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Food miles?

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A friend of mine is a farmer in Dunham, a mixture of dairy herd and field crops.

 

He had a borehole drilled last year to provide water for the cows and for washing down the yard etc. (not primarily for crop irrigation). He's very happy with the savings it's generated, 2 year payback sounds about right.

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Wow, so we have Inky's approval for that endevour - just need to get the politicians on board - problem is, getting them to see beyond next week, never mind the next few decades. :wink:

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I can't understand why more farmers, or others) don't do it. Maybe there is too much red tape with the planning departments and water companies.

 

Sounds like a very good idea though Inky :wink:

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I can't understand why more farmers, or others) don't do it.

 

Perhaps they believe the global warming theorists who say it is going to get wetter, therefore no point in the initial outlay.

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The cost and red tape of the borehole itself isn't the problem.

 

That comes with the planning permission and cost of having the irrigation kit to actually water the fields.

 

The options are a movable water cannon like this:-

 

istockphoto_1134432-water-cannon-for-irrigation.jpg

 

That needs a big, expensive, powerful, noisy pump - which in turn burns diesel to run.

 

Or, an overhead system like this:-

 

Irrigation_system.jpg

 

Expensive set up, and quite ugly too. Also needs the fields to be pretty flat, broadly rectangular, and without undulations

 

Another variation is an overhead system which pivots around a central point such as is often used in the US mid-west. But that gives you circular fields - and also requires then to be very flat and level:-

 

18804570_6b897aa0dd.jpg

 

The "waste" land in the corners is fine in the US where the roads run in straight lines at right angles and they have more land than they know what to do with - not so great here with irregular shaped fields bounded by winding country lanes.

 

However it's done will also require great big water supply pipes running from whatever water source is used to each and every field on the farm.

 

Farmers do find it difficult to get funding for big capital projects like these. Many of them are tennent farmers with limited long term security, the capital assets of the farm buildings and its land can't be used as collateral to raise a loan - because they don't belong to the farmer. And we're just not used to needing to take such measures. If a farmer does install an irrigation set up and then we have a wet year or two when it's not needed, then he'll see no pay back from his investment to pay off the bank loan he's taken out to fund it.

 

So it's perfectly do-able, but is it worth doing for the frequency of low rainfall years we get in this country?

 

Same arguments we heard last winter when the UK was found to be unable to cope with far less snow than many other countries get every year.

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:oops: I hadn't actually considered how the farmer would water his fields with the water from his borehole. I guess my mind was on large garden sized areas rather than huge fields.

 

I suppose those irrigation water hoses from Aldi and the like wouldn't be much use to a farmer either due to his tractors and other harvesting machinery.

 

Back to the drawing board then :lol:

 

How do farmers in other countries cope as many have prolonged dry spells and high temperatures as the norm every year ?

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Yep.. so how do they do it or are they not telling so we go further down the food chain in more ways than one :wink:

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In developed countries they'll probably use one of the three methods I outlined. But they know they're going to need it every year, and the banks know they are going to too, so the capital and running cost just becomes part of their normal profit and loss calculation.

 

The soils they choose to grow in and they way they are treated are often quite different too. Given the choice they'll farm heavier soils and they'll often plough in the waste from the previous years crop after harvesting - anything to improve the water retaining properties of the soil. In the UK, with our wet winters and often wet springs, the battle is usually one of improving drainage to fields and reducing moisture retention to prevent the soil from becoming unworkable due to water logging.

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With the latter, it would depend on whether your soil was light, heavy or moss.

The wet spring is why they tend to grow winter wheat. It's not necessarily the wet spring that is the problem but more the erratic summer weather, which can produce droughts or heavy rain and wind that flattens the corn crops. :wink:

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It seems to me that we have a rich resource of agricultural knowledge on here that the govenment should be tapping!! 8)8)

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Worked on my mates dads farm (before it became my mates farm) every weekend from when I was about 12 until I went away to uni.

 

I still see him, his family, their friends and neighbours regularly.

 

You pick up a thing or two hanging round with farming folk.

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I bet you do Inky, especially if they don't wash their hands properly :lol:

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Yep.

 

They climb trees, fall out of trees, break a bone or two, learn to climb better. T

 

hey catch bugs, get ill, develop a stronger imune system.

 

They help Dad with fencing or building around the farm, bash a finger or two with a hammer, learn to handle tools correctly.

 

And they play with the smaller animals, get bitten, butted or kicked, and learn how to handle them.

 

Whereas kids in towns just get fat and unhealthy playing computer games and watching TV - but never get hurt and never learn anything.

 

:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

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After reading that I wish I had lived on a farm but then again we did most of that anyway.

 

The donkey up lumb brook road was dangerous but we still asked if we could play with him. One of my friends garden goats (which we walked biwn the bridgewater canal) bloody hurt. We fed baby sheep in a farmers field and freed trapped foxes when he wasn't looking.

 

Living on a farm must be very hard work but what a great way for kids to grow up and I bet they grow up hard working and with a better understanding of life and it's value.

 

Anyone need a farm hand :D

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Going right back to the first post and chats about the E-Coli outbreak etc.

 

News tosay has just said that 1,600 people are now affected

and that scientists are working round the clock to identify the new strain of E-Coli that has now hit 10 countries and already killed 16 people :shock:

 

Sixteen people does not seem many across such a span BUT apparently they have discovered it contains several genes that are resistant to antibiotics and it has also "acquired specific sequences, which are similar to those involved in haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) - a deadly complication of E.coli."

 

They are no longer saying it came from cucumbers in spain and my latest FSA alert (which for some reaon I seem to get emailed) also now omits to mention spanish cucumbers either.

 

Germay still seems to be the worst place for infection for the outbreak and people going there are now advised to not eat cucumbers, tomatoes lettuce etc.

 

Isn't that normal on foreign holidays though due to their water.

http://latestnews.virginmedia.com/news/uk/2011/06/02/three_britons_infected_with_ecoli

 

Anyway I'm off on local hols soon so I should be ok.... but would a temp water supply pipe coming out of a field that usually has sheep in it be dangerous :shock: And will my dog catch fleas again :shock::shock:

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Yes and probably :wink:

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Thanks for that Asp... I shall buy bottled water just incase.

 

If the dog survives then I will know I wasted my money on bottled but at least we will all be ok :? She wont drink bottled... EEK I wonder why that is :shock:

 

Maybe Coke, lemonade, beer, cider or wine then. Good excuse :D

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Russia have now banned the import of ANY vegetables from the entire EU.

 

Spain is threatening legal action against Germany authorities for their farmers lost sales as it wasn't their cucumbers at all.

 

It is now said to have infected salad vegetables via bacteria in manure fertiliser.

 

WE in the UK are being advised to wash all our fruit and veg thoroughly and to see a doctor immediately if we feel poorly.

 

It is highly contageous and some people only get it mild so they don't realise but they pass it on through lack of hand washing and the likes.

 

Personally I think I'll just throw all my salad stuff away and wear a face mask and latex gloves when I go out :?:lol:

 

And on a final note..............

 

A new strain of the MRSA "superbug" has now been found in milk of British cows. It was stumbled across while investigating mastitis, a disease which affects dairy cows.

 

They are panicing a bit over this new strain as it too is drug-resistant yet impossible to identify using standard molecular tests.

 

We're all doomed.... 21st October could be right after all 8)

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Ohhh I thought it was in Oct and the day after my sister's birthday so I wasn't going to buy her a pressy :oops::lol:

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Well it's certainly looking more likely: the latest US response to a cyber attack from China, is to consider an offensive response in future - using ICBMs! :shock: So hackers beware - you may attract nukes! :shock:

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