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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Making t/ Connection Chp 5 Farming

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I live in the countryside and I see how much of the land is potential, it's just not being

used and in Hampshire, a lot of the land is devoted to stables and horses.

So we could actually change the land use to benefit the wildlife, the planet, the animals

and us.

A lot of people ask me "would the landscape look monotonous without lifestock?", I mean

I could say that we've actually created an artificial landscape, which was more diverse

before with trees and wildlife, and we would actually encourage the diversity of crops.

We would be seeing orchards of nuts and fruit, we would encourage a lot of understory,

shrub layers of soft fruit, and great diversity of vegetables and cereal crops.

It would actually be a much better mixture of crops instead of huge mono-cultures of

acres and acres.

Because of diversity, you would get more habitat for the wildlife, it would actually encourage

the wildlife, which is under great pressure with the current conventional farming.

The bees here are very important, they actually operate at much lower temperatures than honey bees.

They come out earlier and they feed later, so you're getting good pollination.

I know also here there are three species of parasitic wasp, which means that you have a reduction

in caterpillar numbers which cause a great deal of damage to cabbages and broccoli and

kale, and hardly any damage is seen here.

The hedgerows are kept very, very thick, they are not cut every year, so they are richer

for wildlife.

They are also connecting annuals between the hedgerows across the fields which act as beetle-banks

and wildlife corridors.

What these methods do is, they actually benefit the biodiversity.

You have more predators, which keep a balance.

You don't have the pest, the disease problems.

Could we manage on a plant-based diet in the UK?

A lot of work being done with agroforestry is showing that we could have a lot of the

crops growing here that we're actually importing at the moment.

A lot of things could still be grown outside, we wouldn't have to have heated greenhouses.

Even just with the poly-tunnel that we're seeing here, it's surprising what you can

achieve.

We have now several stock-free, commercial stock-free farms like this one.

We know that these methods work.

Stock-free organic farming is a system of food production which excludes any animal-byproducts

or any dependance on animal inputs at all.

It's not just about growing crops, it's also about the way we interact with what goes on

within nature around us.

We've been doing it now for 15 or 16 years, it's working very well, people are very happy

with it.

I mean, it's nice to have people back on the land, working land and everybody more than

happy to be doing it.

We've developed a system of fertility building, which relies very much on green manures so

we're using plants to produce nutrients which are fixed from the air to improve biodiversity

and not relying on importing somebody else's land to support our fertility, which is what

most conventional and organic production is dependent on.

We've kind of designed this system, which is more or less independent of exterior forces

and because we're building carbon in the soil this is particularly important.

I mean, a very small increase in organic content in the soil has a huge effect in terms of

carbon entrapment, in fact this is one of the biggest carbon sinks possible - soil.

So it's not only good for animals, it's also very good for carbon capture which is obviously

good for climate change.

So we're building organic material and the only way to build organic material long-term

is through plants, you cannot do it through manure cause manure dissipates into the environment

quickly, it gets broken down, whereas plants they leave roots in the ground which gradually

decay and become carbon.

In here is actually four different types of green manure, four different plants, all

doing slightly different things, but all building fertility and the final outcome of this is

a soil which is very friable, good population of worms, easily worked, doesn't take as much

energy to soil when it's in good condition and very good for plant roots.

So this forms the base fertility for future cropping.

You've got a whole range of crops, 70 different types of vegetables.

Almost 300 sowings a year, almost one sowing everyday on averages so it's making the best

possible use of land to feed people which is really what farming should be doing.

I do very much hope that there will be a move, a transition from the conventional type of

agriculture we have now to a stock-free agriculture in the future.

Stock-free farming could support people in developing countries as well as here, the

same techniques would be beneficial.

We would actually not use the vast amounts of water, land, food to support the livestock.

We would actually create more tree habitats, making a difference with climate change.

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