Rural round-up

Chemical-free biopesticide offers hope for porina control

AgResearch scientists are working on a chemical-free biopesticide that can kill one of New Zealand’s worst pasture pests – the porina caterpillar.

The caterpillar and with another pest, the grass grub, cost farmers an estimated $100 million a year in destroyed pasture and control measures.

The biopesticide is based on a naturally-occurring bacterium, Yersinia entomophaga,discovered during a search for alternatives to health-threatening chemical pesticides which are being phased out. . .

What would responsible pastoralism mean? (A strategic ‘glue’) – Peter Kerr:

My contention is, by branding our method (pasture Harmonies) and taking that through on products to the consumer, NZ Inc would become the global custodians for responsible pastoralism.

What would that mean?

In one word, ‘glue’.

I argue that as nation of rugged individualists, the thing that has been missing for our farmers, our agritech, our marketers and our publics is a common sense of purpose. . .

The dairy cliff in America – an Alice in Wonderland of the planned – Life Behind the Iron Drape:

A journalist from the land of fiat money and central banking sat down this week and, no doubt with a straight face, wrote the following about the American ‘dairy cliff’:
As if the “fiscal cliff” and the long-suffering farm bill weren’t enough, Iowans may soon face a new dilemma — a “dairy cliff.”
If Congress fails to act in the handful of weeks it has left in its lame-duck session before adjourning for Christmas recess, the nation’s dairy programs for farmers will expire Jan. 1.

Dairy Awards at 300 Entries

Just over 300 entries have so far been received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping is pleased with entry numbers and the level of interest in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

“We are past halfway in our entry target this year, which is great. I’m hoping for a rush of entries this week as our earlybird entry prize draw closes off on Friday,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Clearview chocolates – a little piece of paradise

Combining wine and chocolate may be a combination made in heaven for some, but in reality it’s a sweet collaboration coming out of Te Awanga on Hawke’s Bay’s Cape Coast.

Clearview Estate Winery and local (yet French) chocolatier, Anissa Talbi of La Petite Chocolat have joined forces to create two special dessert wine chocolates, one featuring Sea Red and the other, Late Harvest Chardonnay. . .

8 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. David Winter says:

    I can’t say how depressing it is to see a Crown Research Institute marketing something as “chemical free”…


  2. Curmudgeonly Pete says:

    Ah David, it is the scientific illiteratti at work.

    Not sure waht Crown Research said as Ele links to a Radio NZ article that contains this classic clanger “When eaten by pests, the bacterium releases toxins …”

    WTF do they think the toxins are made from? Unicorns?


  3. TraceyS says:

    So does raw broccoli release toxins when eaten, called Goitrogens ( For people like me it can cause thyroid problems. Should definitely be banned I think.

    David it’s so sad that you find innovation depressing.


  4. I’m not sure I’ve with you there Tracy? What’s innovative about lying? Nothing is chemical free.


  5. TraceyS says:

    Of course nothing is chemical free (including human drool). But you can read this “chemical free” line anywhere, including all the organic farming magazines. Are they all lying?


  6. TraceyS says:

    Oh man…do you like anyone!!!?



  7. I like plenty of people Tracey.

    I also like chemistry. The science that brought us the Haber process, and parts of the green revolution, which allow us to actually feed the world. So, like a lot of scientists, when I see people associating the world chemical with something “bad” “dangerous” or otherwise a problem I get a little rankled. It’s sad enough when ideologues and snake oil salesmen do it, thoroughly depressing when an scientific institute falls into it.


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