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Sunday, 15 May 2011

No-Tillage - Feilding, New Zealand Company

I am currently reading a book called The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka [1913-2008].   In it he sets out his four principles of natural farming.  As I read these:
1. No cultivation
2. No chemical fertilizer or prepared compost
3. No weeding by tillage or herbicide
4. No dependence on chemicals

I remembered that locally in Feilding we have a company that with its cross-slot technology supports no tillage or cultivation.   The company is Baker No-Tillage Ltd and it has sent its cross-slot technology to the US, Canada, the UK, Europe and to Australia.   It is a real success story and one which is resonating more and more with farmers who care for the environment and for their soils.

The website at: http://www.crossslot.com/index.php  includes a number of videos in English, French, German and Russian giving information and showing how farmers are using the technology and the results they are getting.  Many of them are interviews with farmers so the results and experiences are coming from 'the horse's mouth'.

Reading the website and thinking about Fukuoka's ideas, there has been wide divergence of practice, because clearly farmers using the cross-slot technology are applying fertilizer.  Fukuoka advocated putting the straw back onto the land which had been cropped instead of using any kind of fertilizer.  However it is really interesting to see this philosophy originally set out in The One-Straw Revolution written in 1975.   The website give no hint that there is a link or that Fukuoka's ideas were read by John Baker.

Incidentally Baker No-Tillage Limited and Cross Slot were named finalists in the Corporate Environment section of the World Technology Awards 2010 held in New York on December 1st.  The World Technology Awards ceremony was the “grand finale” of the two-day World Technology Summit held at the Time/Life Building in central Manhattan.  This was a major achievement for this exporting company, which is based in Feilding, New Zealand.

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