Word of the day

November 21, 2013

Tatterdemalion  – ragged, tattered, dilapidated; a person wearing ragged or tattered clothing; a ragamuffin.


Rural round-up

November 21, 2013

Canterbury dairy farms under fire – Annabelle Tukia:

Canterbury dairy farmers are under fire after a new report found almost a third of farms in the region weren’t complying with consenting rules.

Environment Canterbury’s regional dairy report identified 68 farms with major issues – a discovery environmental group Fish and Game is calling a disgrace.

Canterbury farmer Vaughan Beazer runs one of the region’s 717 fully compliant dairy farms. He says he prides himself on having a farm that’s clean and green.

“We live on the land, we don’t just bypass it and go look at this pretty little paddock […] We look at and that is our livelihood, that is our environment, it’s our inheritance and what we’ll bequeath to our children… it is everything to us.”

But Environment Canterbury’s latest dairying report proves not every farmer shares Mr Beazer’s view.

It monitored almost 1,000 farms, and more than 70 percent were fully compliant. But one third of them didn’t meet the grade, and 68 farms had major non-compliance issues. . .

Lost in translation – Willy Leferink:

Being a Dutch-Kiwi I have come to accept that things don’t always come out as expected.  Some things can get lost in translation between what you say and what people think you said.

I put reports I got of a speech made to a business audience in Auckland by Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, into that category.  Being a compatriot of mine, I know Theo holds the Kiwi dairy industry in high esteem and not just for our productivity, but for the way we manage environmental matters inside the farm gate.

What has been lost in translation is the conversation relating to Fonterra’s environmental performance as a company and not the whole cooperative.  What was reported is that Fonterra isn’t doing anything about the environment when Theo said that Fonterra did not have the environment as an overall part of its strategy. Theo pointed out that our European competitors had upwards of a decade’s march on Fonterra.  What was lost in translation is that the European processors were forced to do this because of draconian regulation in order to help their shareholders out.  As companies, they have moved to get a lot closer to their consumers and we can learn from that. . . .

Vege growers concerned about co-op – Alan Wood,

Some shareholders in large vegetable distribution co-operative MG Marketing are upset the co-op has started to grow vegetables in competition with them.

The “producer in its own right” role taken on by MG Marketing could financially harm the growers it represents, growers representatives said.

MG Marketing is the trading name of Market Gardeners Ltd, one of New Zealand’s biggest co-operative companies specialising in growing and distributing fresh produce. It has run for more than 90 years and competes against the likes of Turners & Growers.

Max Lilley, former chairman and president of the NZ Vegetable and Produce Growers’ Federation and now retired, said the co-operative was making the wrong decision by apparently buying into some vegetable and produce operations. . .

Keep it clean to keep New Zealand clean:

Federated Farmers has joined with the National Pest Control Agencies to promote farmgate biosecurity with a hygiene guideline and logbook for farm machinery called “Keep it Clean.”

“Machinery movements pose a persistent high risk in pest spread,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Soil on a bulldozer in Canterbury was found to contain seeds from at least 73 different species and there are at least 80 pest species known to be typically moved by machinery.

“The pastoral sector is facing the spread of pest plants like Chilean needle grass while trying to contain pest insects, like the Great White Cabbage Butterfly. . .

Federated Farmers’ simplify hiring migrants:

Federated Farmers has produced a practical all in one electronic document to help dairy farmers to navigate and simplify the process for dairy farmers to hire migrant workers.

“While we would love to hire capable kiwi workers, there is a shortage of kiwis willing to do the work because there is a common misperception that agriculture is a low paid and low skilled career,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“To help farmers fill this gap with capable and available migrant workers, we have put together one simple document so that employers can follow the immigration process without the headache. . .

Hunters get voice with new Game Animal Council:

Hunters of deer, tahr, chamois and wild pigs will now have a say in their recreation with today’s passage by Parliament of the Game Animal Council Act 69 votes to 51.

“The establishment of the Game Animal Council Act is great news for tens of thousands of New Zealanders who hunt. It enables them to join mountaineers, trampers, game bird hunters, and trout and salmon fishers in having a statutory voice into the management of their recreation on public conservation land,” Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

The Game Animal Council Act establishes an independent statutory body to give greater representation to the interests of recreational hunters. Key functions of the council include advising and making recommendations to the Minister on hunting issues, providing information and education to the sector, promoting safety initiatives, conducting game animal research, and undertaking management functions for designated herds of special interest.  . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Calls For Director Nominations:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd (B+LNZ) is calling for nominations to fill two farmer-elected director positions on its board.

They are for the Eastern North Island and Southern South Island, where both positions will be vacant due to the current directors not seeking re-election.

B+LNZ Chairman and Eastern North Island Director, Mike Petersen has served on the B+LNZ board since 2004. Southern South Island Director, Leon Black is also standing down, having served on the board since 2008.

Nominations to fill these vacancies need to be made to the B+LNZ Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp by 5pm on Friday 20 December. Farmers can call him on 0508 666 336 to get information on how to make a nomination. . .

North Island rural consultants win Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards:

A “rock star” of farm consulting who shares his success with his clients has taken one of two top prizes at the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

John Cannon, of Hastings, won the Farmax Consultant of the Year for the North Island. While AgFirst Hawkes Bay consultant Ben Harker was named Farmax Emerging Consultant of the Year for all of New Zealand.

They each were awarded their titles at the Farmax Consultants’ Conference in Rotorua on November 19. . .


Just another day in Middle-earth #airnzhobbit

November 21, 2013

The Lord of the Rings  and Hobbit films are gifts which keep on giving for New Zealand tourism.

They also provide inspiration for Air New Zealand’s advertising:


Thursday’s quiz

November 21, 2013

Dinner preparations are taking precedence over question setting so I’m inviting you to pose them.

Anyone who stumps us all will win an electronic batch of meringues (third batch of real ones has just gone into the oven).

Anyone who manages to inset #gigatownoamaru into a question or answer will get a bonus batch.


Land use changes put pressure on water quality – Environment Commissioner

November 21, 2013

New Zealand is undergoing huge changes to land use and decision makers need to be aware of the consequences for the future, says the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

The conclusion comes in her latest report, Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution, which examines how New Zealanders are changing the way they use land and the pressure this puts on water quality.

“The report is focused on the two nutrient pollutants – nitrogen and phosphorus. On land they are valuable nutrients, helping plants to grow. But when there is too much of them in water, they become pollutants, and can lead to excessive growth of weeds, slime and algae.

“Over recent years, hundreds of thousands of hectares used for sheep and beef farming have been converted to dairy farming on the one hand, and forestry on the other.

“Conversion to dairying increases nutrient loads on water; conversion to forestry does the opposite.

Dr Wright added: “I applaud the effort that is being put into environmental mitigation on dairy farms. Unfortunately, it is particularly difficult to control nitrogen. Nitrogen – in the form of nitrate – is so soluble that I think of it as the ‘elusive’ pollutant.

“I am pleased that fresh water policy is very much on the Government’s agenda with the recent release of a discussion paper on setting ‘bottom lines’ for water quality. I hope that this report will better inform both the general public and those who make decisions on their behalf.”

The full report is here.

Dr Wright was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon this morning.

We’ve got 20 people coming for dinner tonight and preparing for that is taking priority over reading and discussing the report.

However, given its importance I wanted to give readers the chance to discuss it.


We’re the foreigners there

November 21, 2013

There’s more than enough xenophobes here opposed to immigration and foreign ownership of land and businesses.

But that sentiment isn’t confined to this side of the Tasman.

We’re the foreigners there and it’s not just dairy companies that some locals object to New Zealanders buying.

Qantas is opposing Air New Zealand’s plan to increase its investment in Virgin Australia.


NZ’s best university city

November 21, 2013

Dunedin is New Zealand’s best university city for several reasons.

It is the site of the country’s first and best university – Otago. *

The city itself has only about 120,000 residents so the 20,000 or so students plus staff make a significant, and largely positive, impact on it.

The majority of students come from outside Dunedin and most live on or near the campus creating a student-friendly environment not found anywhere else in the country.

It didn’t however, feature in London-based Quacquarelli Symonds’  annual Best Student Cities ranking because the qualifying criteria include being a city of at least 250,000, and having at least two world ranked universities in the city. So Dunedin – like some other small university cities, including Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Princeton in the US, and St Andrews in Scotland, wasn’t considered.

The Herald has picked up the story and is running a poll to determine the country’s best university city.

The only one to pick is of course Dunedin.

* in my totally biased and subjective opinion.

 


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