Word of the day

May 20, 2012

Coruscate – to reflect or emit vivid flashes of light; sparkle; gleam, glitter; to exhibit brilliant, sparkling techniques; to scintillate.


Rural round-up

May 20, 2012

Good news for sheep farmers – Sally Rae:

Rabobank animal protein analyst Rebecca Redmond has a message for New Zealand sheep farmers – stay positive and remain confident.   

Ms Redmond spoke about global sheep meat price rises and the potential flow-on effects on international production and  competition during a recent client focus field day at Newhaven Perendales in North Otago.   

The year 2012, worldwide, was probably going to be the lowest point in terms of sheep meat production, but Ms Redmond expected that by 2015, volumes would be back to 2010 levels. . .   

PM says agriculture must focus on quality:

QUALITY agricultural produce coming out of New Zealand is critically important and we have got to maintain that quality and leverage it for all it’s worth, said Prime Minister John Key in his address to Gisborne-Wairoa Federated Farmers’ AGM in Gisborne.

Intensification, the use of new science and technologies to combat global warming and market access are the key ways the government can help NZ farmers meet the  demands of the world rapidly increasing requirement for protein, Mr Key said.

“Both Fonterra and Federated Farmers have clearly understood the need to be mindful of the environmental outcomes from intensification, and how bad outcomes can affect our markets. . .

Vaccines are in his blood – Marg Willimott:

PRODUCING innovative products using sheep and cattle blood is an example of a successful farming business taking farm products to the high end of the value chain.

South Pacific Sera is a company that produces top quality donor animal blood, serum and protein products for use in therapeutic, cell culture, microbiology and immunology applications around the world.  . .

New Zealand and Australia join forces at World Farmers’:

Federated Farmers of New Zealand and the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) have today announced that they will both apply for membership of international agricultural advocacy body, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO).

The WFO will bring together national farming bodies from across the globe to create policy and advocate on behalf of the world’s farmers – providing benefits to both Australian and New Zealand farmers, says NFF President Jock Laurie and Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills.

“Since the demise of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers two years ago, farm representation on an international scale has been at a crossroads,” Mr Wills said. . .

Innovative Kiwi company revolutionises viticulture practices worldwide:

An innovative New Zealand company has developed a pruning system that recently won two major European trade awards and has been described by European media as a revolutionary step in mechanising viticulture that has the potential to change vineyard practices.

Marlborough based KLIMA developed the world’s first Cane Pruner, a machine that cuts, strips and mulches grapevines – jobs that until now have always been carried out by hand.  In addition to giving grape growers better control over vine quality, The KLIMA Cane Pruner reduces labour costs associated with pruning by around 50 per cent. 

KLIMA Managing Director Marcus Wickham says the KLIMA pruning system and machine have proven popular because they take the pain out of pruning, substantially reduce grape growers’ pruning costs and provide a rapid return on their investment. . .

Centuries of farm ownership marked – Helena de Reus:

About 200 people gathered in Lawrence at the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards on Saturday night, to honour families who have owned the same farm for a century or more.   

Twenty-five families attended the official function at the Simpson Park complex, with four families receiving  sesquicentennial awards marking 150 years or more of farm ownership.   

Two appointments made to Dairy Women’s Network Board:

The Dairy Women’s Network has appointed two new independent Trustees to join its board – including the first male to join the Board’s ranks since the Network was established in 1998.

The two new voluntary Trustees are Neal Shaw from Ashburton, and Leonie Ward from Wellington. . .

Pastoral Dairy Investments cans public offer:

Pastoral Dairy Investments, a company associated with farm management firm MyFarm, has canned plans for an initial public offering after failing to attract its minimum $25 million subscription.

The company won’t extend its closing offer from today after indications of interest didn’t translate into actual investment, it said in a statement. PDI was offering 25 million shares plus oversubscriptions at $1 apiece, and was also seeking $50 million from high net worth individuals.

“We suspect that this lack of demand is mainly due to general investor caution related to the current uncertain economic climate and a lack of familiarity with dairy farming as an asset class,” spokesman Neil Craig said. . .

Milestone in pasture evaluation to be unveiled:

A rating system for pasture grasses based on economic performance, to be known as the DairyNZ Forage Value Index, will be unveiled to dairy farmers in Hamilton this Thursday [May 24] at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum.

The creation of the Forage Value Index is considered a significant and valuable milestone for the future profitability of the dairy industry in New Zealand.

DairyNZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for Productivity, Dr Bruce Thorrold, will be presenting the new Forage Value Index to the Farmers’ Forum along with the President of NZPBRA (New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association) Dr Brian Patchett. . .

NZ producers receive lower prices in 1Q on falling commodity prices, strong dollar:

New Zealand producers were squeezed in the first quarter, receiving lower prices for their products as global commodity prices fell and the kiwi dollar remained strong, while their input prices rose.

The Producers Price Index’s output prices, which measure the price received for locally produced goods and services, fell 0.1 percent in the three months ended March 31, Statistics New Zealand said.

Prices received by food manufacturers fell 1.4 percent in the quarter, leading the decline, due to “lower international prices for meat and dairy products compounded by the appreciating dollar during the period,” Statistics NZ said. . .

Producers’ Price index: March 2012 key facts:

In the March 2012 quarter, compared with the December 2011 quarter:

Prices received by producers (outputs) fell 0.1 percent. • Manufacturing was the key contributor to the fall, with meat and dairy product prices down.
• Sheep, beef, and dairy farming output prices were down. • Electricity and gas supply prices were up 6.9 percent. . .

Prices paid by producers (inputs) rose 0.3 percent. • Higher electricity generator prices were the largest contributor to the inputs PPI. • Food manufacturers paid lower prices for livestock and milk. The manufacturing inputs price index was down 1.2 percent. . .


Grass-fed beef is best

May 20, 2012

British researchers have concluded what New Zealand farms have been saying for years: grass-fed beef is better :

Feeding cattle on grass throughout their lifecycle is the most environmentally sustainable way to rear beef, according to new research for the National Trust.

One of the biggest global challenges is how to increase food security whilst reducing the environmental impacts of food production.

Livestock – like cattle and sheep – produce high levels of methane as part of the process of digesting grass. This has led to suggestions that intensive production methods – where cattle are fed largely on cereals, producing less methane – should be preferred over more traditional grass-fed livestock farming.

However, in this report, research at 10 Trust farms shows that while the carbon footprint of grass-fed and conventional farms were comparable, the carbon sequestration contribution of well-managed grass pasture on the less intensive systems reduced net emissions by up to 94 per cent, even resulting in a carbon ‘net gain’ in upland areas. The farms that had recently converted to organic status showed even greater gains. . .

The research found that grass-fed beef is better for the environment and human health:

“The debate about climate change and food often calls for a reduction of meat consumption and a more plant based diet, but this often overlooks the fact that many grasslands are unsuitable for continuous arable cropping.

“Grasslands support a range of ecosystems services including water resources, biodiversity and carbon capture and storage. Grazing livestock not only contributes to their maintenance but also turns grass into human-edible food.”

Other recent research found that the health benefits of beef (and lamb) are greater when animals are fed totally on grass – their natural food. Omega 3 fatty acids – recognised as essential to good physical and mental health – are higher in meat from grass and the levels of saturated fat are a third of grain fed beef.

Hat Tip: Tony Chaston


Low s**t awards

May 20, 2012

New Zealand is first in the world – again.

The inaugural winners of DairyNZ ‘Prize Pond’ awards  have been announced:

Effluent storage ponds from Canterbury and Taranaki have picked up DairyNZ Prize Pond Awards for keeping pond levels low in an event believed to be the first of its kind in the world. . .

Passing quickly over the question of where else in the world anyone would think of giving awards for pooh ponds:

Canterbury farm owners Murray and Shirley Thomas and sharemilkers Dave and Pip Howard, have a 30 day holding pond irrigating 160ha under a central pivot system. . .

The Taranaki ‘Prize Pond’ is owned by Ken Sole and is managed by sharemilker Dan Merritt. . .

No s**t we’ve got low s**t awards.

And while it’s fun to play with words, this doesn’t mean that I’m pooh-poohing either the principle or practice of catching farmers being good and recognising them for it.

The few bad ones attract headlines.

But most work hard to ensure what they do has the least impact on the environment and the lowest risk of accidents and it’s good that those who are doing it best are being recognised.


Homeward Bound

May 20, 2012

We woke to a mild and sunny day in Gisborne yesterday, flew to Auckland where it was raining then flew on to Queenstown.

The weather improved as we headed south.

We were sitting on the left-hand  right-hand side of the plane and had a birds’-eye views of the Southern Alps and this one of Wanaka with Mount Aspiring in the distance:


May 20 in history

May 20, 2012

325 The First Council of Nicea – the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church was held.

526  An earthquake killed about 300,000 people in Syria and Antiochia.

685  The Battle of Dunnichen or Nechtansmere is fought between a Pictish army under King Bridei III and the invading Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith, who are decisively defeated.

1217  The Second Battle of Lincoln resulting in the defeat of Prince Louis of France by William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.

1293  King Sancho IV of Castile created the Study of General Schools of Alcalá.

1497  John Cabot set sail from Bristol,on his ship Matthew looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).

1498  Vasco da Gama arrived at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.

1521  Battle of Pampeluna: Ignatius Loyola was seriously wounded.

1570  Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issued the first modern atlas.

1609  Shakespeare’s Sonnets were first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.

1631  The city of Magdeburg in Germany was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years’ War.

1733 Captain James Cook released the first sheep in New Zealand.

NZ's first sheep released

1772  Sir William Congreve, English inventor, was born  (d. 1828).

1776 Simon Fraser,Canadian Explorer, was born  (d.1862).

1799 Honoré de Balzac, French novelist, was born  (d. 1850).

1802 By the Law of 20 May 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstated slavery in the French colonies.

1806 John Stuart Mill, English philosopher, was born (d. 1873).

1813 Napoleon Bonaparte led his French troops into the Battle of Bautzen in Saxony, Germany, against the combined armies of Russia and Prussia.

1818 William Fargo, co-founder of Wells, Fargo & Company  was born (d. 1881).

1835  Otto was named the first modern king of Greece.

1840  York Minster was badly damaged by fire.

1845  HMS Erebus and HMS Terror with 134 men under John Franklin sailed from the River Thames, beginning a disastrous expedition to find the Northwest Passage.

1861  American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality.

1862  Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

1864  American Civil War: Battle of Ware Bottom Church – in the Virginia Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.

1873  Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

1882  The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy was formed.

1883  Krakatoa began to  erupt.

1891 The first public display of Thomas Edison’s prototype kinetoscope.

1896  The six ton chandelier of the Palais Garnier fell on the crowd resulting in the death of one and the injury of many others.

1902  Cuba gained independence from the United States. Tomás Estrada Palma became the first President.

1916  The Saturday Evening Post published  its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting (“Boy with Baby Carriage”).

1920  Montreal radio station XWA broadcast the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America.

1927  By the Treaty of Jedda, the United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merged to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1927  At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh took  off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island on the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, touching down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the next day.

1932  Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to begin the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot.

1940  Holocaust: The first prisoners arrived at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.

1941 New Zealand, British, Australian and Greek forces defending the Mediterranean island of Crete fought desperately to repel a huge airborne assault by German paratroopers.

German paratroopers assault Crete

1946  Cher, American singer, was born.

1949  In the United States, the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor to the National Security Agency, was established.

1949  The Kuomintang regime declared  martial law in Taiwan.

1956  In Operation Redwing the first United States airborne hydrogen bomb was dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean;

1965  PIA Flight 705, a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 720 – 040 B, crashed while descending to land at Cairo International Airport, killing 119 of the 125 passengers and crew.

1969  The Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ended.

1980  In a referendum in Quebec, the population rejected by a 60% vote the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.

1983  First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by Luc Montagnier and Robert Gallo individually.

1983  A car-bomb explosion killed 17 and injures 197 in the centre of Pretoria.

1985  Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, began broadcasting to Cuba.

1989  Chinese authorities declared martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations.

1990  The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Romania.

1995  In a second referendum in Quebec, the population rejected by a slight majority the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.

1996   The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians.

2002  Protugal recognised the independence of East Timor , formally ending 23 years of Indonesian rule and 3 years of provisional UN administration (Portugal itself is the former colonizer of East Timor until 1976).

Sourced from Wikipedia & NZ History Online


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