We have been harvesting wheat reed for 8 years, every October we drill the fields then tend to our crops until late July.
We still use old fashioned machinery and traditional methods. We cut the reed using a reaper binder which then ties the reed into sheaves. This is then placed into stooks (by hand!) After a few weeks the sheaves are dry enough to be stored in the barn ready for combing.
We have owned our own comber for the last 5 years. Originally, Mr Hurford from Honiton would comb our reed however due to the distance of travelling with such a large machine he was unable to do this anymore. Therefore, we decided the time had come for us to buy our own machine and continue this traditional method. We managed to find one from a Mr M Dray from Devon. The machine took my Dad (who owns an engineering works) about 300 hours to restore to good working order (thanks Dad!) along with the expertise of John Reed.
Mr George Wakely (InThatch) came to see our machine running and we have since become his contractor for combing straw.
We are now in a position to travel around Somerset combing other farmers / Thatcher’s crops. The machine is run by myself and Robert Pike who has many years experience in the trade.