Slim Whitman 20.1.24 – 19.6.13

June 20, 2013

Country singer  Slim Whitman has died at the age of 90.

 


Word of the day

June 20, 2013

Mulct  – extract money from (someone) by fine or taxation; penalise or deprive someone by fining or demanding forfeiture; acquire by trickery or deception; defraud or swindle.


Rural round-up

June 20, 2013

Zimbabwe’s first cattle bank opens – Gillian Gtora:

William Mukurazita’s deposit at the bank has four legs and moos.

Zimbabwe’s first “Cattle Bank” has just opened its books in a unique kind of banking where owners bring in their animals as collateral against cash loans.

For many rural poor in this southern African country once wracked by world-record inflation, it’s the first bank account they’ve ever had.

“Cattle banking is the only way owners can get monetary value for their animals without having to sell them,” bank executive Charles Chakoma told The Associated Press amongst fields and small farming plots near Marondera, east of Harare, the capital. . .

Farmers respond to an animal part found in PKE:

Federated Farmers considers the proposed improvements to the biosecurity of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE), following the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) response to the Federation’s Clark-McKinnon Report, cannot come soon enough.  It also comes on the same day an exotic animal body part was confirmed to have found in PKE on a Bay of Plenty farm.

“Can we first pay tribute to the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who absolutely did the right thing when he or she discovered an animal part in PKE,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Any farmer who finds something untoward must do what this farmer rightly did and call the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.  Do not ignore or dispose of it.  Report it. . .

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed:

The Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation.  This includes 688 hectares of new gold licences for Green growers and new developments, as well as 442 hectares of Gold One-for-One licences, where Hort16A growers can transfer to Gold3.  

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the significant over-subscription clearly demonstrates the confidence the kiwifruit industry has in the recently-licensed gold cultivar, its performance to date in the Psa environment and growers increasingly looking to diversify their orchard portfolios. . .

Young viticulturists challenged to test themselves:

Young viticulturists around the country are being challenged to step up and enter the annual competition to find their best and brightest to represent the sector in the national young horticulture competition later in the year.

An Open Day is being held to give those who need a bit of encouragement or convincing, the chance to find out from previous winners just exactly what’s involved and how good the spoils of winning $12,000 worth of prizes are. . .

Invivo Named Finalist at Export Awards:

New Zealand winery Invivo continues their success in export markets and has been named finalist for 2013 BDO Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year at the Air New Zealand ExportNZ Auckland Awards.

Executive Officer Catherine Lye from ExportNZ Auckland that organises the awards, says, “It was a tough field, with such highly motivated and innovative exporters. “The entrants in this year’s awards were totally unlike each other as far as their businesses and customers were concerned. Yet each of them demonstrated particular areas of excellence.  . . .”

Church Road releases a duo of iconic TOM wines

2009 TOM Cabernet Merlot likely the “best TOM ever”
2010 TOM Chardonnay from “one of the very best Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay vintages”

Church Road, the winery that helped establish Hawke’s Bay as a premier winemaking region is proud to announce the simultaneous release of its two iconic wines – TOM Cabernet Merlot 2009 and TOM Chardonnay 2010.

Crafted only in outstanding vintages, TOM showcases the power and vibrancy of the best hand-harvested parcels of fruit, coupled with the traditional Bordeaux and Burgundian influence of winemaking. . .

Top accolades for 2011 Syrah:

Two Sacred Hill Wine Company Syrahs have recently been rated in the top tier of New Zealand Syrahs in an influential tasting.

Both Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 and Ti Point Syrah 2011 wowed the Cuisine judges in their annual New Zealand Syrah tasting which features in the July edition of the magazine.

The results of the tasting, released today, see Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 with a triple success – 5 stars; ranked in the top 5 wines of the tasting (at No 4); and rated as one of New Zealand’s best Syrah buys. . .


Thursday’s quiz

June 20, 2013

It’s your turn to ask the questions again.

Anyone who stumps us all will win an electronic sticky date pudding.


Win could be costly

June 20, 2013

Stephen Franks thinks ANZ could lose the class action against its fees but warns that it could be a costly victory:

The foundation of the action against ANZ is a general contract law principle, not a specific banking law matter. It claims that the banks have been penalising unauthorised overdrafts and other breaches of contract, instead of just charging what they have cost the bank to deal with. I think the action is more likely than not to succeed because our law has always been against penalties in contracts. You can agree in advance on what happens if a contract is breached, if it is a genuine pre-estimate of the likely costs of fixing the breach. But if it is just a penalty, ancient law says that provision is not enforceable.

It is actually an  inefficient rule that probably costs consumers more than it saves them. Penalties are a standardised disincentive. The cost of handling thousands or millions of actual calculations of what an overdraft limit breach might actually cost the bank could be huge. And in the long run such costs become part of the overhead that is charged to everyone, those who do not breach as well as those who do. . .

If those taking the case win, people who breach their contracts with a bank will be charged less and the rest of us will all pay for it.


Monsanto scientist wins World Food Prize

June 20, 2013

For the first time in its 27-year history, a prestigious award for enhancing the global food supply has gone to a creator of genetically modified crops, a top scientist at Monsanto.

Robert T. Fraley, Monsanto’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, will share the $250,000 World Food Prize with two other scientists who helped devise how to insert foreign genes into plants: Marc Van Montagu of Belgium and Mary-Dell Chilton of the United States. . .

The prize was started in 1987 by Norman E. Borlaug, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for bringing about the Green Revolution, which vastly increased grain output, and who thought there should be a Nobel Prize for agriculture. The award is given to those who improve the “quality, quantity or availability” of food in the world. . .

The World Food Prize Foundation said the work of the three scientists led to the development of crops that can resist insects, disease and extremes of climate, and are higher-yielding.

Genetically engineered crops, which for the most part contain genes from bacteria, now account for roughly 90 percent of the corn, soybeans and cotton grown in the United States. Globally, genetically modified crops are grown on 420 million acres by 17.3 million farmers, over 90 percent of them small farmers in developing countries, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, an organization that promotes use of biotechnology. . .

“I’m sure there will be some controversy about it,” Kenneth M. Quinn, the president of the World Food Prize Foundation, said in an interview before the winners were announced. “At the same time the view of our organization and our committee is that in the face of controversy, you shouldn’t back away from your precepts. If you do so, you are diminishing the prize.’’

Mr. Quinn, a former United States ambassador to Cambodia, said crop biotechnology had “met the test of demonstrating it would impact millions of people and enhance their lives.’’ . . .

The winners of the 2013 prize were part of teams that independently developed methods three decades ago for putting foreign genes into the DNA of plants. . . .

This is a win for science and business and a blow to the anti-science, anti-business movement.

Although as their case is political and based on emotion rather than science, they are unlikely to let the facts get in the way of their story.

 


PKE import rules tightened

June 20, 2013

Rules are on the importing of palm kernel expeller are to be tightened.

Federated Farmers have been airing concerns about the biosecurity risks from the import of PKE for some time.

Grains executive members Colin McKinnon and David Clark travelled to Malaysia last September for an official Palm Industry Board briefing; they also made an unofficial, unannounced visit to another plant, chosen at random.

They saw PKE in silos open to birds and other animals, and contamination was probable. Product would probably not have met New Zealand’s Import Health Standard, but the mill owner believed it was suitable for export to New Zealand and was willing to sell it to them.

Clark and McKinnon detailed their concerns in a report to MPI in November (Rural News, December 4 and February 19). Late last month, the ministry issued a statement saying it took Feds’ report very seriously. . .

MPI sent two inspectors to PKE meal processing facilities and Malaysia and Indonesia and requirements will be tightened as a result.

The audit reports show good biosecurity systems are in place in the two main PKE-supplying countries, but some tightening up is recommended to ensure New Zealand’s standard is met.

Deputy Director-General, Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman says the reports conclude that any biosecurity risk from the importation of PKE is very low, but the strengthening of import requirements will be accelerated after a small part of an animal limb was recently discovered in a PKE shipment.

MPI is sending a senior manager to Malaysia today and then on to Indonesia to work with authorities there.

“The focus will be on working together to ensure that PKE from unapproved facilities cannot be exported to New Zealand. In addition, a small number of processing facilities will need to improve their systems to keep birds and rodents out of the product in storage,” Mr Coleman says.

“This work is timely given the recent discovery of the animal limb which was reported to MPI by a Bay of Plenty farmer. The lower part of an animal leg, approximately 18cm in length, has been identified by a zoologist as most likely from a small deer or goat species not present in New Zealand,” Mr Coleman says.

“Our risk assessors have told us that the risk of the introduction of any animal disease posed by this find is very low. However we took the precaution of sending a vet to the property where they found all animals in excellent health.

“A find like this one is rare, given that approximately 1.5 million tonnes of PKE are imported annually.”

PKE is a vital import for New Zealand’s dairy farmers who rely on it for supplementary feed – particularly now in the aftermath of the summer’s drought and with the onset of winter.

“The changes we are introducing will help strengthen our system further,” Mr Coleman says. Currently every shipment of PKE must meet strict requirements before it can be imported to New Zealand, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection.

“A further option being considered is a new levy on PKE imports, or an increase to the existing biosecurity levy to increase the level of inspection in these countries. Any such proposal would have to be consulted on and have industry support. MPI is now beginning work on various options for consultation.”

The audit reports are here and here.

 

 


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