Word of the day

October 27, 2013

Argute – characterised by shrewdness, acuteness, or sagacity; sharp; shrill; subtle.


Rural round-up

October 27, 2013

Great staff equals farm success:

Investing in the relationship with farm workers can boost productivity and improve farm performance according to a visiting academic.

 Associate Professor Ruth Nettle, University of Melbourne’s Rural Innovation Research Group, is visiting Massey and Lincoln universities as a guest of OneFarm: the Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management.

She is here to discuss mutual research opportunities with New Zealand agriculture academics. . .

Dairy firms share DNA and pioneering approach – Tim Fulton:

Synlait and Bright Dairy work well together because of compatible DNA and a pioneering approach, former Finance Minister Ruth Richardson says.

New Zealanders have become familiar with the story of Synlait, starting from nothing on farms and eventually building a factory to supply the world from central Canterbury.

But Richardson said Bright Dairy’s entry to Synlait’s share register three years ago was just as innovative in that Bright was the first Chinese dairy company to invest offshore.

In some ways the move was similar to Synlait deciding several years before to leave the ranks of the New Zealand dairy co-ops, Richardson said at the China Business Summit. . .

Cereals gain from the good oil – Joanne Bennett:

One need not travel to Tuscany to see vistas of golden fields – 1900 hectares of the South Canterbury landscape is glowing with rapeseed in full flower.

It’s a crop that grows well here, thriving in heavy soils with high rainfall, withstanding cold winters and hot summers. . .

‘Horror stories’ in wake of the big blows- Tony Benny:

Forest owners shouldn’t give up on their crop and assume damage wrought by last week’s and last month’s gales is terminal, says Canterbury forestry consultant Allan Laurie.

“We’ve dealt with well over 150 properties and we haven’t seen one yet that we don’t believe we can extract some value out of so it would be very disappointing for me if people were being told that they have no value in their trees,” Laurie said.

“We’ve already heard some horror stories of where people are being told they’ll get their trees cleaned up for nothing and you could walk away feeling somehow happy. Well, we’re a bit perturbed by that and we don’t see too many stands where you wouldn’t extract some value.” . . .

Genetics merger will benefit farmers – Gerald Hall:

A proposed merger of Ovita, Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL), and the Central Progeny Test offers strong research and commercial benefits for New Zealand sheep and beef farmers.

Together Ovita, SIL, and the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Central Progeny Test are the glue that holds together sheep genetics research and development in NZ and supports industry improvement.

These are key ingredients in the profitability and competitive positioning of sheep and beef farming. . . .

 Barley shows promise in cosmetics – Annette Scott:

Locally grown barley could be a game changer, forming the base of the next generation of cosmetics.

When cereals are mentioned it is usually food that comes to mind. But cereals can be used for a number of non-food purposes.

At a Women in Arable meeting in Ashburton, Dr Nick Tucker, of Plant and Food Research, revealed more opportunities for cereal growers looking to maximise returns, including using barley for cosmetics.

Common plastics are made of polymers, large molecules consisting of many small building blocks. Cereals also contain polymers, polysaccharides and proteins. . .

Travellers – are they really a problem?

A drama of immense proportions has been playing itself out near our farm in Elsham, which adjoins a sleepy village close to the Humber bridge.

One Sunday we were informed by text that travellers had arrived with 10 caravans and were making themselves comfortable on our land. They had arrived and unpacked and the area was covered with dogs and children.

The policeman in charge of the local countryside watch rang the current husband and suggested that the pair of them go and visit the newcomers and assess their intentions. Meanwhile, the jungle drums started up. The nearby industrial estate employed security guards overnight to patrol. The village was up in arms with phone calls asking Andrew what he was going to do about it and the occupiers of the adjoining runway (Elsham was a bomber airfield) were threatening to erect an earth barrier around the travellers, blocking them in or out, depending on the time of day. . .


First responder

October 27, 2013

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Story People by Brian Andreas

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Another poor return from Landcorp

October 27, 2013

Landcorp’s full year results to June 2013 are very sorry reading.

The company made a net operating profit of $12, 959,000; a net loss after tax of $18,067,000 and paid a $5 million dividend.

It attributes the poor return to last year’s drought which hit milk production and livestock prices.

There would be few if any farms in the areas where Landcorp operates that didn’t have an equally tough year.

But none would have $1,694,900 in assets.

Landcorp has a very big asset with a very poor return.

Performance in recent years hasn’t been as bad as last season but even the best isn’t a good return on the asset:

landcorp

The company has a good reputation for staff training and genetics but neither require the state ownership of farms.

The one compelling argument for the continued ownership of the farms is as a land bank for treaty settlements.

But once they are concluded there is no need for the state to be in the business of farming.

Then the land should be sold, farm by farm, over time so as not to flood the market and depress prices.

The farm management expertise and genetics could be sold as separate companies.

That would provide far more money for research, training and other projects which would return more for the country such as irrigation infrastructure than will ever be available from Landcorp’s dividends.


Working better than benefit

October 27, 2013

The opposition and many on the left have criticised every effort National has made to help people move from welfare to work.

It’s hard-hearted, it’s not fair, it’s not right they say.

But this story shows the dangers being on a benefit when you have alternatives poses to recipient and those to whom they are role models:

A 9-year-old’s comment about how “cool” it was to be on a benefit has changed a Huntly woman’s life.

Until six months ago, Judy Wilson was one of about 80,000 sole parents in New Zealand receiving a benefit.

She was devoted to raising her six children but, in her own words, she was also drinking, smoking, and not doing “anything”.

And she had been for close to 20 years.

“It was my nine-year-old that said, ‘It’s cool being on the benefit because you’ve been on it for so long, eh, mum. I’m going to go on the benefit too’.” . . .

She did a training course and now works as a carer.

Working provides a better role model for her daughter and it’s better for her health:

. . . But being free also encouraged bad habits. “I found myself drinking so much on the benefit. Since I’ve been working, I haven’t been drinking because you don’t have time. My whole way of thinking and speaking has changed.” . . .

Benefits have a place for those in genuine need but for most they could and should be a temporary measure, for their own sake, that of their families and society.


Rugby history – kickoff goes backwards

October 27, 2013

Yesterday Meads Cup final will go down in rugby history.

Not for the score – Mid Canterbury 26 – North Otago 20, but this kickoff.

When North Otago fullback Ed Keohane restarted the game during the first half the unbelievable happened.

The kick-off not only failed to go the required 10 metres, but was picked up by the wind and carried backwards all the way over his own dead ball line.


Sunday soapbox

October 27, 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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