With just a week to go until Clarkson's Farm returns to our screens, Jeremy Clarkson said the new series will "show everybody what real farming is".

"Farming on television has been portrayed in the past as fresh straw, fluffy lambs, agreeable calves: a bit like Babe," he said.

"I had it in my head before we ever started the farm that farming wasn't like that - that it was much dirtier and harder, and I always wanted to show it like it actually is."

He also hinted that plenty of the scenes will be just as chaotic and hilarious as before.

In series 3, you had a bet with Kaleb about who could make the most money?

That's the backbone of the whole series. We have a 1,000-acre farm but since I bought it in 2008, we've only ever farmed 500 acres of it and the other 500 acres is wildflower meadows, streams, woods, and rough ground.

There are no crops growing, no animals, just countryside because the state of farming is so parlous at the moment.

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I bet Kaleb that I could earn more money from doing little projects on unfarmed land than he could from farming 500 acres.

So while he was stuck with the traditional wheat, barley, and arable farming, I started harvesting blackberries, planting mustard, and using tiny little pockets of unfarmed land around the place.

We harvested the nettles which normally are just a nuisance and tried to make them into soup.

I got pigs into the woods: woods are normally empty of cash, no money comes from them, so I just did little bits and bobs like that to see if I could make more than he did.

It’s a way of trying to earn money from every little postage stamp of land without spoiling the countryside, so it's not tearing up the land; picking blackberries and nettles doesn’t do anybody any harm.

This year, the spending was truly astronomical because prices were so high.

You spend a huge amount of money then you hope that the weather is right and that the prices are right when you sell.

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We grew mushrooms at the top of the farm where there used to be an American bomber base; the underground air raid shelter is still there so I thought, “We can grow mushrooms in there.”

It was a case of, can we make five pounds here and a bit of money there? I won’t spoil what happens but it was an interesting experiment.

In the olden days when fertiliser, seed, and sprays weren't so expensive, farming was like gambling when the minimum bet was £2.

So you could go to a casino or a horse race and put £2 on and it's fun because if you win £4 or £6, great, and if you lose, you've only lost £2. That’s fun.

But if the minimum bet was £100,000, you wouldn't bet; you just wouldn't risk it.

Last year before the harvest we had to lay out £108,000 on diesel, fertiliser sprays, and the seed itself. That’s a huge bet.

Oxford Mail: Clarkson's Farm Series 3, Prime Video, Ellis O'Brien.                                         .

That’s fine if the weather is okay because you’re going to make that money back. But you have a hell of a lot of sleepless nights when you know that one rainstorm could wreck the lot.

I’ve noticed that farmers are quite sanguine; they go, “Well, you can't control the weather” and they sort of roll with it, but I’m too Yorkshire for that.

I lie in bed after spending £100,000 hoping the weather’s good and, guess what? The weather was absolutely terrible, all year, every single month.

Do you still have phenomenal arguments with Kaleb in this series?

I struggle to argue with him about farming because he just knows more than I do (he gets very frustrated with me!).

But when we do things like trying to repair the dam, that's construction, and neither of us really know what we're doing there. So that was one of our big arguments.

Then he was made to wear health and safety equipment, which nearly killed him because he stepped off the machine still attached to it and hit his head.

In this series, you explore a different approach to farming...tell us about that.

We try something new out... At the moment we plant a field with wheat or barley or whatever it might be, and Kaleb goes out with the insecticide, pesticide, fertiliser, in the tanks of the sprayer and then just sprays the fields, which is standard practice.

We speak to a team who says you need to plant more than one crop in a field at a time.

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If you go for a walk in the woods or anywhere, you'd never find just one plant growing. There’s always loads of them in any given area, and they always benefit from each other’s presence.

So we need to grow wheat, clover, and beans in one field and you don’t just spray it randomly, you test the wheat and the sample comes back saying it needs a bit of this or a bit of that and then you give it specifically what it needs, when it needs it.

So we tried this idea in one field. On average I think we probably usually use 200kg of chemical nitrogen in a field. On the practice field, we only used 11kgs of nitrogen.

So I quite like the idea of it. It’s responsible farming but do bear this in mind: I can do it because I've got other income streams. If something goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world.

You bought pigs this time, but it didn’t go to plan. Tell us about that.

It turns out that pigs aren't great mothers as a general rule, but the Sandy and Blacks breed that we got makes for a particularly poor mother…

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How were the pigs challenging?

The sows were giving birth, but it was always in the middle of the night, and it was bitterly cold.

When you've got a sow that's in trouble, you have to help out, and the fact is that Lisa’s hands are smaller than mine so she was the first to say, “It has to be me, it would be ridiculous to put your big old boxing gloves up the sow”.

She went literally shoulder deep. She did say afterwards at least it was it was warm up there.

Were there any difficult decisions in the edit about how much to show?

No. Farming on television has been portrayed in the past as fresh straw, fluffy lambs, agreeable calves: a bit like Babe.

I had it in my head before we ever started the farm that farming wasn't like that - that it was much dirtier and harder, and I always wanted to show it like it actually is.

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Every single TV show or movie we watched as a child was sad: Lassie, Ring of Bright Water where the otter gets a shovel through his head, Old Yeller, he died. Born Free was an absolute tear-jerker.

There was never a children's film in the 60s and 70s where it had a happy ending and I don't know what happened, but movie producers decided films needed happy endings, and that's what we've got used to.

Well, farming doesn’t have many happy endings, as we've discovered.

We want to do real farming and show everybody what real farming is. So whatever happens on the farm, we show it on television. 

Clarkson's Farm series 3 launches globally on Prime Video on May 3 2024.