Category Archives: farming

Carbon Capture – simply under our noses

Carbon Capture without giving us the Oxygen back would be a disaster.

It is in the nature of humans to look for the latest gismo, preferably with bells and whistles and girls dancing.  Therefore the perceived “holy grail” of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is to take the flue gases from burning oil, coal and lignite, and put it down a deep hole and leave it there.  So far, nobody has done this on a commercial scale successfully.  If people don’t like shale gas exploration and the pressures used in “fracking”, CCS might be worse with the pressures involved and potential for catastrophic leakage.  There is also a problem in that this route locks up the Oxygen and some living creatures might find that a bit difficult.

So, what answer is under our noses?  It is called the green leaf.  Green growth takes Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and gives us the Oxygen back.  Only farmers and foresters can do this.  So, support them and stop building on land that will support green leaves.  The alternative, according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is likely to be catastrophic.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 15 December ‘18

 

 

 

Cities must go up, not outwards

This building land was, a few months before this picture was taken, productive farmland. Instead, we will import a bit more food and have a bit more national debt which our kids will probably fail to pay off.

Compact cities produce fewer emissions than urban sprawl because they tend to offer better access to public transit and cycling and walking paths, have greater energy efficiency, have lower environmental costs for infrastructure, and allow for more green spaces. It is more expensive to construct and operate infrastructure that services sprawling communities than it is to serve compact ones (i.e. built upwards). According to the World Recourse Institute, one estimate suggests that a more compact approach to urban growth could reduce global infrastructure capital requirements by more than $3 trillion between 2015 and 2030.  Building upwards can be socially difficult and unsafe but, with good design, it can also be socially beneficial and safer than urban sprawl/

Also, productive farm land is shrinking.  Common sense inescapably says stop building on farm land, build upwards and limit population growth.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 22 November 18

 

Recycling contraceptive “pill” and hospital wastes

Residues of drugs, hormones,antibiotics and disease organisms do get right through the sewage treatment systems into our rivers and land.

 

We have known for over 30 years that, when women take the contraceptive “pill”, they urinate out the residues which do get through the sewage treatment system and end up in the rivers where, in one research study, male sticklebacks (a small fish) produced eggs.

It is relevant to note that much (maybe most or even all) sewage from hospitals is, quite legally (but questionably safely) put directly into the public sewer system and treated, along with general urban sewage, in conventional public sewage treatment works (STW’s) with the products released to water courses (some of which are later, down-river, extracted for human consumption) and farm fields. That sewage will certainly involve the technical issues involving drug and antibiotic residues, and significant pathogen levels.

I will, over the next couple of years, be looking at recycling hospital wastes, safely.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 17 October 2018

Winds will get stronger

We know that burning aviation fuel advances global warming by producing GHG (Green House Gas), BUT, it also delivers what is called “global dimming” because the ice crystals which allow us to see jet contrails also reflect sun radiation back into space. Complexity yields uncertainty.

The global weather system is complex and how it will change with respect to the global warming that we all (except, apparently, Mr Trump) know is happening is difficult to predict in detail and fast enough. One of the problems with that is that by the time we are sure of something, it may be too late to do much about it. The evidence so far does not suggest that climate change causes hurricanes. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that a warming climate leads to more devastating hurricanes.

As far as UK farming is concerned, the implication is that winds generally will get stronger and storm winds will do more damage to crops. Wind breaks and stronger cereal straw are still likely to be part of the defence strategy.  Wind turbines may be a better investment, too.

 

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 3 October 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

JCB 520 Loadall

This machine changed farm handling forever.

I came across this beauty a few days ago at the premises of Windsmere Stone & Granite Ltd on the Melksham Road out of Devizes.  (These lovely and knowledgeable people have a really good selection of granite and marble worktops.)  It was bought back in the late 1970’s and is now worth twice what they paid for it.  It has lifted granite slabs daily for 40 years.   Telescopic loaders changed materials handling, globally, for ever, and saved many a man’s back as well as speeded up so much in farming, construction and manufacturing. I met Jim Harrison, the first MD of JCB Handling Ltd back before this machine was born, at the initial launch,  Well done Jim and JCB.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 19 August @18