Word of the day

December 22, 2013

Benighted – overtaken by darkness;  in a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual, moral or social ignorance or darkness; unenlightened.

 


Are these her hands?

December 22, 2013

It Kerre McIvor’s voice but are these her hands?

Whoever’s hands they are, even one as lacking in fine motor skills as I am, should be able to make a bow like this to pretty up a parcel.

 


Rural round-up

December 22, 2013

Meat industry looks interesting for 2014 – Allan Barber:

Next year will be an interesting one for the red meat sector with highlights predicted to include improved sheepmeat prices compared with last season, the probability of a procurement battle for fewer lambs and prime cattle, continuing work with research funding and the efforts of new MIE sympathetic directors on the boards of SFF and Alliance.

The big question will be whether the discussions about industry restructuring will actually achieve anything and how much impact the new cooperative boards can have on those efforts. So far we know SFF, Alliance and ANZCO have already talked to the government about introducing some form of tradable slaughter rights, but have been rejected.

There is support for a merger of the two cooperatives from a number of farmers, although retiring chairman, Eion Garden, stated at the AGM on 18th December that a merger wasn’t necessarily the right answer. He said there was no point in creating a bigger version of the same thing, but there was a need for an innovative structure to deliver a ‘great’ outcome. . .

Early Christmas present for sheep farmers:

Meat company Lean Meats has announced a bonus payment to its farmer supplier shareholders after a stronger company performance in 2013.

Lean Meats chief executive Richard Thorp today announced a return to its Atkins Ranch Producer Group (ARPG) providing shareholder farmer suppliers an average of 31 cents a kilogram or $5.74 a lamb.

This year’s payment is split with an average of $1.85 per head paid at six weeks after processing and the remaining $3.89 per head being paid in the last working week of December. . .

Beef in 2014: Demand bright, local supply tight:

New Zealand’s beef industry faces brighter prospects in 2014 with strong international demand, combined with tight local supply, according to a new report released by agribusiness banking specialist, Rabobank.

The report, Beef in 2014: Demand bright, local supply tight, says the decline in beef production, particularly in lean beef, in the United States – New Zealand’s largest beef export market – means New Zealand product will be in demand.

However, the Rabobank report cautions, in other less traditional markets – where cost is the primary determinant – growing competition from India should be expected, with increased local Indian supply available for export. . .

Proactive approach to land management – Anne Hardie:

One of the things Barbara Stuart loves most about her sustainable land management role is working with farming families who are trying hard to look after their environment.

As a regional co-ordinator for NZ Landcare Trust she works with community groups in the top of the South Island dealing with sustainability issues, including the award-winning Sherry River Catchment Group, which carried out research on cow crossings and water quality, leading to environmental plans for the landowners along the river.

Over the years she has also worked on projects to improve the water quality of Aorere River in Golden Bay, following concerns from mussel farmers beyond the river mouth, of Rai River, which leads to the Havelock estuary, and on erosion of Marlborough dryland farming with the Starborough Flaxbourne Soil Conservation Group. . .

Mr Weeds’ latest work has gained attention – Richard Rennie:

AgResearch weed scientist Trevor James’ latest literary efforts may not make the bestseller list but he and his colleagues are already receiving international praise.

Trevor has worked in a cross-sector team to compile a definitive guide to New Zealand weed seeds, the Illustrated Guide to Weed Seeds of New Zealand.

It includes high-resolution shots of every weed seed identified in the country. This includes unwelcome intruders that may not have germinated in this country but have been found as stowaways in biosecurity checks. . .

Small-scale agriculture holds big promise for Africa – Caspar van Vark:

Supporting smallholder irrigation through finance and technical assistance could significantly improve productivity and incomes.

The recent discovery of a large aquifer in Kenya is a reminder that far from being dry, Africa has abundant water resources. The problem for farmers is access: only around 6% of cultivated land is equipped for irrigation, leaving millions dependent on rain-fed agriculture. How might more of them be helped to access water that could raise their productivity?

Large-scale, government-funded irrigation systems have long attempted to address this, with varying degrees of success. Those systems have a place, but research by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has found that many smallholders are themselves taking the lead and investing in their own low-cost, small-scale irrigation systems. . . .

And from the Nutters Club NZ:
:) kindest, Boris


Ordinary Life

December 22, 2013

ordinary life

From Story People by Brian Andreas.

Clicking the link will take you to a page where you can sign up for a daily dose of email whimsy like this.


Longest day, shortest night

December 22, 2013

Today is the southern hemisphere’s summer solstice giving us our longest day and shortest night.

Sunrise in Invercargill was at 5:50am  and it will set 15h 49m 06s later at 9:40pm.

The sun rose in Auckland at 5:59am and will set 14h 41m 33s later at 8:40pm.

Aren’t we blessed in the south – a whole hour more of light than the benighted north.


DOC seeks advice on monorail viability

December 22, 2013

Conservation Minister Nick Smith is delaying his decision on the Fiordland monorail proposal while DOC gets an independent financial viability report.

. . . “This is the most significant concession ever sought on public conversation land and the longest monorail in the world. I want to ensure my decision is based on the best quality advice,” Dr Smith says.

“I’m satisfied with the advice to date from my department on the proposal but I also need to decide if the project is financially viable. This is beyond the expertise of my department which is why I have asked for DOC to commission an independent financial viability report.

“This is an ambitious $200 million project. If it fails it could leave the department and taxpayer with a half-built or under-utilised structure through public conservation land.

“A bond can help manage these risks but it would never be possible to completely reverse the effects of such a construction. I need an independent robust assessment of the project’s financial viability to enable me to make a good decision.”

The Minister expects to receive the additional advice in February and will make his decision once he has given the report careful consideration.

The proposal is contentious but if it succeeds an economic analysis of the proposed  project says it could create 1000 jobs and deliver $80m a year to the economy.

The report for Riverstone, run by Bob Robertson, was prepared by Brown, Copeland & Co in Wellington to forecast the employment and income effects if the monorail gets a green light.

Mr Robertson said it was important the public recognised the economic benefits of jobs and increased tourism spending in Fiordland.

“The estimates contained in this report are conservative. Even so, generating $80m more in export receipts and adding hundreds of permanent jobs to the economy is a significant opportunity for New Zealand.”

If consented, Riverstone say the company plans a multimillion-dollar international annual marketing campaign and the monorail could attract 30,000 people a year, equivalent to $82.5m based on the average spend per visitor of $2750.

At a national level, the Fiordland Link Experience would provide more than 300 fulltime jobs or equivalent during a 2 -year construction time frame, the report said.

Once operational the project was estimated to generate an additional 747 jobs and $38.2m a year in additional income.

Mr Robertson said 45 per cent of foreign tourists did not visit the South Island and Riverstone would target this group to extend their stay and encourage a visit to Fiordland. “If we can convince just five per cent to do so, even if only for two days, that’s an extra $26m for our economy. We also hope to persuade many New Zealanders to spend a family holiday in Fiordland.

“Like any major project, we have our detractors. But we are ambitious for New Zealand and the Fiordland tourism industry. Our aim is to beat these estimates and deliver $100m in increased tourism activity every year.” . . .

These are big numbers and the area could well do with the business opportunities and jobs the monorail would provide if it succeeds.

Whether a business succeeds or fails is usually the business of the business doing it.

But in this case failure could leave a mess on public land and the Minister is wise to get the extra information he needs before making his decision.


Sunday soapbox

December 22, 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.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”  – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.


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