£1.8 trillion National Debt

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest
Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.” – Cicero, 55 BC

So, evidently, we’ve learned nothing in the past 2,053 years.

 

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 17 September 18

Food security is a UK issue

This years drought in the UK was a warning shot. The global starvation issue affects us all – people with full bellies are less likely to go to war or emigrate.

New evidence in The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2018 confirms a rise in world hunger: the number of people who suffer from hunger has been growing over the past three years, returning to levels from almost a decade ago.
Multiple forms of malnutrition are evident in many countries: adult obesity is growing even as forms of under-nutrition persist.
The reports says that climate variability and extremes are key drivers behind this rise, together with conflict and economic downturns, and are threatening to erode and reverse gains made in ending hunger and malnutrition.

The current need to secure home-produced food is as strong now as it was in the 1939 to 45 war; the threat is different but just as potentially lethal, We neglect UK food production now at the cost to our children.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd  11 September 18

National suicide by bureaucracy

As I get older, I become more aware of increasing regulation, and Whitehall is actually worse, significantly worse, than Brussels.  I see it in every walk of life from farming to hospitals, from construction to “human Rights”.  I am reminded of what the historian Jane Marshall observed;

“It is in the history of the world that whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in government in the center pass more and more regulations (or whatever they call them at the time) in the belief that they can stop the decline.  What always happens is that they stifle innovation and inhibit entrepreneurial activity and accelerate the rate of decline.  That is what is happening here (the UK) and now.”

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 2 Sept 18

Farming in a drought

 

Desert in Suffolk, UK. Some years, this area really is within the UN definition of desert.

See https://landresearch.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/a-top-ideathat-holds-water.pdf 

And also see ” articles on the top ribbon of this website home page.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 30 Aug 18

Brexit – incompetence and risk.

 

This is from a British person, living in France and having worked for over 20 years in the French Civil Service.

“I know some people are calling for a referendum on the final deal. Does this mean that if the answer is “no” we stay in the EU or does it mean tat we drop out altogether? The later would be catastrophic for the UK.
Personally I have never been starry-eyed about the EU but see it as a necessity, particularly in the more dangerous world we are entering. I can understand why some people have reacted against it in complete sincerety (especially those supporting farmers in Africa) but I think the alternative is now far far worse. I also think that the EU will undergo some reforms and will be a fairer place in the future. I also think some of the problems the EU has been blamed for have been more due to incompetence in UK government along with the inevitable pains of computerisation and globalization.
One thing I am sure of is that the UK will not be better off with the USA as its main trading partner. The US will look after itself, as recent events have shown. Furthermore I do not believe Conservative ministers who say that the NHS is not for sale. In fact, I don’t believe anything they say.”

For myself, I can;e see a single word I disagree with.  If you, dear reader, agree – pass it on.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 26 Aug 18

Devizes Primary Schools

Well done Devizes primary schools! Children being constructive about recycling plastic waste.

Devizes primary schools put these models made from plastic waste on a roundabout in the center f town,

These constructions made from waste plastic have been on display on a roundabout in the center of Devizes in Wiltshire for several weeks.  They have been seen by thousands.  Well done children, teachers and the local authority..

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 23 August 18

Zero till – less cost, more yield

Zero till with a Moore Unidrill; note the independent discs and seed coulters (right) and press wheels on the rear (left) giving even depth of placement and good seed-soil contact. (Photo courtesy Agri-Linc.)

Direct drilling comes in two guises; drilling after a little cultivation (“min till” really), and what in the USA would be called “zero till”.  Each has its own consequence in terms of weed control. Maybe I learned, years ago, most from a farms manager called Richard Noyce, he always had clean bottoms to his crops simply because, after harvest, he cultivated the surface several times to get weeds seeds to germinate, before putting the next crop in. The alternative of one pass to put the crop in does imply more work to do with selective herbicide – but that is probably going to happen anyway, so it is not an extra cost. Generally, in the hands of a sensitive husbandry man, zero till costs less and gives higher yields.

Good husbandry and using the right machinery is aiming at even depth of placement, good seed-soil contact, giving even emergence.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 20 August ‘18