Themes: Food / Farming

Major arable crops of East Anglia

Cereals

In the East of England about half the agricultural land is used for growing cereal crops, such as wheat and barley. Cereal products are used both for human and for animal consumption; pigs and poultry are both fed mainly on a cereal diet. After threshing to separate the grains from the rest of the plant, the wheat is then milled to produce flour. Barley is mainly grown to supply the brewing industries, requiring the grains to be germinated and then kiln dried to produce 'malt'.

 

Root crops

Sugar beet is often grown in rotation with cereal crops as it returns organic matter to the soil preventing the build-up of diseases. Sugar beet grown in the UK provides more than half the sugar consumed; the rest is imported. The top leaves of the plant are used for animal feed (mainly cattle and sheep), while the roots are sent to the factory to be refined into sugar granules.  East Anglia is by far the largest supplier of carrots to UK supermarkets.

 

Potatoes and pulses

Many varieties of potato are grown by farmers and gardeners in Norfolk and Suffolk. This is celebrated in a festival known as East Anglian Potato Day, held annually at the Mid-suffolk Showground. Broad beans are also a common crop, and peas - sponsored mainly, until recently, by the frozen food company Birds Eye. The annual Pea Festival at Peasenhall in Suffolk includes games such as 'flick a pea' and 'pass the pea parcel.'

 

Field of sugar beet