Word of the day

September 11, 2013

Godwottery  – affectedly archaic or elaborate speech writing; excessive fussiness, and sentimentality; an affected or over-elaborate style of gardening or attitude towards gardens.


Rural round-up

September 11, 2013

More Oamaru meat exports stopped – Andrew Ashton:

Products from a second Oamaru meat plant are being prevented from entering China.

Ministry for Primary Industries acting director-general Scott Gallacher yesterday told the Otago Daily Times the ministry had on August 10 suspended Lean Meats Ltd’s certification to export to China – just two days after 240 seasonal workers at the Alliance Group’s Pukeuri plant were suspended in the wake of that site’s loss of certification in July.

”MPI suspended certification to China from Lean Meats Ltd because it did not comply with labelling requirements in some cartons. . .

Food fight – Offsetting Behaviour:

Oh, Manitoba. Just when you start looking sane, you go back to your old wacky ways.

Recall that Manitoba is the province where you can’t sell a potato without, well, hassles.*

Now, read this one and weep. Since I was a kid in Manitoba, the government made much fuss about agricultural diversification, wanting farmers to move to more processing and oddball thin-market crops.

The Cavers at Harborside Farms are a great example of how this can be done well. They raise Berkshire hogs outside of Pilot Mound, a small town a couple hours southwest of Winnipeg. They started curing hams following old Italian recipes. Bartley Kives reports: . . .

Achieving research and commercial goals:

Any farm with several stock classes presents its challenges but as Peter Burke reports, research farm managers have a whole new level of complexity to deal with.

MASSEY UNIVERSITY runs two sheep and beef farms, two dairy units, a deer farm and a horticultural unit. It has 2000ha dedicated to teaching and research, mostly close to the Palmerston North campus, the exception being the 725ha Riverside sheep and beef unit in Wairarapa.

All the farms, bar 200ha, come under the control of a group within Massey called Agricultural Services, including the sheep and beef farm Tuapaka. Acquired by Massey in 1938, Tuapaka’s perhaps best known for Professor Sir Geoffrey Peren’s research there, developing the Perendale sheep which was officially registered as a breed in 1960. . .

Moumahaki Experimental Farm. A Controversial Start to Agricultural Extension in New Zealand – Pasture to Profit:

I’ve discovered Moumahaki Experimental Farm est.(1892) in South Taranaki, New Zealand. 
 
A fascinating story of how Research & Demonstration Farms started in New Zealand. It’s what happens when you are left alone and get lost in a book shop! A weekend discovery gem!

This is part of my history. 

I’ve worked as an Agricultural Scientist in Extension and Dairy Farm Consultancy with farmers in NZ, Australia, Taiwan, UK, Ireland and France visiting research and demonstration farms, all my working life. 
 
For 33 years the Experimental Farm at Moumahaki was a jewel in the crown of the farming industry. Today we debate the merits, funding and roles of these farms just as they did in the 1890s. . .

Love and loss on the land – Jillaroo Jess:

Everybody knows that as rewarding as life on the land is, you have to deal with death more often than folks in the city. Whether a dog gets trampled while working cattle, or a horse breaks a leg, there is always a chance something will go wrong.

It is a year ago this month that I lost two of the most loved animals I’ve ever had – both in the same week. Even after a year it is still hard to write about them, let alone talk about them in person. Although I am usually trying to put a funny twist on my adventures, I thought I’d share this story – mainly cause they were so beautiful I just want to share their photos! . .

Plague of drunk wasps hit UK – Radically Rural:

While a “plague” of “jobless, drunk” wasps might seem like a metaphor that could go a couple different ways, it’s actually a warning experts are saying those in the U.K. need to take literally.

The wasps are done with their usual task at this point in the season and are now getting “drunk” on fermenting fruit, potentially becoming more aggressive. (Image: Shutterstock.com)
The British Red Cross issued a warning last week advising those sitting out in the sun prepare themselves, as the insects’ work is now done and they’re sitting around sucking on fermented fruit, becoming more aggressive. . .

The Race to the $1m Karaka Million is On:

The build-up to New Zealand’s richest race – the $1 million Karaka Million – is officially underway following the first two-year-old race of the season at Wanganui on Saturday.

The $12,500 94.4 The Sound 800 for two-year-olds was taken out by the $20,000 Select Sale graduate Kschessinska (Volksraad) for trainer Leo Molloy, with the filly taking the early lead on the Order of Entry with $7,810 collected from Saturday’s win.

With a start in the million dollar event determined by prizemoney won, a spot in the 2013 Karaka Million field only took a minimum of $3,750 so Kschessinska has already taken a big step towards competing for the $1 million purse in the final 14-horse field. . .

A Series of Stunning Successes for Coopers Creek:

Coopers Creek continues to lead with their Select Vineyard range, this time with Top Wine results in Cuisine magazine’s last three issues, a Trophy and three Gold Medals from the Bragato Wine Awards and a Double Gold in The Six Nations Wine Challenge.

Coopers Creek wines have had an amazing winter to say the least. In May this year, the Select Vineyard (SV) Hawkes Bay Viognier 2011 securing a Top Wine and Best Buy award in Cuisine magazine. The July Cuisine magazine then named The Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010 as its Top Wine in the New Zealand Syrah tasting. Most recently, in Cuisine’s September issue, the SV 2011 Hawkes Bay Malbec was named as New Zealand’s Best Specialty Red. . .


Freedom Tower

September 11, 2013

It’s still September 10th in the USA but it’s the 11th (11.9 to us but 9.11 to them) here.

I woke up that morning to hear my farmer saying “they’ve crashed” and spent the next few hours checking in to the live broadcasts as the horror unfolded.

Each time I travel I’m reminded of that day and how it changed the way we do things.

But twelve years on the focus is on the Freedom Tower which is  nearing completion.

Soaring above the city at 1,776 feet, One World Trade Center will be America’s tallest building – and an indelible New York landmark. Designed by David M. Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 2.6-million-square-foot building will include office space, an observation deck, world-class restaurants, and broadcast and antennae facilities.

Begun by Silverstein Properties in April 2006 and taken over by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, construction has accelerated in the last year.   . .

 

 


Are you an introvert?

September 11, 2013

The Guardian has a quiz which asks are you an introvert?

You scored 15 out of a possible 20

You have a tendency towards being introvert. The higher your score, the more introvert you probably are. The nearer to 10 your score is, the nearer to being an ambivert you are (yes, there really is such a word). But even if you answered every single question as an introvert or extrovert, that doesn’t mean that your behaviour is predictable across all circumstances. We can’t say that every introvert is a bookworm or every extrovert wears lampshades at parties any more than we can say that every woman is a natural consensus-builder and every man loves contact sports. As Jung felicitously put it, “There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.

These quizzes aren’t scientific, and there is debate on how valid the labels extravert and introvert are.

But any of these tests I’ve done, including a two-day Myers Briggs workshop, always put me in the introvert space.

If I remember correctly, Susan Cain mentioned in her book Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking that a lot of bloggers are introverts.

Her website asks the same questions the Guardian did and I got a similar finding:

Your personality profile: I. (I = Introvert. E = Extrovert)

Your Personality Profile:

I = Introvert. If you answered the majority of the questions true, you’re probably an introvert. Given the choice, you’ll devote your social energy to the people you care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. You think before you speak, and relish solitude. You feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests you. You have an active inner life, and are at your best when you tap into its riches. . .

Being introverted doesn’t mean I don’t like people and enjoy being with them.

But I find too many people too often can be too much of a good thing and when I’m peopled-out I need some time by myself to recharge.

That could be one of the attractions of blogging – I can choose when I do it and when I interact with the people who visit.


Blown about

September 11, 2013

Yesterday’s wild weather left its mark on the south.

We’ve got some casualties on the farm too.

One calf shed was completely destroyed, another had its roof blown off. The calves were okay but several ngaios were uprooted and lots of other trees lost branches.

We missed the worst of the wind at home because we were in Queenstown waiting for a flight that was eventually cancelled.

That’s never convenient but at least we were still waiting inside the airport.

A plane full of passengers sat on the tarmac for four hours unable to disembark. There’s no airbridge and it was considered too dangerous to allow anyone to cross the tarmac  with so much lightning.

The worst of the wind had subsided when we drove home but there was still plenty of electrical activity.

Coming down the Waitaki Valley, flashes lit up the surrounding countryside as if it was daylight.

 

 


Sacked for stating the obvious

September 11, 2013

David Cunliffe has stood down one of his volunteers for stating the obvious.

Labour activist Jenny Michie said:

. . .”it would be naive to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay prime minister at this point – I think some people might have a problem with it but I certainly wouldn’t”.

I don’t see what’s wrong with that?  Some people would have trouble with the idea of a gay Prime Minister.

It’s even less obvious why that statement of fact should cause anyone offence when it’s put in context:

. . . Rachel Okay, Grant Robertson Jennie says that he wants to be judged on his ability, not his sexuality. How do you think the socially conservatives might view Grant Robertson you know in the year 2013?

Jennie That’s right, I think it’s not a big a deal as it used to be. You know we now have gay marriage, and it actually went through without that much of a fuss, and the sky hasn’t fallen. Having said that I think we’d be naïve to imagine that there would be no resistance to a gay Prime Minister at this point. I think some people might have a problem with it, but I certainly wouldn’t. . .

Michie didn’t raise the issue, she was asked a question and gave a reasonable answer.

But she’s been stood down.

Cunliffe had earlier said anyone on his staff who made comments relating to Robertson’s sexuality would be off his campaign team and told Fairfax Media in a live online appearance today that Michie had been stood down this morning.

“I’ve looked closely at that issue, I’ve made a decision to stand a person down from my campaign team just because I think maintaining the appropriate perceptions that we are a united party and a united caucus is really important,” he said.

Maintaining appropriate perceptions? Keeping a grasp on reality would be a better look.

Michie had taken the decision well and understood it was a precautionary move to protect the reputation of the campaign which the three leadership contenders wanted to keep positive, he said. . .

Positive and united aren’t words that readily come to mind when thinking of either Labour or its leadership race.

This reaction to a statement which, in the context of the interview, was answering a question without in anyway being judgemental does nothing to change that.


Fonterra still #4 in global dairy

September 11, 2013

Fonterra has maintained its fourth place in Rabobanks top 20 dairy rankings.

The latest Rabobank survey of the world’s largest dairy companies (ranked by dairy product turnover1) has some familiar features. Nestlé and Danone remain at the top of the table and 18 of the 20 companies are the same as 12 months prior.
 
However,the survey also demonstrates some significant changes. The most notable shift at the top end of the table is the continued rise of Lactalis. With ongoing sales growth and the acquisition of Parmalat and Skånemejerier, Lactalis has moved from fourth into third position, and is now within striking distance of Danone. But the biggest strides up the table were made by the Chinese giants. Having entered the top 20 for the first time in 2010, Yili moved up four places into 15th and Mengniu moved up two places into 16th, riding the wave of domestic market sales growth.
 
Perhaps most striking is that despite the rise of the Chinese, the list of the world’s 20 largest dairy companies remains dominated by those based in OECD countries.
 
The headquarters for 18 of the 20 are in the EU, North America, Japan or New Zealand.
Shifting global dynamics call for strategic change:
This highlights one of the key challenges facing the world’s largest dairy companies. As outlined in Rabobank’s January 2012 report Show me the money, growth is expected to slow in these traditional dairy markets over the next five years, as the industry battles economic and demographic headwinds, already high dairy consumption levels, overweight consumers and concerns over the cost of dairy. By contrast, emerging markets such as China, South East Asia, India and Latin America are expected to offer good sales growth, with almost the opposite trends in place.
These dynamics have been developing for some time, and many of the world’s largest dairy companies have been working for years to ensure they are well placed to survive and thrive in this shifting market place. Those who are less well placed are now moving quickly to do so.
In slowing home markets, companies are building larger, leaner businesses and trying to tap into the pockets of faster growth that remain, sparking national and regional consolidation moves. At the same time, most are working hard to acquire the products, brands and competencies to build footholds in newer growth arenas.
Today, 16 of the largest 20 dairy companies have investments in manufacturing in Asia and/or Latin America; 15 of them have investments in China alone.
Companies are jostling for position
But an increased sense of urgency has entered the game of late, as the market trends accelerate and each new acquisition or merger narrows the remaining field of targets.
These strategic imperatives have generated a wave of M&A activity over the last 18 months, much of it cross border. The majority of the companies in our top-20 have bought other companies or entered joint ventures to strengthen their position during this period. The most significant moves have
included:
– Nestlé’s acquisition of Pfizer’s nutrition business, to buy improved entry into the rapidly growing infant nutrition sector in emerging markets;
– Lactalis’s acquisition of Parmalat, giving them access to several new markets around the world;
– FrieslandCampina’s acquisition of Alaska Milk in the Philippines, expanding their foothold in a fast-growing market;
– Arla’s proposed merger with Milk Link in the UK, and Milch-Union Hocheifel in Germany,consolidating their Northern European footprint;
– Canadian-based Saputo’s acquisition of the US cheese maker DCI to bolster its product portfolio in the US cheese market;
– Müller’s acquisition of Robert Wiseman Dairies in the UK and joint venture with PepsiCo in the US to tap into the expanding US yoghurt category.
Rabobank expects to see companies continue to vigorously pursue merger and acquisition targets in the next 12 months as they jostle to position themselves for growth and profit in a changing market environment.
rabodairy13

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