Rural round-up

August 29, 2016

Farmers enable us to reach our potential. Let’s celebrate that – Federated Farmers:

Farmers get their hands dirty so we can pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing and harvesting the food we need to survive.

With food plentiful, and lifestyle expectations high, we seem to have forgotten the role of farmers in the modern world.

Why is it farmers in developing countries only farm around a hectare of land each?  It is because that is how much land one person can cultivate in one season by hand.  The food production in many developing countries is not limited by land, but by labour and productivity.  That is why big families are necessary – more hands to till more land.

Have you ever stopped to think how many potentially great doctors, engineers or scientists spend their lives on the end of a hand-hoe in these countries?  Never to see their potential fulfilled.  In many developing countries subsistence farmers make up more than 80 per cent of the population.

Delegating farmers to provide our food gives the rest of us freedom and choice to do what we are good at. . . 

Drought warning – Annette Scott:

Low or no flow in many of Canterbury’s streams and rivers could lead to early water restrictions this season, Environment Canterbury warns.

Canterbury has entered its third successive drought season with 86% of water bores affected and some wells at their lowest in 30 years.  Only significant snow and rain could make a difference now, ECan chief Executive Bill Bayfield said.  

Weather forecasters reported one of the wimpiest winters in recent years and had already announced spring’s early arrival. Significant rain or a decent snow-dump were not on the radar. .  .

Feral cats reaching plague proportions – Robin Martin:

Feral cats are reaching plague proportions in New Zealand’s back country and no-one seems to want to take responsibility for the problem, says a Taranaki beekeeper.

Sarah Hart and her partner Steven Henwood say they often drive through – what they describe as – “herds” of wild cats while out retrieving hives.

The couple live in the remote Okoki valley, about 20 kilometres inland from Urenui in North Taranaki.

Ms Hart said at dusk the rugged beef and sheep country was alive with feline forms – some of the estimated 2.5 million feral cats in New Zealand. . . 

We aren’t that couple – Uptown Farms:

Dear America, 

It struck me this morning, as my husband and I were walking out the door – there is something I need to tell you.  Something I need you to know.  

We aren’t that couple.  In fact, I’m not even sure if we own a pitchfork.  

A lot has changed since the 1930’s.  Our corn yields have increased six times over.  We use computers, GPS, seed technology. We grow more, on less water and land. Our farms are bigger, our equipment is bigger, even our animals are bigger.  We do all of this with fewer people than ever before in history. 

We have college degrees, my husband actually has two. One of us works off the farm full time which is the new norm for farm families – just like non-farm families.  We are professionals.  . . 

Cavalier Corporation returns to profit:

New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Corporation has returned to a profitable position posting a net profit after tax of $3.1 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2016.

This represents a significant turnaround from the company’s write downs and recorded loss of $25.7 million in 2015.

Both net profit and normalised profit of $6.3 million after tax were slightly up on the earnings guidance Cavalier issued in June.

Cavalier Corporation CEO Paul Alston says the company’s performance is encouraging and representative of the transformation it is undertaking with debt reduction and a dual focus on revenue and cost. . . 

Milk production plummets 10.3%:

Australian milk production plummeted 10.3 per cent in July compared with last year, with massive drops in Tasmania, South Australia and northern Victoria, according to the latest figures from Dairy Australia.

Farmers have slashed production in response to the big cut in milk prices, initially by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra in May and then by most processors in July.

Tasmanian production is hardest hit, down 19.6 per compared with July 2015. . . 

Seeka hikes interim dividend as first-half profit almost doubles Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries hiked its interim dividend to shareholders as the first harvest from its recent Australian acquisition and record crops contributed to a first-half profit that almost doubled.

Net profit rose to $7.1 million, or 43 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30 from $3.7 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Revenue climbed 39 percent to $134.2 million, and the board declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share, payable on Sept. 29 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 22. That’s up from 9 cents a share a year earlier. . . 

Delegat to pay bigger dividend after posting record annual operating profit – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat Group will pay a bigger dividend to shareholders after reporting a record operating profit for the 2016 financial year, with North American sales driving revenue growth.

The Auckland-based company’s board declared a dividend of 12 cents per share payable on Oct. 14 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 30, up from 11 cents it’s paid in the past two years. The winemaker reported a record operating profit of $37 million, on a 9 percent increase in global case sales to a record 2.41 million, including 1 million cases sold in North America.

“The directors consider that the underlying operational performance and strong cash flows justify an increase in dividends this year,” executive chairman Jim Delegat said. . . 

Central Otago winery nails Decanter tasting in UK – “Outstanding”:

Central Otago winegrowers Roger and Jean Gibson are elated that a wine from their Lowburn Ferry vineyard has ranked Number One in high profile Decanter magazine in the UK. The in-depth tasting of more than 170 pinot noirs from across New Zealand in Decanter’s September 2016 issue was carried out by a panel of three prominent UK industry wine judges. Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014 scored 96 points out of a possible 100, giving it “Outstanding” status in the tasting.

In the covering feature article reviewing the tasting, New Zealand is described as being “the best Pinot-producing country outside of France.” . . 

Dunedin owners of Central Otago winery win their first wine trophy:

Central Otago’s Black Quail Estate vineyard and truffière is victorious after being awarded the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy and Champion Pinot Noir at the Bragato Wine Awards in Marlborough last night.

Black Quail Estate 2013 Pinot Noir is a true boutique, single vineyard wine. All the Pinot Noir is from this single vineyard on Felton Road, Bannockburn and only 400 cases are made every year.

Sitting on 25 hectares of prime grape growing land on Felton Road, Bannockburn Dunedin’s Keillor family purchased the land in 1999. Owners Rod and Mirani Keillor immediately planted ten hectares with Pinot Noir and now have planted the rest with olives, fruit and hazelnut trees. . . 


How did it get so bad before someone acted?

August 29, 2016

A farmer faces a possible prison sentence and ban from farming after admitting his inaction caused the death of hundreds of sheep and widespread suffering.

The story says the Ministry of Primary Industries was alerted by an anonymous tip-off which means someone noticed something and did the right thing even if it was far too late for too many animals.

There’s no mention of family or neighbours and it’s possible there was no-one close.

But neglect like this doesn’t happen overnight.

Even though it’s not like it used to be in the country where everyone knew their neighbours well, farmers still usually have an idea of  what’s going on over other people’s fences.

How could the situation get so bad without someone seeing something amiss and doing something sooner?


Quote of the day

August 29, 2016

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom. John Locke who  was born on this day in 1632.


August 29 in history

August 29, 2016

708 Copper coins were minted in Japan for the first time.

1350  Battle of Winchelsea (or Les Espagnols sur Mer): The English naval fleet under King Edward III defeated a Castilian fleet of 40 ships.

1475  The Treaty of Picquigny ended a brief war between France and England.

1526  Battle of Mohács: The Ottoman Turks led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and kill the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia.

1632 John Locke, English philosopher, was born (d. 1704).

1655 Warsaw fell without resistance to a small force under the command of Charles X Gustav of Sweden during The Deluge.

1758  The first American Indian Reservation was established, at Indian Mills, New Jersey.

1777  – Hyacinth, ( Nikita Yakovlevich Bichurin), Russian religious leader, founded Sinology,  was born (d. 1853).

1786  Shays’ Rebellion, an armed uprising of Massachusetts farmers, began in response to high debt and tax burdens.

1809 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician and writer, was born (d. 1894).

1831  Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction.

1833 The United Kingdom legislated the abolition of slavery in its empire.

1842 Treaty of Nanking signing ended the First Opium War.

1862 Andrew Fisher, 5th Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1928).

1869  The Mount Washington Cog Railway opened, making it the world’s first rack railway.

1871  Emperor Meiji ordered the Abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures as local centers of administration.

1876 Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, was born (d. 1958).

1885  Gottlieb Daimler patented the world’s first motorcycle.

1898 The Goodyear tyre company was founded.

1903 The Russian battleship Slava, the last of the five Borodino-classbattleships, was launched.

1907 The Quebec Bridge collapsed during construction, killing 75 workers.

1910  Japan changed Korea‘s name to Chōsen and appoints a governor-general to rule its new colony.

1911  Ishi, considered the last Native American to make contact with European Americans, emerged from the wilderness of northeastern California.

1914 New Zealand forces captured German Samoa.

NZ force captures German Samoa

1915 US Navy salvage divers raised F-4, the first U.S. submarine sunk by accident.

1915 Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Nathan Pritikin, American nutritionist, was born (d. 1985).

1918  Bapaume was taken by New Zealand forces in the Hundred Days Offensive.

1923 Richard Attenborough, English film director, was born (d. 2014).

1924 Dinah Washington, American singer, was born (d. 1963).

1929 Thom Gunn, British poet, was born (d. 2004).

1930  The last 36 remaining inhabitants of St Kilda were voluntarily evacuated to other parts of Scotland.

1943  German-occupied Denmark scuttled most of its navy;Germany dissolved the Danish government.

1944  Slovak National Uprising – 60,000 Slovak troops turned against the Nazis.

1949  Soviet atomic bomb project: The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, known as First Lightning or Joe 1, at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.

1958 Lenny Henry, British writer, comedian and actor, was born.

1958 Michael Jackson, American pop singer, was born (d. 2009).

1958  United States Air Force Academy opened in Colorado Springs.

1966  The Beatles performed their last concert before paying fans at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

1970  Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War. Police riot killed three people, including journalist Ruben Salazar.

1982  The synthetic chemical element Meitnerium, atomic number 109, was first synthesized at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.

1991 Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union suspended all activities of the Soviet Communist Party.

1991  Libero Grassi, an Italian businessman from Palermo was killed by the Mafia after taking a solitary stand against their extortion demands.

1996  Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801, a  Tupolev Tu-154, crashed into a mountain on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, killing all 141 aboard.

1997  At least 98 villagers were killed by the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria GIA in the Rais massacre, Algeria.

2003 Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, and nearly 100 worshippers were assassinated in a terrorist bombing, as they left a mosque in Najaf.

2005  Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $80 billion in damage.

2007 – 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident: six US cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were flown without proper authorization from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Bae.

2012 – The opening ceremony of the Summer Paralympic Games was held in London.

2012 – At least 26 miners were killed and 21 missing after a blast in theXiaojiawan coal mine, located at Panzhihua in Sichuan Province, China.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

August 28, 2016

An early patch of daffodils is in bloom under an oak tree in the garden and in a sun trap under the living room window the first of the tulips are in flower.

I’m grateful for them and the reminder that with gardens, and many aspects of life, the reward often comes long after the planting.


Word of the day

August 28, 2016

Unquiet – unable to be still; restless; uneasy; agitated; disordered; turbulent; mentally or emotionally disturbed; vexed or perturbed; full of turmoil; characterised by disorder, tumult or unrest.


New Age

August 28, 2016

new age StoryPeople print by Brian Andreas

We’re already in the new age, she said. What does that mean? I said. It means we can stop waiting & start living, she said but after she left, I still waited a little while more just to be safe. New Age – ©2016 Brian Andreas – posted with permission.

You can sign up for a daily email delivering a dose of whimsy like this at Story People.


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