Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Cop 26  (Read 11531 times)

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Cop 26
« on: November 01, 2021, 08:14:49 pm »
Just been listening to the conference via u tube.Very depressing.I have 12 acres of pasture...lots of trees and hedges.But is is grazed lightly by sheep.( not mine...just rent it out to keep pasture tidy)
What would be the zero carbon option to managing this land?
Already decided to go vegetarian.
I am aware that New Zealand with its intensive sheep farming is under scrutiny?

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2021, 09:08:23 pm »
Zero carbon is presumably just to leave it as it is and not graze it. However, I'm far from convinced because even if you planted trees on it, they only store carbon as long as they're alive and growing. When they reach the end of their lives and either rot or are burned, that carbon goes back into the atmosphere.

The question is, what do you want the land to DO for either you or the planet? Personally I think keeping land unproductive is the real crime.

Could you plant an orchard, perhaps?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2021, 12:03:22 am »
We're off to COP26 on Friday with a trailer full of sheep  :hugsheep:  It's in support of rural repopulation, worldwide 'mobile' pasturalists (nomads, transhumancers) and to show people what a wonderful, sustainable fibre we have in wool.


Stop and think - how do you measure the gaseous emissions from a cow or sheep as it grazes in a field, eating lush, herby grass and surrounded by trees and shrubs?  The answer, which the research scientists admit, is that you can't  :thinking: :idea:    So how did they measure them then? In a sealed chamber, on a concrete floor, eating grain based feed - something their gut fauna don't really like and struggle to cope with, thus producing more gases.
In the UK, throughout Europe and in fact in most of the world, the whole point of keeping grazing animals, ruminants, is that they eat grass and browse, often in areas where it is difficult to plough and cultivate more demanding crops. They are not housed except in the most severe part of winter, and then the dung and bedding are composted and returned to the land.  In some countries, such as America, in some areas of that country, cattle at least, I'm not sure about sheep, are fattened in huge feed lots, with no grass or soil to sequester the GHGs, let alone trees, they are fed those grain based diets and their effluent is collected in giant open settling lagoons, with the gases floating off into the atmosphere, along with their burps and farts. I am unaware of New Zealand having an intensive sheep husbandry system - from what I've seen it's extensive, as in Australia.
Farmers are at last realising that we must challenge the figures obtained in laboratory conditions, because our animals don't live like that; they live in open fields with soil and grass and trees to absorb and sequester any emissions, thus recycling them into the ground and the plants, then back into the animals - a normal cycle.


Before you turn to vegetarianism (I was one for many years) stop and think again.  It is thought that humans developed from their Great Ape relatives by growing bigger brains, fueled by eating cooked, easily digested meat on a large scale.  Life is full of unintended consequences, and as far as I'm aware no real research has been done into the long term effect on human intelligence of everybody giving up meat eating altogether.  Just as measuring ruminant emissions has so far proved impractical, so a world wide experiment into the effect of a no meat diet on human intelligence is likewise impractical.


I think the true carbon neutral way of managing land would be to rewild it.  However, there are more than 7.5 billion people (more have been born as I type) to feed on this Earth, so we need to balance producing food against maintaining our biodiversity.  A good start is to grow enough food without chemicals to feed you and your family, with enough excess to sell to your neighbours. Be positive - we need action, but find out for yourself what the situation truly is; politicians don't always speak the truth, they are often only concerned with the short term agenda of staying in power for their term of service.


One thing I have learned is that there's no point in hoping someone else will  sort our problems, and it's unfair to leave it up to our children, WE have to act now, WE have to make the sacrifices for the benefit of everyone else to come, or our race has no future.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2021, 12:05:30 am by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: Cop 26
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2021, 07:14:25 am »
If you are only grazing lightly then chances are you are pretty much carbon neutal .....  emmisions from beasts being far outweighed by keeping a permanent pasture.    However carbon emmissions is only one part of the problem .....  biodiversity is a huge problem too (no point neutalising carbon if there are no bees!)  .......  put part of your aceage down to a wild flower meadow .... sheep can graze early and late in year ..... allow to grow naturally from April to August then cut hay to 'tidy it up' before sheep go back in.
Linda

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Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Perris

  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Gower
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2021, 07:41:58 am »
what backinwellies said.
Or you could give up the income from the sheep and rewild it as a little local nature reserve and refuge for whatever local plants and wildlife are left there.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Cop 26
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2021, 10:03:16 am »
what backinwellies said.
Or you could give up the income from the sheep and rewild it as a little local nature reserve and refuge for whatever local plants and wildlife are left there.
I agree. I've just had a small piece of my land cleared of unsightly weeds and brambles, no trees; intention is to put in  wildflowers and ground cover plants to attract bees and other pollinators, and perhaps some fruit bushes. Can't be used for animals as it's small (100square metres) close to the road and unfenced. 
The worst thing you can do is nothing
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2021, 12:40:22 pm »
what backinwellies said.
Or you could give up the income from the sheep and rewild it as a little local nature reserve and refuge for whatever local plants and wildlife are left there.

The worst thing you can do is nothing

Or perhaps the best thing you can do is nothing and see what nature does with it.

But as I said earlier, anyone who has a decent sized piece of land, and the strength to do so, should use at least some part of it to grow food to support themselves - fruit, veggies, herbs, eggs, nuts, perhaps milk.  It's an easy way to avoid all the Green House Gas emissions involved in commercial scale production, transport, maintaining a shop and so on.  Simples  :D  Not everyone has the opportunity and space to grow their own food, so those of us who do should take advantage to ease the pressure on our small blue planet. Wild flowers don't have to be restricted to a dedicated flower meadow, where often the seeds have come out of a generic packet and are not specific to the local site.  Flowers for the bees, butterflies, moths, insects and birds can be grown in amongst crops to excellent effect
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2021, 02:06:56 pm »
https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/blog/why-species-rich-grasslands-matter-in-the-fight-against-climate-change

Hope this link works to an article on grassland and its role/importance in carbon storeage by an organisation called Plantlife.


I wasn't really too aware of this until a visit from our local wildlife trust as part of a community Green Connections project. I thought that our fields and a small field that we rent from our chapel were pretty poor in terms of biodiversity/flowering/broadleaved plants and wondered if we should plant trees etc. They found a Ballerina Wax Cap and told us to look out for more wax caps and associated fungi as the autumn progressed and explained the importance of these WaxCap grasslands. Felt a bit guilty that I'd never spotted these autumn jewels before. These grasslands are being lost due to modern farming methods and it can take a century or more for some of these fungi to re-establish if conditions once again become favourable. They are little studied and their importance not fully understood though there is apparently evidence that they maybe important for wildflower growth for example.
It does say that these ancient grasslands which need to be grazed or mowed for hay are better at carbon storeage than woodlands. I haven't researched much about this as yet but it has made me think differently about some of the well grazed upland fields around here. And I have a new fungi spotting hobby!


Just a thought.

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2021, 05:26:13 pm »
Two books, both by Dave Goulson: Silent Earth and Gardening for Bumblebees. The first one very depressing, the second one really useful.


As to the COP 26 stuff, I have started to turn the radion off for the time being....

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2021, 05:31:51 pm »
So by going vegetarian do you think that’s more carbon neutral than eating a diet with locally reared meat ? I think not. Look at the carbon footprint of an avocado for start. The carbon footprint of soya can’t be great either. Do something productive with your land rather than just leaving it grow into an unmanaged mess. Letting sheep graze it won’t hurt the environment. Carbon emissions went down during the covid lockdowns… there were still the same amount of farmed livestock. Yet everyone stopped travelling… :thinking:

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2021, 08:46:20 pm »
Interesting ideas...thankyou everyone.I was gifted my fields and intend to gift them again to my children.I don't think they have ever been ploughed unlike the large fields around us.I'm quite laid back about the drainage now and realize getting a big digger to clear out all my ditches (done in the 18th C )every few years s just a waste of time.The soil is very acid and because I've got 12 acres I manage to get a set aside grant which helps pay for a few nice trees every year.I'm wondering would the carbon neutral option include not cutting the hedges?
I do sometimes have the odd field cut for hay...using chaps with quite old equipment...bailers etc.I imagine these older tractors are quite heavy on the petrol.(like lawnmowers)
I'm not really interested in the livestock..I see the sheep as only way to keep my fields tidy.
Did have to burn some wool this year...(did anyone manage to sell it ?) which was not happy about as it caused a lot of black smoke.Less socially acceptable now to light bonfires which is only right.My son now coppiced some of the trees and puts all the wood in piles for wild life.
Planting more oak/holly/alder trees is the way to go .I won't have to worry about the maintainance in my remaining years.
Growing vegetables..orchards seem more of a commercial operation and involve chemicals.
I can understand the frustration of livestock enthusiasts as I am not actually farming the land.

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2021, 08:55:39 pm »
what backinwellies said.
Or you could give up the income from the sheep and rewild it as a little local nature reserve and refuge for whatever local plants and wildlife are left there.
I agree. I've just had a small piece of my land cleared of unsightly weeds and brambles, no trees; intention is to put in  wildflowers and ground cover plants to attract bees and other pollinators, and perhaps some fruit bushes. Can't be used for animals as it's small (100square metres) close to the road and unfenced. 
The worst thing you can do is nothing
doganjo, your bit of scrub was rewilding. I think we need a step change in our thinking; Angus Council sprays roundup around bases of trees and fences. “So what if there’s some grass going to seed, thistles and dandelions..?” I asked. Apparently people complain because it looks untidy. We should shift our view of tidy.

New Zealand has converted lots of rough uplands into pasture in recent years. Drains, fertiliser and reseeded. It’s extensive compared to here but intensive compared to 20 years ago.

Juliem, There are many things you could do with your bit of land. I don’t think grass fed animals are a problem. I know that commercially produced vegetables are a big problem in this country. No one seems bothered by the unsustainable methods of farming potatoes, carrots, etc., I think the best thing we can do is grow as much of our food ourselves, invite others to help and learn and share in what we can produce instead of going to a shop.  But if you wanted to move to trees there’s lots of books on Forest Gardening. Where all your trees, shrubs and plants provide food and harvestable materials for the future. Depending on the lay of your land, soil, interest time and commitment, you could probably create tree-walled gardens with micro climates for growing veg in the future. Or how about setting up a tree nursery?

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2021, 09:03:51 pm »
Just read your most recent post.
I’d stop cutting the hedges and let them fill out. They may become less stock proof further down but that’s what I would do.

Orchards can be grown organically, but it’s not entirely plain sailing; quite a bit of maintenance and care.

If yours is the only bit not ploughed I think you should probably keep it in grass with light grazing as you have been. Perhaps you could try to identify the species in the sward as I bet you have exciting diversity. Your fields will likely already be a reserve for wildlife reserve. It’d be a shame/loss to change this to woodland.
Planting some trees is always good :-) I’d go for maximum diversity as we live in uncertain times in terms of plant health and disease.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2021, 09:20:42 pm »
Interesting ideas...thankyou everyone.I was gifted my fields and intend to gift them again to my children.I don't think they have ever been ploughed unlike the large fields around us.I'm quite laid back about the drainage now and realize getting a big digger to clear out all my ditches (done in the 18th C )every few years s just a waste of time.The soil is very acid and because I've got 12 acres I manage to get a set aside grant which helps pay for a few nice trees every year.I'm wondering would the carbon neutral option include not cutting the hedges?
I do sometimes have the odd field cut for hay...using chaps with quite old equipment...bailers etc.I imagine these older tractors are quite heavy on the petrol.(like lawnmowers)
I'm not really interested in the livestock..I see the sheep as only way to keep my fields tidy.
Did have to burn some wool this year...(did anyone manage to sell it ?) which was not happy about as it caused a lot of black smoke.Less socially acceptable now to light bonfires which is only right.My son now coppiced some of the trees and puts all the wood in piles for wild life.
Planting more oak/holly/alder trees is the way to go .I won't have to worry about the maintainance in my remaining years.
Growing vegetables..orchards seem more of a commercial operation and involve chemicals.
I can understand the frustration of livestock enthusiasts as I am not actually farming the land.

If your land has never been ploughed then you have something very special there, with its own established ecosystem.  You need to get some advice - I'm sure others in this conversation can point you in the right direction.  Then your land can be assessed by someone who knows what's what and can give you a sustainable plan to maintain the biodiversity of what you have. I don't mean an agricultural advisor, totally the wrong person, but someone who understands ecology and the environment.
I go back on my previous comments - don't plough it up for anything - that will be the worst thing you can do.

By the by, vegetables absolutely do not need chemicals to grow, definitely not. I have never used chemicals in the garden in my life.  I hadn't meant for you to use the whole 12 acres for veggies, just enough to feed you and your family, but if that is something you know nothing about then it's not an option.

Just a few years ago it was announced that ploughing up permanent pasture was to be no longer allowed, after the following year.  That announcement was responsible for the destruction of a large number of old pastures, so farmers could plough before they had to seek permission, in case they wanted to do so further down the line.  More unintended consequences  ::)
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Cop 26
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2021, 09:32:15 pm »
https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/blog/why-species-rich-grasslands-matter-in-the-fight-against-climate-change

Hope this link works to an article on grassland and its role/importance in carbon storeage by an organisation called Plantlife.


I wasn't really too aware of this until a visit from our local wildlife trust as part of a community Green Connections project. I thought that our fields and a small field that we rent from our chapel were pretty poor in terms of biodiversity/flowering/broadleaved plants and wondered if we should plant trees etc. They found a Ballerina Wax Cap and told us to look out for more wax caps and associated fungi as the autumn progressed and explained the importance of these WaxCap grasslands. Felt a bit guilty that I'd never spotted these autumn jewels before. These grasslands are being lost due to modern farming methods and it can take a century or more for some of these fungi to re-establish if conditions once again become favourable. They are little studied and their importance not fully understood though there is apparently evidence that they maybe important for wildflower growth for example.
It does say that these ancient grasslands which need to be grazed or mowed for hay are better at carbon storeage than woodlands. I haven't researched much about this as yet but it has made me think differently about some of the well grazed upland fields around here. And I have a new fungi spotting hobby!


Just a thought.

@in the hills this is exciting for me.  We have noticed this autumn many patches of small yellow fungi toadstool type things growing throughout our pastures.  You inspired me to look them up to identify them and they are indeed Golden Waxcaps.  I haven't had time to read much about them, except that they are found in underused pastures (we have had very few sheep in some of our fields for the past couple of years, and others are in the process of being used for growing trees whilst keeping their grasses undisturbed. Oddly I haven't seen much variety in fungi this year, a few horse mushrooms and some little colourless jobs, but I shall pay more attention now  ;D
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

 

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