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
Common sense tells us that if we use manufactured mineral fertilisers to produce food, eventually, the soil store of trace elements will decline, followed by a decline in the harvested crop, followed by a decline in the health of th4e crop, followed by a decline in the intake of trace elements by humans, followed by a decline in the health of humans.
This common sense understanding of the loss of micro-nutrients in human diets has been shown many times and, again, recently by a paper on soil Selenium decline by Steve McGrath et al and reported in the current edition of The Auger, journal of the British Society of Soil Science.
What do we do about it? See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Survival-Sustainable-Energy-Wastes-Shale/dp/1523264217 with government employing the BSSS nationally to monitor and guide on not too much and not too little.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd
The whole of agricultural policy following two world wars, was food security and “food” was identified as farm crops as harvested. . While we forget that lesson at our peril, we now have to think in terms of Adding Value. Doing that by taking a harvested crop (such as vegetables) and processing and packaging them is certainly a step in the right direction. However, there is another way of looking at Adding Value and that is at an industry level for the national economy. One of the most important ways we can do that is to accept, co-operate with and seek to influence and re-direct regulation and regulators to deliver what is, and should be recognised as already the case, the safest food in the world.
Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd., 26 April 2017
Click here for Survival
There is no doubt that Sir Harry Ferguson’s invention of the farm tractor 3-point linkage, which gave weight transfer off the cultivation tool down the top link onto the driving wheels of the tractor, revolutionised world farming and has saved many millions of the human race, including ourselves in the West, from starvation. There is no doubt that it is still relevant.
Nevertheless, we have moved on into an era where we need less damage to soil structure, less nutrient loss to ground water, less energy use, less pressure on climate change. And more food to feed a rocketing population.
Quite simply, we need to recycle urban waste to land and use zero till wherever feasible. To do this, another step in tractor development is now a marketing opportunity. Back in the1970’s, I published an article in the then journal “Big Farm Management” which predicted that the global tractor market would split into 5 roughly equal sectors; (i) mid-range, Ferguson design “maid of all work”, (i) similar but small, up to 30 horse power, (iii) very large over 150 hp and moving to tracked, rather than wheeled, (iv) MHT’s – materials handling tractors, mainly telescopic loaders, and (v) HST’s – High Speed Transport tractors; lighter-weight, transport tractors equipped with PTO and capable of field work.
That prophesy has turned out as predicted for the first 4 categories. Now, the need to move to conservation agriculture and zero-till, makes the move to this last category of lighter weight, transport-capable, versatile tractors, over-due and a real opportunity for the tractor trade to supply emerging trends on conservation coupled to more efficient production.
Land Research Ltd, 14 April 2017
I took this picture earlier this evening, on the top of chalk downs near Devizes in Wiltshire. What happened to April showers? The spring-sown crops are struggling. Whatever Donald Trump says, the climate is changing and there are visible consequences.
Read about these issues. Put “Survival Bill Butterworth Amazon” into your search engine or try Kindle instead of Amazon. The book is free to download for the next 4 Sundays – 16, 23, 30 April and & May.and not much to buy anytime. The paperback version is OK to read but if you download, it is better on a big screen because of some of the tables and diagrams.
Land Research Ltd, 13 April 2017
The UN warning of 3 million people facing what will for most of them be unavoidable starvation and death is not new. Malthus predicted it in 1798 and we have been doing a bit since then but not enough. If you are comfortable, why do anything at all about it? In any case, as an individual, what you do is insignificant.
An international consequence is that empty bellies always lead to war. In the history of the world, that has always been true. Could we fill bellies globally? Technically, the answer is yes, we can. Military conflict often gets in the way. Political will in developed countries always gets in the way. It is almost a lifetime away that Bob Geldoff stood up in the EU Parliament and observed that the situation of global hunger and the plenty of Western counties was “obscene”. It is now worse.
How do we fix it? Simply use urban wastes to fertilise land and grow better crops. It has been done in the UK and Egypt, and lots of other places. We need to scale it up and urgently. It would save a lot of imports in the UK, too, The environment would be better off, See “Survival”.
Land Research Ltd 25 MaRCH 2017