Agriculture & Climate Change

Agriculture is extremely susceptible to environmental changes the biological systems depend on the climate conditions. Wetter winters, hotter summers, less water owing to precipitation changes.  The climate crisis will have a negative impact of all farming across the globe.

New farming land management government policy of 2020 is to concentrate on environmental land management. For the first time farmer are to have the responsibility and choice of how they deliver the environmental benefits through their business. The farming business is to become more resilient and productive.

The British farmer plays a crucial role in the UK’s food chain. Contrary to belief the British farmer supplies the majority of the UK’s food. So the government intend to invest more money into the quality of the produce the land maintenance and animal welfare. They hope to improve equipment, by modernisation including alternatives to pesticides, production, support innovation and efficient family techniques allowing resources to be used sustainably and reducing emissions.

There is likewise a section on tree bees and health for the environment. They will be encouraging tree planting, pest and disease control across England . There will be strict controlling for the use of insecticide, encouragment in bee keeping. Forestry horticulture and alternatives for the environmental pollutions problems.

40% of the UK food is imported much of that is from Asia so if global warming is going to affect the UK it will be affecting the rest of the world too. This means farming is going to be a major currency in the future. The NFU have predicted great change in the way we farm and in what we eat. going vegetarian could be the way forward for everyone for the future as arable farming takes on a new meaning. Asia is one of the main countries that is expected to get hit the hardest by the climate crisis along with India and America.

Scientists anticipate with the extra rainfall we will suffer a great loss of  topsoil, minerals, nutrients with erosion becoming a problem for our land. There is the option indoor farming but flood barriers are a possibility. The latter choice is cheaper than indoor farming.  For indoor farming there is the issue of irrigation water making it very expensive. Water will be in shorter supply, possibly rationed. This is relevant, farming is been revolutionised, there will be a time when we wont desire land for the cattle or the cattle for the meat. They have already incorporated plant cells with a chicken cell. The result was lab made chicken, mainly plant based and now on sell in the supermarkets. Eggs, fish, and other animal meat is to follow soon. This will revolutionise food for subsequent farming problems all over the globe including draught, poverty, and famine.

With the climate crisis reaching a possible point of no return it is imperative we address our agriculture options as a matter of urgency. The south east of England is especially vulnerable. With the sea levels rising, expected floods, loss of land, erosion and salt water contamination making the land useless.  The urgency speaks for itself.

Much of the land became toxic with antibiotics, phosphorus, methane and carbon. Heavy continuous rainfall will take the topsoil, known as runoff which will contain the nutrients as well as toxic chemicals. This can contaminate the underground springs. Through desertification, without regenerating or protecting our soil, we can expect farming in some parts of the UK to cease altogether.

This leaves the land unable to produce a good yield and with the climate change and the weather this will affect productivity .

It would be wise to start growing your own now to practice for the coming times ahead. Much of the vegetables can be grown in your garden or indoors now. People will be able to eat and survive it is just going to be a very different world in the way we live and survive in it.

The farming community in the UK which covers 25 million hectares of land, are also one of the largest contributors to climate change and poisoning the atmosphere, cows defecate constantly this will produce methane so if you have a heard of 200 dairy that is a lot of methane. You then have the land that produces a great deal of C02 and the fertilizer is sulphite phosphorus a very bad chemical along with antibiotics which is also in the sea and the fish that we eat. So this is why we are immune to them. The NFU held a meeting and the Environmental Agency spoke up about the plans they have so they can draw the bar or sit down. They are going to give farmers grants to pay to have buildings built for the cow slurry to go in so it is not open to the elements, slurry is full of c02 and Methane which while bubbling away in the heat it is releasing fumes into the atmosphere.

Vertical farming seems to be the way for the future and with the pandemic and climate crisis it could not have reached its potential at a better time. It was evented by and was used to feed the American soldiers during the second world war. But recently it has come into it own and there are vertical farm warehouses popping up all over the UK.

Their popularity has grown immensely due to the intensifying production with no pests, no pesticide, no land and no natural sun or man to drive the tractors and plant the seeds or maintain the weeds. This system is a revolution and could change how we feed the world for the future. No more hunger or poverty because of draught and loss of earnings. Places like Ethiopia back in the 80’s could have been helped by vertical farming.

Vertical growing can produce far more crops per planting as they grow up not out. In Kent a new warehouse has been set up to produce 4.5 million annually. They are currently looking into the future and trying to adapt the growth cycle so less nutrients and less water is needed. For the water crisis of the future this will be extremely useful that and saving thousands of litres of water on irrigation for arable farming. Which is presently our biggest consumer and carbon and methane contributor. So vertical farming will also help with emissions and costs.

There has also been a new invention the circular garden the rotating wheel where you plant the seeds of your desired herbs Place the wheel in the spare room or wherever. No soil needed as the roots are in a casing with nutrient in. You can cut off what you need without actually harvesting the whole herb. The new wheel has been designed for vegetables so obviously you will harvest all of it. Another great invention for the city dwellers and those without a garden.

For the future though this could be scaled up and utilised to grow in a larger production for the communities. The original runs on a small lamp so more or much larger lamps would be designed. Unlike the vertical farming system the wheel wold not mass produce as such a large quantity but useful for our no land , bad weather and shortage of water future crisis.

In my ‘what does the future hold’ blog I write about robots and how we will all be growing our own produce from our roof tops, gardens, balconies or attic. And how we will have assistance in the way of robots that run on compost and look after our veg. I assumed it was a long way off but I happened upon an article that seemed to imply it maybe sooner than we think.

The article pointed out that the rise of alternative lab meat had been accelerated by the pandemic and that we would be eating far more nutrient based plants if we want to live healthier and long lives in the future. The author goes on to point out that he assumed these meals would be delivered by drones. But then it too, like my research, dawns on him that we will be living in a world where our homes will be built with the devices and plumbing needed to grow our on vertical greens and it will be assisted by robots. Maximising the optimal growth rate and product. There could well be the option of yet another recent invention of the rotating space-station like hydroponics also run by artificial intelligence.

Scientist have managed to grow chicken breast with some chicken cells mixed with plant cells and the two merged in the lab and after a while grew into chicken muscle with grew into a piece of what looked like breast meat. It seems that vegetarians that are only against the way the animals are killed not the eating of the meat, will be able to eat this meat. Nothing was killed or cut down or abused and it is plant based apart from one cell which seems to be the flavour. These are now on sale in the supermarkets and are top sellers.

They have also managed to make a chicken egg without the chicken, so this could do away with the chicken brutality and maybe help out the vegans.

9% or the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are from methane which is produced by cows and sheeps poop! Unfortunately the poor farmer does get a good deal of grief for this and other things. The methane is twenty times stronger than C02 and it stays in the atmosphere much longer too. There is also the tractor use and other machinery such as the combine and these use diesel which is a big contributor to the C02 climate problem. The UK are starting to introduce robots.

The NFU National Farmers Union has set a target of net-zero emissions in the farming industry by 2040. There are many who would say this is no acceptable and more needs doing now.

Annotated picture of robots used in farming

“Using robots cuts the energy used in cultivation by about 90%,” says Sarra Mander of the Salisbury-based Small Robot Company. The machines rely on artificial intelligence to sow seeds, identify individual weeds, and apply exactly the right amounts of pesticide and fertiliser in the right places, rather than spraying it across a whole field. “If you had a few weeds in your garden, you wouldn’t spray the whole garden, you’d just spray the area with the problem. That’s what we do. It’s all about precision,” adds Sarra. Sowing is done by placing individual seeds in the ground, without ploughing. Less soil disturbance means more carbon stays locked in the soil. Robots are still relatively unusual in UK arable farming but machines are being developed all over the world to handle everything from mapping to planting, pruning and picking.

Robots have been used for a long time by our cousins in the USA and in other parts of europe. The energy saved alone at 90% is worth its weight in gold, then you don’t have to pay a farm hand to plough, seed, farrow, fertilize and deal with the weeds. Not to mention the time you save.

They work as artificial intelligence and are so specific they can sow individually with just the right amount they can also seek out individual weeds and electric shock them and spray them. The plant the seed straight in the ground so there is no need to plough which stop anymore C02 escaping the disturbed earth. They do much more and this is just one robot. They have them for mapping, hedging, trimming, pruning and no doubt more.

They have started vertical farming indoors in great warehouses also run by larger robots more industrial. They move mountains of trays with small plant bud on rotating them for the artificial heat lights over head. Same for the watering of them, by the thousands.

Between the threat of climate crisis and Brexit inport and export market deals not met, along with the fishing rights the UKs food supply has never been so talked about. The farming in the UK has been suffering for decades and none more then the dairy farmer. The industry has become more desperate than the public know.

The weather in recent years has proved to us that we need to adapt if we want farming to survive and if we are to survive. During the summer of 2018 at the height of the heat the UK was importing lettuce from California approx 30,000 heads of lettuce per week. This was just lettuce.? This is without a doubt living proof of what is on the horizon and that we need to plan now. So the invention of vertical indoor farming could be a saving grace.

We have come along way since the plough and shire horse and I imagine they thought the tractor was impressive when it was invented. Robots and laboratory made chicken and eggs soon to be beef and port all from a plant cell. There is more on the horizon that they have already invented it just needs fine tuning. Please see ‘What does the future hold’ it may surprise you what they have accomplished it did me.

thank you for reading

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