Rural round-up

Drought déjà vu

Dairy production plunging at the same time prices are spiking.

Lamb prices soft on drought impact.

Reserve Bank signals OCR could go up or down.

Stronger dairy prices in the most recent dairy action are a double-edged sword, according the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“Strengthening dairy prices in the 2 February dairy auction have given upward momentum to prices,” says ASB’s Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “However, farmers still have to navigate this summer’s drought and potential falls in production. But if farmers can manage through this tough drought and low milk price combo, we expect a rebound in the milk price for the 2015/16 season to around $6.00/kg.” . .

Farmers need to evolve new systems:

New Zealand farmers face a new evolutionary pressure – farming within nutrient limits – and together with scientists and industry bodies, they will need to evolve new farming systems in response to this challenge, a University of Waikato economist told the Australian Agricultural & Resource Economics Society’s conference in Rotorua this week.

Associate Professor Graeme Doole, an economist who specialises in the connections between agriculture and the environment and acts as an advisor to the government on water issues, says the economic impact of nutrient limits that are now being developed and implemented around the country will be significant for farmers.

“It is something that the industry has to deal with because generally around 75 to 90 percent of Nitrogen eaten by cows is lost in urine,” he says. . .

Future proofing our pastures against drought – Lynley Hargreaves:

New Zealand may have escaped another official declaration of drought, but climate-change forecasts make dry periods more likely. Good news, then, that a New Zealand high school student has helped improve the drought-resistance of future pastures. Former Palmerston North Girls’ High School student Minushika Punchihewa explains her Gold CREST research that ensures successful cross-breeding just by looking closely at a clover plant.  

Why are clovers being cross-bred?

Currently Trifolium repens (White Clover) is the most common species of clover used in New Zealand’s agricultural sector and is depended upon by farmers to feed their live stock and for pastoral growth. However, a relativity new type of clover called Trifolium ambiguum was introduced to New Zealand from regions surrounding the Black Sea. This clover has many advantageous traits such as drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance and strong rhizomes for spreading, so scientists are beginning to cross breed this clover with T.repens to try incorporate some of these beneficial traits. . .

New Zealand captures over 10% of its freshwater resource – Waiology:

Following a recent Timaru Herald article (3 February, 2015), I learned of a claim that 98% of NZ’s rainfall is left to flow out to sea, and that we only capture the other 2%.

‘‘This country doesn’t have a water shortage issue. What it has is a water storage issue. We capture a mere 2 per cent of our country’s total rainfall, the rest pours out to sea!’’ – Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s office.

‘‘It is wasteful that we only capture around 2 per cent of rainfall in New Zealand, with the rest roaring out to sea.’’ – Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, in a speech to Crown Irrigation Investment Ltd.

These statements aren’t quite right, but because the topic is of vital importance, it is worth commenting on what is actually happening. Some of the rain evaporates before it can reach the sea or get used by us, and the “2%” isn’t actually how much we capture anyway. . .

 Liveweight breeding values and breeding worth calculations change this month:

Liveweight breeding values for dairy cattle are to improve as a result of data analyses carried out by NZ Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of DairyNZ.

Changes to these breeding values and the flow-on effects for the overall measure of cow and sire genetic merit; Breeding Worth (BW) will be implemented from 16 February 2015.

These improvements are focused around the conversion of liveweight information into a mature weight equivalent.

“Historically this conversion has been done within the liveweight animal evaluation model, but over time the information that we receive has become heavily weighted towards data for two-year-olds which skews the calculation,” says NZAEL Manager Dr Jeremy Bryant. . .

 

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62 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. robertguyton says:

    “Future proofing our pastures against drought – Lynley Hargreaves:

    New Zealand may have escaped another official declaration of drought, but climate-change forecasts make dry periods more likely.

    My bold.

  2. robertguyton says:

    From Ele’s “Waiology” post:

    “The last point to make is that we use water in more ways than are encapsulated above, so it would be inaccurate to say that any uncaptured water is necessarily wasted.

    My bold

  3. Ele’s put up 3 provocative posts on agriculture and so far, no farmer has responded. Must be busy farming, I suppose. Perhaps tonight there’ll be some feedback. This one is good too, right up Mr E’s alley:

    “It is something that the industry has to deal with because generally around 75 to 90 percent of Nitrogen eaten by cows is lost in urine,” he says.

    “The impacts on water quality from the growth of dairy farming will need to be addressed – and there will have to be a correction to the farming systems that have evolved over the past 200 years.”

  4. farmerbraun says:

    What is the evidence that it is the farming system of the last 200 years , instead of say just the last 40 years , that is unacceptable to the urban-dwellers who consume the food and are the majority?

  5. Mr E says:

    I see nothing provocative.

    “Dr Doole is confident that mitigation measures will be developed that can be cost-effective for farmers to implement.”

  6. Mr G says:

    “Dr Doole is confident…”
    That’s alright then.
    Mitigation measures that are cost-effective to farmers will be developed, I’m certain, but they won’t be sufficient. That’s what Dr Doole and Mr E missed.

  7. Mr G says:

    “will need to be addressed, Mr E, is not “is being addressed”.
    Sadly, it’s been that way for a long, long time.

  8. farmerbraun says:

    Mr G are you saying that it is the mere existence of agriculture in N.Z. , dating from 200 years ago , that needs to be addressed, or is it just recent developments?

  9. “mere existence”, farmerbraun? Agriculture didn’t “merely exist” here, it aggressively established and spread here and yes, the results of that need to be addressed. One example would be the destruction of wetlands by the farming industry. I know some new wetlands are being created, but the damage has been immense. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. Farming has done enormous harm to the NZ environment over the past 200 years.

  10. farmerbraun says:

    So it is the existence of agriculture that is of concern to you. Your view is that there should be much less of it ?

  11. It’s the meme that drives agriculture that concerns me, farmerbraun. Agriculture is the embodiment of that meme. There are better ways for humanity, I believe. I don’t, however, advocate the abandoning of agriculture but yes, I do believe profound changes are needed. Just consider for a start, the amount of native forest and wetland that has been lost here in New Zealand. An approach to living that destroys most of a country’s natural ecosystem isn’t an approach I support.

  12. Mr E says:

    “Mitigation measures that are cost-effective to farmers will be developed, I’m certain, but they won’t be sufficient.”

    These words from and Environment Southland councillor.
    If you are right, I suspect that will be your legacy Robert, what you will be known for. Failure.

  13. If I am right…so do you think I am, Mr E? If not, failure won’t be what I’m remembered for. Will it. I guess then, that you are implying that my legacy from my time as “and (sic) Environment Southland councillor,” will be SUCCESS!

    Cheers for that, E!

  14. TraceyS says:

    If you are wrong, farmers will fail to develop mitigation measures that are cost-effective.

    You would regard that as success?

  15. Some mitigation measures that are cost-effective to farmers have already been developed, TraceyS. More will be developed. They won’t be sufficient though. The problem is systemic and too broad for mitigation measures that might be developed. The problems are always in advance of those measures and contributing to a problem that can’t be solved by the slow implementation of mitigation measures, in my opinion.
    Success can be had, TraceyS, but not through mitigation measures of the sort and pace we have presently.

  16. TraceyS says:

    What then?

  17. A panel of thinkers addressing the full issue would be a start, TraceyS. Excellent commentary already exists, not that you’d read about it in the farming papers. George Monbiot would be a starter. I’ve just read, “Feral”. You might enjoy that, TraceyS.

  18. TraceyS says:

    “But hill farming, he maintains, is financially and environmentally unsustainable. Rewilding upland areas and reintroducing missing species (boar, wolves, bison, lynx, elk, even elephants) would revive the land and the people who are part of it…”

    Right! I could show you a fine example of the kind of “reviving” wild pigs do in New Zealand. Far more harmful than any damage caused by sheep or cattle.

    I think farmerbraun was onto it. It’s the mere existence of agriculture that bothers you.

    You want to solve farming’s problems with a “panel of thinkers”? This is no practical suggestion.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/24/feral-searching-enchantment-monbiot-review

  19. TraceyS says:

    “In his enthusiasm for this scheme, Monbiot seems oblivious to its whiff of social engineering (perhaps the hill farmers could open a few casinos and sell cheap cigarettes?). It is not made clear, but presumably these recreational activities and the infrastructures needed to support egalitarian mass tourism would be placed outside of the actual wilderness area. How would the presence of humans be regulated once they are inside it? …On these and other questions about how to calibrate human demands with the ideology of the wilderness, Monbiot is silent.”

    As are you, Robert.

    And that’s the very bit I’m looking for.

  20. Mr E says:

    Robert Guyton – suggesting we need a ‘panel of thinkers’. ‘That is a good start’. And he is on a Council, which is a panel of ???? what I don’t know? Given he has chosen to ignore it with his “would be a start” comment, I have to wonder if he is suggesting they are non-thinkers? Is that why he is confident of failure?

    Tracey is right- Feral is feral. DOC has proven well and truly the problems that can happen when land is retired. The lack of managed grazing pressure means copius amounts of chemicals are required to keep natural – natural and clear of noxious weeds. Even semi retired land quickly becomes high cost, uneconomic and a lot less natural, enjoyable and aesthetic than its current state.

    With that said there are examples where retired has worked well. And I like to hear about these examples which farmers are often proud to talk about.

  21. Well done, TraceyS – dismissing the rewinding concept in a few ill-considered moments – you’re a champion. No chair for you at the Thinker’s Moot. You speed-read a review, and believe you’ve nailed it. Poor reading habits, TraceyS, as we’ve discussed before.
    Hopeless.

  22. Mr E is just as bad – knee-jerk spasm of opposition to a new idea. I’m not surprised though. No chair for you either, E.
    Maybe Farmer Brown will have a sincere go at thinking about the issue. His peers have failed spectacularly!

  23. Rewilding reverts to rewinding on my Apple. Could well apply though.

  24. Mr E says:

    I wonder what would constitute a ‘thinkers panel’ for you Robert.

    Land and water forum? Nope?

  25. Mr E says:

    George suggests rewilding, starting with the megafauna. I wonder Robert, are you looking to reintroduce the Moa? Like Trevor Mallard – Creating your own genetically engineered pet.

  26. Mr E says:

    And it was only when I stumbled across an unfamiliar word that I began to understand what I was looking for. And as soon as I found that word, I realized that I wanted to devote much of the rest of my life to it. The word is “rewilding,”

    George Monbiot

    Stumbles across a word – instantly devotes entire life to it. – Must be a “thinker”

  27. Nope. I’m thinking wider and deeper than that. Your out-of-hand dismissal of George Monbiot is interesting. I imagine you’d do the same to anyone who wasn’t already signed-on to your “team” and that’s no way to create a good think-tank. I’ll not be calling on you for suggested thinkers. In any case, these people are already offering their “2 cents-worth” in various forums. I’m looking for the time and manner that these people and their ideas can come together and lead the development. Shame you weren’t up to it, Mr E. There may be someone of your ilk that could contribute valuably to the discussion. I’ll keep my eyes and ears tuned for any sign.

  28. TraceyS says:

    Recommending a panel of thinkers is the equivalent of saying you don’t have any answers. The thinkers are needed to think them up. Quite the opposite to what Monbiot seems to be saying, ie. that answers are felt rather than a manifestation of the intellect.

    I didn’t have to consider “rewilding” for long, in the NZ context, to see problems with it. For example, we have farmers talking about excluding hunters, beekeepers, and others, from their properties out of fear based around increasing health and safety obligations. Rewilding hasn’t got a hope under these conditions. Doors to that sort of thing are easing closed rather than opening. And you cannot really blame farmers for that.

    Maybe Robert doesn’t see these sorts of issues. Maybe he doesn’t make any attempt to. He doesn’t exactly empathise with business or farming in a way that might allow him to ‘feel’ their difficulties and concerns.

  29. Mr E attacks George Monbiot ove some trite issue. This is the reason your on the “out”, E. Pointlessly combative. You’d not get past the introduction stage at the moot.
    As for the word “rewilding” and its effect on Mombiot, your snarky response typifies your inflexible thinking, E, again, not useful in a creative, innovative council of thinkers. Maybe you could resubmit your application, but there’s a pattern of behaviour that’s not helping your case.

  30. “Rewilding hasn’t got a hope” says TraceyS, following E’s pucker-lipped example. You haven’t grasped the concept, TraceyS, yet you confidently dismiss it. Par for your course. In any case, I’m not promoting rewilding. I’m pointing at ideas and people who can think well beyond the present boundaries to find solutions that are impossible for flat-footed thinkers like you and E to imagine. As so often happens, you are looking at trees and they are obscuring your view of the wood.

  31. Mr E says:

    I suspect the “thinkers” you are after Robert, are what most of us would refer to as ‘back slappers’. A team of people that sing from your hymn book of returning humans to the iron age, stone age or worse.

    Today I listened to a young man (mid 20s) describing the computer game he was completely consumed with. I thought to myself, it is a lifestyle that I don’t understand but I respect. The young man represents a large chunk of our youth and I respect his right to live the way he chooses. I also wondered what future an imagination like his might paint. I very much doubt he would be seeking berry picking and wolf evading. I also thought he would be a low resource user with his much of his rewards in life existing in digital fantasy.

    George Monbiot may very well paint an outcome that is appealing to you Robert, but you must also know it wont be appealing to all. Even a basic thinker would know that.

  32. TraceyS says:

    In case it isn’t obvious, Robert, I do not want to be part of your ‘think tank’ but thanks for considering me anyway. Although I’m not sure why you would considering you have frequently called me deliberate names insulting my intelligence.

    There is much to read and little time to do it within. I read a lot, and fast for someone you consider to be a ditz. Not everything gets the attention I’d like to give. Material has to be prioritised. I wish such constraints did not exist.

    I am disappointed not to have heard from you anything that forward-thinking, well-resourced, individuals might be able to pursue on their own. Everything you favour seems to imply a ‘movement’ and that’s an immediate turnoff for many people, including myself.

  33. TraceyS says:

    “In any case, I’m not promoting rewilding.”

    Well there you go again! Swales were a great idea too until I pointed out the obvious and then you backed away.

    You have to take on board the realities, at face-value, as they are pointed out to you by people who know them well. That is, if you want to move forward with them, rather than against.

    But you’ve already written them and their methods off as “insufficient” in much the same way that you criticise Mr E and I for doing to Monbiot.

    You are indeed “combative” yourself without realising it. So no seat at the thinker’s table for you either.

  34. Swales are very useful features in dry landscapes. I do recommend their use there. Monbiot’s book was quite good. I’ve recently though, been reading better.

  35. TraceyS says:

    “…you are looking at trees and they are obscuring your view of the wood.”

    Yes you are right! I am looking at the trees, native trees, which have had their undergrowth rooted up by pigs and their bark stripped and I am wondering what your advice is Robert?

    Let me know when the thinkers have had their first meet.

  36. Mr E says:

    “He doesn’t exactly empathise with business or farming in a way that might allow him to ‘feel’ their difficulties and concerns.”

    That is a fascinating statement Tracey. Particularly considering Robert’s formal role as a Councillor.

  37. Mr E says:

    Tracey,
    I suspect, Roberts broad view, is the promotion of what is contained within his own boundary fence. I reckon wants NZ to build a future in the image of his own creation. It is broad thinking on a minute scale. Everybody copy me. I am a visionary.

    It is uncharacteristic of me to make assumptions, but every time the question is raised Robert seems fearful to fulfil an answer. I guess if I am wrong in this assumption, Robert will correct me.

    Whilst I admire the hard work he has put into his creation, I doubt such a vision will do any more than attract a few tending towards that vision at any rate. I would imagine he would label them ‘thinkers’.

  38. Wild pigs are not native to New Zealand, TraceyS and are therefore not candidates for rewilding here. I thought you’d have worked that out yourself.

  39. What’s “fascinating”, Mr E, is how you and TraceyS invariably attack the messenger, in this case me, who presents a challenging idea here in the Homogenous Homepaddock. Rather than discuss the potentials (“Yes, Mr Monbiot’s ideas sound interesting – what does he mean by…” etc.) you swing into your time-worn pattern of deriding me, hoping always to drag my being on the regional council into your attack. You are so dull, so predictable, so ordinary, Mr E. No wonder you didn’t get past Step One in the Thinker’s Think Tank application process. TraceyS blew it before she began and when she realised, ramped-up the personal attack. Ho hum.

  40. Mr E says:

    Tracey,
    Like Robert, I too doubt wild pigs will be a problem. Once agriculture as we know it is destroyed (as Farmerbraun knows it too), protein and meat will be a scarcity. People will hunt out wild animals, making them extinct from the country. They’ll no doubt hunt them with spears, as the infrastructure needed to supply weapons and munitions will be gone. The ability to resource such infrastructure, gone. I also wonder if dogs will be used to hunt as well? Maybe Chihuahuas? Or will they be next on the menu, followed shortly after by GE Moa?

    Robert,
    My interpretation of you ‘thinking’ is not an attack on you. It’s a challenge of your ‘thinking’. That even happens in panels – you know. Unless of your panel is loaded with back slappers. Your offense at my disagreement with your ‘thinking’ makes me think that is what you want on your panel.

    The more you talk about a ‘think tank’, the more I believe you are talking about an ‘echo chamber’.

  41. Bored with you both now.

  42. Mr E says:

    Bored, already?
    Your think tank sounds more like a goldfish tank.

  43. I suggest a panel of thinkers to focus on land-use and Mr E dredges Youtube for insults.
    I don’t mind. My idea is a good one and has been thrown into contrast with Mr E’s trite, spiteful attacks. How anyone in his sphere can hope to progress anything is a mystery. The moment anyone suggests anything, Mr E would leap to his computer and begin trawling Youtube for flippant personal slights and vacuous ‘humour’ designed to belittle the originator of any idea that has made Mr E’s head swim. I can imagine TraceyS playing secretary for Mr E, sniggering with him as she searches for snide cartoons.

  44. Willdwan says:

    What is the point of all this? It’s private property isn’t it?

    End of.

  45. Not all property is private property. In any case, you have obligations and the community has rights that dictate some of the activities that occur on private land.
    Beginning of.

  46. Willdwan says:

    Obligations to turn your farm into a wilderness. Not likely.

  47. TraceyS says:

    “I can imagine TraceyS playing secretary for Mr E, sniggering with him as she searches for snide cartoons.”

    That would be funny if it were not so demeaning.

    I’m sure Mr E is more than capable of searching for his own cartoons.

  48. TraceyS says:

    “Wild pigs are not native to New Zealand.”

    Neither is gorse.

    Mr E might be right about the people eventually sorting pigs out.

    Who will sort out the gorse?

    Running barefoot through it while chasing wild native birds for a feed, or just for fun, doesn’t really appeal much. Not to me anyway. Robert may have thicker skin. But he needs to face facts: some of our problems require either chemical solutions, the fossil-fuel treatment, or both.

  49. Will – you are fantasising. How does that help? You are subject to obligations on your private property, aren’t you?
    Perhaps you believe you are not.

  50. “Chemical solutions, fossil-fuel treatment, or both”

    Sadly, that seems to be as far as you can stretch, Tracey.
    “Gorse! Spray! Burn! Rip! Dig! Nuke!”
    You’ve neatly illustrated the meme I’ve been alluding-to for some time here in the Homogenous Homepaddock, so I thank you for that.

    3 interesting qualities of gorse:
    It’s a legume
    It’s short-lived
    It spreads freely.

    Incidentally, I do have thick soles on both of my feet.
    I’m interested in why you found my suggestion that, rather than me dictate what landowners should do, a panel of thinkers could address the issue of land management. I’d have thought you’d be delighted that I didn’t take the ego-centric position and dictate what should happen, but instead proposed that a team of people would be better able to devise a suitable plan. Mr E pretended that I wish to make the world in my image, or at least that of my garden, but he was making sh*t up, as he does, ignoring completely the fact that I’d not even suggested that I be on such a panel as he derided. You also slapped down the first person I suggested might be suitable on such a panel – George Monbiot, even though you’ve not read his book and chose to read a second-hand account of his work – very scientific, Tracey, I don’t think.
    Back to gorse – “who will sort out the gorse?” is perhaps a question the panel could consider, though I’m betting they would ask straight off, “does gorse need to be “sorted”? That would be the kinds of people I imagine would be best on such a panel. Not narrow-minded reactionaries like you and Mr E. I can’t even imagine what Will is getting it. He’s coming across as confused.

  51. Willdwan says:

    Interesting remark Robert. I was thinking exactly the same about Monbiot. He is a fantasist, and it is churlish of me to spoil your enjoyment of his delusions. Kiwi farmers are pretty easy going, but we have our limits. Pray you never find them.

  52. Okay, not Monbiot then. I only put his name up as an example of an extra-ordinary thinker who might help break the old mood.
    Have you a name to offer? Not Monckton, please 🙂

  53. Mr E says:

    1 Interesting quality of Gorse; Roberts Council has rules against it.

    Rules
    1. Land occupiers in the specified urban areas
    must destroy all Gorse on land they occupy.
    2. Land occupiers outside the specified urban
    areas:
    (a) must destroy all Gorse on land they
    occupy that is within 10 metres of any
    open drain or watercourse that extends
    or discharges beyond the boundary of
    their land;
    (b) must destroy all Gorse within 10 metres
    of a property boundary where the
    neighbouring property is clear of Gorse
    within 10 metres of that boundary;
    (c) except, that occupiers may maintain
    existing permanent hedges or live fences
    consisting of Gorse providing these are
    regularly trimmed (both sides and top) to
    reduce flowering. No new Gorse hedges
    shall be allowed to established within the
    10m clearance area.
    3. No person shall sell, offer for sale, propagate,
    transport or release any Gorse within the
    Southland region.
    A breach of these rules, without reasonable excuse, is
    an offence under Section 154(r) of the Act.

    Robert’s promotion of Gorses properties seems at odds with his Councils objective of supressing this weed. Just how the broader rewilding idea will fit within his ‘teams’ rules seems a mystery.

    Robert claims I have produced insults. Personal slights, derision, spiteful attacks, belittling and so on. I haven’t. Frankly I think he has just become a little too sensitive and is leaping to all sorts of over reactions, and false conclusions. Here I was thinking the man had ‘chutzpah’. Being a kind heart, I’ll offer him a little support, in a form that I know will work. For you Robert – Poor wee fell fell.

  54. TraceyS says:

    What’s with you Robert?

    I wrote “some of our problems require either chemical solutions, the fossil-fuel treatment, or both.” Which is perfectly true! But note that I qualified this statement with “some”.

    You leaped ahead and wrote “…that seems to be as far as you can stretch, Tracey. “Gorse! Spray! Burn! Rip! Dig! Nuke!”
    You’ve neatly illustrated the meme I’ve been alluding-to for some time.”

    Well, Robert, I’d say that is because you want me to. You have every reason to prefer that I sit comfortably in the box you’ve made, I understand this, but refuse to go there.

    Please note that I did not say that chemical and oil was the solution to every single agricultural problem.

    Rest assure that I can stretch much further. Yet you don’t seem interested in hearing.

  55. TraceyS says:

    About gorse, Robert, Mr E and your Council are right.

    “Extent of N leaching under gorse:

    The loss of N from the root zone has environmental implications such as nitrate pollution of groundwater, eutrophication of surface waters and emissions of the greenhouse gas N2O (Philippot et
    al. 2009). In addition to ‘fixing’ N, gorse can produce N-rich biomass and residues (Egunjobi 1969). Fixed N and N from mineralisation of the N-rich litter have the potential to become nitrified and subsequently leach nitrate into soil–water systems (Goldstein et
    al. 2010), although this issue remains unexplored for gorse. Dyck et al. (1983) studied nitrate losses from various undisturbed and disturbed (by spraying, crushing and burning) gorse and forest ecosystems. Soil water was periodically collected from 10 suction-cup samplers for up to 2 years after disturbance in each treated area as well as in undisturbed controls, and analysed for nitrate N as an indicator of nutrient loss. They found that in undisturbed areas more nitrate was leached from sites under gorse than from sites under the tree species. For example, nitrate-N concentrations from the gorse area averaged 5.1 g m–3 whereas nitrate concentrations from radiata pine stands averaged 0.006 g m
    –3. In the same study, Dyck et al. (1983) suggested that decomposing gorse tissue released fairly large amounts of nitrate to groundwater.”

    http://www.newzealandecology.org/nzje/3013.pdf

    It simply makes no sense to let gorse flourish, fixing increasing amounts of nitrogen from the atmosphere, thriving for no other purpose but to release its accumulated reserves into groundwater. If only it could be trained to exclusively fix excess nitrogen from the soil. Then it could be used to clean up the environment and perhaps recycled into fertiliser. But you know that nature can’t be tamed like that. Genetic engineering maybe? No, you don’t want that either.

    Sometimes we have to take what you consider to be backward steps in order to move forward. That does not mean all is lost. It does not mean that we are lost.

  56. TraceyS – they say a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and they are right.
    Are you aware of the function of some mycorrhizal fungi in transferring nitrogen from the nodules of legumes to other plants, for the benefit thereof? Can you see that leguminous trees such as gorse when grown in association with recipient trees can provide the nitrogen needs of those trees, meaning no petroleum-derived nitrogen needs to be dumped on the land?
    Just asking, did you know, you know, before you made your light-headed claims about gorse – “thriving for no other purpose but to release its accumulated reserves into groundwater.” – that’s just a limited view you have there Trace.
    However, I’d like to praise you, to the High Heavens, for this sage advice you offered:
    “Sometimes we have to take what you consider to be backward steps in order to move forward.”
    I’ve copied that to my desktop and will use it whenever I see the opportunity, Tracey. Wise words indeed!

  57. TraceyS says:

    Robert –

    “Can you see that leguminous trees such as gorse when grown in association with recipient trees can provide the nitrogen needs of those trees, meaning no petroleum-derived nitrogen needs to be dumped on the land?

    What trees, Robbie? Radiata Pine, yes, I see that all the time. What else? Even Douglas Fir struggles against gorse around here.

    Just checking my understanding – in saying “no petroleum-derived nitrogen needs to be dumped on the land” do you really think that gorse could replace ALL petroleum-derived nitrogen fertiliser? Is this suitable for all locations, all crops, or might you be promoting an ecological disaster?

  58. “What trees, Robbie?” – Robbie? growing very fond of me, Tracey, it seems…
    Radiata and Douglas Fir? Is that as far as your imagination stretches, Trace?
    Must I spoon-feed you?

  59. And to settle your confusion, TraceyS, I only need to emphasise the words I wrote the first time:
    “Can you see that leguminous trees such as gorse when grown in association with recipient trees can provide the nitrogen needs of those trees, meaning no petroleum-derived nitrogen needs to be dumped on the land?

    Goddit?

    Reading for meaning, TraceyS. It’s a very useful skill.

  60. TraceyS says:

    Gorse grown in association with recipient trees. It’s these ones I am interested in. What species are the recipient trees?

    Why won’t you give a straight answer?

    Keep spooning. You’re quite good at being a spoon.

  61. TraceyS says:

    “Robbie? growing very fond of me…

    Growing?…why yes always! Fond of you…hmmm…not so much.

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