Word of the day


Nuncupative – spoken rather than written; declared orally rather than in writing.

Rural round-up


‘Financial Delinquency” Foretells Failure For Farms

As farms continue to go into receivership and be sold off, the country’s only rural insolvency specialist believes more rural businesses will face going to the wall in the next 12 months.

Dennis Wood, who heads Act Three Rural Insolvency and Investigations, predicts rural receiverships numbers will keep pace with rising rural bank debt, currently around $49 billion.

He says that a disproportionate number of rural businesses account for a higher percentage of that debt, as the currency remains high and NZ continues to be exposed to global market forces.

Many rural businesses particularly in dairy, sheep & beef, viticulture and horticulture are experiencing acute financial stress. . .

Livestock Improvement in talks with Agria over $10m loan – Paul McBeth:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which has been compensating some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, is in talks with Chinese-linked agriculture firm Agria Corp over a $10 million loan that is due for repayment next week.

The New Zealand farmer-owned company that sells bull semen and provides a dairy genetics database is in talks with Agria and the Chinese-linked firm’s senior lender about the loan and will update the market once those discussions are complete, it said in a statement yesterday. . .

Zespri Chairman Announces Plan To Step Down

Zespri Chairman John Loughlin has announced he will stand down as Chairman of the Board and as a director early next year, at a time still to be confirmed.

Mr Loughlin joined the Zespri Board as one of three independent directors on the eight-member board (the other five directors are grower-directors) in 2002. He became chairman of Zespri in August 2008.

“When I was re-elected in 2010, I signalled then that my intention was for this to be my last term serving on the Zespri Board. . .

Study shows flaws in mono-floral honey claims:

A study has indicated that many New Zealand honey that is claimed to be be mono-floral is not.

The study, conducted by Lincoln University, tested 64 New Zealand honeys labelled or coming from one type of plant.

It showed 29 samples did not contain the minimum pollen percentage required from one plant to allow it to be marketed as mono-floral. . .

A2 Corporation appoints China distributor:

A2 Corporation Limited (“A2C” or “the Company”) has today advanced the launch of a2™ brand milk powders and infant formula in China in 2013 with the appointment of an in-market Chinese distribution partner.

Developing an infant formula business in highly prospective markets is part of A2C’s strategic agenda. The global infant formula market is valued at greater than USD 17bn at the retail level, with China accounting for around USD 6bn and growing rapidly at approximately 12% per annum . . .

Arden Andersen: Biological agriculture world leader returns to NZ early 2013:

Arden Andersen, one of the world’s leading proponents of biological agriculture practices will be conducting two-day courses in Ashburton and Taupo in February 2013.

The emphasis of the courses for farmers, horticulturists and supporting advisors, is to clearly demonstrate how to grow nutrient-dense crops in larger quantities with fewer petrochemical inputs and a healthy bottom line.

Andersen, in his course ‘Grow your profits with food the world wants’, will provide attendees with the latest updates and practical applications of the natural sciences that underpin biological growing practices. . .

Dairy Woman of the Year nominations open for 2013 award:

Nominations will soon open for the 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year award which includes the chance to attend the year-long Women in Leadership course run by Global Women.

The scholarship, worth $25,000, is part of the award sponsored by Fonterra. This year’s nominations open on 1 November 2012 and close on 16 December 2012. The winner will be announced in March 2013. . .

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions and some answers are here.

At time of writing (last night because an early start and no time for posting today:

* Inventory 2 had a good question but Bulaman managed a very good answer.

* Andrei was in the running for  an electronic chocolate cake because no-one had managed to answer all five of his questions.

* Paul might have won an electronic chocolate cake too, depending on whether or not Andrei’s answer was correct.

The ideology of drunkenness


As the Alcohol Reform Bill wends its way through parliament, Theodore Dalrymple’s observations are appropriate:

Britain is the only country known to me in which drunkenness is an ideology: that is to say in which people believe in an abstract way that, in getting drunk, they are doing good to themselves and performing an almost philanthropic service. The mass public drunkenness that appals foreigners when they come to our shores is actually thought by young drunks to be a form individual therapy and social prophylaxis rolled into one.  . .

Britain isn’t alone in this immature attitude to alcohol consumption.

Drunkenness might not be an ideology but there are too many people who regard it as a requirement for enjoying a social occasion and a measure of enjoyment.


Bradford vindicated?


The opposition to power reforms of the 1990s and their architect Max Bradford were a significant contributing factor to the loss of the seat of Otago for National’s Gavan Herlihy.

David Parker, who won the seat, told a pre-election meeting in 2002 that they were one of the factors which motivated him to stand for Labour.

But were they really so bad?

Kiwiblog has a graphic, originally from the ODT, which shows they did work as intended:

Add this story to Scoopit!.

Regulation and re-regulation aren’t the only factors which affected prices.

The reliance on hydro generation puts pressure on supply and therefore price if there is a drought which reduces the water flow into the lakes behind dams.

But prices went down when retail competition was introduced and went up again when Labour re-regulated the electricity market.


Short term outlook short sighted


Federated Farmers is looking past the short term gloom and sees reason for optimism in the medium term:

While the 2012/13 season will be tough for the nation’s farmers, Federated Farmers believes it is not as dire as some commentators have speculated upon.

“Will some farm businesses fail as a result of lower payouts and a high dollar? Sadly, that answer is probably yes,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President. . . 

While not to be celebrated, business failure is a fact of life in good times and bad for a variety of factors. If farms are highly geared they are much more vulnerable to small changes in returns.

“Yet there are blue clouds appearing among the grey.

“Five of the last six GlobalDairyTrade auctions have been up and in the latest auction, Wholemilk Powder jumped 9.2 percent.

“This comes off an excellent production start to the new season. I have read that milk volumes are up 13 percent on last year and last season was one out of the box. I can say from my farm we currently have excellent growing conditions for beef and lamb too. . .

Spring has been cold and growth slow but there is good news too.

“After a terrible start to the new season, we are seeing wool prices slowly climb with an encouragingly high clearance rate too.

“Beef prices are holding up despite the drought in the United States. While lamb has reversed recent gains to be in the $90 range, initiatives like what McDonald’s New Zealand is doing with lamb may open up new export opportunities.

“Look, this is a tough season and make no bones about it. Yet tough does not mean dire because we produce food and fibre the world needs.

“What would really help us is less pressure on the dollar. There is no quick fix but winding back government spending and paying down debt would help relieve the pressure. Combine that with a focus on the quality of regulation instead of the quantity and things will look up.

“I guess we need to look past the short term because the medium term remains bright,” Mr Wills concluded.

A short term outlook in is short-sighted.

Farms like other businesses have to weather conditions over which they have no control.

Those which concentrate on factors they can control and keep a tight rein on spending will get through this season and be ready for improved returns as demand, and prices, pick up.




October 26 in history


306  Martyrdom of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki.

1597  Imjin War: Admiral Yi Sun-sin routed the Japanese Navy of 300 ships with only 13 ships at the Battle of Myeongnyang.

1640 The Treaty of Ripon was signed, restoring peace between Scotland and Charles I of England.

1689  General Piccolomini of Austria burned down Skopje to prevent the spread of cholera. He died of cholera soon after.

1774  The first Continental Congress adjourned in Philadelphia.

1775  King George III went before Parliament to declare the American colonies in rebellion, and authorised a military response to quell the American Revolution.

1776  Benjamin Franklin departed from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.

1795  The French Directory, a five-man revolutionary government, was created.

1811  The Argentine government declared the freedom of expression for the press by decree.

1825 The Erie Canal opened – passage from Albany, New York to Lake Erie.

1859 The Royal Charter was wrecked on the coast of Anglesey, north Wales with 459 dead.

1860  Meeting of Teano. Giuseppe Garibaldi, conqueror of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, gives it to King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy.

1861  The Pony Express officially ceased operations.

1865  Benjamin Guggenheim, American businessman, was born (d. 1912).

1881  The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

1883  Napoleon Hill, American writer and philosopher, was born (d. 1970).

1905 Norway became independent from Sweden.

1909 Itō Hirobumi, Resident-General of Korea, was shot to death by Korean independence supporter Ahn Jung-geun.

1912  First Balkan War: The capital city of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, was unified with Greece on the feast day of its patron Saint Demetrius. Serbian troops captured Skopje.

1916 François Mitterrand, President of France, was born (d. 1996).

1917   Battle of Caporetto; Italy was defeated by the forces of Austria-Hungary and Germany. The young unknown Oberleutnant Erwin Rommel captured Mount Matajur with only 100 Germans against a force of over 7000 Italians.

1918  Erich Ludendorff, quartermaster-general of the Imperial German Army, was dismissed by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany for refusing to cooperate in peace negotiations.

1921  The Chicago Theatre opened.

1936  The first electric generator at Hoover Dam went into full operation.

1940  The P-51 Mustang made its maiden flight.

1942 The Women’s Jurors Act enabled women to sit on juries in New Zealand.

Women Jurors Act allows women to sit on juries

1942  Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands: U.S. aircraft carrier, Hornet, was sunk and another aircraft carrier, Enterprise, was heavily damaged.

1943 World War II: First flight of the Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil”.

1944  World War II: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ended with an overwhelming American victory.

1947  Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State, was born.

1947 The Maharaja of Kashmir agreed to allow his kingdom to join India.

1948  Killer smog settled into Donora, Pennsylvania.

1955  After the last Allied troops left the country and following the provisions of the Austrian Independence Treaty, Austria declared permanent neutrality.

1955 – Ngô Đình Diệm declared himself Premier of South Vietnam.

1958  Pan American Airways made the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris, France.

1959  The world saw the far side of the Moon for the first time.

1964 Eric Edgar Cooke became last person in Western Australia to be executed.

1967  Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowned himself Emperor of Iran and then crowned his wife Farah Empress of Iran.

1977 The last natural case of smallpox was discovered in Merca district, Somalia. The WHO and the CDC consider this date the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

1979  Park Chung-hee, President of South Korea was assassinated by KCIA head Kim Jae-kyu. Choi Kyu-ha becomes the acting President.

1984  ”Baby Fae” received a heart transplant from a baboon.

1985  The Australian government returns ownership of Uluru to the local Pitjantjatjara Aborigines.

1992 The London Ambulance Service was thrown into chaos after the implementation of a new CAD, (Computer Aided Despatch) system which failed.

1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty

1995  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Mossad agents assassinated Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki.

1999  Britain’s House of Lords voted to end the right of hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.

2000  Laurent Gbagbo took over as president of Côte d’Ivoire following a popular uprising against President Robert Guéï.

2002 Moscow Theatre Siege: Around 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian Spetsnaz stormed a theatre building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists three days before.

2003  The Cedar Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, killed 15 people, consumed 250,000 acres (1,000 km²), and destroyed 2,200 homes around San Diego.

Sourced from NZ History Online & WIkipedia.

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