British Farming vs. Japanese Farming

I watched Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon prime the other day, and was very surprised to see how British farming was different from Japanese farming. Clarkson’s Farm is a television documentary series about Jeremy Clarkson and his farm in the Cotswolds. The farm was managed on a contract basis by a local villager called Howard but he retired in 2019. Clarkson then decided to try farming the land himself.

First of all, everything was massive, the land, machines, and a fertilizer bag. The entire field was about 175 hectares. I don’t know if it is the average size in Britain, but in Japan, well, around here, one farmer has 10 to 20 hectares of rice field.  I am talking about big farmers. Most farmers are even smaller scale and Shizenha farmers, you know organic or natural farmers, they manage less than 1 hectare, some manage just 1 are.

The machines were huge, too. Mind you, he did have a big Lamborghini tractor which was from Germany or somewhere and was way bigger than regular tractors used around there according to everybody who came to see it. And yet, there was a scene of auction where other agricultural machines were sold, and everything was bigger than the machines we have in Japan.


That is a rice planting machine we have in Japan. There are different sizes, and some farmers use bigger machines, but this is the average size I see around here. It is called Rokujoue, it can plant 6 rows at the same time. A wheat planting machine I saw on the program was at least twice as big as this one.

I mean I would have expected it if it had been an American farm. America is a big country with immense land and they use planes to plant seeds, right? But Britain isn’t any bigger than Japan, we are both island nations. I suppose our farmland space is about the same. Does it mean there are fewer farmers in Britain and each farmer does a much bigger scale farming?


When I went to Dartington, Devon, my friend’s farm was much smaller. I suppose organic farmers usually do small scale farming.

There are differences between rice growing and wheat growing, of course, and we need to take that into consideration when we compare the two. Because you need water in the rice paddies, you may have to limit the size to a certain scale. Plus, most Japanese farmers nowadays are not full-time farmers. They all have another job and they do farming only on weekends. It is impossible to work continuously for two weeks like Clarkson was doing on the program. He had to finish cultivating and planting seeds within two weeks.

Many farmers I know spend about a month planting rice in their ten hectares working every weekend from the end of April to the end of May.

Anyway, it is always interesting to see food production scenes. Whether it is conventional farming or organic farming, it is good to know how foods are produced.


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