Rural round-up

Milk’s carbon footprint cut by 63 percent:Tom Quaife:

Since 1944, efficiencies in the dairy industry have allowed fewer cows to produce more milk. As a result, the carbon footprint per pound of milk produced has fallen by 63 percent, according to a noted expert.

“In 1944, it took four cows to produce the same amount of milk as a single cow in 2007,” Jude Capper, assistant professor of dairy science at Washington State University told those attending a session at Alltech’s 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium on Monday.

Dairy farmers have made major progress over the years, which is something the industry should be proud of, she said.

Capper has researched this subject extensively and published articles in scientific journals, including the Journal of Dairy Science.

She is also at the forefront when it comes to debunking the myth that modern agriculture is worse for the environment than the farms that dotted the landscape in the 1940s. . .

Scientists help farmers make dairies green:

Cows stand patiently in a tent-like chamber at a research farm in western Wisconsin, waiting for their breath to be tested. Outside, corrals have been set up with equipment to measure gas wafting from the ground. A nearby corn field contains tools that allow researchers to assess the effects of manure spread as fertiliser.

Scientists based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started a slew of studies to determine how dairy farms can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They will look at what animals eat, how their waste is handled and the effects on soil, water and air.

Their work is part of a government-sponsored effort to help farmers adapt to more extreme weather and reduce their impact on climate change. The studies also will support a dairy industry effort to make farms more environmentally friendly, profitable and attractive to consumers. . .

Bunnies on the run – Lynda Gray:

Cute and cuddly…almost. Meet Newton, one half of Euan Butter’s dynamic rabbit-busting duo.

Newton, a six-year-old ferret, and his white and pink-eyed side-kick Snowy (2) love nothing better than wreaking havoc in rabbit warrens and holes throughout Central Otago.

Euan, a pro-rabbiter for “donkey’s years” says ferrets are a good secondary rabbit control tool he’s used for the past 15 years, flushing out the last of the pest following major control operations.

He keeps the ferrets at his Alexandra base and carts them around Central Otago on the back of his ute in straw-lined boxes. . . .

Distillers grain prices slump as China rejections clog pipeline – Christine Stebbins and Karl Plume:

The price of distillers’ dried grain has slid 20 percent in a week as U.S. exporters shied away from selling the corn-based feed grain to its top customer China after Beijing rejected shipments containing an unapproved GMO corn strain.

“Everyone is just nervous. If you load something no one knows if someone is going to take it or not,” said Ryan McClanahan, a Kansas City-based trader with Commodity Specialists Co, which supplies DDGs to both domestic and export markets.

“People have just stopped loading vessels, containers domestically so the product is just backing up in the domestic market,” McClanahan told Reuters. . .

Oh rats! – Mad Bush Farm:

This morning my poor mum rang me in a terrible state. The panic in her voice was all too real. The problem? One rat sat on her bench making itself comfortable, oblivious to the drama going on just beyond, by the human occupant making a frantic call on the telephone.Call for help made to second to youngest child in her brood of six children, to come up and deal with said Mr Rat.

 
I went straight up there to sort the thing out. Yes there it was, as large as life cleaning its whiskers, unafraid that doom was now overshadowing its very existence. (cue evil laughter)
 
Fortunately, it wasn’t one of those horrible ugly water rats that show up from time to time. It was a native bush rat or Kiore. Even so, it was not welcome in my mother’s home. A few shoves, and it headed out the door. I chucked some rat bait under the deck and that should have been that. . . .

Winter mountain biking on Heaphy Track permanently approved:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced at Karamea on the West Coast the permanent approval of mountain biking on the Heaphy Track from 1 May to 30 September each year.

“The Heaphy Track is New Zealand’s ultimate multi-day mountain biking experience. It traverses dramatic and diverse landscapes from mountain forests, to expansive grasslands and wild West Coast beaches,” Dr Smith says.

“The three-year trial has been a success and it is timely to make it a permanent feature of Nelson and the West Coast’s visitor attractions. Year-round mountain biking has also been approved on two other Kahurangi National Park tracks – the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks.” . . .

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