Cambridgeshire

In pictures: Cambridgeshire farming from shire horses to solar panels

The Cambridgeshire branch of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has released photographs to mark the centenary since it was set up in 1914, six years after the national organisation was formed.

Image copyright Rex Sly
Image caption About 19,000 horses were in use in farms in Cambridgeshire in 1915. Brian Finnerty from NFU East Anglia said: "The outbreak of war brought the poor state of British agriculture into sharp focus. County war committees were formed to help co-ordinate advice to farmers on how to increase production."
Image copyright NFU
Image caption Noel Darby, 89, from Manor Farm, Marholm near Peterborough is one of NFU Cambridgeshire's oldest members. He said: "I can remember milking the farm's cows before school and the arrival of the first tractor in the early 1940s." Mechanisation and the consolidation of farm businesses are the industry's biggest changes, he added.
Image copyright Rex Sly
Image caption Mr Finnerty said agriculture faced a new crisis during the inter-war years, with prices for farm produce falling. Thousands of women joined the Women's Land Army during World War Two. What is less well known is that their farm work did not end in 1945 - over 100 land army women were still working in Cambridgeshire's farms in 1950.
Image copyright Tim Scrivener
Image caption Alongside traditional crops such as carrots, sugar beet and wheat, farmers now produce maize for anaerobic digestion plants and oilseed rape for biodiesel. Land is also used for wind farm and solar energy.
Image copyright Rex Sly
Image caption Modern farming uses computer and satellite technology to improve the management of soil, water and crop nutrition. Here carrots are being planted by tractors guided by GPS in fields near Chatteris.
Image copyright NFU
Image caption Despite farming's increasing use of high-tech gadgets, some crops continue to need harvesting by hand. About 77% of Cambridgeshire's land is farmed and the industry generates £496m from its livestock and crops, while directly employing nearly 7,000 people.

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