Category Archives: Environment

Synthetic N Fertiliser

In the UK , around 80 % of the cultivation energy we use is to undo previous traffic compaction and around 50 % of the energy we use to manufacture and spread fertiliser goes into the groundwater. This is neither profitable in the short run nor sustainable in the long.

The nature of the Nitrogen molecule carrier/store dramatically affects not only N fertiliser losses to groundwater, but how it gets into the plant and promotes growth.

Nitrogen fertiliser can be applied in two forms; as soluble in water (such as ammonium nitrate) and as organically bound N (as part of long, Carbon-chain molecules).If the molecule is relatively small and in-organic (mot part of a Carbon chain molecule), then it can be absorbed across the root-hair wall and progressively built up by the plant metabolism into amino acids and plant proteins. This route has served us well and saved countless billions from starving and postponed their death.

There is a problem.  While “artificial” or “synthetic” fertiliser N certainly has its place, the energy cost of manufacture and the losses to groundwater are unsustainable. The alternative will be discussed in the next post on this blog.

Also see “Reversing global Warming for Profit” by Bill Butterworth published on Amazon.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd,   20 May 2018

 

The Land, population and policy

Once we have built on land, it can never again be farmed to produce food.

As I drive around the country, the rash of “toy town” building estates continues to eat up farmland much as the red blotches of measles cover a child’s body.  Apparently, the “build more houses” policy will solve all the country’s economic problems. I remember Stephen Nortcliff saying at a meeting of the BSSS (British Society of Soil Science)  “when land is built on, we can never have it back for farming.”

In round figures, there was a net immigration into the UK last year of over 500,000 and we built a little over 100,000 houses. On top of that there appears to be a growing policy as part of Brexit that we trade exports of manufactured goods and services for imports of food and turn the countryside into a play area for urban people.  We do this as a short term politically correct expedient and our long term peril.  Write to your MP about it.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd  22 April 18

 

 

 

Farm Labour and change

 

 

Post Brexit, UK farming faces the biggest change for over 100 years.  So, is there a connection between this…

… and this?

 

Farming and the Health Budget.  3. Health Education

Fresh air, walking, communing with nature, getting away from the rush, good food.  Farming is now grubbing out young, viable fruit orchards for apples, pears, plumbs, raspberries, strawberries – and because EU labour has gone back home. If people want welfare support, health support, then each individual has to help themselves wherever they can.  Gentle exercise fruit picking, together with others at the same stage of health, under the guidance of health specialists, could do for themselves, farming, the nation and the Budget, and the taxpayer a favour.  And it could be fun!  Pretty good for NHS staff, too.

We really do have to start thinking outside the box in order to ensure profit is generated in farming because that is where the resources come from to maintain what the politicians politely call “the environment”.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 2 March 18

Vision of UK Farming

THIS

For half a century, the British government and (latterly) the EU have supported production.

OR THIS

Of late, the UK Environment Secretary has begun to signal a further shift in financial support towards a politically correct view of “the environment”.

We actually produce more per ha than any other country on earth.  We produce the most policed and safest food compared with every other country on earth.

So where will UK farming be in 10 years’ time?  By current political correctness, no doubt with awfully nice, “fluffy” environmental “improvements”.

We certainly do need to work very hard at environmental safety and care.  We certainly need to protect and encourage wild life.  However, stifling farm production will do little help on these matters.  If we really want to help “the environment”, whatever you understand by that, then we need to stop people breeding.  It is not about race, it is about numbers. Common sense tells us that uncontrolled population growth, globally and in the UK, by whatever route, must eventually destroy everything we value. But, then, common sense ain’t common any more.  For a larger, researched and balanced review of population growth and food production, see https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 19 February 2018

We actually produce more per ha than any other country on earth.  We produce the most policed and safest food compared with every other country on earth.

So where will UK farming be in 10 years’ time?  By current political correctness, no doubt with awfully nice, “fluffy” environmental “improvements”.

We certainly do need to work very hard at environmental safety and care.  We certainly need to protect and encourage wild life.  However, stifling farm production will do little help on these matters.  If we really want to help “the environment”, whatever you understand by that, then we need to stop people breeding.  It is not about race, it is about numbers. Common sense tells us that uncontrolled population growth, globally and in the UK, by whatever route, must eventually destroy everything we value. But, then, common sense ain’t common any more.  For a larger, researched and balanced review of population growth and food production, see https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217

Bill Butterworth, Land Reseaarch Ltd 19 February 2018

Entrepreneurial Business and Farming after Brexit

This is what happens when people who think they know about “the environment” start making rules about production processes about which they actually know very little.

I was talking to a client today concerning an un-necessary problem in recycling construction waste to farm land. He said, “Am I growing old or is it it getting more common that I meet more people who cause difficulties for no good reason?”

As a matter of experience, I am left in little doubt that, after Brexit, every arm of government and the establishment will not interfere with innovative activity, legal or otherwise, in areas such as electronics, automation, the web, etc, including the City.  They have neither the knowledge, nor the resources to regulate these areas and, therefore, such areas will continue to become progressively illegal and lacking in any sort of ethics other than “honour amongst thieves”. However, the ordinary activities of life including farming will become more and more regulated. The historian, Jane Marshal, was right;

“It is in the history of the world that whenever an empire collapses and for whatever reason, those left in government in the centre 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 EU and especially the UK) and now.”

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 7 Feb ‘18

 

 

Shale gas- Teresa May

Today, 24th December, the book “Survival” can be downloaded free.  Today, you can read, for free, a chapter on shale gas which is a balanced view of what was known at the time, and that things have not changed much. No doubt, today or shortly, there will be howls of anger and disagreement from the anti’s in the groups who purport to stand up for the “environment” and some will post rude comments on Amazon and wherever. Well, they are entitles to deny the facts and be generally bigoted. The truth is that, in isolation, they are partly right; shale gas, if we had the option, would be best left in the ground and we would use “renewable” fuels. Unfortunately, that is only part of the truth.  The Earth is already grossly over-populated and people need food and energy. The UN says that around 10 million (yes, 100,000,000) people in central Africa are on the edge of starving to death. (Not a nice way to die.)  Food production takes energy. Electric cars need electricity.  We need these things now, not at some time a few decades down the line. Shale gas is a transition fuel with a clean burn.  We need to bridge the gap.  We need it to close the national debt before we become another Greece..  We need the jobs.  We need to use shale to re-build an economy which currently is superficially still OK but is actually sliding downwards quite quickly.  We need to use shale gas as a step in generating a genuinely sustainable economy and environment.  We need to all pull in the same direction to do that.  Would that we had leadership that could create that vision and lead us into it.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 24 Dec 17

Farm land and food security

Not is, when will our children in the UK be short of food?

There is just the beginnings, maybe, of a constructive debate about the balance between “environment” and how that is interpreted in land use, and food production. Both world wars, particularly the second with the advent of U-boats, saw food security being a real issue.  “Food security” is one of those things that politicians will verbally agree is an issue but there is scant evidence that it figures much in their efforts to be elected to power and to keep power when they have got there.  However, we must be grateful for the colour of UK passports.

Yet, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) of the UN, for which some of my students have spent their careers with, are calculating that we will need to double food production globally by 2050. Most thinking people conclude that achieving that, or anywhere near it, would be an inconceivable miracle. It is not going to happen.  So, whether the politicians and “environmentalists” can argue their positions as much as they like but unless we grasp population control and food security for the people, each in our own country, then sooner or later, probably too much later, the politicians will be out of power.  By that time, not just our children, but our own selves, will need a lot of money to buy food off global markets.  Putting land under buildings and into wildlife projects is great but the price in the long run will be greater.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 23 Dec 17

P.S.  May 2018 bring some common sense into our national life.