 100 hectares of crops soaks up between 30 and 60 tonnes of carbon a year– the same amount of carbon created by 2 UK households

Worms are vital to the health of the soil in which farmers grow their crops. The average field on a British farm has a network of earthworm burrows about the same length as the entire UK network of major roads

How well do you know the animals and plants found on a farm?

Sheep are not all the same! There are over 900 different sheep breeds and about 1 billion sheep in total in the world

It’s not just people that need passports – all cattle have their own passports too, which farmers use when they move them around the country

Pigs roll around in the mud for a very good reason! Because they don’t sweat they need to get muddy to cool off and this also helps protect them from sunburn and insect bites

It’s the male turkeys that gobble; females make clicking and trilling noises – much more refined!

Cows have such a good sense of smell that they can pick up smells up to 6 miles away!

In a 2011 survey fifteen per cent of adults didn’t know that a dairy cow is female, half weren’t aware that robins live in the UK all year round and one in five didn’t know that acorns come from oak trees. 

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  1. Great post and it's so important that we make sure that our children understand te importance of supporting British farming and we all need to learn a bit more about it to!

  2. I don't really see the fun going to farms. I always have this perception that going there is going to be really messy and smelly. I hate those. I don't know if I'm really ever gonna do it.

    1. It's great for the kids, to learn where food comes from and to see baby chicks, etc. I know my kids did a farm visit with their school and have a fab time.


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