Category Archives: farming

Despite the rain now, water may cost more in future

Britain has too much rain this spring. Nevertheless, farming may pay more for its water in future.

Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer.  With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.

 Reason 6. Water Is Wasted

The water in our water main grid is “potable”, i.e. drinkable.  Yet half the water used in domestic households is used to flush toilets, enters the sewage system and is treated and dumped into rivers. It is true that some of that water may be extracted lower down the river and re-used, but this is an incredibly wasteful system.

The washing down of dairies and other livestock enterprises on farms is similarly wasteful.

Conservation farming action;

  1. Harvest water off shed roofs and concrete areas,
  2. Wash down sensibly, limiting use to what is necessary.
  3. Get everyone to remember that water is a valuable and increasingly expensive resource.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  7 April 18

Land values- farming-Brexit

 

The Environment Secretary has repeatedly signally lately that support for farming will progressively shift from production support to environmental protection.  As we already import more than half of what we eat, that presumably means that the post-Brexit trade deals we hear so much of lately will sacrifice UK agricultural production to imports, in exchange for exports of cars, armaments, fashion, university places and computer programming.  That, in turn, implies a change in land values as production will be less economic and cash for the environment will be squeezed in favour of university tuition fees (or whatever is PC at the time). That implied fall in land values will then allow the builders to buy up land and build houses. Obviously an environmental improvement which will allow otters, beavers and bitterns to occupy urban gardens.

I remain unconvinced that government is thinking anything through.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd,  1st April 18

Farming must think outside the box

Farming and the Health Budget.5.Care in the Community.

There are sectors in farming with spare B & B capacity, some at certain times of the year, some 365. With the right training and support, there is a capability here to integrate with the Health budget. One post-hospital treatment supervisor could manage, say, 5 to 10 farm sites with maybe upwards of 20 patients (customers?).    We need to make better use of tax-payers/ cash by integrating different parts of the economy and getting two benefits for the price of one. Fresh air, gold good, genuinely caring people, relaxing recuperation could improve recovery rates.

Bill Butterworth,  Land Research Ltd.

Farming and the Health Budget.5.Care in the Community.

There are sectors in farming with spare B & B capacity, some at certain times of the year, some 365. With the right training and support, there is a capability here to integrate with the Health budget. One post-hospital treatment supervisor could manage, say, 5 to 10 farm sites with maybe upwards of 20 patients (customers?).    We need to make better use of tax-payers/ cash by integrating different parts of the economy and getting two benefits for the price of one. Fresh air, gold good, genuinely caring people, relaxing recuperation could improve recovery rates.

 

Bill Butterworth,  Land Research Ltd.

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

Peace in our time – farming for others

THIS

Can deliver this to others

Farming and the Health Budget.2. Recuperation

Recuperation in the community clearly reduces the pressure on hospitals and GP’s.   organising close links and understanding between the health services and farms has some clear advantages in terms of relaxation, fresh air, exercise, good food and mental repair and re-building hope.  However, it only works if the farm used is a production operation because the hope of harvest, the hard work of others, the peace in that hard work, is what allows peace to the visitor.

What better place to learn about diet and health education than on a farm.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 27 Feb 18

 

Fatberg at British Museum

 

The soil mycorrhiza are dramatically assisted by the addition of biosolids, thus reducing crop disease and crop spying.

The Guardian newspaper reported recently that the British museum is exhibiting part of a sewer-blocking fatberg that made headlines last year, weighing 130 tonnes, the equivalent of 11 double decker buses and stretching more than 250 meters, six meters longer than Tower Bridge. Said Vyki Sparkes, the curator of social and working history, “I don’t think you can get much lower than a fatberg … it reflects the dark side of ourselves”.

Fortunately, most of our sewage goes through very efficient sewage treatment works (STW’s) before the water is recycled to rivers and the sea.  The STW extracts the organic material and some of that is recycled to land to grow crops (“biosolids” are really good fertilisers which add trace elements and improve the biology and disease resistance of the soil, thus reducing crop disease). The real bogey is the solid plastic which goes to landfill. Yet again, it is hard plastic which is causing intractable environmental problems.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, February 2018

Fruit Farming must Automate or Die

Thousands of tonnes of soft fruit rotted in the fields last year.

The Guardian newspaper today (you can get this bit free on line) that thousands of tonnes of fruit went unpicked in UK fields last year because of a shortage of 4000 labour. British workers do not want to do it and Brexit fears has left many EU workers at home.

So what is the answer?  Logic is simple;automate or get out and into something else.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 9 February 2018