At last

May 4, 2013

It hasn’t been an easy season for Highlanders’ fans but at last they’ve won a game:

Highlanders 25 – Sharks 22.

 


Word of the day

May 4, 2013

Fuliginous – pertaining to or resembling soot; sooty; obscure; murky; having a dark or dusky colour; coloured by, or as if by, soot.


Rural round-up

May 4, 2013

How to drought-proof NZ as drought gets worse – Waiology:

For the most part, droughts are natural events. Rainfall and river flows wax and wane, and there will be times when there just isn’t enough water to fully meet our needs, whether to grow crops or to quench a city’s thirst.

And when it comes down to it, that’s really the best definition of a drought: when water supply is insufficient to meet demand. If no rain falls on the land, and there is no-one there to go thirsty, is it a problem? But there is a growing part of drought that isn’t natural. Increases in water use, beyond the capacity of the environment to supply the water, have led to what are called “demand-driven droughts”. . .

Sheep and Beef Sector Increases Eco-efficiency:

New research shows the New Zealand sheep and beef sector has a much lighter environmental footprint than in the past.
 
Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Dr Scott Champion says a recent paper by Dr Alec McKay, published in the Proceedings of the New Zealand Grasslands Association, used the Overseer model to look at the changes in the relationship between inputs (eg, livestock numbers, nutrients) and outputs (eg, meat and fibre, greenhouse gas emissions, nitrate).
 
The research was conducted using the Ministry for Primary Industries sheep and beef farm monitoring models that cover hard hill country (Gisborne and Central North Island) and easy hill finishing (Manawatu) over the last 20 years. . .

Feilding Meat Industry Meeting Generates More Meetings:

So successful was the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) meeting in Feilding last Friday, 26 April, where 700 farmers met  to establish a mandate for meat industry change, that further meetings are to be held in Gisborne and Te Kuiti..
 
Local organising Chairman and newly elected MIE executive member, John McCarthy, said that there was great support at the Fielding meeting from all over the lower North Island; “we got twice as many farmers to the meeting than we had originally planned for,” he added.
 
As a consequence, further meetings are being planned for Gisborne on 15 May and Te Kuiti on 17 May.  Details of these will be released next week. . .

Career Progression Support For Keen Dairy Farmers:

Registrations of interest have opened for DairyNZ’s popular Progression Groups taking place nationwide in 2013.

Since their launch, specialist discussion groups Biz Start and Biz Grow, have attracted more than 500 dairy farm managers, sharemilkers and owners, who are keen to build their skills and progress their career in the dairy industry.

Attendees at one of the first Biz Grow groups, Russell and Charlotte Heald (lower order sharemilkers from Central Hawke’s Bay) said the group was particularly good for meeting others who also want to get ahead and achieve more. . .

Skellerup cuts annual earnings forecast as drought hits agri business:

Skellerup, the industrial rubber goods maker, has cut its annual earnings guidance for a second time after the drought across the North Island sapped demand at its agri business as farmers put off buying until next season.

The Auckland-based company expects net profit of $17 million in the year ended June 30, down from trimmed down guidance of $20 million it gave in February, from a previous forecast range of between $22 million and $24 million. The manufacturer blamed the drought for weaker local demand, and also signalled its North American and European sales were tracking below forecasts. . .

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5/10

May 4, 2013

5/10 in Stuff’s Biz Quiz.


Saturday’s smiles

May 4, 2013

A keen duck shooter was on the look out for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could walk on water to retrieve a duck. Delighted by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.

He decided not to tell the news to a friend of his, a pessimist by nature, but invited him to hunt with him and his new dog.

As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by. They fired, and a duck fell. The dog responded and jumped into the water.

The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet. The friend saw everything but did not say a single word.

On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, “Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?”

“I sure did,” responded his friend. “He can’t swim.”


Aust-NZ strengthen FMD defence

May 4, 2013

A new action plan between Australia and New Zealand will strengthen defences against Foot and Mouth Disease.

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, have announced the two countries will work more closely together focusing combined defences against the threat of FMD.

“FMD poses one of the single greatest threats to livestock industries and rural communities in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve estimated that a large outbreak would cost Australia $AUD 16 billion to control,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia has successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years.

“Our countries have committed to work together to develop a trans-Tasman FMD Action Plan to improve preparedness.

“Collaborative government action will help ensure we are both adequately prepared for this disease.”

Minister Guy said both countries were extremely aware of the importance of preparing for the threat, given the importance of the agricultural sector to both economies.
“This work will build on the strong relationship we already have through years of working together on animal health and biosecurity issues,” Minister Guy said.

“It reflects an on-going commitment to improving our knowledge and preparedness.”

Key activities under the joint plan include:

• sharing intelligence on emerging animal health risks facing our region

• developing and improving training activities and FMD detection capabilities, including training in exotic animal disease recognition and participating in joint exercises

• sharing and comparing economic and disease models of FMD to inform management strategies

• collaborating on policy development, approaches and operational plans for vaccination and carcass disposal

• participating in simulation exercises to explore how we could support response efforts in the event of an incursion.

“While both countries will work towards a coordinated Action Plan, the best strategy is to not let FMD ever get into either country in the first place,” Minister Guy said.

“Prevention remains the first priority for both countries through our world class biosecurity systems. New Zealand is fortunate to have never had an outbreak but we must always be prepared.”

Minister Ludwig agreed saying early detection was essential to reduce the potential impact of this disease.

“FMD has been able to establish and spread in a wide range of environmental and production systems around the world so vigilance and preparedness are essential safeguards to protecting Australia and New Zealand’s valuable primary industries, Minister Ludwig said.”

Australia and New Zealand have the strictest border controls I’ve ever struck.

The importance of agriculture and horticulture to both our economies provide a very good reason for that.

As island nations it’s easier for us to keep disease out than it is for countries which border others but there is absolutely no room for complacency.

Combining forces against FMD will strengthen defences in both countries.


Opening morning

May 4, 2013

Irrigation ponds attract ducks and ducks attract shooters.

Neither my farmer nor I are hunters but our staff and hangers-on take advantage of our ponds.

Preparation starts some weeks in advance of opening day with the building, or resurrecting of maimais.

On opening morning the hunters get up early, pack up provisions and sneak into the maimais before dawn to await the ducks.

This year the long, hot summer has left the ponds with little water. That might not make it easier to shoot the birds but it will make it easier to retrieve them.

The number shot, and missed, will be recounted in the pub later in the day although the tally isn’t particularly important.

It’s my observation that while duck shooting is the excuse for the exercise,  it’s not necessarily the point of it.

:) kindest, Boris


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