Word of the day

May 8, 2013

Bruit – spread a report or rumour widely; to noise abroad; a rumour; clamour, din. loud outcry; an abnormal sound heard in auscultation.


Rural round-up

May 8, 2013

Reserve Bank watching farming sector after drought adds more stress –  Paul McBeth:

The Reserve Bank is “carefully monitoring” an already highly indebted agriculture sector after the recent drought in the North Island is likely to more strain on already stretched balance sheets.

The central bank has previously flagged concerns about the high level of indebtedness among farmers and its dairy concentration, and warns the recent drought could “expose financial vulnerabilities” across the sector, according to its six-monthly financial stability report.

“Parts of the agriculture sector in particular remain quite leveraged, and progress in reducing debt loads in recent years has been fairly limited,” the bank said. “For these reasons, the Reserve Bank will be carefully monitoring developments in these markets for signs that systemic risks are increasing.” . . .

$15 Million Investment In Lactoferrin Production For Infant Formula:

Synlait Milk is investing $15 million to upgrade its Special Milks Drier at Dunsandel as it looks to further tap into the $15 billion a year demand for infant formula in China.

The investment will enable Synlait Milk to become one of only two manufacturers in the world to produce lactoferrin as a spray dried powder, and will also allow the Company to manufacture dairy ingredients to a pharmaceutical standard.

Lactoferrin is a bioactive protein extracted from milk that provides significant antibacterial protection and other health benefits for people of all ages. It is in demand globally for health foods including infant formula and adult nutritional powders. With the new capability, Synlait Milk expects production to reach 18 metric tonnes within four years of commissioning in late 2013 to early 2014. . .

Benje Patterson finds that pasture-raised Kiwi cows are highly productive specimens living in a sweet spot:

When we talk about the dairy industry in New Zealand, we tend to focus on how farmers are going, however, we rarely stop to think about the plight of the cows they milk.

Over the past decade, these dairy cows have become increasingly indebted and the number of other cows they are forced to share paddocks with has also increased.

This article examines how dairy cows have responded to these conditions, and if their underlying financial positions compensate them for all of their hard work. . .

Telford open day:

About 70 southern dairy farmers will hear the first year results of an industry research project at the Telford Farm Training Institute open day on Wednesday.

Dairy NZ senior scientist Dr Dawn Dalley said three different approaches to farming cows over winter are being trialled to help farmers maximise their performance and minimise their environmental impacts.

She said one approach uses a largely traditional method while the second introduces several innovative measures, including calving the herd two weeks later so the cows return to more pasture cover, reducing the need for supplementary feed. . .

Meat Industry Excellence Gisborne & Te Kuiti meetings:

Following the enormous success of its Feilding meeting, Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) is holding additional meetings in Te Kuiti and Gisborne next week.

“As both Gisborne and Te Kuiti are major sheep producing areas, it is important that they be given the opportunity to be part of the meat industry’s change process,” says John McCarthy, MIE Executive Member.

“The MIE initiative is based around the premise that the industry model is broken.

“The ‘Boom and Bust’ model is not serving any of its participants well and needs serious attention if sheep and sheep farmers are to have a future. . .

Meat farm environmental impact steady – research:

New research suggests the environmental impact of sheep and beef farming in New Zealand has remained steady over the past 20 years despite a big increase in productivity.

AgResearch scientist Dr Alec MacKay has compared sheep and beef farm inputs – livestock and fertiliser – with the outputs of meat, greenhouse gases and nutrients.

Dr MacKay said he found huge eco-efficiency gains. . .

Vintage 2013 Keeps Marlborough Winemakers on Toes:

• Cooler Nights Ensure Aromatic Expression
• Pinot Noir Described as “Sensational”

Marlborough winemakers were kept on their toes, during what has been described as one of the most “intense” vintages ever experienced in the region. However no one is complaining about the quality of the fruit harvested in 2013.

After last year’s lower than average yields, Marlborough benefited from more ideal flowering conditions in December. While there has been some variability throughout the region, crop levels are described as being nearer to average this year – which will help to overcome the shortage of wine experienced in 2012.

The drought that impacted on most of the country, did not affect Marlborough. Instead timely rain events allowed the vines to stay healthy, without the fruit suffering disease pressure. . .


Speech for bored room

May 8, 2013

Quote of the day:

Shearer’s smoko room reference about as dated as his economic ideas. A speech for the bored-room & a recipe for lower incomes. Steven Joyce.

He was referring to a speech in which David Shearer panned the Budget which hasn’t been delivered yet as one for the board room rather than the smoko room.

Yet another reminder that labour and its leader don’t understand business and the link between successful businesses and wages,  job stability and creation.


Drought takes toll on milk production

May 8, 2013

The drought has taken its toll on milk production with Fonterra’s milk collection was down .5% in the first 11 months of the season and down 34.4% for April.

Milk collection across New Zealand is down 0.5 percent for the eleven months to 30 April 2013 compared to the same period last year, reaching 1,414 million kgMS collected.
The volume of milksolids collected is down season to date, due to lower monthly collections for February, March and April compared to the same period last season. Consistent rainfall across the country in April has helped to improve on farm conditions, but this has been too late to stop milk production falling below last season’s record levels as many suppliers have already stopped producing for the season. Milk collected across New Zealand for April was down 34.4%  on last season reflecting the impact of the recent dry conditions compared to the strong end to the 2011/12 season.

Our production is better than budgeted. We had a slow start to the season with a long, cold spring and early summer but then it warmed up and with irrigation compensating for lack of rain from early January we had good conditions for grass growth and milk production.

We’re also benefiting from the decision to get smaller and use sharemilkers.

It’s better for stock and staff as neither have to work as hard.

That’s paid off with better animal health, better production and the sharemilkers get a greater reward from the better returns.


There’s charity and there’s lobbying

May 8, 2013

Family First is unhappy it has lost its charitable status which means donations to it won’t be tax deductible.

The Charities Registration Board has ruled that Family First’s main purpose is political, rather than charitable, and that it will lose its charitable status unless it appeals to the High Court by May 27.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said the organisation was being penalised for its leading role in the campaign against legalising gay marriage, which was passed by Parliament on April 17. . . .

I don’t think that’s the case. Greenpeace lost its charitable status for the same reason – its primary focus is political.

But I do think there is a question over why some groups qualify and some don’t:

Deemed to be charitable
Amnesty International
Child Poverty Action Group
National Council of Women
Society for Promotion of Community Standards

Deemed to be political
Family First
NZ Council for Civil Liberties
Save Our Arts Centre Society (Christchurch)
Sensible Sentencing Trust

There’s little difference in what the public see of the Child Poverty Action Group and Family First.

Both appear to put most if not all of their efforts into lobbying and advocacy which is by its nature is political.

Political parties can’t get charitable status and nor should political lobby groups.

They will still be free to lobby on behalf of their supporters but they’ll be doing it without support from the public purse by way of tax deductions on donations.


No shame, no sense

May 8, 2013

Citizens’ Initiated Referenda were supposed to give members of the public an opportunity to influence policy.

The petition seeking a referendum on the partial sale of a few state assets has been taken over by LabourGreen politicians.

Within minutes of the announcement by Clerk of the House Mary Harris that the petition had too few valid signatures Labour’s SOE spokesman Clayton Cosgrove  issued a media release saying Labour will redouble its efforts to help get the remaining signatures needed to ensure a referendum on asset sales goes ahead.

And the Green Party co-leader Russel Norman sent an email saying:

We have just this afternoon heard that we need 16,000 more valid signatures to force a referendum to stop further asset sales.

I am contacting you straight away to ask for your help to protect our assets for all New Zealanders.

We are so close. Over 292,000 New Zealanders have had their signature counted and confirmed. We now have two months to get the last signatures, and that’s where we need your help. . . .

. . . These signatures need to be posted back urgently. Please collect what you can and return them to me:

Russel Norman MP
Freepost
Parliament Buildings
Wellington.

They have already wasted tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars, on promoting the petition and soliciting signatures but failed to meet the target needed.

They have abused the CIR process by making this a politicians’ initiated petition.

In spite of the tens of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars spent on getting signatures they’ve mucked it up. They haven’t got enough valid ones.

Even if they got enough to force a referendum it would make absolutely no difference to the policy.

Continuing to seek signatures is an expensive exercise in futility.

In every argument there comes a time to accept you’ve lost. LabourGreen passed that point a long time ago.

They have shown no shame about wasting public money and are showing no sense in failing to accept the futility of continuing to flog this very dead horse.


If they can’t get the numbers . . .

May 8, 2013

Keeping Stock is running a caption competition for a photo of David Shearer and Russel Norman looking bemused.

My contribution: “If we can’t get the numbers to run a referendum, how are we going to get the numbers to run the country?”


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