Film ID:
YFA 1256



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This film shows the first few years of a new concept in British agriculture – co-operative farming.  Three farmers from the Rotherham area have integrated their farms into the Thrybergh Farming Company.  The film includes footage of those three farms as well as the various livestock they look after and the many crops which they plant and harvest.   

Title – Agricultural Co-operation

            Some aspects of total integration by three young farmers. 

The film opens with the three farmers standing together.  A map then shows the three individual farms as well as the co-operative farm formed, all located near Rotherham.  There is a shot of the farm house, tractor, and scenes of the surrounding landscape.  With another view of the map, lines are drawn from the three separate farms to the new co-operative Thryberge Farming Company which consists of:  254 Acres, 40 Fattening Bullocks, 120 Pigs, 2050 Laying Hens, 6000 Broilers.

Work begins on the farm, and the men start with digging.  The land extracted is dumped on the back of a pick-up truck.  Various materials and different stages of construction are shown for the digging of the slurry pit.  This involved digging a large hole about 40 feet by 10 feet in the middle for the proposed site.  To ensure that the slurry would flow to the end where it would be sucked out, the farmers made the floor sloping with a difference of about 1 foot.  After the hole had been dug, steel shutters were erected all around the hole at a distance of 1 foot from the sides.  Stacks of hay can be seen in the background. 

A boy stands in front of the finished hen shed, and the shed is shown from different angles.  Here is where the laying hens are to be housed.  The chickens are in cages, and one of the farmers goes around to the various cages to collect the eggs.  These eggs are carried out of the shed on a kart and then loaded into the back of a green car.  The eggs are collected and graded every day, but as a grading shed had not yet been built, the eggs were transported down to Grange Farm where the electronic grader was still installed.  There is further construction of a grading and storage shed in the summer of 1968.  More eggs are seen being collected, and after which the eggs are transferred to the grading shed where they are graded on a machine.  It weighs each egg and divides it by its weight into one of five grades from extra large down to small. 

Outside there are more construction vehicles, and the ground is lightly dusted with snow signalling the change in seasons.  The chicken cages are cleared out, and the waste us collected via a hose connected to the back of a truck.  This is used to fertilize the fields with a David Brown tractor.   

There are more shots of the farm, and near the hen shed new baby chickens are dumped onto the ground from cardboard boxes.  The farmers pick up the fully grown chickens and load them into crates in the back of a truck.  The pig pen is the next part of the farm to be seen.  The co-op's chief livestock is stock pigs, having a breeding unit of 700 sows.  The pigs are being fed a mixture of barley, wheat, fish meal, soy beans, pea meal, vitamins, minerals, and artificial amino acids.  The mix is made in their own mill which is situated in the old granary above the pig pens.  Water is added to the mixture and the pigs brought up to feed in the sow crates.  In these sow crates, each pig is fastened in an individual compartment and thus receives its own particular diet.   

When the sow is expecting, it is transferred to an individual pen which has 2 compartments – one for the mother, and the other, separated by bars, for the piglets – this is to stop the piglets from sleeping in the mother’s pen, as she might accidently lay on them.  Eventually they are fed on a diet that fattens them, and are transferred from Old Oak Farm down to Chestnut Farm where the fattening process is completed, before they are sent to the markets when they reach a weight of about 200 pounds.   

Ploughing of the fields begins, and a tractor can be seen driving down the road before ploughing different fields.  Manure from the pigs is used as fertilizer and spread across the fields.  After the manure spreading comes the ploughing, when we break up the land after the previous year’s harvest.  This process is captured from a number of different angles.  Dark dirt is upturned from the ground, and different types of equipment, including a four furrow plough, are used during these processes -–filmed extensively in this portion of the film. 

Back at the barn, the farmers pull out large bags of seed to be loaded into the red seeding machine which are attached to the back of a tractor.  The driver seeds the field, filling the machine with new seed when necessary.  Planting is done by a seed drill which has two compartments.  One is filled with fertilizer, and the other with corn seed.  Underneath these compartments are 14 pipes – each pair joined at the bottom.  When the drill is working the pipes trail in furrows and simultaneously drop one grain of corn and one grain of fertilizer into the ground.  The fall of the seed and fertilizer is controlled by a plate which slides back and forth across the pipe in relation to the speed of the tractor. 

Potatoes are also planted with a similar machine to that used for the corn.  The machine digs furrows in the ground for the potatoes to be planted.  Later, after watering the fields, spraying the crops with weed killers, and other maintenance, the crops are harvested.  The wheat crops are the first to be harvested.  Hay stacks can also be seen spread out along one of the fields.  They are gathered up and loaded in a massive stack onto the back of a large pick-up truck.  The Farming Co-op is only able to keep about 2% of the straw which is used as bedding for the livestock.  The bales are taken from the fields as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of the straw being rained on.  With tight and expert packing 130 bales can be packed on each trailer load.  These are loaded safely as in order to reach the barns they have to use public roads.  The rest of the straw is then burned.  Doing this removes the straw, removes the stubble, and helps to enrich the soil. 

The potatoes are ready to be harvested.  They are dug up by a large blade, which also picks up a lot of soil and then put into the large revolving wheel, which shakes out the soil and transports them up onto the top table.  Here the potatoes are removed and placed on another revolving table underneath this one, while the stones and remaining soil continue round the top table and drop off at the end.  The potatoes on the bottom table travel round and are pushed onto a conveyor belt which transports them into a trailer which is permanently running alongside.  When the trailer is full, another replaces it, and the full one goes to the potato storage sheds.   

In the final scenes of the film, one of the farmers is trying to fix a wheel on a part of farm machinery.  One of the other farmers comes up behind him, taps him on the back, and after a long season’s work, opens up a bottle of ale offering the working farmer a sip.  They fix the wheel together, and then it is back out into the fields. 

Title – The End.