Alice’s Restaurant


Happy birthday Arlo Guthrie, 63 today.

Saturday’s smiles



Difficult to find anything funnier this week.

Getting the facts on winter options for dairying


The announcement of a three and a half year study on options for wintering dairy cows in Southland is welcome news.

DairyNZ regional scientist Dr Dawn Dalley said the aim was to measure all parts of the wintering systems, including the impact on feed supply, animal health, finances, and staff, as well as environmental monitoring.

“We want to look at a whole-farm system analysis and get a comprehensive data set on wintering systems.”

The goal was to produce “good robust data” so farmers considering a wintering system could make an informed decision.

. . .  “What we’re not trying to do is say one system is better than the other.

“It’s more about if you’re choosing a system, these are the things you need to be thinking about and to get right to implement successfully.”

This study will provide facts which will help determine what is best for cows, staff and the environment and that could help counter some of the ill-informed criticism of the industry.

Plans to house cows indoors in the Mackenzie basins were opposed for a variety of grounds including animal welfare, environmental degredation and the impact on tourism.

Almost all of the opposition was on emotive rather than factual grounds.

New Zealand is a world leader at converting grass to protein in the most efficient way – by feeding stock on pastures. But that doesn’t mean that everyone here has to do it that way.

The ODT featured Aad and Wilma van Leeuwen who farm at Morven in South Canterbury. They’ve invested $4.5 million in a European-style barn housing 500 cows which are milked by six computer computerised robotic milking machines. One of the features of the barn is back scratchers for the cattle.

It may not be farming as we know it but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Farmers in Southland have been moving to housing cows indoors over winter for the sake of the cows and to safeguard pastures and soil. But they’ve been criticised for doing this because it’s “not natural”.

The study won’t prove housing is natural but it will provide scientific data on which comparisons between various options for wintering cows can be made.

Price vs principle


Federated Farmers has welcomed research by University of Otago’s Associate Professor John Knight and colleagues, about consumer preferences in New Zealand’s largest European export market.

“This University of Otago study has taken a big pin and stuck it straight into a balloon full of assumptions that may have New Zealand dangerously straying down the wrong track,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“This is not ‘buying intentions’, but what consumers actually bought and there’s a huge difference. I’d go so far to say that if expanded upon, research like this may provide the empirical evidence we need to strategically plan for future profitability.

“Associate Professor Knight’s research indicates that as a country, we’ve confused ‘nice to haves’ with ‘must haves’.  That was rammed home to me in April when I compared our farm gate returns with those of Paraguayan farmers.  We’ve jumped every hoop to ever lower profitability. . .

“If we take this research at face value, 69 percent of UK shoppers motivation for buying can broadly be described as a combination of ‘value for money’ as well as seeking out a ‘reliable brand’.

“If this research was verified by further research then the opportunity to add value is through branding and the variety we offer.  This accounted for 23.5 percent of the buying motivation for those surveyed.

“This has potential implications for brand development around the provenance of our animal breeds and the way our regions influence taste profiles. . .  

“Made in New Zealand is not enough to get our goods into a supermarket trolley, because less than 5 percent of shoppers surveyed raised this as a factor.  That’s a true revelation.

“This research raises big questions about the assumption of high value niches being pushed by armchair exporters.  It’s a potential cul-de-sac that sounds great in print but doesn’t register where it really counts – the supermarket tills.”

In a contest between price and principles only the wealthy can afford to pay more, and not all of them choose to.

Anecdotal evidence of this was provided in the wake of the shock-horror story on pig farming last year.

Sales of pork, bacon and ham went down immediately after the story broke but returned to pre-story levels in a few weeks.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our best to produce healthy food in a sustainable way. The research shows brand is important and this is part of our brand.

But we also have to be mindful of the importance of value for money. It’s no  use having the best produce in the world if too few people can afford to buy it.

They came, they played . . .


. . .  they weren’t disgraced.

When the score at Rugby Park last night was three-all I received a text from a friend who was at the game saying we needed a bomb scare.

It did go downhill for the challengers after that, but the final score wasn’t too bad: Southland 48 – North Otago 3.

July 10 in history


On July 10:

48 BC Battle of Dyrrhachium: Julius Caesar barely avoids a catastrophic defeat to Pompey in Macedonia.

988 The city of Dublin was founded on the banks of the river Liffey.


1212 The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground.

 1452  King James III of Scotland  was born (d. 1488).

1460 Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick defeated  the king’s Lancastrian forces and took King Henry VI prisoner in the Battle of Northampton.

1499  Portuguese explorer Nicolau Coelho returned to Lisbon, after discovering the sea route to India as a companion of Vasco da Gama.

1509  John Calvin, French religious reformer, was born  (d. 1564).


1553 Lady Jane Grey took the throne of England.

1584 William I of Orange was assassinated by Balthasar Gérard.


1645  English Civil War: The Battle of Langport.

1778 American Revolution: Louis XVI of France  declared war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.

1789 Alexander Mackenzie reached the Mackenzie River delta.

1802 Robert Chambers, Scottish author and naturalist, was born  (d. 1871).


1804  – Emma Smith Inaugural President of the Women’s Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was born (d. 1879).


1806 The Vellore Mutiny, the first instance of a mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company.

1821 The United States took possession of its newly bought territory of Florida from Spain.

1830 Camille Pissarro, French painter, was born  (d. 1903).

1850  Millard Fillmore was inaugurated as the 13th President of the United States.

1859 Big Ben rang for the first time.


 1864  Austin Chapman, Australian policitian, was born (d. 1926).

1871  Marcel Proust, French writer, was born (d. 1922).


1875  Mary McLeod Bethune, American educator, was born (d. 1955).

1903 John Wyndham, British author, was born (d. 1969).

First edition hardback cover

1909 Donald Sinclair, British hotel manager, inspiration for Fawlty Towers, was born  (d. 1981).

1913  Death Valley, California hit 134 °F (~56.7 °C), the highest temperature recorded in the United States.


1921 Belfast’s Bloody Sunday: 16 people were killed and 161 houses destroyed during rioting and gun battles in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

1921 Harvey Ball, American commercial artist, was born (d. 2001).


1925 Meher Baba began his silence of 44 years. His followers observe Silence Day on this date in commemoration.

1925 Scopes Trial: The so-called “Monkey Trial” began with John T. Scopes, a young high school science teacher accused of teaching evolution in violation of the Butler Act.


1931 Alice Munro, Canadian writer, was born.

Too Much Happiness cover.jpg

1938  Howard Hughes set a new record by completing a 91 hour flight around the world.

1940 Tom Farmer, Scottish entrepreneur, was born.

1940 World War II: the Vichy government is established in France.

1940  World War II: Battle of Britain – The German Luftwaffe began attacking British convoys in the English Channel thus starting the battle (this start date is contested).


1941 Jedwabne Pogrom: the massacre of Jewish people living in and near the village of Jedwabne in Poland.

1943 World War II: The launching of Operation Husky began the Italian Campaign.

1947 Arlo Guthrie, American musician, was born.

1947  Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was recommended as the first Governor General of Pakistan by then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Clement Attlee.

1951 Korean War: Armistice negotiations began.

1954 Neil Tennant, British musician (Pet Shop Boys), was born.

1962  Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, is launched into orbit.


1966 The Chicago Freedom Movement, lead by Martin Luther King, held a rally at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpg

1967 New Zealand adpoted decimal currency.

NZ adopts decimal currency

1968 Maurice Couve de Murville became Prime Minister of France.

1973  The Bahamas gained full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.

1973 – National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution on the recognition of Bangladesh.

1971  King Hassan II of Morocco survived an attempted coup d’etat, which lasts until June 11.

1976 The Seveso disaster in Italy.

1976   One American and three British mercenaries were executed in Angola following the Luanda Trial.

1978  President Moktar Ould Daddah of Mauritania was ousted in a bloodless coup d’état.

1980 Alexandra Palace burned down for a second time.


1985  Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior was bombed and sank in Auckland harbour.

Rainbow Warrior sunk in Auckland harbour

1991 Boris Yeltsin began his 5-year term as the first elected President of Russia.

1991  The South African cricket team was readmitted into the International Cricket Council following the end of Apartheid.

1992 In Miami, Florida, former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations.

1997 Scientists reported the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton which supported the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

1997 – Partido Popular (Spain) member Miguel Ángel Blanco was kidnapped in the Basque city of Ermua by ETA members, sparking widespread protests.


1998 The Diocese of Dallas agreed to pay $23.4 million to nine former altar boys who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest Rudolph Kos.

2000 A leaking southern Nigerian petroleum pipeline explodes, killing about 250 villagers scavenging gasoline.

2000  EADS, the world’s second-largest aerospace group is formed by the merger of Aérospatiale-Matra, DASA, and CASA.

EADS logo.svg

2002  At a Sotheby’s auction, Peter Paul Rubens’ painting The Massacre of the Innocents sold for £49.5million (US$76.2 million) to Lord Thomson.


2003 A bus collided with a truck, fell off a bridge on Tuen Mun Road, Hong Kong, and plunged into the underlying valley, killing 21 people.

2005  Hurricane Dennis slams into the Florida Panhandle, causing billions of dollars in damage.


2006 Pakistan International Flight PK-688 crashes in Multan, Pakistan, shortly after takeoff, killing all 45 people on board.

2008  Former Macedonian Interior Minister Ljube Boškoski is acquitted of all charges by a United Nations Tribunal accusing him of war crimes.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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