Author Topic: What crop is this?  (Read 1104 times)

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
What crop is this?
« on: 22 September, 2021, 11:46:37 am »
(A question for fboab I guess, but feel free to chip in)

Down this way (West Sussex) , there a several fields with a legume type crop growing in them. Some have been harvested already. They grow around 1m tall and are left until threy look dead or dying before they are safely gathered in.  I don't recall loads of yellow flowers, so presumably not OSR. What is it?

There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #1 on: 22 September, 2021, 12:00:41 pm »
Mustard?
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #2 on: 22 September, 2021, 12:06:47 pm »


Field bean? Grown as a fodder crop for live stock making use of a legume break in crop rotation for CAP purposes?

Just a guess.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #3 on: 22 September, 2021, 12:35:44 pm »
They are indeed field beans (these are varieties of broad bean), they let them die and dry out in the field, and then the harvester separates out the dried beans which go on to be milled into flour for use in animal feed. They're common for use in crop rotation to add nitrogen back to the field. Smell a lot better than rape when in flower too.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #4 on: 22 September, 2021, 12:46:53 pm »
I was going to suggest Triffids, but IIRC they never made it as far as Sussex...
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #5 on: 22 September, 2021, 02:55:44 pm »
Given the chemicals that "Natures Way" spray on their fields near Selsey, Triffids would seem a definite possibility!
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #6 on: 22 September, 2021, 06:50:44 pm »
We had a similar crop in the fields up here last year which my plant App said was fava bean! 

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #7 on: 22 September, 2021, 06:55:21 pm »
Aren't fava beans very similar to broad beans?
I'm no expert!

(though 'favism' 'cropped' up a long time ago at medical school…)

Tim Hall

  • Victoria is my queen
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #8 on: 22 September, 2021, 07:05:46 pm »
Top answer by QG (with added ian verification)!. Googling images of field beans brings up just the thing.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #9 on: 22 September, 2021, 07:20:49 pm »
Aren't fava beans very similar to broad beans?

Not sure, but they do go very well with human liver and a fine Chianti. Or so I hear...
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #10 on: 22 September, 2021, 07:39:54 pm »
Aren't fava beans very similar to broad beans?
I'm no expert!

(though 'favism' 'cropped' up a long time ago at medical school…)

They're the same thing – Vicia faba.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #11 on: 22 September, 2021, 07:45:41 pm »
Top answer by QG (with added ian verification)!. Googling images of field beans brings up just the thing.

They're fairly common (I live close to Sussex) around here. Letting them dry on the plant means they can be harvested and then directly milled to flour. Quite pleasant to walk through when they're in flower.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Cudzoziemiec

  • Моя планета голубая, я люблю тебя и обнимаю
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #12 on: 22 September, 2021, 07:53:16 pm »
I've seen them too, but round here they seem to have been harvested a few weeks ago. It does look odd to see them blacken in the field. They smell better than they look, but unlike ian, I prefer the smell of oilseed rape.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #13 on: 22 September, 2021, 08:22:51 pm »
Aren't fava beans very similar to broad beans?
I'm no expert!
(though 'favism' 'cropped' up a long time ago at medical school…)
They're the same thing – Vicia faba.

Ah thanks!
Every day is a school day!

HectoJ

  • 45 to go
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #14 on: 22 September, 2021, 10:07:47 pm »
They are indeed field beans (these are varieties of broad bean), they let them die and dry out in the field, and then the harvester separates out the dried beans which go on to be milled into flour for use in animal feed. They're common for use in crop rotation to add nitrogen back to the field. Smell a lot better than rape when in flower too.

I can't stand riding next to a field of Rape Seed in full flower, it creates a horribly oppressive "air" about it....

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #15 on: 22 September, 2021, 10:40:31 pm »
They're not usually left to dry, certainly not up here, one of two things happens; either they're sprayed with a desiccant so they become dry enough to combine, or they get so thoroughly blight infested they stop growing.
They're only really any good for feed if they're put through a mill. Nowhere near as much protein as soya beans but many fewer crop miles.
Being légumes (sorry, I CBA to de-French my phone) they're nitrogen fixatif so a reasonable break crop in a cereal rotation and if you can get them dry enough they'll go through the same machinery without too much trauma.
Not much market for them last time I was working in agriculture but that's 10 years ago now, and things change.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #16 on: 23 September, 2021, 09:24:06 am »
It's drier down south as we're near to the equator. Some around here are left until very late, I assume if it's a dry summer it's easier to leave them. Earlier harvests are probably sprayed. No idea on the economics, they're relatively common around here. I've never actually seen them harvested, but they go somewhere.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #17 on: 24 September, 2021, 09:43:11 am »
Aren't fava beans very similar to broad beans?
I'm no expert!

(though 'favism' 'cropped' up a long time ago at medical school…)

They're what fuul is made out of - a staple food in Egypt.  They are similar size to broad beans, but I've never seen them uncooked.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #18 on: 25 September, 2021, 11:02:51 am »
Not much market for them last time I was working in agriculture but that's 10 years ago now, and things change.

Is it not more a case of rather than farming the crop, this is about farming the subsidy?

CAP rules say that you have to grow a rotation of crops if you want to be paid, and in our climate, unless you live down the road from birdseye[1], there's not many good nitrogen fixing crops that you can actually get money for. So by growing field bean as animal feed, you can sell it as feed, and get the CAP money for the land? Historically field bean was grown in a lot greater quantities, but that was in the days before it was cheaper to burn down a rainforest, plant soy beans, and then ship those half way round the planet.

For those asking about broad bean and field bean, yes, they are the same species - Vicia faba. Which brings for an interesting quirk of plant naming, species, and genetics. Brassica oleracea is a single species. And yet, we all know it by different names. Brussel sprouts, Kale, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi. They are all a single species. And yet, if I was to put one of each on your plate you'd struggle to see any family resemblance if you aren't a botanist. There's a lot of discussion of when a species becomes a separate species, and Taxonomists are never quite 100% sure, which is why the latin for some plants can change over time. As recently as 2017 Rosemary moved into the Sage family of plants... Tho it is it's own species Salvia rosmarinus, but there is quite some diversity in the cultivars...

It's not consistent tho. While all those brassica are the same species, Malus Domestica (Domesticated Apple), is considered it's own species, despite the similarities to the crop wild relative Malus sieversii. Trying to make sense of when a species becomes a species, and when it is just a cultivar of another species breaks my brain, so I long since stopped trying to understand it.

I can recommend, for those curious, the book "Tamed" by Alice Roberts. It's a really interesting read on how we have ended up with the domesticated species we have today.

This post is not so much aimed at fboab, but at the others in the thread, not trying to be patronising.

J

[1]Live close enough to the birdseye factory, and then it can be profitable to grow garden peas (Pisum sativum), but as it's not something we really eat fresh, your farm needs to be a certain distance from the flash freezing facility, aka birdseye.
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #19 on: 25 September, 2021, 11:10:13 am »
You can only sell it as feed if someone is willing to buy it off you. Hence my 'not much market'.

CAP distorted farming practises quite a lot. Set-aside was horrific.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #20 on: 25 September, 2021, 11:15:04 am »
You can only sell it as feed if someone is willing to buy it off you. Hence my 'not much market'.

CAP distorted farming practises quite a lot. Set-aside was horrific.

Oh completely agree.

Not going to be a problem soon, we're gonna have all the farmers shutting up shop instead...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #21 on: 27 September, 2021, 11:50:28 am »
Species used to be defined on phenotype, so basically anatomical and other measures (overall appearance less so), because that's all people had to go on. Boundaries between species are mostly arbitrary on this basis. Then there was a move to biochemical and physiological methods.

There is much taxonomical reclassification these days as entire genomes can be sequenced leading to phylogenetics, which is far more sophisticated way of exploring taxonomical relationships. There's still a degree of arbitrariness with setting the thresholds. Phylogenetically, humans should, for instance, be in the same genus as chimpanzees (Pan rather than Homo) but no one is going to make a monkey out of us.

However, brassicas are an example of the strong influence of breeding (think also of dogs for an example from the animal world). This can eventually result in speciation, of course (if outbreeding is stopped and the selection pressure is maintained). Like many crops, they only grow F1 hybrids (the first filial generation from a cross between the F0 parents), if they cross and seed (brassicas will generally only seed every two years), the F2 generation will show a far wider range of characteristics (this is why for many crops, seed saving is non-viable, and it's not an evil plot, the F2 generation simply isn't worth the effort).

Field beans and broad beans, for instance, are very similar, just different varieties/cultivars. If you eat a field bean though, it'll be dry and mealy, and probably quite unpleasant because they've been bred for making flour rather than eating steamed and eaten entire.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: What crop is this?
« Reply #22 on: 27 September, 2021, 05:34:03 pm »
It's drier down south as we're near to the equator. Some around here are left until very late, I assume if it's a dry summer it's easier to leave them. Earlier harvests are probably sprayed. No idea on the economics, they're relatively common around here. I've never actually seen them harvested, but they go somewhere.

Quite a lot still in the fields up here on the Yorkshire Wolds at the moment. All gone black now.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.