You can download a copy for free this Sunday, 8th October, by clicking below on “Buy at Amazon”.
On 24 August 2017m the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re 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 1. We’re Changing the Climate, Making Dry Areas Drier and Precipitation More Variable and Extreme.
Without mentioning any particular name, one who denies climate change must either be demented or have some ulterior motive. In most farming areas, water will in general get shorter in areas where it is already short and rain, when it does happen, at higher rates and with more wind. In general terms, most climatologists agree, this trend will continue. However, there is some evidence that we may have already started to switch off, or otherwise change, the Gulf Stream. If that turns out to be the case, the western areas of the UK may get colder, not warmer, especially in winter.
The effects of these changes will affect everything in farming including field drainage, soil organic matter, the way we control weeds in crops. We had better be ready to respond to these pressures. One thing is for sure – it will not stay the same.
There is one rule to watch; mostly, where rain is already short in the eastern areas, we will get less and when it happens it will be in heavy weather. Cereal crop lodging before harvest will be an increasing risk. All areas may experience flash flooding.
Conservation farming action;
- Add organic matter and reduce cultivations to reduce oxidation of organic matter.
- Subsoil at intervals.
- Maintain ditches and field drainage.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., September 17
A UK-based development programme has shown that a wide range of urban and agricultural wastes can be recycled as fertilisers, to the exclusion of manufactured mineral fertilisers, to produce sustainable, high-yielding agriculture and increase bio-diversity and populations. The programme has shown how that technology can be used to develop sustainable worldwide agriculture and dramatically reduce irrigation requirements including in arid and desert soils. This, in turn, closes the loop on recycling potentially significant amounts of global Carbon dioxide by changing the hydrological cycle, and increasing the global soil Carbon sink and releasing Oxygen back to atmosphere. Click here.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 16 May 17
The news reports of starvation in central Africa are pitiful. But this is a picture of the human race not paying attention to its future. The devastation will not stop in central Africa unless we are much more active in heading off the crisis and it is not just a question of sending a bit of cash and feeding a few people. Logically (this will sound awful and it is), we should abandon the area (we will do that of course). We need to put our own house in order. Produce food at home right here in the UK whenever possible. Do it with much less energy. Stop building on farm land. Wind up production using wastes rather than fertilisers made using energy.
Remember one figure and think about it. 1 tonne of Nitrogen fertiliser (say 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate) made in a modern, relatively efficient, USA factory, according to UN sponsored research, takes 21,000 KW hours of electricity to make it and deliver it.
We urgently need to change the way we do things and value farming and our future.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, March 2017
Please would President Trump and every Member of both houses of the USA government read this. There is money in it for the USA economy and all its people.
Land Research Ltd 14 March 2017
The science: The problem with ignorance is that it does not know what it does not know. Whatever we might think, the global biosphere is very complex. Think of the super-computers that are now being used to try to forecast the weather in the UK – not very easy because weather systems are very complex, global and involve enormous amounts of energy and atmospheric gases.
The bad news: When ice melts at the polar icecaps, sea levels rise on low level islands and people lose their homes or drown. As we produce more Carbon dioxide, coral reefs die. By the way, the Thames barrage is just about on its limit; if the wrong combination of moon (tides) and wind occurs, it may not be high enough – will not soon but we do not know exactly when.
The good news: I remain optimistic about our technological ability to slow down and hold the decline. There is some progress. What I am less optimistic about is whether our politicians, who because of democracy are inevitably interested in the next election, will do enough, fast enough – because it will involve some tough decisions.
Bill Butterworth 12th March 2016
PS If you are a gardener, try reading “How garden composting works” published by MX Publishing and set your garden soil alive.