Word of the day

December 6, 2013

Alterocentric – someone whose life normally rotates around other people; young animals that depend on their mothers for food and protection.


Rural round-up

December 6, 2013

Farmers keen to come clean – Bruce Wills:

Federated Farmers surprised some people by welcoming Dr Jan Wright’s report, Water quality in New Zealand: Land use and nutrient pollution.  Before Dr Wright released it, she kindly gave us a briefing and that tells me we are not only trustworthy but also seen by her as a positive influencer.  This didn’t go unnoticed and the words of the Otago Daily Times’ editor deserve repeating:

  “…Farmers are making attempts to address the negative impacts of their operations and know their future livelihoods rely on looking after the land. But many mitigation efforts, such as riparian planting, are not effective at controlling nitrogen run -off, particularly in some catchment areas and soil types, and a rethink is needed – and our scientists and researchers play a vital part in that, alongside policymakers and farming industry heavy weights.  There is an increasing goodwill and acknowledgement that all parties need to work together to address issues. Federated Farmers is welcoming the report, with environment spokesman Ian Mackenzie saying the effects on water are “not a future we’d like to be a part of”, significant research is being put into finding solutions and progress is being made…”

In our ongoing discussion about water, we must not forget that New Zealand has some of the best quality water on earth. . .

Lincoln University announces LincolnSheep for education, training and research in sheep farming:

Lincoln University is converting 20 hectares of its farmland at its Te Waihora campus into a facility for teaching and researching sheep breeding and intensive lamb finishing. The land was previously used as the site for the South Island Field Days.

The new site for LincolnSheep will use 15 hectares for a partially-irrigated ‘technology farm’ as a summer-safe sheep breeding unit. The unit will be used to investigate and demonstrate current and future on-farm technologies in the management of sheep, hogget and lamb selection, health, welfare and production, with the ultimate aim of maximising productivity and profitability for sheep farming. . .

More iwi want agriculture help from Lincoln University:

Lincoln University says more and more iwi are wanting to set up agriculture partnerships with the tertiary provider.

It has agreements with tribes such as Ngai Tahu in the South Island, as well as Northland iwi, Ngapuhi and Ngati Koroki Kahukura and Ngati Haua in Waikato.

In Waikato, the university and the two Tainui tribes have outlined an agreement to create an agricultural training centre, and aim to create a new farm certificate course. . .

Push to eradicate genetic disease within four years:

Since its introduction into New Zealand in the early 1990s, the Texel sheep has grown to become one of this country’s key breeds in the national flock, both as a terminal sire and as part of a maternal flock.

“Its high meat yield muscling and hardiness has meant it is a first choice for many sheep farmers,” says Alistair McLeod, Chairman of the New Zealand Texel Breed Committee. “We are always looking at improving and advancing our breed for the commercial sheep farmer, so when we identified a genetic disorder we quickly looked at ways to test for it and eradicate it.” . . .

 

 

Researchers back Canterbury stubble burning – Tim Cronshaw:

The burn-off of stubble from harvested crops may be little used overseas, but researchers are convinced of its value for Canterbury arable farming.

Stubble burning demonstration plots were a talking point for managing crop rotations at the Foundation for Arable Research’s (Far) Arable Research in Action field day at Chertsey on Wednesday.

Research and extension director Nick Poole said the plots were set up to show why stubble burning was important in Canterbury, especially to growers of small seed crops. . .

UK wheat prices to fall, boding well for dairy:

 UK growers should prepare for a further fall in wheat prices – but not enough to put livestock producers in profit, in contrast with their dairy peers, HSBC said. 

The bank – which a year ago predicted, broadly correctly, a drop to £165 a tonne in wheat prices this year, from £227 a tonne at the time – said that values will fall further next year, to £150 a tonne.

While the UK itself reaped a relatively small harvest this year, of 12.1m tonnes, after persistent rains hampered autumn sowings, the world picture for cereals supplies has improved, HSBC said, quoting estimates from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization that stocks, compared with use, has risen to an 11-year high. . .


Friday’s answers

December 6, 2013

Thursday’s questions were

1. Who said: Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.?

2. What was the name of the 1957 film in which a dissenting juror tried to convince the other 11 on the panel that the case wasn’t as clear cut as it appeared?

3. It’s fâché in French, arrabbiato in Italian, enfadado in Spanish and pukuriri in Maori, what is it in English.

4. The the Erinyes, female chthonic deities of vengeance, are better known by what name?

5. When it comes to anger is it better to be a stewer or a volcano?

Points for answers:

Andrei and Alwyn both win an electronic batch of fruit mince pies for clean seeps with bonuses for extra information.

Answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Nelson Mandela 18.7.18 – 5.12.13

December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela has died.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the father of the nation, died on December 5 2013 at the age of 95.

President Jacob Zuma made the announcement from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday night. He said Mandela passed away at 20:50 in his Houghton home surrounded by his wife, Graça Machel and members of his family.

Zuma said Mandela would have a state funeral and that the flags would fly half-mast from December 6 until after the funeral.

Zuma called on South Africans to “recall the values for which Madiba fought”. . .

Mandela became the symbol of the struggle against apartheid after he was convicted in the Rivonia Trial of charges of sabotage and was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.

At the end of his trial, Mandela gave a now iconic speech in which he said: “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal, which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” . . .

Other quotes which exemplify his philosophy:

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

It always seems impossible until its done.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

In my country we go to prison first and then become President.

I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man.

Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.


Ewe know it’s going to be one of those days

December 6, 2013

This calls for a caption competition.


No need to tighten foreign ownership of farm land

December 6, 2013

Labour is proposing tightening rules round the sale of farm land to foreigners.

The sale of farms to overseas investors will be restricted under proposed new legislation, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill Phil Goff says.

“My Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill will be debated by Parliament after being drawn from the Member’s Ballot today.

“John Key once said ‘New Zealanders did not want to become tenants in their own land’. He never did anything about that; this Bill does.

“It stops wide purchase of New Zealand land by foreign investors unless significant benefit to New Zealand can be proven.

“Labour believes Kiwis are concerned about farms being sold to foreign buyers when there is no benefit to New Zealand. . .

Over at Keeping Stock Inventory 2 points out the hypocrisy in this when Labour had no qualms about selling the equivalent of 122 rugby fields a day when it was in power.

If those sales had caused problems a change of heart would be understandable but this policy isn’t based on principle, it’s appealing to emotion and is an attempt to out-Winston NZ First for the xenophobic vote.

Existing rules are already very tight and and place strict requirements on the purchasers.

This can provide more benefits for New Zealanders than if the land was sold to locals by, for example, requiring public access.

Foreigners might have more capital for development than locals too.

Property near us has just had Overseas Investment Office approval for sale to foreigners.

Their development plans require at least five new houses for extra staff. They are also planning to build another dairy shed which will require more staff and another couple of houses.

That will provide significant economic and social benefits.

They will be getting water from the North Otago Irrigation Company which requires independently audited farm environment plans each year which will ensure they look after water and soil quality too.

Labour’s trying to reconnect with the provinces but this policy is more likely to appeal to city people who never come closer to farming than a fast journey down the open road on the way to somewhere else.

Those of us who live in the country know it’s not who owns the land but who lives on it and what they do with it which has nothing to do with where they come from.


Consitutional review recommendations

December 6, 2013

The Constitutional Advisory panel has reported back.

It’s recommendations include:

* The development of a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools and in the community, including the unique role of the Treaty of Waitangi, te Tiriti o Waitangi, and assign responsibility for the implementation of the strategy.

* notes the Panel’s advice that the current arrangements for the representation of Māori in Parliament should remain while the conversation continues.

* adding economic, social and cultural rights, property rights and environmental rights to the Bill of Rights.

* no change to the size of parliament.

* notes a reasonable level of support for a longer parliamentary term with the provisos:

  • sets up a process, with public consultation and participation, to explore what additional checks and balances might be desirable if a longer term is implemented
  • notes any change to a longer term should be accomplished by referendum rather than by way of a special majority in Parliament.

* setting up a process, with public consultation and participation, to explore a fixed election date in conjunction with any exploration of a longer term.

* notes the discrepancy in geographic size affects the representation of people in larger electorates, particularly Māori and rural electorates

  • sets up a process, with public consultation and participation, to explore ways to address the discrepancies in geographic size of electorates which affects the representation of people in larger ones,  particularly Māori and rural electorates.

* notes a level of concern about MPs leaving the parties they were elected with, especially list MPs, but no consensus about a solution.

There is nothing very controversial in these recommendations.

I favour a four-year term and a fixed election date.

I also support an increase in the population tolerance in electorates which could reduce the area covered by the bigger ones.


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