Rothamsted and animal disease

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Richard Higgins – researcher and farmer has been presenting on radio and at conferences summer 2012 about the issue of diseases in cattle such as TB and Foot and Mouth disease etc.,

I was invited to attend the National Badger conference in Lyminton, Hampshire where there were 110 delegates for a 3 day conference. I sold out of books on the subject of disease prevention in farm animals of the two books of Howard that I hold on the sublect. Also I was interviewed on BBC Radio Shropshire on the subject attempting to get closer to the centre of controversy over the proposed badger cull in Gloucestershire as I believe Howard holds the comprehensive approach to solving this terrible dilemma of eradicating the badger population in an attempt to prevent the spread of Bovine TB.

I was interviewed by BBC radio Farming today, in May, about the GM debate at Rothamsted. I was subsequently invited by their director Maurice Moloney, to meet with 5 of the soil scientists there for discussion about alternatives to GM technology for prevention of aphids in wheat.  I took the discussion into the whole sphere of pest and disease control across the agricultural board..

 

Sir Albert Howard was knighted for his work in the agricultural sector and his work has sadly been forgotten  and locked away in reference libraries. Wye College, in Kent, where he studied and taught no longer teaches any subject which broaches his lifetime of findings and experience in the agricultural world.

 

I have completed a ten year study of his work, trialling and developing his techniques at the same time and have found astounding success with his methods both in  pest control and disease control in the growing of food crops, over the last 15 years, in many different countries of the world. I presented a Howard Lecture at Coventry University, 2009. This transcript was sent to HRH the Prince of Wales, who responded immediately with very warm encouragement and thanks for my concern for British agriculture. The results of Howard’s work being carried out properly means no attacks from agricultural and horticultural pests such as the Cabbage White caterpillar on brassicas, slugs or snails, aphids etc., on any other crop.  I mentioned in the Radio Shropshire interview that if you can produce pest and disease free crops without the use of any chemicals, synthetic or otherwise, you have cracked agriculture.  What remains for me is the folding on of farm animals into such  fertile systems that I have created to show that the feeding of them on crops grown in this way will prevent the contraction of these devastating diseases. I am prepared and willing to do this in the UK for the benefit of British farmers, as did Howard in India, where, over a 21 year period, he periodically introduced his animal herds into herds that were infected with Foot and Mouth disease. His animals were not infected.

 

Prevention of disease is not only about animal welfare, which Howard’s was second to none. It is about fertility of the land, which means creating clean land from sour land. Land in good heart as he called it. Land which is not a reservoir of disease.

If this is the case – here is the solution to prevention of Bovine TB in cattle. If animals are found upon testing not to contract TB, then there will be no threat to the badger populations of the UK.

 

NFU Scotland have recently suggested there may be an element contained in Brassicas for the feeding of livestock that eliminates E coli in their gut. If this element can be extracted there could be an animal feed additive developed to prevent the spread of E coli. Simply the answer is to NFU Scotland – grow healthy crops on fertile soil employing  the Howard methods, as stated in his books and you will not have a problem of multiplying E Coli in animal guts, don’t take a stop gap approach.

 

We have for some years now, taught this method of agricultural technique and we are open to farmers and farm advisors to attend our courses as listed on the Soil Association web site. We offer on farm consultancy as well – Bio fertile Farming. Farming can no longer be only about the profit motive. |We have seen too much devastation. The field over my fence is a one hundred acre field. There was a total crop failure in 2011. The is no interactive section to Farmers Weekly on line. Therefore no one knows about these failures…. So far we have attracted one big farmer from Cambridgeshire whose daughter was studying sustainable agriculture in America, she attended with her mother. but gladly I can say that all our other students are arriving in numbers from all over England and flying in from the continent and as far away as Africa. They are young budding farmers and agriculturists who freely admit they are looking for new ways of combating pest and plant diseases etc., in growing systems today, without having to use any chemicals which they know deplete the soil of micro-biological life, structure, humus content, water holding capacity and earth worms and through lack of essential nutrients being added into conventional  farming systems, promote the degenerative diseases that are so common today. Thus they also deplete diversity of other flora and fauna which are essential for a truly sustainable system.

They leave very satisfied with their findings and feel equipped to go forth and create sustainable farms, small holdings and communities, some even as far away as South Africa.

DEFRA refused attendance at the National Badger Conference and so they missed my presentation. I have not been ablewith great perseverance to make contact with any relevant department since attending a committee meeting on grassland management in the House of Commons this summer. I don’t know if they are going to venture an attendance at the Soil Symposium, of the Soil Association, on November 14th-15th, but I think they would be well advised to.

Rothamsted Research are well aware of my proposals for British farming and I am awaiting an offer to take up any valuable trials they name. They have said that they are not only interested in GM research for disease prevention in crops but will consider an organic approach, if they think it may work.. I have presented Howard’s books to them which show how he doubled and tripled yields while maintaining sustainability. He transformed entire estates, plantations, farms and vast tracts of land, even no go areas – for fear of disease – in Africa, into fertile lands and holiday resorts. I am waiting for a response.

The last slide in my presentation at the National Badger Conference was thus:

“The State of our British Soils are in serious depletion, if we don’t do something about it we will find ourselves in serious trouble.”   DEFRA

“I would love to find an alternative to this culling (of badgers) and will take it with both hands”

DAVID HEATH, Minister of Agriculture

Further reading

100 years later… Farming Today

Some of the principles that Howard wrote about 100 years ago are just being talked about in this broadcast of Farming Today. From the Groundswell

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