5/10

20/10/2013

Only 5/10 in NBR’s Biz Quiz.


Word of the day

20/10/2013

Subdolous – sly; crafty; cunning; artful.


Rural round-up

20/10/2013

Access big hurdle in China – Tim Fulton:

ANZCO chairman Sir Graeme Harrison took the podium at the China Business Summit to argue the big problem for the meat industry in China was market access.

“New Zealand, like all countries supplying meat to China, is currently caught in the midst of a huge reform process, with food safety and related regulatory changes a very prominent part,” Harrison said.

The process of getting NZ meat plants approved by AQSIQ, China’s inspection agency, had been tortuous.

One ANZCO plant the Ministry for Primary Industries certified for export to China in 2009 was finally officially listed by AQSIQ four years later, he said. . .

Alliance profit but no dividend – Alan Williams:

Alliance Group made a profit in its latest year but not enough to allow pool distribution or dividend payment.

Alliance had achieved good cashflow and improved its equity ratio over the year, chairman Murray Taggart told shareholder farmers in Christchurch last week.

Alliance was cautious about markets for this season but there were several positives, Taggart said.

Detailed results of the latest year would be released soon. . .

Mega-merger of dairy industry was ‘miracle’ – Clive Lind:

It was a miracle the New Zealand dairy industry, with it’s strong-willed people and philosophical conflicts, completed the mega-merger that formed Fonterra, says the author of a new book.

Clive Lind, a Fairfax executive and former daily newspaper editor, spent three years researching and writing Till the Cows Came Home, to be published mid-next month.

Through the eyes of key industry people he interviewed, Lind tells the stories behind the multi-billion dollar industry – from 40 years ago when the single-seller Dairy Board was jolted into an urgent search for new markets when Britain started talks to enter the European Economic Community, to the emergence of added-value products, the economics-driven consolidation of more than 100 dairy companies into less than a handful, to the writing on the Beehive wall for the single-seller producer board and the efforts of the industry to find a structure solution for the future. . . .

Plant & Food Research innovation recognised:

Plant & Food Research had two reasons to celebrate at last nights New Zealand Innovators Awards held at Auckland Museum. The Crown Research Institute won the ‘Innovation in Environment and Agriculture’ category for research into insect sex pheromones, while the Biopolymer Network (BPN), a company jointly owned by Plant & Food Research, Scion and AgResearch, also won the ‘Innovation Excellence in Research’ category.

Sex pheromones, the natural chemicals released by the females of many insect species to attract mates, can be used to disrupt communication between insects, reducing their ability to identify mates and subsequently leading to a reduction in the population and reduced reliance on chemical controls. . .

Raw milk venture renews enthusiasm – Tony Benny:

Selling raw milk direct to the public has allowed a Canterbury farmer to get back to what he loves and that’s milking cows.

Geoff Rountree and his wife, Sandra, gave up dairy farming nine years ago because their hay-making business was growing and the days were not long enough to do everything.

“The contracting was building and it was getting a bit out of hand because the cows weren’t coming first, they were coming second and that shouldn’t have been the case,” he said.

The 105 cow herd went and the seven a side herringbone shed at Oxford was mothballed but Rountree missed being a dairy farmer. “Sandra always said to me, ‘stop pining to milk cows, go and milk someone else’s’.” . . .

Tweeting shows common concerns – Abby Brown:

A world-wide live Twitter discussion, #Agrichatworld, on issues facing farmers was a global first and revealed some recurring concerns, organiser Josien Kapma said.

Those concerns included climate, sustainability, ignorance of consumers, ever fewer farmers and complexity around farms.

The conversation also showed that farmers think the public have the wrong view of farmers’ values which is exacerbated by the rural/urban divide.

One of the questions asked by @AgrichatUK was what farmers wish the non-farming public knew about them.

The respondents’ tweets showed that farmers feel the urban/rural divide is alive and well and growing as the non-farming public tend to think as farmers only being about the bottom line and not also wanting to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. . .


Obvious Mistake

20/10/2013

obvious mistake

Some of the stuff I learned early on was useful, she told me, but obviously most of it was meant for someone who wasn’t me.

This is from Story People by Brian Andreas.  Clicking the link will take you to where you can sign up for a daily dose of email whimsy like this.


Vertical farming

20/10/2013

Vertical integration – where producers get involved in manufacturing and marketing of their produce – is not unusual, but vertical farming?

That’s the way of the future if you believe this.

The concept of indoor farming is not new, since hothouse production of tomatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and other produce has been in vogue for some time. What is new is the urgent need to scale up this technology to accommodate another 3 billion people. An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world’s urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.  . .

Advantages of Vertical Farming

  • Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
  • No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests
  • All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
  • VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
  • VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services
  • VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface
  • VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of
    evapotranspiration
  • VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible
    parts of plants and animals
  • VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
  • VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers
  • VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers
  • VF creates new employment opportunities
  • We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on
    earth
  • VF may prove to be useful for integrating into refugee camps
  • VF offers the promise of measurable economic improvement for tropical and subtropical
    LDCs. If this should prove to be the case, then VF may be a catalyst in helping to reduce or even reverse the population growth of LDCs as they adopt urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable food production.
  • VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water
    and land for agriculture

It’s being done in Japan:

In the offices of Pasona, the future has already arrived. The Tokyo based recruitment agency has dedicated 20% of their 215,000 square foot office to growing fresh vegetables, making it the largest in .

The gardens utilize a mix of hydroponic and soil-based farming, and require very specific climate control within the building. This often means keeping these spaces warmer than is considered comfortable for office spaces, and is arguably the building’s greatest downfall.

That makes it expensive but it’s not just about growing food or saving money:

The food grown in the office isn’t meant to just feed the employees at Pasona. Kono Designs, the architecture firm behind the project, is hoping that this new type of office will inspire the young urbanites to reconsider agriculture and possibly even to reinvigorate rural areas.

Another version of urban farming is taking place in Singapore where SkyGreens boasts the world’s first low carbon hydraulic water-driven, tropical vegetable urban vertical farm.It uses The A-Go-Gro vertical systems :

. . . which are 9m in height (3 storeys), housed in protected-outdoor green houses, allow tropical leafy vegetables to be grown all year round at significantly higher yields (than traditional growing methods) that are safe, of high quality, fresh and delicious.

It lists the economic benefits:

  • Increases productivity The production yield of Sky Greens Farm is 5 to 10 times more per unit area compared to other traditional farms growing leafy vegetables using conventional methods in Singapore.
  • Vegetables tastes good Tropical leafy vegetables are grown in special soil-based media, which contribute to good tasting vegetables, suitable for stir-fry and soups. The vegetables are harvested everyday and delivered almost immediately to retail outlets to consumers.
  • Year round production As the vertical farm structures are in protected-outdoor green houses, the vegetables are grown in a controlled environment, protected from pests, wind and floods.
  • Consistent and reliable harvest Steady supply of fresh leafy vegetables is assured as growing is done in a controlled environment.
  • Easy to install and easy to maintain The modular A-frame rotary system allows quick installation and easy maintenance.
  • Better ergonomics & automation The rotary system allows the troughs to be immediately adjusted for easy harvesting. Automation at the farm also means more productive workers per ton of vegetables produced.
  • Space saving The footprint of the vertical system is small but yet can produce significantly more per unit area than traditional farms. It can also be customized to suit different crop requirements and varying environments.

It also lists environmental benefits:

  • Environmentally friendly high-tech farm Sky Greens observes, learns and works with nature to achieve sustainability for the good of the environment and to grow safe, high quality and fresh vegetables using green technologies for consumers in Singapore.
  • Low energy usage Outdoor green houses have abundant sunlight in the tropics. The A-Go-Gro system uses patented low carbon hydraulic green technology to power the rotation of the tower at very low energy costs, while still allowing the plants to get more than adequate sunlight.
  • Low water usage As the troughs of plants rotate, it is irrigated using an innovative flooding method, using very little water. Water is also recycled and reused.
  • Waste & water management Sustainable water management practices are utilized on the the farm. All organic wastes are composted at the farm to ensure the use of high quality and safe fertilizers.
  • Green technologies Green technologies are stringently adopted at the farm to achieve the 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle).

People in floraculture and horticulture might face competition from vertical farms but I don’t think agriculture – especially sheep, beef, dairy  and cereal cropping – has anything to worry about.


Loving the stadium

20/10/2013

Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium wasn’t universally welcomed and mumblings about its cost to ratepayers continues.

But yesterday the city was buzzing and a near-capacity crowd enjoyed a wonderful game of rugby there in comfort.

It was a mild evening but even so it was probably the first time most of the crowd had watched a test in Dunedin in shirt sleeves.

The roof climate-proofs events and that matters this far south.

Rugby was the winner last night but the stadium is used for a variety of other activities which are much more enjoyable for being held under cover.

Among these is the Otago wine and food festival which will take place at the stadium on November 23rd.

Economists say that people putting the case for stadiums overestimate the benefits and underestimate the costs.

But not everything can be measured in money.

Dunedin isn’t feeling very positive at the moment but the stadium is a bright spot which brings locals together and attracts people from other places too.


New media breaks news

20/10/2013

The main stream media is attempting to turn the exposure of Len Brown’s infidelity into a left-right political conspiracy.

One angle it hasn’t looked at is it was a blog which broke the news.

Stephen Cook, a former Herald journalist broke the story on Whaleoil.

It’s not the first time a blog has been first with a story but it is, at least in New Zealand I think, the first time for such a big story.

Is that significant?

I don’t think it signals less importance for the old media but it does point to more significance for the new.


Sunday soapbox

20/10/2013

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.

>


October 20 in history

20/10/2013

1548 The city of Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace) was founded by Captain Alonso de Mendoza by appointment of the king of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

1632 Sir Christopher Wren, English architect, was born (d. 1723).

1740 Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refused to honour the Pragmatic Sanction (allowing succession by a daughter) and the War of the Austrian Succession began.

1781 Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, was approved in Habsburg Monarchy.

1803 The United States Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase.

1818 The Convention of 1818 signed between the United States and the United Kingdom which, among other things, settled the Canada – United States border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.

1827  Battle of Navarino – a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada was defeated by British, French, and Russian naval force in the port of Navarino in Pylos, Greece.

1859  John Dewey, American philosopher, was born (d. 1952).

1883  Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Ancón, by which the Tarapacá province was ceded to the latter, bringing an end to Peru’s involvement in the War of the Pacific.

1904  Anna Neagle, English actress, was born (d. 1986).

1910  The hull of the RMS Olympic, sister-ship to the RMS Titanic, was launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast

1932 William Christopher, American actor who played Father Mulcahy in M*A*S*H, was born.

1934 Michiko, empress of Japan, was born.

1935  The Long March ended.

1941 Stan Graham was shot by police after five days on the run.

Fugitive Stan Graham shot by police

1941  World War II: Thousands of civilians in German-occupied Serbia were killed in the Kragujevac massacre.

1944  Liquid natural gas leaked from storage tanks in Cleveland, then exploded; levelling 30 blocks and killing 130.

1944 – General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return to the Philippines when he commanded an Allied assault on the islands, reclaiming them from the Japanese during the Second World War.

1947 The House Un-American Activities Committee began its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a blacklist that prevented some from working in the industry for years.

1950  Tom Petty, American musician, was born.

1951 The “Johnny Bright Incident“  in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

1952 Governor Evelyn Baring declared a state of emergency in Kenya and began arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising, including Jomo Kenyatta, the future first President of Kenya.

1967 A purported bigfoot was filmed by Patterson and Gimlin.

1968  Jacqueline Kennedy married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

1970 Siad Barre declared Somalia a socialist state.

1971 The Nepal Stock Exchange collapsed.

1973  ”Saturday Night Massacre“: President Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refused to fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

1973  The Sydney Opera House opened.

1976  The ferry George Prince was struck by a ship while crossing the Mississippi River. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died and only 18 people aboard the ferry survived.

1977 A plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines along with backup singer Cassie Gaines, the road manager, pilot, and co-pilot.

1979  The John F. Kennedy library was opened in Boston.

1982  During the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem, 66 people were crushed to death in the Luzhniki disaster.

1984 The Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in Monterey Bay, California.

1991 The Oakland Hills firestorm killed 25 and destroyed 3,469 homes and apartments, causing more than $2 billion in damage.

2011 – The former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, and his son Mutassim Gaddafi were killed shortly after the Battle of Sirte while in the custody of NTC fighters.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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