The region of East Anglia has a rich history regarding its agriculture. Ever since large areas of the Fens were drained by the use of canals and redirecting rivers, it has left soils that are ideal for all manners of farming. The region possesses some of the richest soils in the country and in 2010 more than 3 billion pounds was earned from the produce that was farmed in the region. The region is the most productive arable farming area in the country and is sometimes referred to as the “bread basket of England”. For arable farming to be successful it does need ideal conditions. The soils that have been left behind after the draining of the marshes are rich in nutrients having been once left behind after rivers flooded the area.
The machinery required for planting and harvesting needs flat land and the isotropic plans of the region are ideal for the harvesters to work efficiently. The climate in the area is also ideal as it has the longest driest ripening period in the country with the highest summer temperatures. It also has deep winter frosts which helps to break down the soils. As well as the cereals being used for human consumption they are also fed to the animals. The area has a big pastoral sector as well with much livestock being raised. Cows and pigs are raised intensively in the region and some of the herds in the region produce the largest outputs of milk of any herds in the country.
The success of the dairy farms in the region has resulted in the production of many types of cheese. Each year many of the producers are recognized at the annual British Cheeses awards. In 2017 at the Bath and West Show Nortons Dairy from Frettenham, outside of Norwich, won the best Flavor Added Cheese category and the region had other successes during the awards. Poultry is also farmed in East Anglia and the region has seen a rise in the growth of mega farms. These are farms that house indoors more than 40,000 chickens and in the region some of these facilities contain up to 125,000 chickens.
The company “crown chicken” has had to apply for 25 separate permits for their farms in Norfolk and Suffolk. The “Hook 2 Sisters” company has had to apply 41 permits and most famous of all, Bernard Matthews has applied for 18 permits. Bernard Matthews is renowned around the country for producing Turkeys. It employs over 2000 people working on 56 separate farms that farms 7 million turkeys each year. The farms are spread between Norfolk, Suffolk and Lincolnshire.
Another popular produce of East Anglia is cider. The cider is produced all around the region. The ciders of East Anglia tend to be sweeter than the West Country varieties of the drink, as the apples used in the west are cider apples which are not as sweet as the culinary apples that are used in the east. As well as cider being produced so has beer and East Anglia has been producing the drink for many years. The beer has been produced from the locally grown barley and there are over 50 breweries in the region. Thirty of the breweries have joined together to form a co-op called the East Anglian Brewers which promotes the local beers.
East Anglia has always produced vast quantity of agricultural products. This has never changed and the only thing that is different is that some farming practices have changed with some farmers deciding to change what crops they grow, or what animals they rear.