Antibiotic failure-fatal illness


If your supermarket has a pharmacy, look at the notices.  One will say that if you demand antibiotics when you don’t need them, you are putting yourself and your family at risk.  Antibiotics generally do attack bacteria but do not affect viruses.

Doctors are increasingly worried about the fact that we are getting behind with useful antibiotics because we are inevitably selecting out resistant strains of attack from disease organisms and not bringing on new antibiotics fast enough.

Well, fortunately, there is at least some work being done on developing new antibiotics.  Nevertheless, we do need to be a bit more careful with the antibiotics we already have to tackle bacterial diseases.  That includes using antibiotics prophilactively for humans and livestock.

SEFFSoil, Environment, Farming and Forestry 

 No 6. – Antibiotic decline

Bill Butterworth, Land Research,  October 2019


Pharmaceutical pollution causes widespread transgender eruption

This is a truly lovely spot. However, do we really know what we we are doing to our environment?

We have known for more than 30 years that male Sticklebacks in UK rivers were found to be laying eggs (which were, of course, infertile) and that this was directly traceable back to women taking the contraceptive pill.  What happens is that the human body urinated out over 80%, maybe over 90%, of pharmaceutical drugs and more than 80% pass through our sewage treatment works and into our rivers and groundwater. In the last decade, researchers at Bristol University have identified that over 50% of male fish in British rivers exhibit transgender characteristics.  We don’t yet know how much gets into our crops and food but it is unlikely that we are not taking in, either or both in food and/or drinking water, significant amounts of pharmaceuticals.

What are we doing to ourselves and our children?  What can we do about it?  When? Click on the book picture on the top right of your screen.

Farming, Forestry and Human Survival. No 4. Hormone pollution of rivers.

Land Research 11 October 2019

TSR’s to eliminate mineral fertiliser purchases and use


Crop roots will go up to 9 m deep but most roots will be in the top meter. Increasing soil organic matter from composted wastes, manures, biosolids, crop residues will increase safe water holding and nutrient capacity.

Not only is a TSR (Top Soil Reservoir) a reservoir for water, it is a crop nutrients store, too. Compost made from selected urban and industrial wastes can completely replace manufactured fertilisers.

For more details, click on the “2030” image top right.

SEFF – Soil, Environment, Forestry and Farming No 3.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, Oct 19

It is not just climate change

According to the UN, over 100, million people in central Africa are on the edge of starvation. And taht is not the only place on this earth where there is a food crisis. The numbers are growing.

Climate change is certainly a rapidly growing risk to the survival of civilisation as we know it. There is, however, a whole range of other risks which this blog will look at over the coming weeks.  First up will be one that is already too far gone for millions in parts of Africa and Asia.  What is more, when we have poor crop yields in the UK, then people in the already starving parts of the world die. There are reports from the UN that this problem, too, is moving towards critical on a much wider area of the globe. Farmers in the developed countries do need to up their game but there are fundamental things that can be done in arid agriculture. See the next issue of this blog for how we can do it.

SEFFSoil, Environment, Farming and Forestry  No 2.

Land Research 3 October 19

Greta Thunberg

“Future generations will never forgive you…”

There is no doubt whatsoever that there is a problem which  threatens not only our children but all of us adults, even people over 50 years old, and even those over 60, or even 70. Don’t believe it?  Read the evidence, and some of that evidence is assembled in one, easy to read and referenced place – just click on the book on the right

Fortunately, we already have some, even most, of the technology to do something about it.  One of the bits is in the book on the right, too, Click on it for a way forward.

Bill Butterworth, Member of the British Society of Soil Science.

28 Sept 19



Amazon forest-Direct drilling- climate change-zero till

Zero Till – leave the trash on the surface, slice through it, use the seed coulter to wipe the trash from proximity of the seed, press wheel to get good seed-soil contact.


Consider current discussion of the burning of the Amazon rainforest. While attention is often focused on carbon locked up in trees, in fact, most of this carbon lies in the soil. Below ground carbon includes an array of sources such as the root systems of trees and soil organic matter. Disturbances such as deforestation and fire send both above ground and below ground carbon back into the atmosphere–when lands are cleared, the newly exposed soil organic matter and root systems begin to decay, releasing the stored carbon.

Farm cultivations follow the same pattern.  T0 conserve the organic matter, go to direct drilling.  Better still, go to a slit & presswheel drill like the Moore Unidrill and go to Zero Till

Blackgrass and “Superweeds”

It took many years of “organic” farming to produce the crop on the left, and only one year of the use of glyphosate to deliver the wheat crop on the right. However, there is a trap.

In a recent article in the New Scientist, it was pointed out that just as the use of antibiotics selects resistant strains of diseases, so does the persistent use of a particular herbicide select out resistant strains of weed. An example was cited at blackgrass and glyphosate.  Well, some years ago when I was advising ICI Plant Protection (as was) I came across a farmer who understood that.  He had a rotation of 4 years cereals and one year oil seed rape. He used Gramoxone to control blackgrass pre-direct drilling, using a Moore drill, in the cereal years and, when the rape came off early, he deep ploughed.  Varying the control methods between cropping, chemicals and mechanical gave a substantial level of control.  Perhaps we should use the same variation of control with the politicians we elect.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research,