Dr John Baker

AuthorDr John Baker

Dr John Baker initiated a research and development project at New Zealand’s Massey University in 1967 aimed at identifying and eliminating the causes of biological failures during low-disturbance no-tillage. After 30 years as a scientist, he and key members of his team resigned from the university and formed Baker No-Tillage Ltd. John is a Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers, a Chartered Engineer and holds a PhD in agricultural engineering, a Master’s degree with first class honours in soil science and a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science. He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) by Queen Elizabeth II on 2006 and won the Sir Earnest Rutherford Science and Technology Medal in 1996. His team won the BP Energy Conservation Award in 1980 plus 6 innovation and technology awards at the New Zealand National Fieldays between 1984 and 2005 and the Henty Field Days (NSW) Machine of the Year in 2010. His company was a finalist in the 2010 World technology Awards and John has twice been nominated for the World Food Prize (in 2013 and 2014).

When what Grandad taught me isn’t good enough

Surely improving soil health – and with it the security of food supply – is not a competition? But it is! Competing for the prize are the manufacturers and suppliers of the machinery that the world’s farmers spend $250 billion on each year. The machinery industry justifies its lack of innovation by relying on farmers to think that – “this is what my father taught me – and his father...

Low-Disturbance No-Tillage: Opportunities for NZ

We are often asked, what is it about low-disturbance no-tillage that benefits New Zealand? The answer is that not only do we realise our soil is being plundered but we lead the world with technologies that will reverse that. Then we are asked where is the proof of that and how can that be possible? The answer to why we are best is because the FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the...

Why low-disturbance no-tillage succeeds

Low-disturbance no-tillage succeeds in all soils regardless of whether they are part of a home garden or a 1,000 hectare farmer’s field. In doing so, it contradicts much of what we were taught at school or university about soils and seeds. But science has a habit of doing that. As a one-time university Associate Professor, I am almost embarrassed to admit that I once taught the “benefits” of...

Regenerate the soil and save the world

If there is one thing that farmers have taken for granted for centuries, it’s the need to till or cultivate the soil before sowing crop seeds. And there’s nothing more fundamental to producing food than sowing seeds. Even most of the meat we eat requires sown seeds to feed the animals. It’s only fish and nomadic land animals that graze wild pastures that escape mankind’s seed-sowing step in the...

Zero Tillage

When asked what the linkage is between food security and climate change, most people don’t have a ready answer. Some see climate change as threatening how well food plants will grow in future, but they don’t see many other obvious linkages. In fact, the linkage between the two is fundamental to our very existence. But more importantly, how soil and plants affect climate change is more important...

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