Category Archives: Agriculture

Global Warming -farming-recycling

 

Jet contrails do produce “global dimming” which reduces global warming but, in the process, produce enormous amounts of CO2. That can be removed in enormous quantities actually quite easily.

 

In the 24 June issue of New Scientist, Ed Hawkins, University of Reading, UK, and Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, both are quoted as observing that we really do need, urgently, to invent a way to remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a huge scale.

The classic way of solving a problem is to find a mirror image problem and put the two together.  Link farming (globally we need more food) and urban waste production (as global population and wealth rise, we get more unban waste) in the right way and that could deliver the invention. Well, we already have it and it has been done and on a scale that could be applied globally.

Search https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217 The Carbon dioxide bit starts at page 45.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 6 August 17

Global Warming can be arrested.

 

Sustainable farming

According to UN sponsored research, I tonne of N nutrient, made in a modern, efficient USA fertiliser factory, typically takes 21,000 (yes, twenty one thousand) kWh to manufacture and deliver to farm. Yet, we lose around half to groundwater with rain or irrigation. This will dramatically affect how we farm.  Part of the answer is to recycle waste to farm land.  How to do this safely and how doing this can also reduce irrigation need by up to 90 % is detailed in a referenced work on sustainable agriculture.  All these and how the global population  will reach crisis, and when, can be downloaded for free on the Sunday 12 Feb.  Search  Survival” by Bill Butterworth Amazon.

Dig for Victory

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Times have changed but the need for survival in a changing world has not. The country needs a stable farming industry and that may become critical sooner rather than later.

Just suppose we might, quite shortly, need to produce more food, a lot more food, at home in the UK?  Why ask?  Well, try taking a look at the Guardian article by Paul Mason; “The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Don’t assume western democracy will last forever”.  There is certainly a shift of power going on at present with “democratic” power shifting from the establishment to a “populist” move against globalisation and in the direction of protectionist nationalism. As that happens, we may not be able to trade in the established way and that includes food imports. It would be wise, as we approach Brexit, to stop building on good agricultural land and make sure agriculture is in good heart.  Remember “Dig for Victory”?  We might need that sooner rather than later and that might go for shale gas, steel, car manufacture, fashion, the pop industry and everything else we could make here.

 

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 13 December 16

Healthier crops, less sprays

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The wightish areas just off center, upper left are patches of mycorrhizae, just visible to the naked eye. These are the fundamental clue to soil fertility and healthy crops.

 

Closed Loop 6. Organic matter up, crop disease down.

Looking back at this blog entry of 31August 2016 and organic-based soils, we mentioned the closed conduit of the soil fungi, mycorrhiza, feeding at one end of their hyphae on the soil organic matter and the other end either crossing the root hair wall into the plant, or wrapping round the root hair like the placenta of a mammal.  Many of these mycorrhizae have probiotic effects, some have anti-biotic.  Some even have the ability to take nutrients out of one plant, hopefully a weed, and transport it into another, hopefully the crop.  Nearly always, increasing organic matter will reduce crop disease and expenditure on pesticides but it may take several years of higher soil organic matter for the soil biological activity to deliver that. Also see click.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 13 October 2016

Closed Loop 4. Soil Compaction

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Less compacted soils manage water, gas exchange better and grow better crops with less disease

Probably over 80 % of cultivation is necessary because of previous farm traffic. So get the traffic off the field.  Easier said than done but any move in that direction will help.  Zero traffic systems based on gantries are the only real way of avoiding the compaction but do not fit the scale we now operate on.  Tramlines were a great step forward.  Now, leave the grain trailers on the headland and run the combine in headlands and empty at the headland. The disadvantage is loss of time unloading but that may be good for drivers and is certainly good for soil compaction.  Alternatively, specify tracks for the combine.  Best, do both.   The bottom line is increasing soil organic matter which will make the soil increasingly resilient to compaction. It is a question of getting onto an upward spiral rather than a downward trend to led organic matter and higher power inputs.

The Sustainability blog by Bill Butterworth,

Land Research Ltd, 23 September 2016

Soil Organic Matter

Moore Unidrill

The Moore Unidrill’s patents related to keeping the seed sown at the same depth regardless of how much seed is in the grain tank. This direst drill gives an unparalleled even establishment.,

Farmers can get paid to make their own organic fertilisers from urban wastes by composting.  Is it easy and without hassle? Certainly not but it does produce better crops, with lower cultivation costs and higher yields. There is a part way stage and that is to conserve as much organic matter as possible in the soil, including leaving crop residues and minimising cultivations.  In most crops, approaching half the total dry matter of the plant will be below the surface of the soil. Cultivation oxidises organic matter.  Conventional ploughing and power harrowing plus seeding can destroy up to 35 % of soil organic matter per annum.  Direct drilling as little as 10 %. .

For more detail of preserving organic matter and profits, put “Survival by Bill Butterworth Amazon” into your search engine to download details.

Land Research Ltd September 2016

Fertiliser losses

Capture

Farms are currently applying some fertiliser to help establish this year’s planting of autumn-sown crops such as wheat, rape and barley. Some of the phosphate, a bit more of the potash and more still of the Nitrogen, will washout into the groundwater casing financial loss and pollution. Over the farming year, depending on soils, between a third and half of all mineral N fertiliser is lost to groundwater. See the diagram and, in the next issue of this blog, how to avoid that loss.  For further details click here.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 27 August 2016