Word of the day

17/04/2011

Intromit –  to admit, send, introduce, allow or permit to enter.


Rural round-up

17/04/2011

Fonterra benefits from Chinese dairy market:

Cracking progress on its dairy farm developments in China has helped Fonterra achieve nearly 50 per cent compound annual revenue growth in the powerhouse economy in the past five years.

The growth across Fonterra’s four business units in China – ingredients, food service, brands and farming – reflects escalating demand for dairy products in China as well as consumer calls for safe, quality product. . .

Greeen methods no bar to profits –  Mark Hotton writes:

Waimea Valley farmers Grant and Bernie Weller won the supreme award at the Southland Farm Environment Awards last night.

They also won the water quality and habitat improvement award at the ceremony in front of about 230 people at Ascot Park Hotel.

The awards are becoming an increasingly important date on the farming calendar with the industry coming under increasing public pressure to prove it can be environmentally sustainable.

Finalist Geoff Clark said it was increasingly important to showcase properties and farms that are portraying a positive image of farming to the wider community. . .

Moving earth for water Claire Allison writes:

When the first sod was turned on Rangitata South Irrigation’s new scheme, there was no celebration – no photograph in the paper, speeches or ceremony.

Chairman Ian Morten says they like to keep things low key.

That might be a bit harder now that construction has begun, and the scale of the project is becoming more evident by the day.

Low-key it might be, but there’s no denying it’s large-scale.

The numbers involved are impressive. Taking up to 20 cubic metres of water a day from the south bank of the Rangitata River during high flows, the water will be fed into storage ponds, before being sent down the line to more than 40 properties between the Rangitata and Orari rivers. . .

The ‘Happy Factor’ – Victoria Rutherford writes:

Dr Andrew Greer has been interested in overseas trials involving the “happy factor” TST trials, and has been working at Ashley Dene to add a New Zealand basis to the research findings.

 TSTs are a part-flock or mob anthelmintic treatment directed at the individual animals most likely to benefit. This helps to slow the development of anthelmintic resistance through providing a parasite population that is not exposed to the drug, effectively diluting the frequency of anthelmintic-resistant genes within a parasite population. . .

Awash with schemes – Jackie Harrigan writes:

The country is awash with plans for new irrigation schemes according to Irrigation NZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

In total, 450,000-500,000ha of new irrigation area is “on the books”, 300,000 of which is new irrigation area and 200,000ha that will have increased water reliability. Roughly one-third of the area is already consented, but only 50,000ha is build-ready. . .

Trials, tribulations of farm forestry – Steve Wyn-Harris writes:

I’ve got a cheque to come in the mail shortly that has been 30 years in the offing. However, in this case I can’t blame New Zealand Post.

It is from a couple of small forestry blocks and an entrée for when my main plantings come on stream in 10 years.

In this case I didn’t plant the trees but in their second year I remember an awful job of working my way through the block to straighten them and stamp the soft soil firm again after a heavy rain and wind event.

It must have worked because few of them fell over again. I did the low and medium pruning and lacking a decent ladder and a height anxiety employed someone to do the high prune. . .

Alpaca on menus soon in New Zealand  – Hugh Stringleman writes:

Commercial slaughter and toll processing of alpaca for their meat has begun in New Zealand with two trial consignments through Venison Packers Feilding Ltd.

Alpaca breeders Peter and Tessa McKay at Maraekakaho, Hawke’s Bay, collated the first 43 animals to be killed and Venison Packers is working through the approvals of its risk management plan (RMP) amendments.

“We needed 30 sets of mainly microbiological data to validate the major changes to our RMP,” said Venison Packers general manager Simon Wishnowsky. . .

Opportunities for smart efficiency with tagging – Sally Rae writes:

Opportunities for more efficency exist with introducing of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) system, farmers are hearing.

The system will provide lifetime animal traceability, assisting with biosecurity and management of disease outbreaks. . .

Gene hints dessiminated – Sally Rae writes:

Commercial beef farmers had an opportunity to increase their knowledge and gain a better understanding of the estimated breeding values (EBVs) system at a recent beef genetics forum in North Otago.

The forum, hosted by Fossil Creek Angus and Goldwyn Angus, was held at Neil and Rose Sanderson’s Fossil Creek Angus stud at Ngapara. . .

Centre stage for wool at Fieldays Chris Gardner writes:

Waikato wool growers are excited their commodity will take the spotlight at the National Agricultural Fieldays, writes Farming editor Chris Gardner.

Wool’s comeback will be recognised at the National Agricultural Fieldays with the Primary Wool Co-operative the focus of the event’s premier feature.

The 900-strong farmer co-operative will showcase the way New Zealand’s best wool is farmed and demonstrate how wool carpets are made and sold internationally to tie in with this year’s Fieldays theme ”Breaking barriers to productivity”.

Te Kuiti sheep farmer and five times world champion shearer David Fagan welcomed the idea. ”I think it’s brilliant,” he said.

”Wool’s been on the back burner for a good number of years. It’s a great opportunity to get it out there again. . .

Hat tip: interest.co.nz


Anti GM resolution progress or regress?

17/04/2011

Whangarei District Council has voted to investigate regulating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) through the District Plan in conjunction with other councils in Northland and Auckland.

There’s nothing wrong with caution. But discussion suggests that rather than recognising a need to progress carefully  this is a step towards banning GMOs altogether:

“At the very least, we need GE to be a prohibited activity until the liability issues are resolved, and preferably, prohibited for good,” Cr. Deeming said.

Whether this is progress of regress depends on whether genetically modified produce is the means to a better fed world with healthier people or a blind leap into darkness.

Public opinion seems to go for the latter yet in the widest sense genetic modification is just what happens naturally through reproduction. However, the intervention of scientists has sped up the process so changes which used to take place over generations can be achieved in a much shorter time and that’s what’s fuelling fears that the stuff of science fiction nightmares might soon be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Biotechnological developments ought to be an improvement on nature because they allow a far greater degree of precision in determining the outcome. So in human terms, for example, instead of the lottery we now face when we have a baby we could pick the best of both parents to produce healthier and more talented offspring: the shape of his teeth and the quality of mine; his spelling, my grammar; his musical ability my …

The idea of such designer babies might be amusing in theory but in practice it’s only a small step away from the Nazi idea of producing a super race. However, does the risk of genetic modification being used in this way mean we shouldn’t allow its development when it might also be harnessed for good to circumvent hereditary illnesses?

There are probably enough ethical guidelines in medical science to safeguard the use of biotechnology with people but it’s not so easy to draw lines between benefit and risk in agriculture.

On one side there’s evidence of an increase in not only yield and quality but also health giving characteristics, for example animals with less fat and more protein or a super tomato with more of the caratoid which protects against cancer. We could also get improvements in flavour and while the thought of chocolate flavoured broccoli doesn’t do much for me I can see advantages in vegetables which appealed to children more than junk food.

The potential gains appear to outweigh the risks in these examples.  But there are fears the technology which does this could also result in environmental mayhem as genes from animals and crops bred for a specific purpose transfer to other species with potentially disastrous consequences.                                                                

People on both sides of the argument use history to back up their case: miscalculations about the dangers of DDT, dioxin and mad cow disease are reminders of what happens when science gets it wrong; but there are equally compelling examples when science has got it right such as vaccinations which have rid the world of small pox and reduced the risk of polio.

The debate in New Zealand isn’t just about consumer choice, it’s also about the future of farming.  Do we exploit the fears to sell our GM-free produce at a premium or embrace the new technology in the hope it will give us productive and marketing advantages?

There is no certain answer because there are both risks and benefits in whatever we do. But while concern is understandable and caution essential, I wouldn’t want to see a complete moratorium on biotechnological development.

There’s no progress without risk. I

I’d be prepared to take the risk of experiments with proper safeguards if it increased production and/or meant food which now needs to be sprayed or drenched  with potentially toxic substances could be bred to resist pests and disease in the first place.


MP scores own-goal

17/04/2011

Sitting MPs ought to be out and about in their communities and in the media just doing their jobs which puts them in front of the public without the need to be deliberately campaigning.

It’s much harder for a new candidate who has the challenge of getting known without these free opportunities.

How silly then was the Palmerston North MP to give his rival, National Party candidate free publicity, and publicity in which he came off second best at that?

The first shots have been fired in the battle to win Palmerston North at this year’s general election, with National candidate Leonie Hapeta accusing Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway of practising “nasty politics”.

Mr Lees-Galloway and about 15 supporters gathered outside Mrs Hapeta’s Hotel Coachman about 5pm on Monday – protesting against the Government’s plans to sell state-owned assets.

Mrs Hapeta said she felt attacked by the protesters, who held signs and waved at vehicles on both sides of Fitzherbert Ave.

“Having not met Iain since I became the candidate, I went out to introduce myself, and ask him why he was attacking my business, rather than holding the protest outside my campaign office,” she said.

The National campaign office will be based inside the old GQ Clothing building on Broadway Ave, but has not yet opened.

“He was not able to answer this simple question, and seemed quite surprised I was willing to talk civilly to him rather than yell abuse at him.”

But Mr Lees-Galloway, who is Labour’s Defence and Land Information spokesman, said the location was chosen by his Young Labour supporters because of the heavy traffic flow.

“There was no intention to target Leonie’s business and it hadn’t even crossed my mind,” he said.

“Yeah, when I got there I thought: `OK we’re outside the Coachman’ but it was no plan on my part.”

If he didn’t know it’s her business he’s failed to do his homework and it’s lost him the first round.

Hapeta 1 – Lees-Galloway 0 as the result of an own-goal.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog


April 17 in history

17/04/2011

On April 17:

 1397  Geoffrey Chaucer told the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.

 

1492 Spain and Christopher Columbus signed the Capitulations of Santa Fe for his voyage to Asia to acquire spices.

 

1521 Martin Luther spoke to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.

1524 Giovanni da Verrazzano reached New York harbour.

 

1555 After 18 months of siege, Siena surrendered to the Florentine-Imperial army. The Republic of Siena was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

1620 Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame, was born (d. 1700) .

1797  Sir Ralph Abercromby attacked San Juan, Puerto Rico in what became one of the largest invasions of the Spanish territories in America.

Sir Ralph Abercromby by John Hoppner.jpg

1820 Alexander Joy Cartwright, Inventor of the Modern Game of Baseball, was born (d. 1892).

 

1837  J. P. Morgan, American financier, was born  (d. 1913) .

1861 American Civil War: Virginia seceded from the United States.

1864 American Civil War: The Battle of Plymouth began.

Capture of Plymouth, North Carolina.jpg

1865 Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

1880 New Zealand’s first inter-city brass band contest was held.

First inter-city brass band contest

1885 Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), Danish author, was born (d. 1962) .

 

1895 The Treaty of Shimonoseki between China and Japan was signed. This marked the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, the defeated Qing Empire was forced to renounce its claims on Korea and to concede the southern portion of the Fengtien province, Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.

 

1905 The Supreme Court of the United States decided Lochner v. New York which held that the “right to free contract” was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

1907 The Ellis Island immigration centre processed 11,747 people, more than on any other day.

1918 William Holden, American actor, was born  (d. 1981).

1924 – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios was formed by the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company.

 
MGM logo.png

1929 James Last, German band leader, was born.

 

1941 World War II: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany.

1942 French prisoner of war General Henri Giraud escaped from his castle prison in Festung Königstein.

Henri Giraud 1943Jan19.gif

1945 Brazilian forces liberated the town of Montese, Italy, from German forces.

1949 At midnight 26 Irish counties officially left the British Commonwealth. A 21-gun salute on O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushered in the Republic of Ireland.

1957  Nick Hornby, English author, was born.

1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

 

1964 The Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford Mustang at the New York World’s Fair.

 

1964  Jerrie Mock became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air.

 

1969 Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.

1969 Czechoslovakian Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubček was deposed.

1970 Apollo 13 returned to Earth safely.

Apollo 13-insignia.png

1971 The People’s Republic of Bangladesh formed, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

1971  Sierra Leone became a republic.

1973 German counter-terrorist unit GSG 9 founded.

1974 Victoria Beckham, English singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1975  The Cambodian Civil War ended. The Khmer Rouge captureed the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrendered.

Cambodia sm04.png

1982 Patriation of the Canadian constitution in Ottawa.

1984  Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher was killed by gunfire from the Libyan People’s Bureau in London during a small demonstration outside the embassy. Ten others were wounded.

 YvonneFletcher.jpg

1986 The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ended.

2006 – Sami Hammad, a Palestinian suicide bomber, detonated an explosive device in Tel Aviv, killing 11 people and injuring 70.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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