Animal welfare in event of eruption

November 21, 2012

A public service announcement:

There are no reports at this stage of stock being affected by today’s Tongariro eruption, and there is no indication that it has had any animal welfare effects. However, the NZ Veterinary Association (NZVA) warns that should today’s eruption worsen and begin to distribute significant amounts of ash, it could cause an animal welfare problem if water and clean feed are not available.

“In the event of significant ash fall access to fresh clean water is imperative for livestock grazing ash covered pastures,” Dr Donald Shanks from VetPlus in Taupo said today.

If water troughs become contaminated, they should be cleared of ash and refilled with clear water where practicable. Troughs can be covered in the event of future eruptions to prevent further ash contamination. But of course, access to water must always be available,” Dr Shanks said.

If an ash eruption covers grass, stock should be moved, if possible to where they can access longer length and grassy pasture to help reduce ash and contaminated soil ingestion.

Where longer length grass is not available, stock should be fed supplementary feed, such as hay or silage, although stock not used to it might take some time.

Dr Wayne Ricketts from the NZ Veterinary Association (NZVA) and co-chair of the National Animal Welfare Emergency Management Advisory Group noted that volcanic ash can affect both the skin and the lungs of animals.

“Ash can be detrimental to an animal’s health e.g. eye, skin (infections due to ash covering the animal’s body and not allowing air to circulate, therefore the skin becomes a humid environment for normal bacteria to proliferate) and lung damage,” he said.

If the eruption worsens animals with respiratory conditions should be removed from the area and/or kept indoors or under shelter if possible.

Ash can quickly wear grazing animals’ teeth down as well, with cattle and horses most at risk.

A common-sense approach to animal welfare should be adopted, should the eruption prove to be serious, the NZVA suggests.


Word of the day

November 21, 2012

Dissever – to break up, divide into parts, separate or sever; to become separated or disunited.


Sound move

November 21, 2012

Broadcasters are going to turn down the sound on advertisements.

TVNZ, MediaWorks and Maori TV say they have reached an agreement on the compression technology that makes many advertisements so much louder than the programmes they interrupt. Sky TV has not formally signed on to the initiative but says it will support it.

The agreement kicks in January 1, but TVNZ says it will start Sunday. In a statement emailed to NBR ONLINE, CEO Kevin Kenrick said “we just want to get on with it”. The state broadcaster will foot the bill for adjusting the audio on ads already submitted.

Sounds good, but there’s a but:

Earlier, TVNZ’s general manager of technology Peter Ennis told NBR free-to-air broadcasters here had agreed to follow the International Telecommunications Union’s IITU 1770 recommendation, already widely adopted overseas by bodies such as the European Broadcasters’ Union.

But he added the qualifier, “It’s important to remember, however, that while these standards go some way towards reducing the perceived loudness differences between and within programme and advertising content it is unlikely that all differences will be eliminated, mainly because advertisers and TV creatives will continue to want to use dynamic range for effect.”. . .

In other words, they still want to yell at us.

Yet another selling point for MySky which lets you fast forward through the ads so you can avoid both sight and sound.


Focus on improving productivity of Maori land

November 21, 2012

Fonterra, ZESPRI, Massey University,  DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and  Landcare Research have joined forces with the Federation of Māori Authorities and the Māori Trustee to focus on increasing the productivity of Māori-owned farm land.

The new Māori Land Productivity Initiative, Te Kokiri mo te Whainga Hua o Nga Whenua Māori, is the private sector’s response to the Māori Economic Development Panel’s recommendation 17 to raise the productivity of Māori land . . .

The Chairman of the Māori Economic Development Panel, Ngahiwi Tomoana, said an estimated 1.5 million hectares of New Zealand land was owned collectively or individually by Māori, but a 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Te Puni Kokiri report suggested that 80% of Māori freehold farming land was either underperforming or underutilised and not even close to reaching the land’s productivity potential.

“Getting the productivity of all Māori-owned land up to the world’s best standards is perhaps the most important contribution Māori can make to improving New Zealand’s exports and driving economic growth,” Mr Tomoana said.

Te Horipo Karaitiana, Chief Executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities, said the Initiative would act quickly and efficiently to get in place specific programmes to assist Maori landowners to upgrade the productivity of their land.

“This is an issue we’ve been working on for some time, and to get so many of the key players invested will be of enormous value. The group is Maori-led, industry and university facilitated, and will involve no cost to the taxpayer, while unlocking huge returns for Maori and all of New Zealand.” . . .

Having so much land under performing is a waste or resources and opportunities, especially when a lot of it is in areas of high unemployment.

Increasing the productivity of Maori land will provide more work on farms and the businesses which service and support them and earn more export income.


Rural round-up

November 21, 2012

Fonterra scotches speculation of US$450m Indian acquisition – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, has dismissed speculation the company is among potential bidders for India’s Tirumala Milk Products.

The New Zealand cooperative scotched a Times of India report naming it with French food conglomerate Danone as vying for a controlling stake in Hyderabad-based Tirumala, with a spokesman for the dairy exporter calling it “rubbish”. The US$450 million enterprise value figure reported would be material for Fonterra and would need to be disclosed, he said. . .

Water allocation and limit setting in a changing climate – Waiology:

Last week, the Land and Water Forum released its third and final report on water management in New Zealand. It is a substantial piece of collaborative work with 67 recommendations. Number 29 is that allocation limits be set by taking into account “any flow and water level fluctuations caused by seasonal or other climate variations”. While this primarily refers to natural variability, such as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, it’s also important to consider climate change. And along the same lines, last year’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management stated the need to account for the “foreseeable impacts” of climate change.

This is an important issue, as climate change is expected to bring about a raft of changes to New Zealand’s freshwaters (more details on that soon). Among these changes are reductions or increases in the amount of water available for use. Also importantly, climate change makes assessments of future water resources less certain. . .

Fonterra shareholder fund pricing uncertainty leaves Morningstar cold – Paul McBeth:

Investors should steer of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, which seeks to raise up to $525 million to reduce the dairy cooperative’s redemption risk, until the units start trading, according to Morningstar Research.

However, the units have too many pricing uncertainties in the bookbuild phase.

The research firm gives a ‘do not subscribe’ recommendation for the fund’s initial public offering, saying Fonterra Cooperative Group lacks pricing power over its dairy commodities, generates low returns compared to its multinational peers, and investors won’t know the price they are paying until after the bookbuild process is completed on Nov. 27. . .

A2 in talks with NZX about shifting to main board – Paul McBeth:

A2 Corp, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, is in talks with the New Zealand Stock Exchange about shifting its listing on the main board.

The company, currently listed on the alternative market, qualifies for listing on the NZX main board, and managing director Geoffrey Babidge says that is a more recognised market and can provide better transparency and investor protection, according to a presentation at today’s annual meeting.

“A move to the NZX main board may provide greater liquidity and increase access to capital,” Babidge said. “To this end, the company has commenced discussions with NZX regarding a move to the NZX main board.” . . .

Kiwifruit vines credited as carbon sinks:

Three years of research by a Bay of Plenty company has found that kiwifruit orchards store a significant quantity of organic carbon in the soil.

PlusGroup Research received funding from the former Ministry of Agriculture’s sustainability farming fund to do the research, which investigated soil samples from more than 120 kiwifruit orchards across different growing regions. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ director elections:

Nominations are being called for two farmer-elected positions on the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The positions are for the Western North Island and Central South Island electorates.

Nominations must be submitted on the official form obtained from the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, free phone 0508 666 003. The nominations need to be received by 5 pm on 20 December 2012. . .

Better Look Over Your Shoulder – Fish & Game Warning To Poachers:

The latest camouflaged ‘poacher cams’ are proving their worth in the Rotorua lakes district – giving trout poachers even more reason to look over their shoulder.

That’s according to Eastern Region Fish & Game, which has released information on the number of offenders caught over the last three months.

Fish & Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says that over the past three months (ending November) they’ve dealt with 30 people for a variety of offences ranging from fishing without a licence and fishing closed waters – to serious poaching offences. . .

Celebrating 150 Years in the Valley of Gold & Cardrona Vintage Fair

The historical and picturesque township of Cardrona in the breathtaking Cardrona Valley turns 150 years Gold this year. To celebrate, the iconic Cardrona Hotel and the greater community are opening their doors, hearts and rabbit cookbook’s for a birthday bash guaranteed to delight all ages.

Saturday 8th December – 150 Years of Gold celebration

From the excitement of highly trained heading dogs competing in the Dog Trials to trying your hand at gold panning, the 150 Years of Gold celebrations are local-jam-packed with fun and fascinating events for everyone. . .


MIlk price up .7% in GDT auction

November 21, 2012

The trade-weighted price of dairy products increased .7% in this morning’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.

This is a reassuring trend after winter’s price drops.

GDT Trade Weighted Index Changes

Today’s results continue to keep the price above the long term average.

The price of anhydrous milk fat increased 1.2%, cheddar was up 12.4%; milk protein concentrate was down 1.8%; there was no change in the price for rennet casein; skim milk powder was down 1.7% and whole milk powder was down 1.9%.

 

 

 

 

 


Sensible to fund disciplines with skill shortages

November 21, 2012

The University of Auckland graduation ceremony we attended  was for optometry and science degrees for people with surnames in the last half of the alphabet.

If appearance and names could be relied on as a guide, a sprinkling of the graduands were Maori or Pacific; more than a third were Pakeha and nearly half were Asian.

That was three years ago and it sounds like there still aren’t many Pacific students opting for science.

A Pacific community leader has warned of a “Pasifika uprising” if the Government goes through with a threat to force Auckland University to take more engineering students, which may cause redundancies in other faculties.

Rev Uesifili UNasa, the university’s chaplain and head of Auckland Council’s Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, said the move threatened Pacific participation in the university, which was concentrated in faculties such as arts and education. . .

The strategy he is attacking is designed to encourage more students in disciplines with skills shortages.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce told a Herald series on job/skill mismatches, which began yesterday, that he would direct the university to take more engineering and science students if it did not do so voluntarily in response to funding changes.

This year’s Budget lifted funding for engineering by $42 million, or 8.8 per cent, and for science by $17 million (2 per cent), while funding for all other subjects was frozen.

Funding disciplines in need of graduates is sensible policy which makes best use of scarce public funds.

The chaplain would be serving his students better if he dropped the rhetoric and put his energy into dealing with whatever stops all but a few considering science or engineering which are far more likely to lead to job opportunities.


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