Category Archives: farming

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


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



Overseas “investors” buy UK farmland?

Overseas investors HAVE bought the electricity pylon in the background and are “milking” UK consumers. Will overseas buy our land next?

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. Donald Trump rode to power on this realisation. As this 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. Just suppose Mr Trump continues to put America first and UK politicians continue to allow foreign investors to buy our assets.  Will foreign interests also buy UK farmland?

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 26 Jan 2018

Yes! We can

I have previously published in this blog, a graph of population growth and the likely collapse following too much growth and an airborne, multi-virus pandemic.  It is pretty depressing, not because of the collapse itself but because it is avoidable. Firstly, we have to stop people breeding. It defies common sense to allow continued growth.  So far, the claimed logic of decreasing birth rates as wealth increases is more than counter-balanced by medical advance reducing death rates. Secondly, we do need to up our game in food production.  We can increase food production and food security.  We can produce food safely.  We can use urban waste to reclaim the deserts.  We can use composted urban wastes to reduce irrigation need.

We can reduce birth rates and increase food production.  Why don’t we push a bit harder?  Right now!

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 23 January 2018


Northern Forest v Food per Head of Population


If we do not control population, very urgently, nature will do it for us – soon and it will not be pretty.

This morning, the BBC reported the allocation of thousands of acres to a new Northern National Forest.  Well, very laudable and politically correct. However, I do not hear of any politician talking about population control.  A reader of this blog in India reports the same total avoidance of the population issue in that country and, he observes, nowhere in the world. Population control and food supply WILL affect our children if we start now to do something about it.  If we don’t start and seriously, it WILL affect our children catastrophically. It is quite simple. Write to your MP about it.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 7 Jan 2018.

Farm Subsidies Brexit

Bringing home the harvest may be very different after Brexit which will bring the biggest change in British farming since the second world war.

Whatever the government says and promises, there is a pretty good chance that Brexit means the end of subsidies for productive farming.  The current indicators are for “fluffy” grants for “environmental” protection and projects.  All very politically correct and, as usual, devoid of facing reality of the need for food security balanced with environmental care. Forget for a moment that the only real way to protect the environment is to stop and reverse population growth. Look instead at what options farming might have in the event of loss of cash support.

Farming can become more efficient at lower cost. (Nothing new in that and we can keep improving.) Farming can produce more per ha. (We will keep doing that too.) Farming can add value, – by vertical integration.  Farming can diversify. We really do need to be looking more actively with fresh eyes at all of these.

Land Research Ltd 27 Dec 17