Word of the day

March 16, 2013

Tchotchke – a small object that is decorative rather than strictly functional; small bauble or miscellaneous item; trinket, knickknack;  pretty girl or woman.


3/10

March 16, 2013

A very sorry 3/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.


7/10

March 16, 2013

7/10 in the Herald’s political quiz.


Saturday’s smiles

March 16, 2013

A farmer named Paddy  was driving when he was hit by a truck owned by the Eversweet Company.

In court, the Eversweet Company’s hot-shot solicitor was questioning Paddy.

‘Didn’t you say to the police at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine?’ asked the solicitor.

Paddy responded: ‘Well, I’ll tell you what happened. I’d just loaded my fav’rit cow, Bessie, into da… ‘

‘I didn’t ask for any details’, the solicitor interrupted. ‘Just answer the question. Did you not say, at the scene of the accident, ‘I’m fine!’?’

Paddy said, ‘Well, I’d just got Bessie into da trailer and I was drivin’ down da road…. ‘

The solicitor interrupted again and said,’Your Honour, I am trying to establish the fact that, at the scene of the accident, this man told the police on the scene that he was fine. Now several weeks after the accident, he is trying to sue my client. I believe he is a fraud. Please tell him to simply answer the question. ‘

By this time, the Judge was fairly interested in Paddy’s answer and said to the solicitor: ‘I’d like to hear what he has to say about his favourite cow, Bessie’.

Paddy thanked the Judge and proceeded.’Well as I was saying, I had just loaded Bessie, my fav’rit cow, into de trailer and was drivin’ her down de road when this huge Eversweet truck and trailer came tundering tru a stop sign and hit me trailer right in da side. I was trown into one ditch and Bessie was trown into da udder. By crikees I was hurt, very bad like, and didn’t want to move. However, I could hear old Bessie moanin’ and groanin’. I knew she was in terrible pain just by her groans.

‘Shortly after da accident, a policeman on a motorbike turned up. He could hear Bessie moanin’ and groanin’ too, so he went over to her. After he looked at her, and saw her condition, he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes.

Den da policeman came across de road, gun still in hand, looked at me, and said, ‘How are you feelin’?’

‘Now wot da heck would you say?’

 


Rural round-up

March 16, 2013

‘An industry in transition’ – US beef challenges present opportunities for NZ producers:

The United States’ beef cattle industry is undergoing a major transition, with a significant contraction of its domestic herd diminishing available beef supply locally and offshore. This presents opportunities for New Zealand producers to cash in on increased market share, according to a visiting US meat industry expert.

Rabobank’s Texas-based vice president for animal proteins, Don Close says the reduction in the US herd is “unprecedented”, with current on-feed numbers at six per cent lower than 12 months ago, and set to continue to decrease into the 2013 Northern Hemisphere summer period.

“Right now, with a significant period of drought, the ongoing tightening of our cattle herd is really becoming increasingly evident,” Mr Close said. . .

Controversy over CAP capping and coupling plans – Paul Spackman:

Farming unions and environmental groups have given a very mixed response to yesterday’s crucial vote by MEP’s on the future of the CAP.

Elements that could cut red tape for farmers, ease the burden of inspections and allow for more proportionate penalties were generally welcomed.

However, other proposals were criticised by some for potentially distorting the market and discriminating against larger UK farms. . .

Rural media research reveals the changing face of farming:

The old image of farmers being dyed in the wool consumers of traditional media, late adopters of digital technology and low users of social media has been completely blown apart by a major piece of research commissioned by Waikato/Bay of Plenty based agency, King St.

The research involved 759 farmers – 314 dairy and 346 dry stock – participating in a 15-minute phone survey conducted by independent research firm, Versus Research, on behalf of King St and some of the agency’s rural clients.

The comprehensive study provides a full picture of farmers’ media habits. “It’s the largest study of its kind to be conducted and provides some extremely valuable information, along with some fresh insights”, says King St CEO, Chris Williams.

“If you think farmers are behind the times as an audience, you need to think again. Radio, TV and print are still going strong but it’s in digital media where we saw some big moves, particularly with the under 40s,” says Williams. “And rather than being behind, they are ahead in some instances.” . . .

Roadshow spreads word on lifting returns – Tim Cronshaw:

Sheep farming can once again be a mainstay of the New Zealand economy, says a top merino leader.

New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) chief executive John Brakenridge said sheep farming had anchored much of the New Zealand economy throughout the 1900s and had been overtaken by the dairy industry as it adapted to capture market opportunities.

For sheep farming to return to its previous position farmers had to be far more involved with global markets and accept scientific developments such as genomics research so that sheep could be adapted to meet market opportunities, he said. . .

Monitor puts squeeze on farm fuel thieves – Tim Cronshaw:

Stealing fuel from farm tanks will be made much harder for thieves with a smart new device.

The release of the remotely transmitted levno technology coincides with reports from the Federated Farmers of increased thefts of fuel, equipment and livestock. In the last few weeks diesel has been drained from diggers in Nelson and from fuel tanks in Upper Takaka and Motueka.

The theft of diesel and petrol is likely to be a bigger problem than realised with a farming enterprise estimating as much as 20 per cent of their fuel goes missing. . .

Myanmar President Welcomed by Fonterra:

Today, on his first visit to New Zealand, Myanmar President Thein Sein met with the Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Chairman John Wilson and CEO Theo Spierings at their headquarters in Auckland.

Fonterra, is opening an office later this year in Myanmar, and the meeting aimed to further strengthen the company’s relationship with Myanmar where it has been supplying high quality dairy nutrition for almost 20 years.

Chairman John Wilson said they were pleased to welcome President Sien to New Zealand and provide him with a deeper understanding of their business, and the New Zealand dairy industry. . .

Renowned NZ grape grower Willie Crosse strikes Gold again:

New Zealand Wine Society has been privileged to make wines from Willie Crosse’s pristine fruit since the 2001 vintage when his Riesling won a Gold medal. Eleven vintages on, the magic is stronger than ever.

At the 2013 Easter Show Wine Awards Willie and New Zealand Wine Society did it again, collecting another Gold medal for the Crosse Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2012.

Willie is thrilled and says, ‘Jo Gear [the winemaker] is shaping quite a record with our riesling. 2012 was a good year on the vineyard, thanks to a very cool summer and a long dry finish through autumn which brought out the flavours and kept the grapes clean. It was a challenging start, but perfect in the end.’ . . .


NZ too hot, dry, UK too cold, wet

March 16, 2013

New Zealand farmers have all fingers and toes crossed that forecast rain will arrive in sufficient quantity to relieve the drought.

Their British counterparts have the opposite problem:

Feeding animals has become a crippling expense for some farmers after a wet, cold winter. Some are now relying on food vouchers in order to keep going.

The number of working farmers asking for emergency financial assistance has almost tripled since last year, a farming charity says.

The second wettest summer on record was followed by a harsh winter, flooded grazing land and ruined crops, all resulting in soaring feed prices many farmers struggle to pay.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) charity supports members of the farming community when they face hardship.

Farmer Kit Dean normally keeps around 80 cattle grazing in the fields of his North Yorkshire farm until mid-October. They have been inside since early June when his fields flooded.

“Some days you do wonder if you can carry on,” he says.

“There are times when I wonder if I’ve failed.” . . .

The rest of the story makes very sad reading.

Whether it’s too hot and dry or too cold and wet, farming is a tough business but the weather isn’t the only problem in the UK.

. . . Some economists, like former government farming advisor Sean Rickard, think that it is not just the weather that is having an adverse effect on British farming.

“We have a romantic view,” he says.

“The Cap [EU’s Common Agricultural Policy] maintains farmers in business no matter how inefficient they are and keeps the size of farms smaller than they should be.

“Many farmers are already hanging on by their fingertips and don’t have the spare income to put aside for a rainy day or to reinvest in the business. The larger the farm, the more efficient the farm, the lower the cost of production.” . . .

Hard as it is for farmers facing drought here, at least they don’t have the distortions of subsidies and quotas to worry about.


About that manufacturing crisis

March 16, 2013

The Opposition are continuing to waste their time and our money generating publicity manufacturing a manufacturing crisis.

There is no doubt some businesses are failing and jobs are being lost.

But New Zealand manufacturing expanded for a third month to reach the highest level in a year in February, driven by an accelerating pace of production and new orders.

BNZ-Business New Zealand Performance of Manufacturing Index rose 1.1 points to 56.3, the highest since February 2012. All five of the seasonally adjusted diffusion indexes expanded last month.

Food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing was the fastest growing sector, with a reading of 67.8, which bank of New Zealand economist Craig Ebert said may reflect increased meat processing in the face of drought. That would be offset, though, by reduced milk processing, he said. Production sped to 61.4 from 57.7 in January.

“We have to take today’s PMI as encouraging,” Ebert said. “It outlines that production is picking up and will keep doing so if new orders are any guide.”

He noted that the performance of manufacturing was still patchy, with metal product manufacturing in contraction with a reading of 46.4.

New orders were at 58.2 on the scale where 50 separates expansion from contraction, the strongest since February last year. Employment was on 50.1, the first time that measure hasn’t contracted since May 2012. Finished stocks on 51.8 and deliveries on 53.9 both slipped from the previous month.

Last month the loss of 192 jobs at Summit Wool Spinners rocked Oamaru. But last week, the new owners, Canterbury Wool Spinners/Godfrey Hirst, rehired 60 staff t the plant.

Expansion and contraction are a normal part of business.

Some industries are going backwards but others are stable or expanding and manufacturing as a whole is not in crisis.


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