Word of the day

June 16, 2013

Calyculus – a small cup-shaped structure; a group of bracts simulating a calyx as in a carnation or hibiscus.

Rural round-up

June 16, 2013

Fieldays: Price rebound tempered – Terry Brosnahan:

Lamb prices will average $95/head for the season and milksolids will be about $6.80/kg ANZ economist Con Williams predicts.

Williams told a seminar audience at the National Fieldays the lamb crop is estimated to be 6-10% down because of fewer breeding ewes and a lower lambing percentage. This means less supply than in the 2011-12 season but globally it won’t mean the prices will be as high as back then. A 17.5kg lamb will be worth $5.40-6/kg or more depending on the size of the lamb crop and procurement behaviour. . .

Fieldays: Kiwi-German technology boosts NZ dairying – Richard Rennie:

The expansion of German giant GEA Farm Technologies in the dairy sector has brought a cross pollination of research and innovation aimed at boosting farm productivity.

This year’s Mystery Creek National Fieldays marked the giant corporation’s first with two New Zealand dairy businesses under its wings.

These were milking equipment company Milfos and hygiene-identification company FIL.

The acquisition of NZ-owned Milfos last year means GEA is represented now in all aspects of dairy operation, from dairy shed equipment to animal identification for mating. . .

Whey powder message is starting to sink in – Richard Rennie:

Telling a compelling case about how a high-grade whey powder can deliver healthier, heavier and ultimately more productive calves requires clearing a few hurdles.

It’s a tough ask, compared sometimes to selling coal to Newcastle, in a country where conventional fat-based milk powder dominates rearing practice.

However, with the industry seeking more productive livestock, it appears AgriVantage managing director Warren Tanner may be hitting the right notes with his whey powder range. . .

Avery NZ”s top ag communicator – RivettingKate Taylor:

Marlborough farmer Doug Avery is willing to talk to anyone about integrating lucerne into pastoral systems to achieve a leap in productivity and profitability.

His enthusiasm and ability in communicating how he has achieved this with spectacular results on his own property have won him the 2013 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. . . .

On your plates – KR Connect:

Food trucks, foam, farm-to-table – these are all trends that have influenced what and how we eat over the years, but while some are going strong, others are fading away. Fortunately, there will always be new innovations to keep us eating. Here are five that you may be soon seeing on your plates. . . .

Either way it’s 20 k

June 16, 2013

On my way to town a couple of days ago I was following a car that was following a school bus.

The bus indicated to show it was pulling over. As it stopped the car behind it sped up and passed it.

I was tempted to follow the car but I remembered  either way it’s 20k – whether you’re following a school bus or passing it going the opposite direction it’s mandatory to slow to 20 kph.

It’s a rule many people are either unaware of or ignore, especially when they’re going in the opposite direction from the bus.

Rural Women NZ are doing their best to educate drivers and that’s what this picture is designed to do:

Strengthening links to the east

June 16, 2013

We are reaping the benefits from strengthening links with countries to our west, in particular China.

Prime Minister John Key’s trip to Latin America signalled we’re also taking links with countries to our east more seriously.

There is good potential for business relationships, trade and also links through education:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced that seven 15 and 16 year-old Spanish language students from New Zealand will travel to Santiago later this year as part of a new exchange programme.

The “Flying Kiwis” programme has been developed in response to the highly-successful Chilean government-sponsored “Penguins without Borders” programme, which was piloted in New Zealand this year, and saw forty Chilean students come to New Zealand to live and study for two terms in the first half of the year.

The New Zealand students will go to school in Santiago and stay with the families of the Chilean students who participated in the “Penguins without Borders” programme.

Ms Parata made the announcement today during her meeting with Chile’s Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Felix de Vicente in Santiago.

“The “Flying Kiwis” programme is an exciting opportunity for our students. It will enable them to see and experience life in Chile and immerse themselves in the Spanish language,’’ says Ms Parata.

“It was an honour for New Zealand to be chosen to host the pilot of the “Penguins without Borders” programme and a great pleasure for our schools and communities to host the first group of Chilean students. I know that the schools and families in Santiago will welcome and look after our students in true Chilean style.’’

The New Zealand students will be chosen from those learning the Spanish language at schools currently hosting the Chilean students in New Zealand.  Their travel will be sponsored by Education New Zealand, the government’s agency for international education.

“Education exchange is a wonderful opportunity that brings a new world of experience for all involved.  Scholarship and exchange programmes such as “Flying Kiwis” and “Penguins without Borders” create lifelong connections for both the Chilean and New Zealand students taking part. We look forward to continued involvement in such programmes.”

Earlier today Ms Parata met with Chile’s Minister of Education, Carolina Schmidt, and invited Chile to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession which New Zealand will host in March 2014.

Ms Parata is in Chile to reinforce the bilateral relationship, in which education is a key strand, between Chile and New Zealand, following on from Prime Minster John Key’s visit to Chile earlier in the year.

There’s a huge element of luck in exchanges. We got the jackpot when we hosted a teenager from Argentina for a year through AFS and his family is now ours.

The Chilean exchanges are shorter, just a few weeks, but that is time for those involved to learn a lot and establish relationships which could endure.

The programme might lead to longer exchanges and other educational opportunities.

Year-long exchanges between countries in the southern hemisphere, like Chile and Argentina,  make it easier for students because the educational calendar is similar whereas those going to or from the northern hemisphere countries like Japan or China have to come or leave part way through a school-year.



Answer of the week

June 16, 2013

Question Time this week got a bit boisterous but it also included some gems, amongst which was this:

Katrina Shanks: What reports has he seen on New Zealand’s economic programme and the Government’s approach to turning round the economy?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: I recently read a report from the Australian Financial Review that says: “What immediately stands out is Wellington’s grown-up and stable Government,”. It also says that New Zealand’s bad luck is about to take a turn for the better, and it will reap the benefits of disciplined policy making. The Australian Financial Review, which is not noted for being a cheerleader for New Zealand, notes that New Zealand did not have a mining boom to shield it from the global financial crisis. But it acknowledges that we did have a devastating earthquake in Christchurch and a drought this year. It notes: “John Key’s National Government also had to deal with the legacy of nearly a decade of a back-sliding and big-spending Labour Government.”

It’s not just people like me with a blue bias who realise the nine years of damage inflicted by Labour is among the problems this government has to fix and that its disciplined policy making is making a positive difference.

We’re not running out of land

June 16, 2013

Listening to the emotional opposition to sale of land to foreigners and to urban sprawl, you’d think we were running out of land.

Luke Malpass shows that isn’t the case:

There is a widespread view that too much of New Zealand is being built upon: along with cows, the main thing we are growing are houses, and that not only are there too many houses but they are also eating into valuable farmland and nature.

There are many reasons for this view, but at a popular level the main reason might be that growth and development happen in areas where people tend to move or travel. People also tend to go where other people are and then complain about there being ‘too many people’. Many folk see new development and extrapolate out to development they cannot see, which often does not exist.

A look at the numbers bears that out: less than 1% of New Zealand is built up, including landfill and highways. Clearly New Zealand is not filling up. Compared to other countries in Europe, New Zealand has very few people and very little land built upon. About 9% of the United Kingdom is built up and 15% of the Netherlands. Even the United States, with more than 300 million people, has only 5% built on land.

Of course, not all of New Zealand can be developed, but the notion that there is cause for concern at this point in time (or in the next few hundred years) is untrue.

As it is, New Zealand is both absolutely and relatively undeveloped. This is to be expected for a nation that is only 170-years-old and with a population of 4.4 million people and covering an area equivalent to the United Kingdom. . . .

It’s true they’re not making any more land, reclamation work excepted.

It’s important that we look after the land we’ve got.

There is a debate to be had over how much we sell to foreigners and how much should be built on.

But we aren’t running out of land.

Sunday soapbox

June 16, 2013

Sunday’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.

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