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Brosville 

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gotta be pretty bloody stupid if they can't work it out!
Bees are the canaries in our coalmine.......... as a kid, I grew up in a family of keen amateur photographers, and one of the perennial favourite subjects was that of ploughing in the local area - always featuring great plumes of birds following the plough, attracted by the "life" turned up by it - nowadays you'll be lucky to see a bird anywhere near a field as it's "cultivated" - stone dead, killed by years of chemicalised monocultures.........:beatdeadhorse5:
 

Brosville 

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Sussex, near the downs, on what nowadays would be seen as an organic nursery......
 

Brosville 

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Agreed! - sadly there's too many of them being doused liberally in "icides" too - I'm at present having a heated exchange of emails with my local BBC radio station who's Sunday morning gardening "experts" busily rubbish safe natural treatments, and blatantly plug (often by name) such things as Provado and Bugclear...... (neonicotinoids to you and me......).
2-3 years ago, nearly all the big-name media gardeners (the likes of Monty Don, Titchmarsh and Bob Flowerdew etc) were totally organic, I've noticed the forces of darkness creeping back in of late, (doubtless the BBC caving into rich and powerful lobby groups again!)
Doubtless be seen as "being too partial" to broadcast an appeal on behalf of bees soon........ (can't go upsetting those nice people in the pesticide companies)
 

SER 

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I don't know where you are Brosville but it sounds pretty grim.

Only a couple of weeks back we had flocks of birds following the plough down here, hundreds of gulls, at one point eight buzzards were about, there were also several smaller birds darting out of the hedges to try their luck.

And this is on a fairly typical non organic mixed farm.

Si.
 

Brosville 

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There are some fields near me that I sometimes walk the dogs round (when the sprayer's long gone!) that are utterly stone dead - I've stood and watched in amazement as they've ploughed them, with not a bird in sight - anywhere!
I've also seen (and smelt) the innumerable sprayings they seem to find necessary to grow the same crop year after year (winter wheat).......Enough to make you weep!
 
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Much as I would love to fathom that one out, and can't dispute it as I cannot witness it myself, but only a fool of a farmer would constantly grow wheat in the same field, regardless of how much chemical they throw at it 2 years is the most recommended before a break crop, usually rape. The wheat crop which follows will then produce up to a third more.

Wheat doesn't sell for a huge price, it doesn't make sense. Other break crops are available, cereal is the baddie as it builds up pests, barley is a cereal, oats are too but can be used as a break crop as can maize.

Although I'm not a farmer, I'm working on them every day, all the farmers I meet are responsible people, chemicals are expensive and only used when necessary and they genuinely care about the land, which at the end of the day earns them their living. I spoke to one of my regular farmers after one of your previous posts regarding constant wheat crops and a lack of ploughing, he said modern farm machinery and a greater understanding of the soil structure meant that some soils don't need to be ploughed and some crops don't benefit from it, indeed it wasn't always good for the soil to do so. And just because their grandfathers did it doen't make it the right thing to do

The government control the chemicals which farmers are allowed to use. Farmers aren't scientists.

Frisbee
 

Brosville 

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"The government control the chemicals which farmers are allowed to use" - isn't really true - we have some of the laxest controls in the developed world,
(witness the imminent release of Spirotetramat onto the UK market this May), and if you add to that the fact that DEFRA are a wholly-owned subsidiary of "Big Agrochem", you have an environment which is controlled by big companies for profit, not the government for safety (as it should be..........)
Of course, not every farmer is irresponsible, but the overall "climate" in the business is to encourage chemical use - I farmed over 20 years ago, and was horrified by the quantity of them that was deemed normal, there was bags of free advice given by the "powers that be", including what was in those days the min of ag and fish and the NFU, ALL of it chemically orientated - if you wanted to do without you were regarded as a dangerous nutter, and treated as such.
I'm gratified that you've come across responsible farmers, I've stood and watched in amazement as a local farm contractor regularly ignored all the safety advice and tank-mixed his chemicals with no protective gear and a roll-up in his hand...... and then seen one of his "operatives" spraying in a 20 knot wind whilst doing Jensen Button impressions (all the spray drifted off into the surrounding fields and hedges.........)
I would contend that even the most conscientious farmers, even if they stick to the letter of the rules are contributing to the slow death of fertility in our soils, and the poisoning of our environment.
High-input farming's days thankfully are numbered, as the recent fuel crisis demonstrated, as soon as there's a relatively small "blip" in input costs, it's no longer financially viable - if we are to survive as a species, we have to develop totally sustainable farming, and soon - fossil fuels are running out, as are many other chemical "inputs".......
 
T

Tom Bick 

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The government has always being influenced by big business unfortunately and the farmers operate in a competitive market and throw in the fact us the consumer on a whole will opt for the cheapest on offer in the supermarket shelf and dont give a fig as to how it got their and its impact on the environment.
So its not so simple to blame one group of people the farmers we all have a part to play. I do agree with you brosville the soil is in places virtually dead of life and it should be looked at as a living organism.
 

Brosville 

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Nail on the head job there! Farmers are for the most part not "bad", but are largely shepherded in the direction of high-input chemical farming by commercial pressures and the insidious influence of Big Agrochem, to the extent that it has become the norm.
I watched in some horror on Sunday evening as the factory farmer who wants to start a "cow battery farm" tried to justify his actions (on BBCs Countryfile - should still be on iplayer) - we're on the verge of letting chooks out of battery cages, and this cretin wants to put cows into them...... His "argument" was that it would enable him to compete with cheap foreign imports where standards are even lower (is that possible?). The simple answer is that DEFRA should take the bull by the horns (spot the pun), and do something useful for a change, instead of representing their masters in the agrochemical industry - set minimum prices allowed to be paid by supermarkets that would allow farmers a reasonable margin to allow humane and extensive methods to be used....
If you fancy a breath of fresh and chemical-free air - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka
 
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Somerford 

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Much as I would love to fathom that one out, and can't dispute it as I cannot witness it myself, but only a fool of a farmer would constantly grow wheat in the same field, regardless of how much chemical they throw at it 2 years is the most recommended before a break crop, usually rape.

Frisbee
You say that - when I was at uni, I visited a business called Littlecote Farm Partners that were then farming 8000 acres of arable land near Hungerford - and they were proud of one block of land they farmed as it was in 'continuous wheat' - and had been for the past 20 years or so.

These systems do exist but they do require far larger amounts of NPK and sprays to combat weeds and fungal infections

My personal view is rotation is the key.

regards

s
 

MuswellMetro 

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There are some fields near me that I sometimes walk the dogs round (when the sprayer's long gone!) that are utterly stone dead - I've stood and watched in amazement as they've ploughed them, with not a bird in sight - anywhere!
I've also seen (and smelt) the innumerable sprayings they seem to find necessary to grow the same crop year after year (winter wheat).......Enough to make you weep!
i walked with my dog near my boyhood village of ivanhoe last weekend under the slopes of dunstable Downs in the eastern chilterns, ok nostalgia can be deceptive as i had last done that some 40 years ago but:

it use to be mixed arable and pasture with winter sheep rearing (and kangeroo from whipsnade Zoo) birds, bees and newts...now all the hedges ripped out, two mono crops only grown,( OSR and Cattle grade wheat), deep ploughing creating chalk hot spots were no plants grow, set aside areas sprayed with weed killer ( ?why), old hedge oak trees now in the fields and lossing top crowns due to water table damage, drainage total damaged, soil erosion a...and workman making new larger culverts in the village due to autumn flooding..

met a couple, who said how lovely the countryside looked ( they came from Milton Keynes) and although i said yea it lovely here, my real thoughts was how have we allowed this to be done
 

Somerford 

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The simple answer is that DEFRA should take the bull by the horns (spot the pun), and do something useful for a change, instead of representing their masters in the agrochemical industry - set minimum prices allowed to be paid by supermarkets that would allow farmers a reasonable margin to allow humane and extensive methods to be used....
Unfortunately, the MMB - Milk Marketing Board & PQS - Potato Quota Systems were scrapped long ago which helped stabilise the prices - for a few reasons.
firstly they were seen as anti-competitive by then then EC, now EU, and we are paid up members so we had our chance to do something . Second, any quota system limits volumes of production and it was seen as limiting food production when demand from the world population was about to soar. Third - set aside was simlilarly removed to increase arable production.

There are probably many farmers who would love a return to the guaranteed prices paid by the old quota systems, but the reality is that consumers will not pay for it, either through the tax system (via subsidies) nor through the shops...

...so what to do ?!

regards

S
 
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Onge 

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I watched in some horror on Sunday evening as the factory farmer who wants to start a "cow battery farm" tried to justify his actions (on BBCs Countryfile - should still be on iplayer) - we're on the verge of letting chooks out of battery cages, and this cretin wants to put cows into them...... His "argument" was that it would enable him to compete with cheap foreign imports where standards are even lower (is that possible?).
That's exactly what I was thinking.
 

m100 

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There are probably many farmers who would love a return to the guaranteed prices paid by the old quota systems, but the reality is that consumers will not pay for it, either through the tax system (via subsidies) nor through the shops...

...so what to do ?!
Let the system totally collapse to the point at which we are fully reliant on imports and the UK price goes through he roof.

Then, the consumer comes to their senses, torches the supermarkets, blocks the channel tunnel with shitty french apples, and demands UK/local produce at a reasonable price from UK/local suppliers who get a fair return on their investment. No money grabbing middlemen, no cheap imports, just basic protectionism and looking after our own, the kind of thing practiced by many countries except us.

:banghead:
 
T

Tom Bick 

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Farmers Markets , Farm Shops , Traditional Markets , a few independent supermarkets supplying local produce but thin on the ground after that the big supermarket machines pull the strings a good book is Not On The Label by Felicity Lawrence sort of gives an insight into supermarkets and the hoops that the food producers have to jump through once under contract to them and also a bit of an eye opener.
 

SJH 

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If you fancy a breath of fresh and chemical-free air - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masanobu_Fukuoka
I am completely with you there Broville. I was looking up a link to the book "One Straw Revolution", when I saw you posted a wiki link to the Author. The book is a great read. I started my own "One straw revolution" about eighteen months ago, the difference even in a short space of time is incredible, the good things is Nature knows what to do.

For readers, if you would like a straw to start your own revolution
The book is http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-straw-Revolution-Introduction-Natural-Farming/dp/8185569312
A step further for those serious about it
http://www.soilfoodweb.com/ (specifically http://www.soilfoodweb.com/sfi_approach1.html)
I did a workshop where Dr Elaine Ingham gives a good presentation on the subject. You can see clips on youtube.
Also how to at home http://www.amazon.co.uk/Teaming-Microbes-Gardeners-Guide-Soil/dp/0881927775
My woody high fungus compost is cooking away. I made a compost tea brewer out of an 80 litre dustbin and a koi pond air pump.
 
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thurrock bees 

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its all okay everyone blaming the farmers, supermarkets and the eu. But where do you or the O/H shop??? Tesco? Asda?? morrisons?? sainsburys???
IF you dont shop at the BIG 4 then they wont build new stores, ''saving'' the independent shops who charge a decent price, who pays the farmer a decent price.
They ( BIG 4) wont dictate the price to the surpliers as they dont have the market share!
Then there wont be sunday trading and we can all spend more time with your families and hobbies on a sunday??




VOTE FOR ME in the election :) (only joking)
 
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