Word of the day

August 15, 2012

Subfusc – dusky; ; dingy; drab; of  a dark, dull, or sombre colour.


Rural round-up

August 15, 2012

Australian dairy farmers follow the money – Dr Jon Hauser:

Ten years ago there was a general belief in the industry that dairy farmers would respond to low prices and low profitability by producing more milk. This is a sort of perverse defiance of the laws of supply and demand where the reverse is supposed to happen. The reality of this adage is that some farmers produced more milk, and others sold out or shut down the dairy. During the 1990’s the net effect of this was industry growth. Since 2002 the trend in Australia has been the other way – an ongoing decline in milk supply. This article is not however about the causes of declining production. It is about how to encourage milk supply and, despite the evidence to the contrary, that is exactly what has happened during the autumn and winter periods of production in the southeast. . .

Forestry harvesting machine wins national innovation award:

A non-scientist has won a major forestry research award for his key role in developing a new harvesting machine designed to be safer and more productive on steep slopes.

Kerry Hill, Managing Director of Trinder Engineering Ltd, of Nelson, is one of five winners of the second annual Future Forests Research Awards, presented at a function in Rotorua on Tuesday 14 August.

Mr Hill was one of four nominees for the award for innovation that adds value to the forestry sector. The three judges cited Trinder Engineering’s joint development with Kelly Logging Ltd over the past three years of a winch-assisted steep slope feller-buncher machine. Innovations include a front mounted winch, rear mounted blade and integrated hydraulic control systems. . .

Farm Transactions Slow As Seasonal Workloads Take Priority:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 55 more farm sales (+18.3%) for the three months ended July 2012 than for the three months ended July 2011.  Overall, there were 356 farm sales in the three months to end of July 2012, compared with 406 farm sales in the three months to June 2012, a decrease of 50 sales (-12.3%).  On a seasonally adjusted basis, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations, the number of sales rose by 0.7%, compared to the three months to June.

1,439 farms were sold in the year to July 2012, 50.4% more than were sold in the year to July 2011.  The number of farms sold on an annual basis is now the highest since April 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2012 was $17,955; a 22.6% increase on the $14,649 recorded for three months ended July 2011, and an increase of 2.2% on the $17,565 recorded for the three months to June 2012. . .

The Shed At Northburn Station Appoints Experienced Wine Professional As General Manager:

Northburn Station’s The Shed has appointed wine and hospitality expert Paul Tudgay as General Manager underlining the company’s commitment to enhancing the events and conference and incentive sector of its operations, focusing around its purpose-built facility, The Shed Restaurant, Cellar Door and function venue.

Tudgay (40) is a professional sommelier, trained in the UK, and for the past five years has had a high profile as a Queenstown Resort College wine educator and more latterly as its Hospitality and Business manager. He is also credited with introducing the international Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualification to Queenstown, with more than 80 people qualified to date.

Northburn Station owners Tom and Jan Pinckney  opened The Shed four years ago with Jan taking on the diverse role of  overseeing The Shed including the restaurant, cellar door, functions and the company’s trade wine business. . .

Young Farmer elected to FCANZ Board

New Zealand Young Farmer member Mark Lambert has been elected to the board of the Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand (FCANZ). FCANZ is an industry organisation that supports and benefits the fencing industry of New Zealand.

The 2012 FCANZ AGM was held at the Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland on 27, 28 and 29th of July. There were eight nominees for seven spots on the board which went to a vote and Mr Lambert was elected for a one year term.

A group of dedicated fencing contractors launched The Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand Inc. (FCANZ) in February 2006. . .

New Animal Welfare Regulations Affect Producers & Processors:

New regulations coming into force next year mean that the export meat industry will need to train all staff in animal welfare and quality issues appropriate to their jobs.  Supermarkets in the EC and UK, and their customers, want to be assured that livestock are treated humanely at all stages of processing.

In particular they are concerned that the procedures used in handling animals on farm, during transportation and from reception at meat plants through to stunning and slaughter are painless and cause as little distress as possible, according to Dr Nicola Simmons, General Manager of Carne Technologies Ltd. . .

Winter delivers too much of a good thing:

Prolonged wet weather and surface flooding is causing concern on-farm during a very busy period in the farming calendar, with calving and in some pockets, lambing, underway.

“I know when we hit a long dry spell farmers will look back at the rain longingly. But what many need right now are days or weeks of fine settled weather to dry out,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson.

“The only way to describe much of rural New Zealand is sodden and there’ll be plenty of people in the towns and cities who’d probably agree. Farmers are hoping for a decent fine spell in order for saturated pasture to recover. . .

Hoping indeed with all fingers and toes crossed. It stopped raining here (North Otago) late this morning, the sun is trying to shine through the clouds and there are streaks of blue sky appearing.


Can we prevent a repeat?

August 15, 2012

Alan Reay whose design firm Alan Reay Consultants designed the Canterbury Television building which collapsed in the Christchurch earthquake has accepted full responsibility for its failings.

Without in anyway minimising the tragic loss of life in that quake, the death toll was low considering how many people were in the city centre and most of those who died were in just two buildings.

Taking responsibility for building failings can not change what happened and its tragic consequences.

But learning from the mistakes and shortcomings not just in the design and construction but in inspections after the pre-February 22nd earthquakes could prevent them and the tragic consequences being repeated.


Here are the jobs

August 15, 2012

Last week’s unemployment figures were certain to prompt questions in parliament and they did.

But they didn’t get the answers the questioners wanted:

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: I was just pointing out that the member says that the mining sector is bad for the New Zealand economy, except that if you look at the unemployment rates by region around New Zealand, you find that the lowest unemployment rate is in a region known as Taranaki, which currently has a 3.8 percent unemployment rate. And if you want to look across the Tasman, the lowest unemployment rate is in a state called Western Australia, which happens to be very focused on mining and resources. So if the member wants to say that he is concerned about jobs for New Zealanders, he needs to turn round and go to some of these regions where the Greens have been protesting against opportunities for New Zealanders to have jobs, and renege on what he said previously

Dr Russel Norman: Should not a Government that really wants to increase jobs be fixing the broken monetary policy to give our exporters and domestic manufacturers a level playing field against their international competition, and focus its efforts on industries that create jobs for New Zealanders rather than profits for foreign investors?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE: The member seems to be advocating, as his economic policy, New Zealand taking a one-way bet against world currencies. Well, that generally ends in tears. If the member is actually concerned about jobs—actually concerned about jobs—he should visit places like Northland, which has the highest unemployment rate, hold a public meeting, and demand they support mining and exploration in Northland. He should go to Gisborne and tell them to support oil and gas and mineral exploration. He should support the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill in the House today. He should support the Government building transport infrastructure, he should support our changes to the emissions trading scheme, and he should support our efforts to attract—

The opposition keep asking where are the jobs?

They don’t like the answer and as the minister points out oppose every step the government takes to help businesses create jobs.

They like to use the word sustainable and sustainable jobs aren’t those which use taxpayers money to employ people.

They are jobs which employ people to produce things which people in other countries want to buy.

Many of those potential jobs are in primary production and mining.

It’s easy to say don’t do any of that because of the impact on the environment but if we want more jobs we have to do those things and in a way which minimises or mitigates any negative impacts.


“Live it and love it” x factor in farm success

August 15, 2012

Opponents to foreign investment in farmland are concerned that too few farms will be left in New Zealand ownership.

No-one has defined how much is too much and for some any farm land in foreign ownership is too much.

But Finance Minister Bill English says the owner-operator model is likely to be the one which continues to succeed here:

Large-scale local and foreign corporate farm owners soon realised they had to ‘live it and love it’ in order to make any money out of farming in New Zealand, English told the Victoria University-Peking University Conference on Contemporary China in Wellington. . .

. . . Speaking to media after his speech, English said New Zealand had experienced waves of anxiety about foreign ownership of Kiwi farms.

“They come and go. At one stage the Japanese were going to buy all our farms, then the Indonesians were going to buy all our farms, and both overseas and local corporate owners have never really succeeded in making very large farm operations viable,” English said.

“So while the Crafar farms have been high profile, if you look back over thirty or forty years, large scale farm ownership often fixes itself because the owners find that they can’t do as well as the owner-operator model,” he said.

“I think the owner-operator [model] is how New Zealanders see their agricultural industry based.”

Rabobank in Australia found that $10 to $13 million dollar farms were the most profitable and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same applied here.

These are larger family farms. Smaller ones lack economies of scale and bigger corporate ones tend to have problems over governance and management and/or take a lot of money to make money.

Landcorp is an example of the latter. It has a good record for animal welfare, environmental practices, staff training and retention but it makes a very small – about 2% – return on capital.

We’ve got several dairy syndicates in our area in which investors have made little money and some in which they’ve lost lots.

Family farms aren’t all successful, the Bell curve operates in farming too, there are good, bad and in between ones for all models. But most farms in this country are still owner-operator ones.

It’s the model which works well here and that live-it-and-love-it factor is a very important ingredient in their success which no amount of outside investment or expertise can replace.


Soggy enough, now for some sun

August 15, 2012

It was raining when we left home on Sunday afternoon.

It carried on raining for the two days we were away.

Our 5:30 flight back from Wellington yesterday evening was cancelled, we got seats on a later one and it was nearly 8pm when we left Christchurch.

We phoned a friend who operates a trucking business for an update on roads and were told there was surface flooding but we should be okay on the main road.

I checked the Waitaki District Council website and found a long list of cautions and closures – including at least one on all the shortcuts we would use to get home.

We opted to go the long way and came across some deep puddles but no flooding.

However, the lawn is very, very soggy and I hate to think what the paddocks where cows are will look like.

Three weeks ago we were considering having to start irrigating this month. That won’t be necessary.

But now we’ve had more than enough rain would it be greedy to ask for some sunshine?


August 15 in history

August 15, 2012

778 The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, at which Roland was killed.

927 The Saracens conquered and destroy Taranto.

982  Holy Roman Emperor Otto II was defeated by the Saracens in the battle of Capo Colonna.

1018 Byzantine general Eustathios Daphnomeles blinded and captured Ibatzes of Bulgaria by a ruse, ending Bulgarian resistance against Emperor Basil II’s conquest of Bulgaria.

1040  King Duncan I was killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth.

1057  King Macbeth was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada.

1185  The cave city of Vardzia was consecrated by Queen Tamar of Georgia.

1248  The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men, was laid.

1261 Michael VIII Palaeologus was crowned Byzantine emperor.

1309  The city of Rhodes surrendered to the forces of the Knights of St. John, completing their conquest of Rhodes. The knights establish their headquarters on the island and renamed themselves the Knights of Rhodes.

1461 The Empire of Trebizond surrendered to the forces of Sultan Mehmet II – regarded by some historians as the real end of the Byzantine Empire. Emperor David was exiled.

1534 Saint Ignatius of Loyola and six classmates took initial vows, leading to the creation of the Society of Jesus in September 1540.

1599  Nine Years War: Battle of Curlew Pass – Irish forces led by Hugh Roe O’Donnell successfully ambushed English forces, led by Sir Conyers Clifford, sent to relieve Collooney Castle.

1760  Seven Years’ War: Battle of Liegnitz – Frederick the Great’s victory over the Austrians under Ernst von Laudon.

1769  Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France, was born (d. 1821).

1771  Sir Walter Scott, Scottish novelist and poet, was born (d. 1832).

1824 Freed American slaves founded Liberia.

1843  The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu, Hawaii was dedicated.

1843  Tivoli Gardens amusement park  opened in Copenhagen.

1869  Henrietta Vinton Davis, American elocutionist, was born (d. 1941).

1863 The Anglo-Satsuma War began between the Satsuma Domain of Japan and the United Kingdom.

1875 Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, English composer, was born (d. 1912).

1893 Leslie Comrie, New Zealand astronomer and computing pioneer, was born (d. 1950).

1907 Ordination in Constantinople of Fr. Raphael Morgan, first African-American Orthodox priest, “Priest-Apostolic” to America and the West Indies.

1909  A group of mid-level Greek Army officers launched the Goudi coup, seeking wide-ranging reforms.

1912  Julia Child, American cook (d. 2004)

1912 – Dame Wendy Hiller, English actress (d. 2003).

1914  Julian Carlton, servant of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, set fire to the living quarters of the architect’s home, Taliesin, and  mudered seven people.

1914 The Panama Canal opened to traffic with the transit of the cargo ship Ancon.

1924 Robert Bolt, English playwright and screenwriter, was born (d. 1995).

1935 Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed after their aircraft develops engine problems during takeoff.

1939  13 Stukas dived into the ground during a disastrous air-practice at Neuhammer.

1940  An Italian submarine torpedoed and sank the Greek cruiser Elli at Tinos harbour, marking the most serious Italian provocation prior to the outbreak of the Greco-Italian War in October.

1941  Corporal Josef Jakobs was executed by firing squad at the Tower of London making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason.

1942  Operation Pedestal – The SS Ohio reached the island of Malta barely afloat carrying vital fuel supplies for the island’s defenses.

1944 : Operation Dragoon – Allied forces landed in southern France.

1945  Victory over Japan Day – Japan surrendered.

In New Zealand VJ Day was celebrated. Sirens immediately sounded, a national ceremony was held, and the local celebrations followed.

The war is over!  VJ Day

1945 – World War II: Korean Liberation Day.

1947  India gained independence from the United Kingdom and becomes an independent nation within the Commonwealth.

1947 – Founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as first Governor General of Pakistan at Karachi.

1948 The Republic of Korea was established south of the 38th parallel north.

1950 Princess Anne, Princess Royal, was born.

1951 The troop ship Wahine  was wrecked en route to the Korean War.

Troop ship Wahine wrecked en route to Korean War

1954 Stieg Larsson, Swedish writer, was born (d. 2004).

1954 Alfredo Stroessner began his dictatorship in Paraguay.

1952 A flashflood in Lynmouth,Devon, killed 34 people.

1960  Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) became independent from France.

1961Conrad Schumann fled from East Germany while on duty guarding the construction of the Berlin Wall.

1962  James Joseph Dresnok defected to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea after running across the Korean DMZ.

1963 Execution of Henry John Burnett, the last man to be hanged in Scotland.

1963  President Fulbert Youlou was overthrown in the Republic of Congo, after a three-day uprising in the capital.

1965 – The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, in an event later seen as marking the birth of stadium rock.

1968  40,000 people protested in Mexico City against repression.

1969 The Woodstock Music and Art Festival opened.

1971  President Richard Nixon completed the break from the gold standard by ending convertibility of the United States dollar into gold by foreign investors.

1972 Ben Affleck, American actor, was born.

1973 Vietnam War: The United States bombing of Cambodia ended.

1974  Yuk Young-soo, First Lady of South Korea, was killed during an apparent assassination attempt on President Park Chung-hee.

1975  Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and most members of his family were killed during a military coup.

1975 Miki Takeo made the first official pilgrimage to Yasukuni Shrine by an incumbent prime minister on the anniversary of the end of World War II.

1977  The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University received a radio signal from deep space; the event is named the “Wow! signal” from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.

1984 The PKK in Turkey started a campaign of armed attacks upon the Turkish military

1998  Omagh bomb in Northern Ireland, the worst terrorist incident of The Troubles.

1999  Beni Ounif massacre in Algeria; some 29 people were killed at a false roadblock near the Moroccan border.

2007  An 8.0-magnitude earthquake off the Pacific coast devastated Ica and various regions of Peru killing 514 and injuring 1,090.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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