Word of the day

May 27, 2013

Ablegate – to banish; send away, abroad or to a distance; a papal envoy who has important duties abroad.


Fonterra’s supply offer popular

May 27, 2013

Fonterra’s latest supply offer to shareholders has been very popular with farmers.

Fonterra Co-operative Group today confirmed that farmer shareholders offered to sell 75,223,742 economic rights of Wet Shares in this month’s Supply Offer, amounting to a total value of $595,772,036.64.

The high level of demand means the Offer will be scaled.  Fonterra will buy 79.7284 per cent of the economic rights each farmer shareholder offered to sell.

Chairman John Wilson said about 20 per cent of Fonterra’s farmers took advantage of the opportunity to release some of the value of their shareholding, providing more flexibility for their businesses.

“A significant number of farmer shareholders have thought through the potential benefits of using the additional flexibility provided by the changes made to our capital structure last year.

“Some have indicated they will use the Offer proceeds to fund further growth of their farming businesses, while others are saying they will relieve some of the cash flow pressure after this year’s drought,” said Mr Wilson.

The Supply Offer will not increase the current size of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund.  Fonterra is purchasing the Units that arise as a result of this Supply Offer and will then redeem them for Fonterra Shares, which means that the Offer will not affect the total number of Units on issue.

Shareholders Council chair Ian Brown says the take-up shows farmers are beginning to take advantage of the flexibility Trading Among Farmers (TAF) offers them.

“The first Supply Offer saw Farmers exercise some understandable caution but with growing confidence in the new system Farmers are now ready to use TAF as it was intended.

“The solid level of demand from Shareholders to release some of the economic value of their shares shows they are using TAF to their benefit.

“Farmers are taking advantage of the greater flexibility it offers them in making decisions that impact the day-to-day running of their business.

“This also strengthens our Co-operative as Fonterra is now able to make better use of our capital rather than, as the recent drought would have compelled it to, distribute it as Farmers redeemed their shares.”

TAF was started to offer protection for the company from redemption risk – too many farmers selling shares when the price was high.

The new system was designed to give farmers more flexibility and the company more security and it seems to be working as intended.


Rural round-up

May 27, 2013

Go farming, young Kiwis – Bruce Wills:

What is your perception of a farm worker? The response from those who do not know much about farming is possibly that they are low-skilled, low-waged and over-worked.

Federated Farmers, with Rabobank, have produced an annual remuneration survey for a number of years with the most recent released last month. The positive thing about social media is that it is easy to catch out those ‘swinging the lead’. The downside is that it anyone with a keyboard can take aim and fire a salvo.

The response to our 2013 survey, aside from one colourful Facebook post, has been that it is on the money, if you excuse a poorly chosen pun.

We are coming out of the shadows on farm worker remuneration to counter the “response” we sometimes get. It also comes after seeing hundreds of Aucklanders queuing for seven jobs at a factory to earn just over $15 an hour. . .

Integration lifts Maori farming:

A STRATEGY shift a few years ago to integrate the dairy and sheep and beef units with a flexible stocking policy provided a step change in performance for large-scale Maori-owned farm business, Te Uranga B2.

Now, its sheep and beef unit is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Maori farming.

“The farming philosophy is around maximising pasture production, optimising feed conversion and then maximising productivity,” says Te Uranga B2 chairman Traci Houpapa. . .

Tech summit for primary industries:

For the first time in New Zealand, a mobile communications event is being run specifically for primary industries.

MobileTECH Summit 2013 runs in Wellington on August 7-8. A two-day programme bringing together this country’s leading communications specialists, technology providers and those working in the primary industries, has just been released. Details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletechevents.com. . .

Why export when you can milk it abroad? –  Simon Day:

Hundreds of plump cows line their concrete stalls like rows of dominoes at Fonterra’s Yutian 2 farm, 120 kilometres east of Beijing.

The cows push their heads through the steel bars of their confinements to eat imported alfalfa feed off the floor. Fans line the roof of the long barns, cooling the herd on a hot China day.

There is no grass in sight.

These are Kiwi cows, shipped to China or bred locally from New Zealand genetics. But this looks nothing like New Zealand farming. . .

Too late to avoid ‘dirty dairying’ taint – Aaron Leaman:

The directors of a Mangakino farming company fined $30,000 for breaches of the Resource Management Act have expressed their “shame” at being labelled dirty dairy farmers.

Fernaig Farms Ltd, owner of a 210-hectare block in McDonald Rd, Mangakino, was this week fined $30,037 and ordered to pay $132 costs after pleading guilty to two charges of unlawfully discharging animal effluent to land.

The prosecution, brought by Waikato Regional Council, related to offending on February 23 last year in which effluent was discharged from a holding pond and from an irrigator.

Council staff visited the property after an aerial flyover of dairy farms in the region. . .

Exploring alternatives to quad bikes –  James Houghton:

There has been a huge amount of discussion around quad bikes again, after LandCorp announced they are not using them on their new North Island farms and will be moving away from them on all other operations. Certainly, having 20 accidents involving their staff and quad bikes since December is a sobering statistic. Perhaps for large corporate farmers, with huge numbers of staff to think about, looking at other options is a sensible solution.

Just because LandCorp does something it doesn’t mean all farmers have to follow suit, but it is good to follow the discussion and know what the options are. Many farmers seem to be moving towards the “side by side” or farm utility vehicle options for getting about on their farms because they allow for passengers, carrying loads and do not require a helmet.

Within this category there are again many options. It is about looking at the needs you have on your farm, selecting the best tool for the job and making sure everyone using them is trained to operate that tool safely. . .


While they were marching

May 27, 2013

While a few hundred people were marching against Monsanto and genetically modified foods, others were appreciating a more scientific approach to the issue:

Food Standards Australia New Zealand released a report responding to concerns raised about the potential for double-stranded RNA molecules produced in new genetically modified crops to pose a risk to human health.

• The weight of scientific evidence published to date does not support the view that small double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) in foods are likely to have adverse consequences for humans.

• There is no scientific basis for suggesting that small dsRNAs present in some GM foods have different properties or pose a greater risk than those already naturally abundant in conventional foods.

• The current case-by-case approach to GM food safety assessment is sufficiently broad and flexible to addresses the safety of GM foods developed using gene silencing techniques.

That one type of GM food is safe doesn’t mean it all is.

But the protesters aren’t opposed to something specific that has been proven to be unsafe, they’re opposed to GM in general and that opposition  is based on emotion and politics, not science.


A tale of two polls

May 27, 2013

TV3 says LabourGreen are closing the gap on National:

National remains on top, with 47.3 percent – down 2.3 percent. Labour goes up to 33.1 percent; that’s up 2.9 percent. The Greens are up a tad, at 12 percent.

New Zealand First drop to 2.2 percent, beneath the 5 percent threshold required for leader Winston Peters to get back. . .

Patrick Gower says that’s proof the LabourGreen power play appeals to voters.
But TVNZ says National could rule alone:

National has jumped six points and is sitting pretty on 49 percent.

Labour has dropped three points, now at 33 percent.

The Greens have lost a big chunk of support, now in single digits on nine percent, while New Zealand First picked up a point to be on four percent. . .

Both polls are close enough to each other and both show that National is still fairly close to the support it got in the 2011 election which is an amazing feat given the natural and financial challenges the government has had to tackle.

But polls aren’t elections and there’s still nearly a year and a half until the next one.


Summit

May 27, 2013

“Is it true you can really only appreciate the view from the summit if you’ve been in the valley?” he said.

“I suppose if the amazing is all you know it becomes normal and you take it for granted, ” she said. “But I must admit when it’s felt like I’m stuck in the valley, I’ve been pretty sure the view would be good enough if I could get to the summit by helicopter rather than having to climb up step by step myself.”


May 27 in history

May 27, 2013

893  Simeon I of Bulgaria crowned emperor of the first Bulgarian empire.

927 Battle of the Bosnian Highlands: Croatian army, led by King Tomislav, defeated the Bulgarian Army.

927  Simeon the Great, Tsar of Bulgaria, died.

1120  Richard III of Capua was anointed as prince two weeks before his untimely death.

1153 Malcolm IV became King of Scotland.

1328  Philip VI was crowned King of France.

1626 William II, Prince of Orange was born(d. 1650).

1703 Tsar Peter the Great founded the city of Saint Petersburg.

1798 The Battle of Oulart Hill took place in Wexford.

1812  Bolivian War of Independence: the Battle of La Coronilla, in which the women from Cochabamba fought against the Spanish army.

1813  War of 1812: In Canada, American forces captured Fort George.

1837 Wild Bill Hickok, American gunfighter, was born  (d. 1876).

1849  The Great Hall of Euston station in London was opened.

1860  Giuseppe Garibaldi began his attack on Palermo, Sicily, as part of the Italian Unification.

1863  American Civil War: First Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson.

1878 Isadora Duncan, American dancer ws born (d. 1927).

1883 Alexander III was crowned Tsar of Russia.

1895  Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for sodomy.

1896 The F4-strength St. Louis-East St. Louis Tornado killed at least 255 people and causing $2.9 billion in damage.

1905 Russo-Japanese War: The Battle of Tsushima began.

1907  Bubonic plague broke out in San Francisco, California.

1908  Maulana Hakeem Noor-ud-Din was elected the first Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

1911  Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th Vice President of the United States,  was born (d. 1978).

1912  John Cheever, American author, was born (d. 1982).

1915 Herman Wouk, American writer, was born.

1919  The NC-4 aircraft arrived in Lisbon after completing the first transatlantic flight.

1922  Sir Christopher Lee, English actor, was born.

1923 Henry Kissinger, 56th United States Secretary of State, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1927  Ford ceased manufacture of the Ford Model T and began to retool plants to make the Ford Model A.

1930  The 1,046 feet (319 m) Chrysler Building in New York City, the tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public.

1933 New Deal: The U.S. Federal Securities Act is signed into law requiring the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission.

1933 – The Walt Disney Company released the cartoon The Three Little Pigs, with its hit song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

1933 – The Century of Progress World’s Fair opened in Chicago.

1935  New Deal: The Supreme Court of the United States declared the National Industrial Recovery Act to be unconstitutional in A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, (295 U.S. 495).

1937  The Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.

1940  World War II: In the Le Paradis massacre, 99 soldiers from a Royal Norfolk Regiment unit were shot after surrendering to German troops.

1941 World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed an “unlimited national emergency”.

1941 – World War II: The German battleship Bismarck was sunk in the North Atlantic killing almost 2,100 men.

1942  World War II: In Operation Anthropoid, Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in Prague.

1943 Cilla Black, English singer and presenter, was born.

1954 Pauline Hanson, Australian politician, was born.

1957 Toronto’s CHUM-AM, (1050 kHz) became  Canada’s first radio station to broadcast only top 40 Rock n’ Roll music format.

1958 Neil Finn, New Zealand singer and songwriter (Split Enz, Crowded House), was born.

1958  The F-4 Phantom II made its first flight.

1960  In Turkey, a military coup removed President Celal Bayar and the rest of the democratic government from office.

1962 The Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire started.

1965 Vietnam War: American warships began the first bombardment of National Liberation Front targets within South Vietnam.

1967  Australians voted in favour of a constitutional referendum granting the Australian government the power to make laws to benefit Indigenous Australians and to count them in the national census.

1967  The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy was launched  Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline.

1968  The meeting of the Union Nationale des Étudiants de France (National Union of the Students of France) took place. 30,000 to 50,000 people gathered in the Stade Sebastien Charlety.

1971 The Dahlerau train disaster, the worst railway accident in West Germany, killed46 people and injured 25.

1975 Jamie Oliver, English chef and television personality, was born.

1975  The Dibble’s Bridge coach crash near Grassington, North Yorkshire killed  32 – the highest ever death toll in a road accident in the United Kingdom.

1980 The Gwangju Massacre: Airborne and army troops of South Korea retook the city of Gwangju from civil militias, killing at least 207.

1987 Artist Colin McCahon died.

Death of Colin McCahon

1995 Actor Christopher Reeve was paralysed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition.

1996 First Chechnya War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin met Chechnyan rebels for the first time and negotiated a cease-fire.

1997  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Paula Jones could pursue her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton while he was in office.

1999  The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted Slobodan Milošević and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.

2005 Australian Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Kerobokan Prison for drug smuggling by a court in Indonesia.

2006 The May 2006 Java earthquake devastated  Bantul and the city of Yogyakarta killing more than  6,600 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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