Word of the day

July 18, 2013

Paraesthesia – abnormal, morbid or perverted sensation; a sensation of tingling, burning, prickling, tickling, or pricking of a person’s skin with no apparent long-term physical effect.


Rural round-up

July 18, 2013

Big increase in water for irrigation for SC possible – Matthew Littlewood:

The equivalent of nearly 250 Hagley Parks worth of extra land could be freed up for irrigation in the Orari and Opihi catchments, if the right measures are in place.

Environment Canterbury water management scientist Brett Painter told this week’s Orari-Opihi-Pareora water management committee meeting that adjustments to the Rakaia Water Conservation Order could be a “game changer” for sourcing extra water for the South Canterbury Catchment.

Painter said “at the extreme end”, enough water for an extra 42,000ha of irrigation could be made available. . .

Not sure it’s realistic for farmers to own the meat industry – Allan Barber:

There is a lot of noise about the dysfunctional or broken meat industry accompanied by the suggestion it would be solved if farmers owned a bigger slice of it.

The Meat Industry Excellence group has been touring the country since earlier this year, holding farmer meetings and trying to drum up support for fixing the industry’s problems. In total some 3,000 farmers attended meetings from Gore to Gisborne which, even if every attendee was firmly in support, only represents a maximum of 20% of sheep and beef farmers. . .

Farmlets tipped for Glencoe Station – Grant Bryant:

Two huge players in Queenstown’s high finance, development and winery scene are set to carve up a large chunk of Glencoe Station for clusters of two-acre farmlets.

In recent years the area on the Crown Range above Arrowtown has become the home and playground of the mega-rich, with fabulously wealthy and enormously reclusive music producer Robert “Mutt” Lange snapping up 8500ha of the high-country station for an undisclosed amount in 2009.

New Zealand international sailor and prominent America’s Cup captain Russell Coutts is a next-door neighbour to the station, with his holiday home boasting an underground pool and golf course. . .

Forest Levy takes important step:

An application for the introduction of a levy on harvested logs has been lodged with Associate Minister for Primary Industries Hon Jo Goodhew. 

“This is an important step in the process of getting a Levy Order under the Commodity Levies Act and follows a successful forest grower referendum in March,” says Forest Growers Levy Trust chair Geoff Thompson.

“Officials will now take several months to assess the application and all the accompanying detail about levy collection, budgeting and ongoing structure. We are fundamentally on target to introduce the levy from 1 January 2014.” . . 

Bovine bliss in a winter cow house  – Finian Scott:

Numerous South Island farmers have been putting in the hard yards, trekking out into waist deep snow in parts of the Mackenzie Country, firing up bulldozers and snow ploughs in an attempt to set tracks for stock and feed out.

Weather-hardened livestock do their best to hunt out natural shelter belts, prepping for the inevitable mad rush towards the trail of food snaking a path behind the steaming tractor and feed bin.

Meanwhile, as the doors roll up on a Cow House at Studholme, the cows inside look up, lazily, mid-chew, to see who this new “disturber of the peace” may be. . .

Fonterra cuts Anmum-branded product prices in China amid price-fixing probe – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, cut the price of its Anmum-branded products in China as the local regulator looks at potential price manipulation by major foreign firms selling into the world’s most-populous nation.

The Auckland-based cooperative will trim 9 percent from its Anmum maternal health products in mainland China from next month “to better meet consumer needs in light of recent industry-wide price revisions,” Fonterra president for Greater China and India, Kelvin Wickham, said in an emailed statement. . .

NZ Honey Comes under Scrutiny in Hong Kong. New Zealand’s Oldest Brand Says Tighter Export Controls Are Needed:

Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest honey brand, believes the quality control of New Zealand honey export needs to be tighter, following recent feedback from the Hong Kong Consumer Council. On 16 July, New Zealand honey came under scrutiny in Hong Kong after the Hong Kong Consumer Council, a statutory body that protects and promotes consumer rights in Hong Kong, tested a number of well-known brands available in the region. The Consumer Council reports that a quarter of the 55 samples tested (from a number of countries, including New Zealand) have been adulterated with sugar, including Manuka. . .


Thursday’s quiz

July 18, 2013

1. Did anyone notice there wasn’t a quiz last week?

2. Did you miss it?

3. Is it too hard/too easy?

4. Is it time for a change in format?

5. Any suggestions for improvements?


More than storm in honey pot

July 18, 2013

Federated Farmers says credibility is the key for manuka exports:

Federated Farmers is encouraging Manuka honey exporters to test their product prior to export following the identification of C4 sugar, by the Consumer Council of Hong Kong.

“Federated Farmers, with others in the Bee products industry have been concerned about the identification of C4 sugar in Manuka honey, and testing methods for some time,” says Bees Committee of Management Member, Peter Bell.

“Manuka honey is different to other honeys; it causes a standard sugar test to inaccurately report contaminated samples. This is why the industry has invested money and effort to work with, Dr Karyne Rogers of GNS Science, to evaluate the conventional test that has been used to date, for accuracy with regard to Manuka honey.

“This process has led to GNS Science developing a test, which is now accepted by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) as suitably identifying C4 sugar contamination in honey.

“Results reported by GNS Science, that tested samples, returned only a six percent fail rate compared to 30 percent under the existing testing methods.

“We are concerned about the damage to our industry’s reputation from the few occasions where C4 sugars have been identified. Feeding sugar to bees is a common practice during periods of low floral resources, to build them up in preparation for honey flow. However, when using best practice for this method, there should be no contamination issue.

“We would encourage regulators and consumer organisations to use the newly developed GNS test when testing imported Manuka samples or to have any failed Manuka samples evaluated against the more contemporary test.

“What has become clear is that a significant number of unadulterated Manuka honey samples have returned positive tests due to older testing methods. This is unfortunate for those beekeepers that have not fed sugar to their bees or have used robust practices to avoid any contamination.

“Given the issues with the testing process, we are encouraging regulators to develop their testing methods in line with new information” Mr Bell concluded.

This is more than a storm in a honey pot.

All  honey isn’t created equal and that contaminated by sugar isn’t the 100% pure honey on which trade and marketing are built.

But if it’s the test that is at fault, then Feds advice to use the new GNS test should be followed.

 


Robots replace labour

July 18, 2013

When we visited a robotic milking shed in Scotland more than 10 years ago, the farmer said he’d wished he’d automated years earlier.

He enjoyed not having to get up early every day and also not having to worry about labour.

He said the robot worked consistently day and night, it didn’t want time off, it didn’t argue with its girl or boy friend, it didn’t get hangovers  or create any of the other hassles that even the best of employers face with the best of their staff at some time.

The difficulty in recruiting. retaining and managing staff is one of the factors driving interest in robots in other areas of primary production:

On a windy morning in California’s Salinas Valley, a tractor pulled a wheeled, metal contraption over rows of budding iceberg lettuce plants. Engineers from Silicon Valley tinkered with the software on a laptop to ensure the machine was eliminating the right leafy buds.

The engineers were testing the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can “thin” a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.

The thinner is part of a new generation of machines that target the last frontier of agricultural mechanization – fruits and vegetables destined for the fresh market, not processing, which have thus far resisted mechanization because they’re sensitive to bruising.

Researchers are now designing robots for these most delicate crops by integrating advanced sensors, powerful computing, electronics, computer vision, robotic hardware and algorithms, as well as networking and high precision GPS localization technologies. Most ag robots won’t be commercially available for at least a few years.

In this region known as America’s Salad Bowl, where for a century fruits and vegetables have been planted, thinned and harvested by an army of migrant workers, the machines could prove revolutionary.

Farmers say farm robots could provide relief from recent labor shortages, lessen the unknowns of immigration reform, even reduce costs, increase quality and yield a more consistent product. . .

A lot of farm work, like thinning lettuces, is essential but work.

Fewer hassles, better quality and improved consistency are compelling reasons for replacing staff with robots.

That could accelerate rural depopulation but staff in these sorts of jobs tend to be transient so the impact on rural communities might not be significant.


No substitute for 1080 in some areas

July 18, 2013

Environment commissioner Jan Wright advocated for wider use of 1080 two years ago and is disappointed there’s been so little action since then.

. . . Dr Wright says time is running out for native species on the mainland.

“There are three predators that are inflicting enormous damage on our native birds and plants – possums, rats, and stoats. The only way we can control them over large areas is to use 1080. We are lucky to have it.

“When I released my report two years ago I called for greater use of 1080 because I was extremely concerned about the future of kiwi and other native birds.

“Currently the Department of Conservation is spending more on research into 1080 and its alternatives than it is on actually using it.

“While I’m happy this research is being done, I would like to see more money being spent on frontline pest control.

“While I am heartened by the public support for a pest-free New Zealand there is no way that it could currently be achieved without 1080. I will continue to recommend its use is increased. “

Dr Wright’s report is here, her update is here.

Forest and Bird agree with her.

Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the PCE’s latest report reinforces Forest & Bird’s stance that 1080 remains the most cost effective way of controlling the three “key pests of possums, rats and stoats” over large areas.

“Pests are decimating our native forests and killing an estimated 25 million birds a year, pushing some of them towards extinction. We need to get on top of the pest situation if we want to reverse the decline of our native wildlife.

“We fully agree with the Commissioner in that aerial 1080 drops over large areas are the best way to do that,” he says.

“Other methods of pest control, like trapping and ground-based poison operations, are expensive, time-consuming, cover small areas, and often fail to get into the heart of the back country where it’s most needed. Aerial 1080 drops, at this stage, offer the most cost-effective way to tackle New Zealand’s pest problem,” Kevin Hackwell says.

Forest & Bird is disappointed that the Department of Conservation has not acted on the PCE’s key recommendation from the initial 2011 report to increase the use of aerial 1080 operations.

“DOC should move resources from the less effective ground-based control to the more effective use of aerial 1080. There’s no need for any more delay, we should be acting on the PCE’s recommendations now,” Kevin Hackwell says.

It is impossible to safeguard native birds when 1080 is dropped and it can kill them. But populations recover very quickly when their predators are killed.

Trapping and hunting animal pests works well in some places.

But in many areas 1080 is the best way to kill the pests which destroy native flora and pray on the fauna.

Some of these pests also carry TB which can spread to farm animals and people.


July 18 in history

July 18, 2013

390 BC Roman-Gaulish Wars: Battle of the Allia – a Roman army was defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.

64 Great fire of Rome: a fire began to burn in the merchant area of Rome.

1290  King Edward I of England issued the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B’Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.

1334  The bishop of Florence blessed the first foundation stone for the new campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral, designed by the artist Giotto di Bondone.

1389  Kingdoms of France and England agreed to the Truce of Leulinghem,  inaugurating a 13 year peace; the longest period of sustained peace during the Hundred Years War.

1656  Polish-Lithuanian forces clashed with Sweden and its Brandenburg allies in the start of  the Battle of Warsaw.

1670 Giovanni Bononcini, Italian composer, was born (d. 1747).

1811 William Makepeace Thackeray, English author, was born (d. 1863).

1848   W. G. Grace, English cricketer, was born  (d. 1915).

1855 New Zealand’s first postage stamps were issued. The adhesive, non-perforated stamps for the prepayment of postage were the famous ‘Chalon Head’ design that portrayed a full-face likeness of Queen Victoria in her coronation robes.

NZ's first postage stamps go on sale

1857  Louis Faidherbe, French governor of Senegal, arrived to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall’s war against the French.

1862  First ascent of Dent Blanche, one of the highest summits in the Swiss Alps.

1863  American Civil War: Battle of Fort Wagner/Morris Island – the first formal African American military unit, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, failed in their assault on Confederate-held Battery Wagner.

1867 Margaret Brown, American activist, philanthropist, and RMS Titanic passenger, was born (d. 1932).

1870  The First Vatican Council decreed the dogma of papal infallibility.

1884 – Death of Ferdinand von Hochstetter, the Austrian geologist who was the first to describe and interpret many features of New Zealand geology.

1887 Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian soldier, politician and convicted traitor, was born  (d. 1945).

1908 Mildred Lisette Norman, American peace activist, earned the moniker Peace Pilgrim, was born  (d. 1981).

1909  Andrei Gromyko, Soviet diplomat and President, was born (d. 1989).

1909 – Mohammed Daoud Khan, President of Afghanistan, was born (d. 1978).

1914  The U.S. Congress formed the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.

1918 Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was born.

1923 Jerome H. Lemelson, American inventor, was born (d. 1997).

1925  Adolf Hitler published his personal manifesto Mein Kampf.

1936 In Spanish Morocco, military rebels attempted a coup d’état against the legitimacy of the Spanish government, this led to the Spanish Civil War.

1937 Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author, was born (d. 2005).

1942 Bobby Susser, American songwriter and record producer, was born.

1942  World War II: the Germans test flew the Messerschmitt Me-262 using only its jet engines for the first time.

1944  World War II: Hideki Tojo resigned as Prime Minister of Japan due to numerous setbacks in the war effort.

1950 Glenn Hughes, American singer (Village People), was born (d. 2001).

1957 Sir Nick Faldo, English golfer, was born.

1963 Martín Torrijos Espino, former President of Panama, was born.

1965  Russian satellite Zond 3 launched.

1966  Gemini 10 launched.

1968  The Intel Corporation was founded in Santa Clara, California.

1969  After a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy drove an Oldsmobile off a bridge and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, died.

1971 Sarah McLeod, New Zealand actress, was born.

1976 Nadia Comăneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

1982 – 268 campesinos were slain in the Plan de Sánchez massacre in Ríos Montt’s Guatemala.

1984  McDonald’s massacre James Oliver Huberty opened fire, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others before being shot dead by police.

1984  Beverly Lynn Burns became first female Boeing 747 airline captain.

1986 A tornado was broadcast live on KARE television when the station’s helicopter pilot made a chance encounter.

1992  The ten victims of the La Cantuta massacre disappeared from their university in Lima.

1994 The bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentinian Jewish Communal Center) in Buenos Aires killed 85 people (mostly Jewish) and injures 300.

1995  The Soufriere Hills volcano erupted. Over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee.

1996  Storms provoked severe flooding on the Saguenay River.

1996  Battle of Mullaitivu. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam captured the Sri Lanka Army’s base, killing over 1200 Army soldiers.

2005  Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, first public joint statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then U.S. President George W. Bush.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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