Rural round-up


Dairy company looks to process all year round:

Westland Milk Products says its move into higher value nutritional products is paying off with increased orders.

The company makes a range of protein products, buttermilk powder and anhydrous milk fat (AMF).

The dairy co-operative commissioned a new infant formula plant at its Hokitika base last year which will continue processing through June and July to meet the orders it is getting.

The company is also encouraging some of its farmers to milk all year round to make better use of its processing facilities. . .

Central Plains water users to raise $56m

Shareholders of Central Plains Water, set up to draw water for irrigation from Canterbury’s Rakaia and Waimakiriri rivers, have indicated their commitment to the equity component of a looming $140 million capital raising.

The equity component has not yet been finalised but is likely to be 30 percent to 40 percent of the total, chief executive Derek Crombie says. That means shareholders would be tapped for up to $56 million. The company expects to lodge a prospectus by the end of June.

“We’ve approached all the shareholders and have indicative commitments at the 95 percent level,” Mr Crombie told BusinessDesk. The final funding split will depend on feedback from banks and other financiers “but indications from banks are that it’s do-able”. . .

Salmonella hits southern farmers – Annette Scott:

An outbreak of salmonella has left hundreds of sheep dead and many Southland farmers devastated.

“This has been very debilitating for the farmers whose farms have been hit. It is a frustrating thing to get caught in, demoralising and gutting for farmers already struggling with low returns,” Gore sheep and beef farmer Andrew Morrison said.

Morrison’s farm has not been affected but two neighbouring properties have.

“And that leaves farmers asking the question, what have I done wrong? They have done nothing wrong. That is the nature of farming – it can be hellish,” Morrison said. . .

Joe Ludwig launches national food plan to grow industry – Samantha Hawley:

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has unveiled a new plan designed to grow the local food industry and put Australia on the world food map.

First promised in the 2010 election campaign, the National Food Plan includes a multi-million-dollar research fund to help Australian producers capitalise on the so-called Asian “dining boom”.

There is also funding to better brand Australian food exports.

“It’s about helping domestic opportunities find connections in Asia,” Mr Ludwig said. . .

Finding Francoise – Moon Over Martinborough:

“Jared, I have bad news for you,” CJ said.  “Francoise is missing.”

I stared at CJ in disbelief. I had just come back to the property after a week away for work. “Francoise? Missing? What do you mean?”

CJ shook his head. “I’ve looked everywhere. I haven’t seen her in two days.”

“That’s impossible. She can’t just be gone. I mean, chickens don’t just disappear without a trace.” . .



Only 6/10 in the Herald’s politics quiz.

Saturday’s smiles


Why we should be careful what we ask for:

A man walked into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asked them for their orders. The man said, “A hamburger, fries and a coke, thanks” and turned to the ostrich, “What’s yours?” “I’ll have the same,” said the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returned with the order. “That will Be $9.40 please.” The man reached into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich came again and the man  says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke, please.”

The ostrich said, “I’ll have the same, please.”

Again the man reached into his pocket and paid with exact change.

This became routine until the two entered again. “The usual?” asked the waitress. “No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad, thanks” said the man.

“Same,” said the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and said “That will be $32.62.” Once again the man pulled the exact change out of his pocket and placed it on the table.

The waitress was amazed and said, “Excuse me, Sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?”

“Well,” said the man, “several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!” said the waitress. “Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a litre of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” said the man.

The waitress asked, “What’s with the ostrich?”

The man sighed, pauses and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with a big ass and long legs, who agrees with everything I say..”

A dam good idea


Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says Ruatianwha is a dam good idea:

To export primary produce, from trees to cheese, we need water and that is the simple truth underpinning the Ruataniwha Dam project in the Hawke’s Bay along with others like it.  Some have raised concerns Ruataniwha will not be financially viable, environmentally sustainable and that it will suffer from lack of demand.  To answer these criticisms, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has consistently put publicly accessible information onto its website.

The large-scale storage of water isn’t a new concept because towns and cities do that with ‘town water’.  Given we have plentiful, if sometimes uneven rainfall, Federated Farmers strongly supports water storage for farming.  We also support Ruataniwha in principle but our final backing awaits the final business case; then and only then will we know if it is financially viable.  To his credit, that is the same position held by Labour’s Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Damien O’Connor.

The last big water storage scheme to open for farming was South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam. 

Opuha opened in 1998 but work towards it started back in the 1980’s.  It came about because of the same issues we have here; a lack of reliable water over summer.  Today, Opuha irrigates farmland, supplies town water and generates electricity.  It also provides permanent flow to the formerly ‘summer-dry’ Oipihi River offering recreational, tourism and environmental opportunities.  In drought proofing South Canterbury, Opuha has vindicated every promise made about itYet Opuha only came about due to the perseverance of a small band of believers spanning two decades. 

If everything stacks up with Ruataniwha, financially and environmentally, having Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s involvement advances its timeline.  From a pure bottom line perspective, the latest report I read says farm revenues could rise by $160 million each year including $25 million for householdsYou see Ruataniwha could generate 630 brand new jobs and 500 of those will be on vineyards and orchards.  Many more downstream jobs will also be created in processing, logistics and services; 530 much-needed jobs in fact. 

Ruataniwha potentially frees central Hawke’s Bay from the annual rainfall lottery and enables new types of land use and yes, environmental innovation too.  All things the Opuha Dam has proven.  Ruataniwha will have the capacity irrigate 25,000 hectares while generating 6.5 megawatts of electricity.  Enough to supply over 3,000 households with clean renewable energy.  Where exactly are the downsides? 

Much of the criticism revolves around low take-up due to the cost and that dairying will be the only land use able to afford it.  A council report from November 2010 put the on-farm investment at $7,394 – $9,428 per hectare.  In the latest September 2012 report, the on-farm water distribution cost is between 20c and 30c per cubic metre.  But can farmers like me not afford to irrigate?  Current water takes are prone to summer irrigation bans highlighting the absolute need for reliable water when those bans affect 200 consent holders. 

Macfarlane Rural Business predicts irrigation will be taken up by dairy (37 percent), arable farming (32 percent) and sheep and beef (13 percent).  Other land uses, like horticulture, will likely fill the balance.  Reliable water may see distinct ‘farm types’ blur along with better farming practices to optimise income per hectare.  Doing this boosts the community’s payback in terms of jobs, incomes and the environment.  Irrigation keeps pastures green and green pasture means that soils and valuable nutrients stay on-farm and out of water.

Budget 2013 estimates this year’s drought will shave 0.7 percent off the nation’s economy; upwards of $2 billion.  Having run a calculation on my sheep and beef farm, using the costs above, it seemingly stacks up. Farmers like me would likely irrigate a portion of a farm creating a ‘pasture factory’ if you like.  This means we can keep stock on-farm rather than destocking in dry summers.  This means I can send stock at the optimum time rather than being forced into it by a lack of feed or water. 

Drought is a fact of life in the Hawke’s Bay; it has happened before and it will happen again.  Ruataniwha potentially means we can farm through it and doing that benefits all.

We built a dam on our farm to store underground water about 20 years ago. We pump into it over winter or when it was wet enough not to need irrigation and irrigate from it when it’s dry.

The small dam worked so well we built a bigger one a few years later. That enables us to produce more grass, convert to dairying, employ more staff, use more goods and services, pay more tax, host duck shooters,  and – when the stars are aligned – make more money.

A few other farmers in the district followed suit but it took the North Otago Irrigation Company’s scheme to allow a critical mass of irrigation which has made a huge difference to farming, the environment and the economic and social fabric of the district.

The NOIC scheme doesn’t involve large-scale storage but ones which do provide recreational opportunities too.

Wills is right – water storage is a dam good idea.



Whoops, United Future is underdone – it has too few members.

UnitedFuture Party President Robin Gunston today announced that the party has asked the Electoral Commission to cancel its registration as a political party while it clears up inconsistencies in its confirmed membership numbers.

“While we have well over the 500 members required under Section 71 A of the Electoral Act for a political party to be registered, there are inconsistencies in the party’s records around current addresses and the financial status of some of those members,” Mr Gunston said.

“Quite simply, this meant that we could not, hand-on-heart, sign the required statutory declaration to swear to our membership.

“For that reason, we have asked the Electoral Commission to cancel the party’s registration while we confirm the numbers.

“We are certainly very confident that this will be sorted out and our registration restored, but it is about complying with both the letter and the spirit of the law,” he said.

What does it say when a party formed from goodness knows how many others hasn’t got enough properly accounted members to be registered?

Five hundred members is a very low hurdle for registration as a policassistann party.

It should be at least 5000.

That would mean all but National, and possibly Labour would have to do a lot of work to stay registered.

Saturday soapbox


Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation.

You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

:) kindest, Boris

June 1 in history


193 Roman Emperor Didius Julianus was assassinated.

987 Hugh Capet was elected King of France.

1204  King Philip Augustus of France conquered Rouen.

1215  Beijing ruler Emperor Xuanzong of Jin, was captured by the Mongols under Genghis Khan, ending the Battle of Beijing.

1252 Alfonso X was elected King of Castile and León.

1495  Friar John Cor recorded the first known batch of scotch whisky.

1533  Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England.

1660 Mary Dyer was hanged for defying a law banning Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1679 The Scottish Covenanters defeated John Graham of Claverhouse at the Battle of Drumclog.

1779  Benedict Arnold, a general in the Continental Army was court-martialed for malfeasance.

1792  Kentucky was admitted as the 15th state of the United States.

1794 The battle of the Glorious First of June was fought, the first naval engagement between Britain and France during the French Revolutionary Wars.

1796 Tennessee was admitted as the 16th state of the United States.

1812  War of 1812: U.S. President James Madison asked the Congress to declare war on the United Kingdom.

1813  James Lawrence, the mortally-wounded commander of the USS Chesapeake, gave his final order: “Don’t give up the ship!”

1815  Napoleon swore fidelity to the Constitution of France.

1831  James Clark Ross discovered the North Magnetic Pole.

1843 Henry Faulds, Scottish fingerprinting pioneer, was born  (d. 1930).

1855  American adventurer William Walker conquered Nicaragua.

1857 Charles Baudelaire‘s Fleurs du mal was published.

1862  American Civil War, Peninsula Campaign: Battle of Seven Pines (or the Battle of Fair Oaks) ended inconclusively, with both sides claiming victory.

1868 Treaty of Bosque Redondo was signed allowing the Navajos to return to their lands in Arizona and New Mexico.

1869  Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric voting machine.

1878 – John Masefield, English novelist and poet was born (d. 1967).

1879 Napoleon Eugene, the last dynastic Bonaparte, was killed in the Anglo-Zulu War.

1886 – The railroads of the Southern United States converted 11,000 miles of track from a five foot rail gauge to standard gauge.

1890  The United States Census Bureau began using Herman Hollerith‘s tabulating machine to count census returns.

1907 Frank Whittle, English inventor of the jet engine was born (d. 1996).

1910  Robert Falcon Scott‘s South Pole expedition left England.

1918  World War I: Battle for Belleau Wood – Allied Forces under John J. Pershing and James Harbord engaged Imperial German Forces under Wilhelm, German Crown Prince.

1920  Adolfo de la Huerta became president of Mexico.

1921 Nelson Riddle, American bandleader and arranger, was born  (d. 1985).

1921 Tulsa Race Riot.

1922  The Royal Ulster Constabulary was founded.

1926 Andy Griffith, American actor  was born.

1926 – Marilyn Monroe, American actress, was born  (d. 1962).

1928  Bob Monkhouse, English comedian, was born (d. 2003).

1929  The 1st Conference of the Communist Parties of Latin America was held in Buenos Aires.

1930 Edward Woodward, English actor, was born  (d. 2009).

1934 Pat Boone, American singer, was born.

1935  The first driving tests were introduced in the United Kingdom.

1937 Morgan Freeman, American actor, was born.

1937 Colleen McCullough, Australian novelist, was born.

1939 Maiden flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Würger (D-OPZE) fighter aeroplane.

1940  The Leninist Communist Youth League of the Karelo-Finnish SSR holds its first congress.

1940  The Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation went out of business, giving the City of New York full control of the subway system in the city.

1941  World War II: Battle of Crete ended as Crete capitulated to Germany.

1941 – The Farhud, a pogrom of Iraqi Jews in Baghdad.

1942 World War II: the Warsaw paper Liberty Brigade published the first news of the concentration camps.

1943 British Overseas Airways Corporation Flight 777 wasshot down over the Bay of Biscay by German Junkers Ju 88s, killing actor Leslie Howard and leading to speculation the downing was an attempt to kill British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

1946 Ion Antonescu, “Conducator” (leader) of Romania during World War 2, was executed.

1947 – Ronnie Wood, English guitarist (Rolling Stones), was born.

1950 Wayne Nelson, American musician (Little River Band), was born.

1956  First international flight (to Montreal YUL) from the Atlanta Municipal Airport

1958 Charles de Gaulle came out of retirement to lead France by decree for six months.

1960 New Zealand’s first official television transmission began at 7.30pm.

NZ's first official TV broadcast

1960 Simon Gallup, English bassist (The Cure), was born.

1963  Kenya gained internal self-rule (Madaraka Day).

1974  Flixborough disaster: an explosion at a chemical plant killed 28 people.

1974 –The Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims was published in the journal Emergency Medicine.

1978 The first international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty were filed.

1979 – The first black-led government of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 90 years took power.

1980  Cable News Network (CNN) begins broadcasting.

1988  The 4th Congress of the Communist Youth of Greece started.

1990  George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty to end chemical weapon production.

1993  Dobrinja mortar attack: 13 were killed and 133 wounded when Serb mortar shells are fired at a soccer game in Dobrinja, west of Sarajevo.

1999  American Airlines Flight 1420 slid and crashed while landing at Little Rock National Airport, killing 11 people.

2000  The Patent Law Treaty was signed.

2001  Nepalese royal massacre : Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal shot and killed several members of his family including his father and mother, King Birendra and Queen Aiswarya.

2001 – Dolphinarium massacre: a Hamas suicide bomber killed 21 at a disco in Tel Aviv.

2003  Filling began of the reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam.

2005 The Dutch referendum on the European Constitution resulted in its rejection.

2009 Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil. All 228 passengers and crew were killed.

2009 – General Motors filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is the fourth largest United States bankruptcy in history.

2011 – A rare tornado outbreak occurred in New England; a strong EF3 tornado struck Springfield, Massachusetts during the event, killing four people.

2012 – The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jumbo jet aircraft was introduced with Lufthansa.

Sourced from NZ  History Online & Wikipedia

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