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Marathon manual weeding effort takes place on farmland around Lichfield

Edyla Sala, Barbara Sobierajczyk, Karolina Zasaka, Anna Ewicka and Kamila Dudek

Edyla Sala, Barbara Sobierajczyk, Karolina Zasaka, Anna Ewicka and Kamila Dudek

If you’ve been busy weeding the garden and you’re having a bit of a moan about your aching back, spare a thought for a team of farm workers in Shenstone who have just finished weeding 140 acres by hand!

Ecologically-friendly farming methods used by parsnip growers R&RW Bartlett mean weeds on the 700 acres of land they farm in the Shenstone and Whittington areas are controlled in the good, old fashioned way – by hoe, rake and hand.

At important growing times, such as now, weeding teams – normally workers from the company’s packing section – spring into action.

And with the sun shining down workers are delighted to be out in the open air.

Kamila Ducek explained:

“It’s not as tough as it looks and it helps keep us all fit. We use hoes and rakes most of the time so we aren’t bent down as much as you think. When the weather is like this it just great to be out here.”

The workers have just finished weeding the farm’s early crop, an essential task that ensures sunlight gets to the parsnips and isn’t obscured by a canopy of weeds.

It is a an expensive method of weed control but Rod Bartlett, who runs the business with his father Roy, says it is well worth the extra cost:

“This is the traditional way of keeping weeds down, it’s better for the land, the wildlife and, of course, the parsnips.”

Dad Roy, who has farmed in the Lichfield area for more than 60 years, added:

“People are very interested in how their food is grown and cared for. They want responsible farming and that is how we approach our business.”

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