Weel Vrocht Grun
Weel Vrocht Grun meaning Well Worked Ground is the title of the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum’s main exhibition.
The exhibition tells the story of how farming in north east Scotland developed over the years from the late 18th century until the middle of the 20th century. The story is a remarkable one, telling of determination and heroic levels of human effort and hard work.
The exhibition also tells a story of environmental change. After 100 years of work, the landscape of the north east had been almost totally altered. Where once was heather moorland and bog, with scattered small patches of farmed land, was a spread of rich soil, large cultivated fields giving fine crops, and good pastureland for cattle.
A greater proportion of the British population lived in towns and cities. They could not feed themselves of a small area of land. At the same time Britain’s Royal navy and its merchant ships were sailing the world. When these ships left their British ports they had to be well victualed, that is well stocked with food for their crew and passengers. Farming had to be the source for the food to nourish the nation. Change can bring hardship. Many people benefitted, many people did not.
The exhibition is divided into a number of displays, each looking at a different feature of the story of north east farming.
• The changing landscape, how the land was worked to change it from moorland to rich farmland
• Ploughing and sowing, showing how cultivation changed and the tools and skills of the ploughman developed
• Harvesting and haymaking, showing how farming began to be mechanised, with the introduction of reaping and mowing machinery and the first tractors.
• Grain processing, showing the methods which were used to separate the harvested crop into its useful parts, from straw and chaff for human and animal bedding, to the cereal grain itself, which fed both people and animals.
• The cultivation of turnips for animal food. Without the development of the plain “neep”, it would not have been possible to feed the beef cattle which became the mainstay of northeast farming wealth.