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Some things never change

David Missen looks at the dirty topic of farmyard manure and greenhouse gas emissions.

An economic history lecturer once opened his talk with the words “What you need to understand is that the entire medieval economy was based on…what falls out of a sheep’s bottom” (or some similar phraseology). He then went on to refer to the manorial right of foldsoke, whereby the village sheep were pastured overnight on the manor fields thus steadily increasing the fertility and soil structure of the lord’s fields to the gradual detriment of the common land. It is no coincidence that centuries later, “manor farm” is generally some of the best land in the parish.

The continuing importance of what we now refer to as “farmyard manure (FYM)” is shown in the publication by DEFRA on 11 June of the latest farm practices survey.