Category Archives: farming

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

 

AD Insanity

 

Putting “waste” into an AD plant to make “renewable ” energy can make sense, despite the energy cost of the plant. However, growing crops to feed the plant is both insane and immoral.

The energy cost of the steel, plastics used in the construction of an AD plant, plus the energy involved in construction, can sometime make environmental sense and make a small contribution to energy security, However, it is as well to remember that 1 tonne of Nitrogen fertiliser nutrient, made in a modern and efficient USA fertiliser factory, according to UN-sponsored research, typically takes 21,000 (yes, twenty one thousand!) kWh to produce and deliver.  N fertiliser produced in eastern block countries may use as much as 20 tomes more power. So, using fertilisers, to grow crops, to harvest using diesel to cut and transport to an AD plant, to digest to produce methane, to burn in an engine to drive a generator to produce even less electricity is insanity based on ignorance. What is more, that land could be used to produce food and we need food security and so do 100,000,000 people in central Africa which the UN reports are on the edge of starvation death.  That is immorality on a global scale sanctioned by ignorant government. in Brussels and Whitehall.

(There is a chapter on renewables in general and AD in particular in “Survival”.)

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 31 July 18

 

 

Moisture in our soils

Can we organic matter to make top soil reservoirs for next year?

At this time of introduction of a hosepipe ban in the NW of England, maybe a moment (if we get a wet day during harvest) to think about not running short of water in our soils next year. So, a check list for before serous rain starts.

  1. Know where water is coming from. Of course, it is the rain. Is it? Is wat3r coming from other land onto yours?  Can it be diverted or managed better? What about ground water.
  2. What route does the water take off your land? Do you want it to leave?
  3. Is lack of maintenance of ditches and drainage a significant issue?
  4. What speed is the water when it leaves your land? Will it case flooding lower down?
  5. Can you harvest the water?
  6. Does water leaving your land carry nutrients at a loss?
  7. What is the organic matter level in each of your fields? Will that level help manage water at the right time for cultivations, crop growth and harvest?
  8. How can you change the organic matter of your soils?

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 17 July 18