Ocean depths, personality test & snow art

March 27, 2012

Topics discussed with Jim Mora on Critical Mass today were:

The BBC allows you to scroll to the depths of the ocean.

Visual DNA’s personality test ( I did it several times, choosing different pictures but ended up as a seeker each time).

Artist Simon Beck spends days plodding through the snow in snow shoes, creating sensational patterns of snow art.


Growing grass, growing economy

March 27, 2012

Increasing the quality and management of pastures could increase pastoral farming’s contribution to the economy from $16 billion to $19 billion a year:

The farm-gate value of dairy, sheep and beef products grew by 58% from $10.2 billion in the 2006/2007 season, to $16.3 billion in the 2010/2011 season – but greater investment in pasture renewal could have boosted growth even further. 

“Pasture-based farmers are making a very significant contribution to the economy,” says Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust (PRCT) chairman, Murray Willocks.  “But if we can increase the quality and management of our pasture crop, pastoral farming can make an even greater contribution to New Zealand’s GDP – and deliver higher farm incomes and more jobs.

Mr Willocks was commenting on the release of an economic analysis of the value of pasture by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL). The report was commissioned for the (PRCT).  The analysis concluded that sustained investment in pasture renewal has the potential to increase the farm gate value of pastoral products from $16 billion per annum to $19 billion and boost direct and indirect full-time employment associated with pastoral farming from 334,000 jobs to 390,000.

“Pasture is the crop on which our dairy, beef, sheep, and deer sectors rely,” “But we’re not investing as much as we should to maintain the quality and productivity of our pastures. 

“BERL’s report confirms that while there has been an increase in the proportion of dairy pasture being renewed in recent years, overall investment in pasture renewal in New Zealand remains low.  BERL’s $19 billion projection can only be achieved if the proportion of sheep, beef, and deer pasture continuously renewed rises from just 2% per annum at present to 8%, and dairying pasture renewal rises from 6.6% to 12%.”

PRCT says decisions about where to invest in pasture renewal are best made by individual farmers. The return to individual farmers will vary according to region, and the specific paddocks renewed on each farm.

“Farmers know their land best, and need to know which paddocks will give the greatest return on investment.  Trials have shown response rates following pasture renewal can vary widely within one property, with a significant difference in performance between the lowest and highest performing pastures.”

“The challenge for each farmer is to take advantage of hardy modern ryegrass and white clover cultivars within a programme of improved pasture management. We understand the pasture renewal process and its follow-up management needs careful planning, and a close eye needs to be kept on pasture development in the first two years.”

“Quality pastures are the foundation of productive, sustainable farming.  We cannot afford to take them for granted if we want pastoral farming to remain a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy for generations to come.

“The goal of encouraging increased investment in pasture renewal and management is to achieve an economically and environmentally sustainable increase in the quantity of product produced per hectare through optimal management of the feedbase.”   

Note:  Total GDP contribution from the pastoral sector is estimated at $24.5 billion – one eighth or 12.2% of GDP – compared with $17.5 billion from the tourism industry (under 9%). Using a simple ratio, if the tourism industry were to generate the same $24.5 billion a year of GDP as pasture does, short-term overseas visitor numbers would need to rise from around 2.5 million today, to around 3.5 million. 

Good farmers produce more grass and better stock and pasture quality is one of the factors that make a difference.

The full BERL report is here.


Rural round-up

March 27, 2012

Fertiliser Use Increases As Farmers Reinvest In The Land:

Total fertiliser use on New Zealand farms increased for the first time in three years in the 2010/11 fertiliser year, reaching just over 3 million tonnes.

This is a significant increase in fertiliser use compared to the previous year, which was 2.3 million tonnes, but is below the peak use of 3.3 million tonnes recorded in 2004/05 and close to total fertiliser use in 2007/08 of 3.1 million tonnes.

The fertiliser use data are reported in the March edition of Fertiliser Matters, published by Fert Research. . .

New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live & Proudly Farm –  Pasture to Profit:

“New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live” this was the NZ strategic vision that Sir Paul Callaghan(New Zealander of the year 2011 & ex Massey University Scientist) spoke so passionately about before his death last week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&feature=related  Sir Paul Callaghan was a world class scientist, leader & a passionate advocate for a better more prosperous New Zealand. . .

Are You Using Farm Business Management “Apps” on Your Farm? – Pasture to Profit:

The Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management is a joint virtual centre of the Farm Management Departments at both Massey & Lincoln Universities in New Zealand. The Centre is conducting a number of research projects in Farm Business Management. One of those projects is investigating what Apps (Applications) are available for IPhones/IPads & Android mobile phones.  . .

If You Don’t Measure You Can’t Control…Basic Pasture Management! – Pasture to Profit:

What’s going on? Have New Zealand dairy farmers taken their eye off the ball…..or even worse “lost the plot”? What has happened to their famous pasture grazing skills?

 Throughout the low cost pasture dairying world NZ farmers have a reputation of being expert grazing managers & very efficient users of low cost pasture. Is this still true? From my observations I’d say it’s no longer the case that NZ farmers are the best in the world.  . .

We All Cast Our Shadow on The Environment..NZ Landcare Trust Conference – Pature to Profit:

  “We are born into the shadow of our parents & eventually we create our own shadow”. Powerful story telling from George Matthews (a NZ Landcare Trustee) opened the NZ Landcare Trust Conference in Hamilton NZ.

Although his Maori proverb has to do with life itself….we all do cast our shadow on the environment in which we live & farm. Our Earth’s environment is in trouble. It was Albert Einstein who said that …” Insanity: was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”      . . .

The changing face of the global dairy industry – Dr Jon Hauser:

Australia – A switch from cooperatives to private processors

The Australian dairy industry has undergone vast changes over the last ten years. The biggest shift is in the composition of ownership of the industry; Bonlac, Bega, Tatura, Warnambool Cheese, Dairy Farmers, Challenge Dairy … almost all the major milk processors except Murray Goulburn have gone from being cooperatives to private processors.

In just over a decade 65 per cent of Australian milk, from all states, has been lost to the farmer co-operative sector. This is a monumental change in the culture and direction of the industry. . .

Meat and dairy prices off their peak for now  but outlook positive – Allan Barber:

The recent fall in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade on line auction for the fifth time in six months means global dairy prices have fallen by 9% since last May and by 24% over the season when adjusted for the value of theNew Zealanddollar. The dollar has only just come off historical highs against both the UKpound and the euro, so the combined effect on our dairy, beef and lamb exports has been disappointing to say the least.

But the outlook in the medium term is still good, provided our exports are not derailed by one or more of the dire forecasts of Greek debt default, general lack of buoyancy inUKand Europe, and the lower growth forecast in China. . .

AFFCO able to operate despite lock-out – Allan Barber:

Interested observers of the argument between AFFCO and its unionised meat workers may be confused by a state of affairs which results in a portion of the workforce being locked out, another percentage going on strike in support of their colleagues, and the rest of the workforce being able to keep production going. Read the rest of this entry »


Regrets, he’s got a few

March 27, 2012

Bradley Ambrose regrets that he passed on thetea pot tapewith the conversation between John Key and John Banks to media.

He wrote a letter to the men, saying so, and this was one of the factors police took into account in their decision not to prosecute him over an act they regard as unlawful.

“One factor taken into account is a letter of regret from Mr Ambrose which has been sent to the Prime Minister and Mr Banks. They have both indicated acceptance of this statement. . . “

But this isn’t his only regret:

He says the Prime Minister’s comments following the incident were inaccurate and defamatory.

“There were comments that he put out there that were incorrect, that were quite defamatory towards me and I would quite happily accept an apology from him.”

Mr Ambrose says in some ways he would have liked to fight the case in court to restore his reputation and believes this would have cleared his name.

He is talking with his lawyers about possibly taking defamation action.

Whether the taping was accidental might be debatable but there is no question that passing on the tape was deliberate.

He’s apologised for that, but his subsequent comments suggest that his real regrets aren’t over what he did but the consequences of doing it.

 

 


Nokia vs sheep

March 27, 2012

Gerry Brownlee’s response to David Shearer’s desire to emulate Finland has caused a bit of a stir.

As is usual in such stoushes, emotion beats facts, but  Federated Farmers has the numbers to prove sheep beat Nokia:

Federated FarmersFederated Farmers@FedFarmers

@ChrisKeall ‘More money selling a Nokia than a couple of sheep’? Nokia lost €954m in Q4 and sales were down 31%. C/W http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/industry_sectors/imports_and_exports/OverseasMerchandiseTrade_HOTPFeb12.aspx

Hat tip: Offsetting Behaviour


Ongoing saga of Easter trading

March 27, 2012

The Labour Department is reminding retailers they’re not supposed to trade on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Ho hum, here we go again.

The Biannual Warbirds Over Wanaka will attract thousands of people to the town.

They’ll be able to buy whatever’s on sale at the airport, in service stations, tourist shops and dairies but not buy exactly the same things in shops unless they pop over the hill to Queenstown where all shops are allowed to open.

This law is an ass.


March 27 in history

March 27, 2012

196 BC  Ptolemy V ascended to the throne of Egypt.

1306 Robert The Bruce was crowned King of Scotland at Scone.

1309  Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice and all its population.

1329  Pope John XXII issued his In Agro Dominico condemning some writings of Meister Eckhart as heretical.

1613  The first English child born in Canada at Cuper’s Cove, Newfoundland to Nicholas Guy.

1625  Charles I beccame King of England, Scotland and Ireland as well as claiming the title King of France.

1782 Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1794 The United States Government established a permanent navy and authorized the building of six frigates.

1794 Denmark and Sweden formed a neutrality compact.

1814 War of 1812: Forces under General Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

1836 Texas Revolution: Goliad massacre – Antonio López de Santa Anna ordered the Mexican army to kill about 400 Texans at Goliad, Texas.

1836 Kirtland Temple in Ohio was dedicated in an 8 hour long service led by Joseph Smith, Jr. and Sidney Rigdon.

1846  Mexican-American War: Siege of Fort Texas.

1851 – First reported sighting of the Yosemite Valley by Europeans.

1854 Crimean War: The United Kingdom declared war on Russia.

1863 Sir Henry Royce, English automobile pioneer, was born (d. 1933).

1871 The first international rugby football match, England v. Scotland, was played in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.

1881 Rioting took place in Basingstoke in protest against the daily vociferous promotion of rigid Temperance by the Salvation Army.

1883 English Salvation Army officers, Captain George Pollard and Lieutenant Edward Wright, arrived at Port Chalmers on a mission to establish a New Zealand branch of the quasi-military Christian evangelical movement, which had been founded in the slums of London’s East End in 1865.

The 'Sallies' come to New Zealand

1886 Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrendered to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.

1899 Gloria Swanson, American actress, was born  (d. 1983).

1906 The Alpine Club of Canada was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

1910 A fire during a barn-dance in Ököritófülpös, Hungary, killed 312.

1912 James Callaghan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 2005).

1917  Cyrus Vance, American politician, was born (d. 2002).

1918 Moldova and Bessarabia joined Romania.

1924 Sarah Vaughan, American singer, was born (d. 1990).

1931 David Janssen, American actor, was born (d. 1980).

1938  The Battle of Taierzhuang.

1941 Yugoslavian Air Force officers toppled the pro-axis government in a bloodless coup.

1943  Battle of the Komandorski Islands – In the Aleutian Islands battle started when United States Navy forces intercepted Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska.

1945 Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan’s ports and waterways began.

1950 Tony Banks, English musician (Genesis), was born.

1958  Nikita Khrushchev became Premier of the Soviet Union.

1959 Andrew Farriss, Australian musician (INXS), was born.

1963  Beeching axe: Dr. Richard Beeching issued a report calling for huge cuts to the United Kingdom’s rail network.

1964  The Good Friday Earthquake, the most powerful earthquake in U.S. history at a magnitude of 9.2 struck South Central Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.

1969 Mariner 7 was launched.

1970 Concorde made its first supersonic flight.

1975 Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System began.

1975  Fergie, American pop singer (The Black Eyed Peas), was born.

1976 The first 4.6 miles of the Washington Metro subway system opened.

1977 Tenerife disaster: Two Boeing 747 airliners collided on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). 61 survived on the Pan Am flight.

1980 The Norwegian oil platform Alexander Kielland collapsed in the North Sea, killing 123 of its crew of 212.

1980 Silver Thursday: A steep fall in silver prices, resulting from the Hunt Brothers attempting to corner the market in silver, led to panic on commodity and futures exchanges.

1984 Ernie Abbott, the caretaker at Wellington’s Trades Hall, was killed instantly when he moved a booby-trapped suitcase.

Trades Hall bombing

1986 A car bomb exploded at Russell Street Police HQ in Melbourne, killing 1 police officer and injuring 21 people.

1990 The United States begins broadcasting TV Martí to Cuba in an effort to bridge the information blackout imposed by the Castro regime.

1993  Jiang Zemin was appointed President of the People’s Republic of China.

1993 – Italian former minister and Christian Democracy leader Giulio Andreotti was accused of mafia allegiance by the tribunal of Palermo.

1994 – One of the biggest tornado outbreaks in recent memory hit the Southeastern United States. One tornado slammed into a church in Piedmont, Alabama during Palm Sunday services killing 20 and injuring 90.

1994 – The Eurofighter took its first flight in Manching, Germany.

1998 The Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence.

1999 An F-117 Nighthawk was shot down during the Kosovo War.

2002 – Passover Massacre: A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 29 people partaking of the Passover meal in Netanya, Israel.

2004 HMS Scylla (F71), a decommissioned Leander class frigate, was sunk as an artificial reef off Cornwall, the first of its kind in Europe.

2009  Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Indonesia, failed killing at least 99 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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