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Tinkering won’t fix the Nitrate issue

P.W.Burton   The reason for excess Nitrate entering waterways and aquifers is that too much ‘bag N’ is being applied to pastures. The total amount being applied varies depending on the source with a figure of 750,000 tonne regularly appearing. Nitrogen is sold as a...

Is science killing pastoral farming?

P.W.Burton One well-known farm consultant derides any alternative to the superphosphate, muriate of potash, and urea driven soil fertility system as “flying in the face of sixty years of science”, with performance data being rejected as anecdotal. The value of soil...

What will it take to change course?

P.W. Burton   That New Zealand will shift from its present short-term focussed, carbon-depleting mainstream soil fertility model to a genuine sustainable carbon positive one, is a given.  It will happen, the only questions are when, and what event will trigger that...

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...

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