Tag Archives: recycle to land

Cultivation destroys organic Nitrogen

“Recreational tillage” soothes the soul but it really does dramatically increase organic mater oxidation and loss. Forcing a tilth with a power harrow is the worst offender.

The problem with forcing a tilth with power harrows, or any other cultivation tools, is that organic matter is oxidised at a rate corresponding to power input. This was first shown by Sarah Wright working at the famous USDA research centre at Beltsville in the USA. It was reinforced by research I did for ICI Plant Protection back in the 70’s and early 80’s; then, a fair guide in most soils was that conventional, high-power-input cultivations would oxidise and lose around 35 % of the humus per annum but direct drilling would limit the losses to around 10%.

There are two results of this loss which are, amongst others, worthy of note in this context.  Firstly, the more organic matter is lost, the greater the cultivation power needed next time around, leading to a declining soil structure, demanding progressively more power in a downward spiral.  Secondly, N losses progressively rise in parallel.  Further, as organic matter level falls, so does water-retaining capability.  This, in turn, allows more soluble N to be leached out.

What Michal Gove needs to do it look at the energy we could save by recycling more to land, using science-based process to encourage it, rather than allowing regulation to progressively restrict it.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,12  June 2018

Organic N and crop growth

As the previous post here showed, Organic N, then, is different.  It just sits there in the store, alive with micro-organisms and giving some (but very low losses) to the soil atmosphere and groundwater.  However, it is different in a staggeringly complex and important way.  When conditions favour both plant and fungi, the mycorrhizae feed at one end of their hyphae on the organic matter and the other end of each hypha either crosses the root hair wall into the plant body, or wraps round the root hair (much like the placenta of a mammal).  This is a closed conduit! Not only is this why natural ecosystems do not leak nutrients and pollute the ground water, they also feed the plant with complex molecules, already some way down the route for forming cellulose and amino acids – so accelerating growth. Even more staggering, these mycorrhizae can suck nutrients out of some plants (weeds?) and transfer then to others (crops?).

There is enough urban waste in the world to supply enough nutrients to feed the world – without manufacturing fertilisers. (But we do actually need both.)

See the next blog in this series for more on profitable, eco-mimic fertiliser mechanisms and also “Survival” by bill Butterworth, published on Amazon.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd,   29 May 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



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


“Survival” for free!

Download free.

On 7th, 8th and 10th December, you can download “Survival” Sustainable Energy, Wastes Shale Gas and The Land” at Amazon Kindle for free!  Suggest do it to a big screen because of the diagrams.

Land, energy and urban wastes

The USAF cemetry at Maddingly, Cambridge UK. What kind of world are we handing on to our children?

Globally, we are on the edge of a renewable energy revolution. It is not that we did not have the technology, what is different is that the technology, bit by bit, is becoming economic.  This bodes well for the human race.  However, there is a problem in that much of the economically attractive solutions, especially solar panels, need land. There is a problem with land – they have stopped making it. So we need to use alternatives including never making a roof out of tiles or inactive sheet and, instead, making it of solar panels. We need the land to produce food, fibres and timber – but in a different way.  Instead of using mineral Nitrogen which costs at least 21,000 kWh per tonne of N to deliver, we need to feed those crops on urban wastes. It has been done and can be scaled up safely. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01H63EQX0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Nest discussion on this blog; Farming off-grid

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, December 17

Re-structure Regulation Please

Cuttings from HDD (through chalk can be used mas agricultural lime, saving many tonne-truck miles.

An “environmental commission-like-body” is needed to replace the role of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice in enforcing environmental law post-Brexit, says Environment Secretary Michael Gove.   I have recently sent a few hundred tonnes of excavated chalk to landfill because the circumstances did not fit the current interpretation of the regulations.  We really do not need any more regulators.  Maybe Brexit is a real opportunity to re-structure the regulation we have got to raise productivity within a framework of environmental care.  We could use CL:AIRE.  Look it up.  Credit to DEFRA.


Bill Butterworth, Land research Ltd, 29 November 17