On the 8th of July 2017 we had a crop formation under Hackpen Hill, near Broad Hinton, Wiltshire. Over the years this area, indeed this field has been popular with events and like other years I found myself, together with the CGI org. working with farmer James Hussey again facilitating access for people and raising funds for the 'Brighter Futures' cancer facility in Swindon. Beforehand we had been working with a farmer down in Dorset doing likewise with the 'Tree of Life' CF at Target Wood.
One thing that immediately struck me about this new CF at Hackpen Hill were the markings on the field. Some people quickly jumped to the idea that these markings were coding laid down by the CF Makers. As it turned out the solution, as is very often the case with problems was quite simple. The farmer informed me that there was an invasion of unwanted Blackweed in the field and it was necessary to spray it off in the manner seen in the aerial photos.
The brown crop is part of the sprayed-off area, an area that we would normally expect to be flattened by the laying force.
In this photo we can clearly see the difference in texture and lay characteristics in the brown crop lower left compared to other. Why should this be? I am suggesting it is the result of moisture differential. This would seem to be useful research and a significant observation. Photo/ screen shot curtesy of 'The Hampshire Flyer' with thanks.
On closer inspection though I made another intriguing observation related to this spraying. There was Blackweed running through the area where the CF was created, which too needed to be treated. The treated plants in this area seemed more resistant to the CF laying down force, less upright, dying off and going brown in colour. Because the field had been treated before the CF arrived the plants had already started to die and become dehydrated. This area was less moist than the main area of the CF. There was a moisture differential.
In my original hypothesis for the possible reasons behind what I coined 'Energy Leak' (EL) I stated they were either the result of mass differentials or moisture differentials which prevented the plants from being laid down along tram lines. In this CF we have two features. 1. Drier (sprayed-off, not near tram-lines) and 2. Green and moist (along tram lines). Both features subjected to the force, both relatively unaffected, so it could be said that EL is a combination or can be both types of differentials.
The 'still standing' crop here represents the 'Energy Leak' feature something also present in this CF.
So, here we have possibly the same mechanism is at work which would support the moisture differential hypothesis as in this case the spraying had caused the dehydration and resulted in the plants resisting the laying force.
This is a real observation as opposed to mere speculation. Something to keep an eye on I would say!