Word of the day

September 1, 2012

Pestiferous – bearing or bringing disease, moral harm, or annoyance; pernicious; constituting a pest or nuisance; bothersome;  morally evil or deadly.


September 1, 2012

7/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

Friday’s answers on Saturday

September 1, 2012

Thursday’s questions (on Friday) were:

1. Who said: Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.?

2. What is the significance of the temperature Fahrenheit 451 in Ray Bradbury’s book fo that name?

3. What is the largest and heaviest organ in the human body (i.e. internal).

4. How many sides does a heptagon have?

5. Who won New Zealand’s first gold in the 2012 Paralympics and in which sport?

Points for answers:

Andrei, Macdoctor and Grant each get an electronic bunch of daffodils for four right.

Adam got three – and I stand to be corrected but I think lungs are organs.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


September 1, 2012

7/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.

Rural round-up

September 1, 2012

NZ beef carbon footprint study highlights productivity gains

The New Zealand beef industry has completed a study1 examining the full carbon footprint of New Zealand beef, and it highlights significant productivity gains.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand General Manager Market Access, Ben O’Brien says the study was driven by the industry’s sustainability focus and the dual challenges posed by an increasing global population and pressure on the planet’s limited resources.

“We see this study as making a valuable contribution to the global livestock production story and we will be contributing the results of this study to the FAO work programme on environmental performance of livestock food chains.” . . .

A tale of two countries on pest control – Bruce Wills:

Sometimes we Kiwis don’t appreciate how good we’ve got it.

That truth was rammed home to me in a discussion I had with a visiting British academic, Dr Gareth Enticott.

Dr Enticott is looking into lessons that could be taken back to Britain to deal with their Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) problem.

He was also on the West Coast earlier in the week to meet with one of our board members, Katie Milne. . .

Merino mitts a hot seller – Rebecca Ryan:

Tucked away just off Oamaru’s main street is Kate Watts’ boutique studio – the home of her popular range of fine merino fingerless gloves.

 From Auckland to Invercargill, Miss Watts has about 100 stockists of her hand-printed range, but she is thrilled with the way they have taken off in Oamaru.

“The small towns are definitely the biggest part of my business. There’s a surprising number of small towns across the country and that seems to be where we make most of the money,” she said. . .

Ram testing has lifted quality of lamb flock – Jacquie Webby:

In the 10 years since it was introduced, Central Progeny testing has become a recognised tool for New Zealand sheep farmers.

Launched in June 2002, the Central Progeny Test (CPT) helps farmers identify rams that are superior for traits which add value to sheep farming operations.

The tests compare rams by running their progeny in identical environments, allowing a comparison not by environmental conditions but by genetics. . .

Sowing seeds of new hobby – Jacquie webby:

Rural schoolchildren are being encouraged to experience the magic of growing vegetables and fruit trees – helped along by hopefully securing one of two grants from Rural Women New Zealand.

The organisation has joined forces with Meridian, which is funding two $2000 cash grants for schools to buy equipment, seedlings or plants.

National president Liz Evans said knowing how to grow fruit and vegetables was a basic skill that would stand children in good stead during their lives. . . .

Progressive global beef and lamb developments:

While a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) points towards growing New Zealand agribusiness globally, Craig Hickson, of Hawke’s Bay based Progressive Meats, proves there is opportunity left in our traditional markets.

“While we must maximise the potential of New Zealand’s land resource, there is an inescapable logic about taking our intellectual property and skills globally,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“If we take a leaf from the automotive industry, Toyota now makes most of its vehicles outside Japan. . .

Dairy NZ is calling for applciations for its On-Farm Innovation Fund:

The On-Farm Innovation Fund helps turn great ideas into better on farm  practice. It is aimed specifically at farmers, people who work with farmers and  smaller organisations that would not normally have ready access to innovation  and research funding.

Projects that are funded will demonstrate their success by showing on farm  improvements that can be readily and easily taken up by New Zealand dairy  farmers. . .

Waste in Opposition doesn’t bode well for frugality in government – updated

September 1, 2012

The Opposition is continuing to push for an MPs’ initiated referendum on the partial sale of a few state owned assets.

It’s nothing more than a tax-payer funded exercise in futility and self promotion.

If they have no concern about the need for frugality in Opposition it doesn’t bode well for a cautious approach to spending when they’re in government as, sooner or later, they will be.


Keeping Stock quotes the Greens:

Your MPs will be out working in our regions and local communities next week, with Parliament taking a break from sitting. It’s a chance for us to make another big push to get the signatures we need for the asset sales petition.

We’re paying them to collect signatures!

If this is the best use they have for their time and our money it is a very poor reflection on their priorities.


Landcorp: $27m net operating profit from $1.6b of assets

September 1, 2012

Landcorp operates 122 farms, covering an area of 376,156 hectares (owned and leased). It runs 1.5 millions stock units, has a permanent staff of 599, 77 of whom are in its Wellington head office.

It’s last annual report showed it had total assets of $1.6b.

That is a lot of capital tied up and its return on that capital continues to be dismal:

The state-owned farmer said its ‘net operating profit’ fell to $27 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a record $42 million on the same basis a year earlier. Sales fell 4 percent to $210.5 million.

The decline in operating profit mainly reflected the impact of “significant reductions”in prices for milk and timber in a year when sales fell even as the volumes produced rose. The company will pay the government a dividend of $20 million, down from $27.5 million in the previous year.

Landcorp said net operating profit for 2013 will be about $13 million, based on current product prices. 

The current year’s product prices are expected to be “more volatile and generally lower” than in 2012, Landcorp said.

“This will reflect the continued negative impact of the global financial crisis on demand in European, North American and Asia economies, and particular supply and demand factors in markets for wholesale milk products,” it said.

The high kiwi dollar continues to have a major impact on income from exporting, the company said.

Net profit, the earnings measure required to be disclosed by listed companies, was a loss of $9.4 million from a year-earlier profit of $114.6 million, reflecting changes in unrealised revaluations on livestock, derivatives and land.

Like many other New Zealand companies, Landcorp downplayed the net profit figure as being “not a meaningful indicator” of its operating performance. Since New Zealand adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards there has been a proliferation of non-standardised earnings measures, where companies back out items that aren’t directly to do with operations. . .

Landcorp first flagged the $20 million dividend and $27 million operating profit at the start of the month, when it reported record annual milk production of 13.3 million kilograms of milk solids. It had previously forecast profit on that basis of $16.3 million.

Even given that proviso, which isn’t unreasonable, keeping so much capital tied up in a company which makes such a poor return on it wouldn’t make sense in good times. It certainly can’t be justified when debt is such a concern in the face of continuing financial woes in most parts of the world.

The company should not be sold as a whole but the gradual and orderly sale of individual farms ought to be at least a medium term goal.

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