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Thinking is the tiring bit

P.W. Burton   Doing stuff, particularly for practical people, is the easiest and most satisfying part of the farming process.  It’s the planning bit that takes the real effort and in many instances planning is not well done, with the big picture always remaining...

When change is inevitable.

P.W. Burton   Climate change – whether or not you believe that it’s our fault, seems to be an oft quoted phrase at present. There are still those who might admit to the warming, but choose to see it as part of Earth’s long term variations, but we are, even today,...

What fertiliser and religion have in common

P.W. Burton   When our own knowledge is lacking and there are those that profess to be all knowing, it’s far easier to accept their authoritatively stated position than spend time and effort nutting it out for ourselves. We then justify that decision by checking with...

Change – big change, coming your way!

P.W. Burton   Professor Derrick Moot of Lincoln University made the following point in his recent lectures.  Nitrogen fertiliser has helped feed the world, however its environmental impact is such that its continued use is non-sustainable. He went as far as stating...

How pastoral farming can be the answer

P.W. Burton   The assertion by some farmers that a loss of short term income justifies continued land and water degradation, is wrong on two counts. The increase in nitrates and phosphorus in our groundwater is a result of the over application of bag N, partly...

Why cost isn’t the most important thing

P.W. Burton   The old saying that cost is soon forgotten with only performance remembered, has endured for generations because it contains a large element of truth, and it applies to fertiliser as much as it does to any other consumable. The mainstream fertiliser...

Fresh information changes behaviour

P.W. Burton   We farmed in an era when the information from the major research stations, primarily that from Ruakura, was taken as gospel, and farming practices reflected our belief in its correctness. We were told that pasture was a total diet for dairy cows, and...

Grandparenting is missing the point

PW Burton The link between 750,000 tonnes of urea a year being applied to New Zealand soils and excess nitrate-N in streams, lakes, and groundwater is difficult to refute. In fact, of the many people that I’ve discussed the issue with, no-one denies that it exists. As...

What will be the change kicker?

PW Burton It was interesting to receive a phone call from a retired economist recently. He rang to say that the point made in my latest article that farmers were not to blame for the practises resulting in environmental degradation, instead fault lay with the advice...

Fewer cows is not the answer

PW Burton Two reports just released reviewing New Zealand’s environmental performance, (OECD and GLOBE NZ) have both called for a substantial reduction in animal livestock numbers. Prime Minister Bill English has stated that the Government has no intention of...

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