Word of the day


Quaintise –  elegance, beauty; craft; subtlety; cunning, ingenuity; a trick or strategum.



7/10 in Stuff”s Biz Quiz

Rural round-up


Farms sell as vendor expectations drop  – Tony Chaston:

The number of farms being bought and sold has recovered in April and May 2011. Sellers may be being more realistic.

An analysis done for interest.co.nz of 29 farms sold in May 2011 in the Canterbury, Otago and Southland regions shows that capital gains have all but evaporated, despite a strong recovery in the number of properties sold.

These 29 transactions represent two thirds of all sales in these three regions. And this sample of five dairy farms and 24 grazing properties turned over for a combined more than $94 million.  . .

Branding the key to lucrative global market – Tony Chaston:

Farmers often feel they are poweless to have any price influence with the goods they produce, but Prof Jacqueline Rowarth disagrees and believes branding is the way to do it.

Some farmers have embraced this idea and Hereford Prime, Angus Pure, Cervena, Just Shorn, Cervena and Icebreaker, are all now well known brands that attract a premium for the product produced.

With this branding comes accountability associated with food safety or quality standards,but if a premium is paid it must be earnt. The strength of the brand is often seen more graphically when product prices ease, and farmers will all know from experiences at saleyards quality always sells . . .

Glenavy farmers tempt Americans – Sally Rae:

When Digger and Lynn McCulloch served up New Zealand lamb in swanky supermarkets in the United States, they had one aim – to get everyone who walked past to try a sample.

The couple, who farm at Glenavy, recently returned from a trip to the United States, which was organised through Lean Meats Ltd . . .

Inconsistent use of term “biodiversity” frustrating – John Aspinal:

I get frustrated by frequent use of the term “continuing loss of biodiversity” being used to justify various decision-making and planning.

What does it mean? Does it refer to indigenous, exotic or both?  It is variously used to describe either or both.

The Government recently produced a draft national policy statement for indigenous biodiversity. It began by listing quite specific ecosystem types, which I have to assume are legitimately under threat. . .

Winter feed crops critical at Cragimore – Gerald Piddock:

CRAIGMORE STATION, the 4000ha sheep, cattle and deer farm located in the foothills behind Cave, has been owned by the Elworthy family since 1864.

It is managed by Dan Chaffey and agricultural manager Andrew Fraser.

The station runs 6000 romney sheep. It breeds its own replacements and produces meat and wool . . .

Ngai Tahu ready for dairy move – Annette Scott:

A plan to invest in dairy has taken off for big South Island iwi Ngai Tahu that has identified 35,000ha of forestry areas for agricultural development.

New pastures would be a bold initiative but also very exciting, Ngai Tahu Property Ltd chief executive Tony Sewell told The New Zealand Farmers Weekly.

“It (development) will be slow and steady but very efficient, and I am very happy with progress to date,” he said . . .

International connections at Fieldays:

International business connections made at last year’s NZ National Fieldays have resulted in New Zealand companies launching a range of rural products into markets such as Germany, the US, and Central America within the past 12 months.

This year, more than 250 overseas business people are confirmed to visit NZ National Fieldays.

Fieldays International Agribusiness Manager, Terry Blackler, says the Fieldays team is committed to helping New Zealand companies make profitable connections with these visitors . . .

Sheep farmers enjoy best price for decades – Jon Morgan:

If you’re driving through the hill country this week, keep an eye out for gumbooted fools deliriously cavorting about.

They are sheep farmers enjoying a sudden upturn in incomes not experienced for half a century.

No-one can remember seeing sheep selling for such high prices. At livestock sales around the country records are being smashed.

Ewes fetched up to $232 each at Temuka last week and prime lambs went for more than $200. At Hastings, a line of top-quality lambs sold at $216 . . .

Just a year ago, $100 was being hailed as nirvana and the year before that farmers were lucky to get $80 for their top lambs.

Irrigation a lifesaver for troubled farm – Jon Morgan:

A failed $17 million dairy conversion in Central Hawke’s Bay is making a comeback.

Under new ownership, the land is getting massive doses of fertiliser and is luxuriating in the element it has missed the most for the past three years – water.

The conversion of 508 hectares of rolling countryside from sheep and beef to dairying in 2008 ran into trouble soon after it was completed . . .

Te Kairanga’s vision as big as Texas – Catherine Harris:

Bruce Clugston is a man who clearly enjoys a good wine. He reckons he’s tasted just about every sauvignon blanc in New Zealand.

“After 30 years, I’ve spent my whole life either selling wine, tasting wine, or as a buyer. When I was in retail, like most good- quality retailers, you’ve always got to taste the wine you’re going to sell to your customers. I’ve tasted so many wines, I couldn’t list them.”

Mr Clugston, a former wine retailer and distributor, now owns his own wine company, Wineinc, and is president of Foley Family Wines New Zealand, which is majority-owned by United States billionaire Bill Foley . . .

Southland ‘land of opportunity’ – Collette Devlin:

Winton dairy farmer Jim Cooper has been the farmers’ spokesman for a group of rural professionals known as Farming in Southland, for nine years. For the past 15 years, these businesses have raised the profile of Southland, promoting farming, lifestyle and educational opportunities to prospective farmers at Fieldays. Mr Cooper will try to encourage north Island farmers to move south, as he did 16 years ago.

“Immediately after I spoke to Farming in Southland, I knew this is where I wanted to farm. At the time, my wife and I were young with small children, so we decided to leave our dairy farm in Broadlands, south of Reporoa on the central plateau,” Mr Cooper said . . .

And a new website PestWebNZ (hat tip Tony Chaston):

PestWebNZ is a free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management. PestWebNZ contains a number of New Zealand pasture weeds and pests, which have been chosen in consultation with key farming, industry and research personnel . . .



4/10 in the NZ Herald’s travel quiz – but I reckon they’re going the long way from Timaru to Milton to get the answer they give as the right one for that question.

Freedom is path to happiness


What makes us happy?

Tim Worstall looked at an OECD report Your Better Life  which showed 16 countries ranked better than the USA and found:

The most obvious point is that higher taxes and a larger welfare state don’t provide the answer.

He looked further and found that, with the exception of France, all the countries which were higher up the better life index than the USA also had more economic freedom.

So, now we have it, now we know what it is that makes countries happy, happier than the United States. Free trade, property rights and the rule of law.

When it’s as simple as that, why would anyone try to block free trade, weaken property rights or undermine the rule of law?

P.S. The Better Life Index for New Zealand is here.

Protectionism favours few, costs many


Unions and some of Dunedin’s citizen’s are agitating for KiwiRail to buy new wagons from Hillside Workshop.

Roger Kerr explains what’s wrong with that:

Here we are seeing the same old protectionist fallacy. Assuming KiwiRail has got its numbers right, building rolling stock here at higher cost would mean its customers would face higher prices across the board. They would grow less and create fewer jobs.

Many of the customers would be in the export sector. The badly needed rebalancing of the economy would be hampered. And of course KiwiRail would be an even bigger drain on taxpayers.

More than 20 years after the painful but necessary reforms of the late 1980s and early 90s some people still haven’t got the message – protection favours few and costs many.

This is a lesson Candians have yet to learn too. Dan Gardner writes about Canada’s failure to make the most of its potential for increased food production:

Canadian consumers pay far more for dairy and poultry products than they would in a free market. Supply management also makes it difficult or impossible for producers to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive costs down. Perhaps worst of all, it impedes trade liberalization.

“Our government will also continue to open new markets for Canadian business in order to create good jobs for Canadian workers,” the Conservatives promised in the Speech from the Throne. That’s good. Canada is a trading nation and the steady expansion of free trade is very much in our interest. But then came this: “In all international forums and bilateral negotiations, our government will continue to stand up for Canadian farmers and industries by defending supply management.”

And what’s the affect of supply management?

Who pays? Consumers who often don’t know they are. Who benefits? A small number of farmers who are highly organized and concentrated in certain ridings. Politicians who swear to defend the status quo get the gratitude of the former without incurring the wrath of the latter — while any politician who dares to even consider change gets no gratitude and lots of wrath.

“Look at us,” Larry Martin suggests, “and look at New Zealand, sitting out there in the middle of the ocean, not close to anything.” In the world of food, New Zealand is a “superpower.” And yet, thanks to daring reforms in the 1980s, New Zealand’s farmers owe almost none of their income to government support. “You think, ‘if we could do even half of what they have done wouldn’t we be in great shape?’”

Yes, those “failed” polices of the 80s made our economy freer and are one of the major reasons we’re getting the benefits from increased demand for commodities.

Instead of producing things the world doesn’t want or need at considerable cost to the domestic economy through subsidies, we’re following market signals to produce what the world wants to buy.

Hillside  workers should stop wasting their energy trying to return to the bad old days of protectionism. Instead, they should concentrate on developing the flexibility to produce what someone wants to buy at a price they’re prepared to pay.

KiwiRail is already costing the country too much, we can’t afford to add to those costs by subsidising Hillside.

Hat tip: Offsetting Behaviour & Something Should Go Here who both discuss Gardner’s piece.

June 19 in history


1179 The Norwegian Battle of Kalvskinnet –  Earl Erling Skakke  was killed, and the battle changed the tide of the civil wars.

1269 King Louis IX of France ordered all Jews found in public without an identifying yellow badge to be fined ten livres of silver.


1306 The Earl of Pembroke’s army defeated Bruce’s Scottish army at the Battle of Methven.

1566 King James I of England and VI of Scotland, was born  (d. 1625).


1586 English colonists left Roanoke Island, N.C., after failing to establish England’s first permanent settlement in America.

1770 Emanuel Swedenborg reported the completion of the Second Coming of Christ in his work True Christian Religion.

1807  Admiral Dmitry Senyavin destroyed the Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Athos.


1816  Battle of Seven Oaks between North West Company and Hudson’s Bay Company, near Winnipeg.

The Fight at Seven Oaks.jpg

1821  Decisive defeat of the Philikí Etaireía by the Ottomans at Drăgăşani (in Wallachia).


1846 The first officially recorded, organized baseball match was played under Alexander Joy Cartwright’s rules on Hoboken’s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23-1. Cartwright umpired.

1850 Princess Louise of the Netherlands married Crown Prince Karl of Sweden-Norway.

1861  Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, British Field Marshal and Commander of British forces in WW I, was born (d. 1928).

Douglas Haig.jpg

1862  The U.S. Congress prohibited slavery in United States territories, nullifying the Dred Scott Case.

1865 Dame May Whitty, English entertainer, was born  (d. 1948).

1865  Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, were finally informed of their freedom.

1867  Maximilian I of the Mexican Empire was executed by a firing squad in Querétaro.

1870  After all of the Southern States were formally readmitted to the United States, the Confederate States of America ceased to exist.

1875  The Herzegovinian rebellion against the Ottoman Empire began.

1896 Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, was born (d. 1986).

1910  The first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington.

1915  The USS Arizona (BB-39) was launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York..


1929 Thelma Barlow, English actress, was born.

1934  The Communications Act of 1934 established the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

1940 The trans-Pacific liner Niagara was sunk by a German mine off the Northland coast..

Niagara sunk by German mines off Northland

1943  Race riots  in Beaumont, Texas.

1944  World War II: First day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Zuikaku and two destroyers under attack

1947 Salman Rushdie, Indian author, was born.

1953  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed at Sing Sing, in New York.

1961  Kuwait declared independence from the United Kingdom

1963 Rory Underwood, English rugby union footballer, was born.

1964  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.

1966 Shiv Sena was founded in Mumbai.

1970  The Patent Cooperation Treaty was signed.

1977 Rebecca Loos, Dutch model, was born.

1981 Moss Burmester, New Zealand swimmer, was born.

1982  In one of the first militant attacks by Hezbollah, David S. Dodge, president of the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped.

1982 – The body of God’s Banker, Roberto Calvi was found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London.

1987  Basque separatist group ETA committed one of its most violent attacks, in which a bomb is set off in a supermarket, Hipercor, killing 21 and injuring 45.

1990 The international law defending indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989, was ratified for the first time by Norway.

2006  Prime ministers of several northern European nations participated in a ceremonial “laying of the first stone” at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Spitsbergen, Norway.


2009  British troops began Operation Panther’s Claw, one of the largest air operations in modern times, when more than 350 troops made an aerial assault on Taliban positions and subsequently repelled Taliban counter-attacks.

File-Operation Strike of the Sword.png

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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