Word of the day

30/11/2020

Bruadarach – a dreamer or visionary.


Sowell says

30/11/2020


Rural round-up

30/11/2020

The role of red meat in healthy & sustainable New Zealand diets :

For the last 25 years, the Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s health and nutrition portfolio has been underpinned by a strong scientific evidence base which continues to evolve through the release of a new report, titled The Role of Red Meat in Healthy and Sustainable New Zealand Diets.

The report pulls together the breadth of information of a complex topic, which we hope will help inform the many discussions around feeding a growing population well. The report includes the human evolution of eating meat, red meat’s nutritional contribution to the diet of New Zealanders, it’s role in health and disease and where New Zealand beef and lamb production, and consumption fits within our food system and ecosystem. The farming practices of our beef and sheep sector is profiled capturing all facets that reflects our pasture-raised systems here in New Zealand.

Compiling the report required a range of expertise from across New Zealand, which has cumulated in a piece of work that navigates through the scientific evidence of the ever-evolving areas of nutrition and environmental sustainability, and the interfaces which brings them together – sustainable nutrition and food systems. . . 

B+LNZ’s Rob Davison wins Outstanding Contribution Award:

Long-serving Beef + Lamb New Zealand economist Rob Davison won the Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand’s Primary Industries Award at this year’s Primary Industries Summit.

This prestigious award recognises a New Zealand-based individual, within the primary sector, who has been considered a leader in their field of work for 20 years or more.

In selecting the recipient for this prestigious award, the judges were looking for long-standing commitment to the New Zealand primary sector, passion for the sector and its future and actions or initiatives that go beyond their day job and benefit the industry, the community and country.

In his forty-plus years with Beef + Lamb New Zealand (and the organisation’s previous incarnations), Rob has done all of this and more. He is highly respected by farmers, the wider industry and his work colleagues within B+LNZ.  This was recognised by him being awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List. . . 

Fruit-picking worries remain as growers lament dearth of Kiwi labour – Tom Kitchin:

Growers say fruit may still be left to rot, despite the government promising 2000 seasonal workers from the Pacific can come through the border to help with the harvest.

They claim thousands of workers are still needed and New Zealand employees are hard to come by.

The employers will have to pay isolation and hourly work rates while the seasonal workers are locked down for two weeks in hotels.

Bostock New Zealand’s John Bostock, from Hawke’s Bay, said this was not about cost saving, but Kiwis willing to do the work were difficult to recruit. . . 

 

Eastpack adds robots to packing lines as part of $155m investment – Carmen Hall:

Robots will pack kiwifruit at Eastpack this season as part of a 12-month, $35 million investment plan across its business.

The company has commissioned an automation conversion on its largest 14 lane kiwifruit grader with three massive robots and a number of automated packing machines.

But expense could stand in the way of new technologies replacing thousands of seasonal workers despite an ongoing labour shortage. However other packhouse evolutions had become game changers as the industry continues to boom.

Chief executive Hamish Simson said in the last five years the company had pumped more than $155m into increased storage capacity at its sites and innovation including automation technology. . . 

Moving to Mangawhai to experience the miracle of lambing – Chrissie Fernyhough:

From 10,000 acres at Castle Hill Station in the Canterbury high country to 25 acres on the clay soils at Hakaru in Northland has proven a big reach.

Hakaru is an old settlement on the east coast, midway between Mangawhai and Kaiwaka, an hour and a half north of Auckland. The property lies beautifully to the north and looks down into a green valley where the Hakaru River flows in the shade of old tōtara trees.

To the north, I have what I love in a view – the near and the far: paddocks, pine shelterbelts, the odd house lit up at night and, in the distance, the bush-covered
Brynderwyns – a range extending from Bream Bay in the east to the upper branches of the Kaipara Harbour to the west. . . 

Thankful for resilience in life and agriculture – Tsosie Lewis:

It has been a hard year: COVID-19, lockdowns, urban riots, a contentious US national election, and even murder hornets.

So as we approach Thanksgiving, I am focused on making extra time to think about the good things in our lives.

One of them is resilience.

This idea occurred to me the other day when I was standing in line at the grocery store, here in New Mexico. The guy ahead of me at the checkout was about my age. He made a comment that I’m starting to hear more and more. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

30/11/2020


St Andrew’s Day celebration concert

30/11/2020

In recognition of my tartan genes :

P.S.

November 30 is also celebrated as the name day for people named for Saint Andrew, apropos of which, happy name day Andrei.

 


Who’s hiding what?

30/11/2020

The Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque shootings has imposed a 30-year suppression on evidence given by ministers and senior public servants:

The commission’s report, which will be released by the Government on Tuesday, December 8, is expected to detail any failings within government organisations, including police and the spy agencies, in the lead up to the terror attack – including how the terrorist obtained a firearms licence.

Among the widespread suppression rulings made by the commission are the permanent suppression of the police staff involved in granting the Australian-national a firearms licence, including the two people who vouched for the terrorist.

Stuff has previously reported on police’s failure to properly scrutinise the terrorist, wrongly licencing him to purchase the stockpile of semi-automatic guns later used to murder 51 people.

Islamic Women’s Council national coordinator Anjum Rahman was concerned the suppression of evidence given by ministers and chief executives, in particular, might prevent accountability for negligence, wrong-doing, and incompetence. . . 

The commissioners decided the evidence provided by Government agency chief executives and current and former Cabinet ministers should be suppressed for 30-years, allowing public release in the future when national security concerns “dissipate”.

“Historians and others will have a legitimate interest in understanding in due course what those officials and former and current ministers had to say to a Royal Commission like ours.” . . 

There is a case for suppressing evidence that could be used as a how-to for other would-be killers. But surely all evidence provided by public sector CEOs and cabinet ministers  can’t fall into that category.

It’s not just future historians who will have a legitimate interest in understanding what these people said.

Survivors, victims’ families, many of whom may well be dead in three decades, and the wider public have a legitimate interest now.

The 30-year suppression begs the questions: who’s hiding what?

Another question is, what sort of administration error allowed the gunman to get a firearms licence when he shouldn’t have?

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) wrote a report for the Royal Commission into the attack.

It found the terrorist should never have got the gun licence because he did not have appropriate referees – but police gave it to him anyway. . . 

Mahrukh Sarwar and Nour Malak investigated how police let the terrorist get a gun licence that allowed him to buy the weapons he used in last year’s attack.

“If the police had followed their own processes, we are saying they should not have given him the licence,” Sarwar said.

The police forms show one referee must be a spouse, partner, or next-of-kin who normally resides with or is related to you, and the other must be a person who is unrelated to you, over 20 years old, and knows you well.

But the terrorist’s referees were his online gaming friend and the online gaming friend’s father.

The young Muslims say this was an administrative failure by police that had a huge cost. . . 

If information that could answer how that happened is suppressed, can we be confident that whatever shortcomings led to it have been fixed so it never happens again?


Word of the day

29/11/2020

Oscitancy – the state of being drowsy, lazy, or inattentive; the act of yawning;  drowsiness usually demonstrated by yawns; unusual sleepiness.

Exactly the word for me today – staff party last night, went very well but I need more than 5 1/2 hours sleep.


Milne muses

29/11/2020


Rural round-up

29/11/2020

RSE deal too little too late:

The Government’s announcement it’s allowing 2000 horticultural workers enter New Zealand through the RSE scheme is better than nothing, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Overall this is a poor deal for New Zealand’s horticulture industry, for New Zealand, and for the RSE workers themselves. Firstly, 2000 workers is not enough, it’s less than one seventh of quota (which is more than 14,000) of RSE workers the sector would normally have available to pick these key export products.

“Secondly, it’s far too little and far too late. Spring and early summer crops have already missed out on these workers, but the Government has known about these problems for months, and is only acting at the eleventh hour.

“The time has come to allow RSE workers from Pacific countries to isolate in bubbles in RSE accommodation, like sports teams, provided by the industry. The countries where these RSE workers come from are Covid-free so there is little to no risk of transmission in transit as workers will come direct to New Zealand. . . 

Government’s seasonal workers move ‘not enough, but a good start’ – Charlotte Cook:

An influx of seasonal workers is a relief for the horticulture and wine industries with the government giving a border exemption to 2000 seasonal workers.

The experienced workers will begin arriving from the Pacific in January and will spend two weeks in isolation before starting the harvest.

So after months of angst, the horticulture and wine sector will get some of the seasonal workers they are desperate for.

But they come with a cost. Employers must first pay for managed isolation – currently estimated at $4722 per person and pay at least $22.10 an hour – the living wage. . .

Farrow crate use ‘saves piglets’ lives’ – Sally Rae:

Former New Zealand Pork chairman Ian Carter is saddened by a High Court ruling that the use of farrowing crates is unlawful, saying they save “millions” of piglets globally every year.

Animal welfare groups Safe and the New Zealand Animal Law Association took the Attorney-general, the Minister of Agriculture and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to court in June saying the use of farrowing and mating crates breached the Animal Welfare Act 1999, RNZ reported.

In its decision, the court said the agriculture minister must consider new regulations phasing out the use of farrowing crates and mating stalls, and improve minimum standards.

Mr Carter, who farms in North Otago, said no other system got close to meeting the needs of farmed pigs. He estimated farrowing crates could save more than 200 piglets a day in New Zealand if they were universally used. . . 

Dairying family reaps rewards from robots :

Manawatū dairy farmers Amy and Greg Gemmell are enjoying more family time these days, thanks to three shiny machines in their dairy shed.

No longer does Greg need to be out of the house before dawn to milk the herd as they have installed robots to do that chore 24/7.

The cows come to the dairy shed whenever they feel like it to be milked.

“They come in when they’re ready,” Amy says. . . 

A swing to sheep milk:

Switching from milking goats and cows to milking sheep has been likened to swimming three lengths underwater by Te Aroha dairy goat and cow farmer Paul Schuler.

He is one of four Waikato based farmers that this season have taken on milking sheep for Maui Milk.

Come June, as his new sheep were about to arrive on the former cow farm, he was still completing  a milking shed and fixing fences.

Covid slowed developement down, but Schuler says the ram didn’t know that. His lambs were going to arrive on time. . . 

Researchers make wheat genome breakthrough – Gregor Heard:

Just two years after the bread wheat genome was finally mapped for the first time, a crack team of international scientists, including researchers from the University of Western Australia, have sequenced and analysed the genomes of 16 key wheat varieties from around the globe.

The research, including varieties that represent different breeding programs from around the world, provides the most comprehensive atlas of wheat genome sequences reported to date.

The genomic study, published in Nature Journal by the University of Saskatchewan, involved an international effort by more than 90 scientists from universities and institutes in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, and the U.S. . . 

 

 


Maya muses

29/11/2020


Sunday soapbox

29/11/2020

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Could we change our attitude, we should not only see live differently, but life itself would come to be different. – Katherine Mansfield


Word of the day

28/11/2020

Stravaig – wander about aimlessly or idly; roam; gad about in an aimless casual manner; wander through glens and over hills with no set purpose other than to enjoy the walking.


Sowell says

28/11/2020


Rural round-up

28/11/2020

IrrigationNZ looks to the future – Annette Scott:

Irrigation New Zealand as an organisation is well-positioned with key influencers and decision-makers but there are still challenges ahead for the industry, its leaders say.

Addressing the annual meeting in Christchurch, chair  said irrigation still, in many circles, has a negative connotation.

“It is automatically seen as a direct enabler of intensification and, therefore, poor water quality,” Johnston said.

“Our job is to change the conversation around irrigation, steering it away from being an emotive conversation to one where our communities recognise its benefits.” . .. 

Remarkable Queenstown property gifted to QEII:

An iconic Queenstown landscape at the foot of the Remarkables Range will be gifted to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust (QEII) for the benefit and enjoyment of all New Zealanders, as announced in Queenstown on Wednesday morning.

Dick and Jillian Jardine, owners of Remarkables Station, intend to gift the ownership of 900 ha of the property to QEII, to be held in perpetuity, ensuring the significant landscape and biodiversity on the property is protected on behalf of all New Zealanders.

This generous gift to the nation will ensure that a key landscape component at the foot of the iconic Remarkables will remain unspoilt forever. . .

 The border is NZ’s first defence against Covid-19 – but the rules will be relaxed to ensure our crops are harvested– Point of Order:

Having reminded Parliament that New Zealanders in October elected a majority Government for the first time under our Mixed Member Proportional electoral system, and that the Government enjoys the confidence of a clear majority of members in the House of Representatives, the Speech from the Throne set out the policy programme we can expect to be implemented.

The first objective is to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID and:

“The first layer of defence is our border.  With COVID cases increasing around the world, in a growing number of countries, the risk of travelers arriving at the border with COVID increases.  The Government will continue to strengthen border protections.  Testing, infection control procedures, and professional and quality staffing will remain cornerstones of the response.”

But the speech also signalled the Government’s intention to: . . . 

Plant a Seed for Safety:

With a passion for the dairy industry running through her veins, Hayley Metcalfe savours the sweet memories of her childhood – a honey sandwich in one hand, watching the cows come into the shed and patiently awaiting the bliss of a full-cream hot chocolate, straight out of the vat. Home for Hayley, her partner and her two children is a lifestyle block on ‘Metcalfe Road’, aptly named after her father and not far from the mighty Waikato town of Ngahinapouri. Following in her father’s footsteps – a successful dairy farmer, man in governance and data analyst – Hayley is proud to share her story of working with the Livestock Improvement Cooperation (LIC) to deliver valuable information to farmers, boost milk quality and production while maintaining a strict focus on keeping both her team and the farmers they interact with safe and healthy.

When asked what concerned Hayley about the health, safety and wellbeing of those in rural industries and communities, she spoke of her constant worry during peak herd testing times, where her team are notorious for working extremely long hours at both ends of the day, six days a week. As such, Hayley makes it her prerogative to set each and every one of her people up for success – ensuring everyone is well-versed in the importance of looking for potential problems, assessing the risks and taking preventative action. Colloquially known as ‘change junkies’, her team are completely and utterly free to flex their initiative to find and implement solutions to keep themselves safe, without hassle or question. This, Hayley says, is key to building a culture that values the importance of health and safety. . . 

A circle of care :

Tanya Sanders not only helps to run a 380-cow dairy farm in Northland, but also works as a GP locum in the area.

Over the years, Tanya has attended enough Fieldays, ‘health hubs’ and other rural events to see what really helps farmers manage the ups and downs of farming. She acknowledges it’s been a big year for farmers in the region with drought, floods and covid lockdown, on top of all the usual work demands. There are other pressures too, she says.

“I think most farmers in Northland can manage covid restrictions, floods and droughts, but many families are still struggling with the ongoing impact of M bovis, which tends to get forgotten,” she said.

“The other thing that’s often overlooked is what’s happening to the industry itself – our occupational wellness. Changing regulations are stressful and have a big impact on us and our families. That’s what gets discussed most often over my kitchen bench.” . .

 

Future orchards and sustainable fishing systems recognised in Primary Industry Awards:

Plant & Food Research Rangahau Ahumāra Kai has won two Primary Industry Awards, recognising innovations in orchard design and sustainable fishing systems.

The Future Orchard Planting Systems (FOPS) science team received the Primary Industry Science and Research Award in recognition of their work in creating a new growing system that increases the productivity potential of New Zealand’s apple, pear and summerfruit orchards.

“The FOPS design, led by Dr Stuart Tustin, was based on our understanding of plant physiology and developmental biology,” says Dr Jill Stanley, Science Group Leader at Plant & Food Research. “Theoretically we knew it was possible to increase the light captured by the canopy and that this would greatly increase productivity”. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

28/11/2020


Why do NZers love Country Calendar?

28/11/2020

Why do we love Country Calendar so much?

 


Saturday soapbox

28/11/2020

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

It is of immense importance to Lear to laugh at ourselves. – Katherine Mansfield


Word of the day

27/11/2020

Saorosa – freedom, liberty; salvation, redemption.


Sowell says

27/11/2020


Rural round-up

27/11/2020

Farmgate prices for red meat set to fall – Sudesh Kissun:

Red meat farmers are being warned to brace themselves for a dip in market returns.

A new report from Rabobank says reduced global demand for higher-value beef and lamb cuts in the year ahead will see New Zealand farmgate prices for beef and sheepmeat drop from the record highs experienced over recent seasons.

In the bank’s flagship annual outlook for the meat sector, Global Animal Proteins Outlook 2021: Emerging from a world of uncertainty, Rabobank says a slow and uneven recovery in the international foodservice sector, combined with weak global economic conditions, will reduce demand for higher-value New Zealand red meat cuts such as prime beef and lamb racks. . . 

NZ venison ‘facing perfect storm’ – Annette Scott:

Despite currently facing the perfect storm, the deer industry is confident New Zealand farm-raised venison has a long-term future.

With the covid-19 resurgence disrupting key venison markets across Europe and the US, NZ venison processors and marketers are making major efforts to again find new outlets for farm-raised venison cuts.

Many countries and regions have reimposed hospitality lockdowns, meaning expensive cuts such as venison striploins are sitting in freezers in Europe and the US waiting for restaurants to re-open.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) chief executive Innes Moffat says the current situation is a challenge with the bulk of NZ venison sold to the US and Germany destined for the food service. . . 

 

Challenges ahead but opportunities abound – Colin Williscroft:

Melissa Clark-Reynolds is stepping down from her role as independent director at Beef + Lamb NZ at the end of the year but she is excited about the future of the primary sector. Colin Williscroft reports.

In-market strategies used to market and distribute New Zealand-produced food will need to be increasingly agile during the next few years, Melissa Clark-Reynolds says.

With food service overseas under pressure due to lockdowns, the emphasis has gone back on retail sales and she predicts traditional markets will be disrupted until at least 2022.

However, the current importance of retail avenues does not mean outlets such as supermarkets are going to have it all their way, with direct-to-consumer products gaining an increasingly strong foothold. . . 

Shearing company scoops business award

Higgins Shearing, Marlborough, was named the Supreme Award winner at the NZI Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) Business Awards last night.

The company was one of seven category award winners announced at the Public Trust Hall in Wellington.

“We strive to break through the status quo of the shearing industry,” owner Sarah Higgins said.

Higgins said that her inspiration comes from passion for the job. . . 

Family lavender farm flourishing – Mary-Jo Tohill:

When there’s a will there’s a way.

That would just about sum up things for the Zeestraten family when they first came to a bare paddock in Wanaka about eight years ago, and began to establish their 12ha Wanaka Lavender Farm.

With the lavender beginning to bloom for a new season, co-owner Tim Zeestraten (37) recalls a journey that began 25 years ago when the family moved from Holland.

“My opa (grandfather) was a tomato grower, which my dad, Jan Zeestraten took over. I was probably — actually most definitely — going to be next in line to continue the family tomato farm, which I was very excited about at the young age of 10. . . 

New England Peonies enjoy bumper peony season on the Northern Tablelands – Billy Jupp:

THEY are one of the most highly sought-after features of Australia’s spring wedding season and are often the centrepiece of a couple’s special day.

Despite COVID-19 forcing many people to postpone their nuptials, 2020 still proved to be a stellar year for peonies.

The colourful, full-bodied flower was still in high demand and the chilly winter conditions on the state’s Northern Tablelands proved to be the perfect breeding ground.

New England Peonies owner Barry Philp said this season was one of the best in his family’s 20 years of growing peonies on their Arding property, near Armidale. . . 


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