Tag Archives: Bill Butterworth

Populist Trump and global warming

Will the seriousness of our situation ever be realised while we elect people who were not educated in the happenings of the real world and who have done a proper job?

A serious problem with populist utterances (of which Donald Trump is the best example, maybe ever) is that they tend to over-simplify answers to complex problems.  I refer specifically to climate change. What Trump does is appeal to the masses about protection of jobs and, in the short run, he may have a point, especially if he chooses to ignore the jobs being created in renewable energy. (In the USA, there are now more jobs in solar than in coal production.)  If Mr Trump and others want a quick fix for climate change, recycling waste to farm and forestry land and locking up the Carbon as organic matter would be a good start. If the UK Environment Agency could also revert to previous regulation on composting which would allow a farm to start composting without spending £ hundreds of thousands on concrete, that would help the environment, too. (Concrete takes a lot of energy to manufacture and put in place and with good practice, concrete is not actually necessary for large scale composting.  However, it will allow faster work with heavier equipment and a wider range of input materials.)

For more on “Only farmers can do this”, see “Survival”.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd. 14th February 2018

Brexit game theory

Credit for the current issue of New Scientist for the following;

“Some of the losses on the UK side are already beginning to manifest: several businesses are relocating their activities, anticipating that the negotiations will break down completely and result in a no-deal Brexit. In short, the damages of Brexit are already becoming a reality, at a time when neither of the players in the game seems to be prepared to give any ground in the negotiations – and indeed at a time when both parties claim to be advancing no-deal planning. So why did the UK government and the EU agree yesterday to fresh talks later this month? The answer could lie in both parties’ desire not to take the blame for what appear likely to be formidable economic losses. As things stand, history will probably record Brexit as a mutually damaging divorce between the UK and EU. But we don’t yet know who will take most (or all) of the blame.

In game theoretic terms, the two players are engaged in a war of attrition (or a dynamic game of chicken) where both flex their muscles attempting to convince their opponent to give in first, while both sustain short-term costs as long as the issue remains unresolved.”

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 8th February 2019

Climate change

Direct drilling will yield as good as any other system of cultivation, sometimes more. But only if it is understood as a system. Understand the drill itself.

I have been doing a significant amount of research recently, into climate change and its effects on all of us, but farming in particular. Firstly, the rate of change really does appear to the scientists involved to be picking up speed – still slow but beginning to speed up. The next ten years will be critical.  The love affair with the car is the worst offender in producing CO2, then aircraft, but there does appear to be a growing lobby seeing farming as one of the bad bogey men.  The culprits are methane (from ruminants) and CO2 from diesel engines and the production of mineral fertilisers (one tonne of N nutrient made in a modern, efficient USA factory takes 21,000 kWh to manufacture and deliver).

Yet more reasons to go direct frilling.  However, do not think it is an easy way out, there is just as much husbandry in direct drilling as in 4 or 5 passes of conventional cultivations. Particularly watch compaction in previous operations.

Bill Butterworth   Land Research Ltd, 7 February ‘19

 

Moon power

The moon moves the tides twice a day. We are missing out on this power.

The UK has some of the highest tides in the world.  Tidal power using barrages can have problems with sedimentation but inlet-outlet design can substantially solve this .  Wild life changes but does not lose out. We loose out by not doing it. On every count, it is better than nuclear.

Bill Butterworth,  Land Research Ltd.  22 January 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solar Roof

 

 

Sunlight is energy and it is for free!

Good news for those who have been eyeing Tesla’s new Solar Roof – the company just announced pricing for its photovoltaic tiles, and they come in at just $21.85 per square foot. That, they claim is nearly 20 percent cheaper than a normal roof once you factor in the energy savings and tax credits.  Well, almost there – do it without tax credits and then we are there but OK for tax credits to get started.

At least, someone has finally grasped that making a conventional tiled roof, and then retro-fitting solar panels is little short of insane suicide.  We have the technology to make a roof out of solar panels and we should never, from this day on, ever make another conventional roof.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd   18 January 2019

 

“Behaviours Frameworks”

Readers will be aware of the frustrations of regulation which I sometimes refer to in this blog and, of course, of their own experience.  However, I came across an new one (to me at least) this morning; my local County Council’s “Behaviours framework” – all 12 pages of it, plus several other similar sites for the same Council.

I am sad for my nation; we have come to an over-regulated, uninformed bureaucracy, consuming enormous manpower and resources with avoiding making a mistake or being thought to have made a mistake, this producing less “bangs for our bucks”.  The words “respect” and “common sense” appear to have been lost in education by parents and schools.  If each and every one of use began to practice these two words in what we do every day towards actually doing something productive, we, individually and nationally, would not only have a sense of direction and be much more productive, we would all be happier and better off.  Allowing lawyers to advertise was a disaster.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd  9th January 2019

Carbon capture by farmers

A more drill with cutting disc, seed coulter just behind the disk to clear trash from the slit and place the seed, independent suspension depth wheel to giive good seed-soil contact. As close as you can get to zero till without broadcasting.

The more I think about it, the more i realise that farming has a big, very big, maybe the biggest part to play in arresting global warming.

  1. Compost urban wastes and plough them in deep.
  2. The green leaf captures Carbon dioxide and gives back the Oxygen. No man-made process does that.
  3. About half the dry matter content of the crop is in the root system but that will oxidise away by cultivation at around 35 % per annum – so keep it there not just by not just direct drilling but zero till.

Only farmers and foresters can do this!

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 6 January 2019