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My primary interest is ecological / organic agronomy and agriculture, approached from the underlying physical, chemical, biological and ecological mechanisms with the aim of building a sound theoretical as well as empirical, basis for agricultural practices. I have a particular focus on physical and ecological weed management including weeding machinery and special expertise in thermal (flame and steam) weeding. I have a company www.physicalweeding.com to sell weeding machines machines that I have designed. In addition, I am interested in soil management, taking a biogeochemical focus on soil nutrient management coupled with the view that we need to radically improve practical tillage techniques to reduce the harmful effects of tillage, coupled with a whole system approach to organic matter management. I also have experience in biological control, both classical and conservation for pathogens and invertebrates. All of this is undertaken with the aim of improving all 'real-world' farming, not just organic. To that end I consider it essential to maintain links with working farmers and growers to ensure that the techniques I develop are useable on working farms. At a wider level I am curious about the philosophical, ethical and scientific context of agriculture and its relationship to human civilisations and the biosphere.

Beyond agriculture (which includes biology and ecology) I am fascinated by many areas of scientific enquiry, such as the more esoteric areas of physics and cosmology, mathematics and computing. I consider myself to fully signed up to the ideals of the enlightenment and the scientific method while at the same time being aware of the limits of science and the potential to be used for both positive and negative purposes, whether deliberately or in ignorance. I therefore have an active interest in ethics and the philosophy of science.

In my spare time I love mountain hiking (tramping) particularly in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

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Copyright 2014 Charles N. Merfield.