Word of the day

March 16, 2014

Polichinelle – a supposed secret that’s widely known: an open secret.


Rural round-up

March 16, 2014

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board elects a new Chairman:

Northland farmer and Northern North Island Farmer Director for Beef + Lamb New Zealand James Parsons has been elected Chairman of the farmer-owned organisation.

Parsons was elected Chairman at a meeting of the board that followed the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Annual Meeting in Feilding yesterday.

Parsons said he was honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to the sheep and beef sector through the work of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand is a vehicle for farmers to invest as a group, in work that they couldn’t do alone. Much of the core research and information we need in order to achieve greater profitability on our farms simply wouldn’t exist without farmer investment through Beef + Lamb New Zealand.” . . .

Fonterra needs more capital – Keith Woodford:

This is an outstanding year for dairy farmers with record farm-gate milk prices. Barring another major drought, national milk production records will also be set. But for Fonterra it is not a good year.

The problem is that Fonterra itself lacks fundamental profitability. Indeed if Fonterra were this year to pay its farmers the price which Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual calculations say it should be paying, then Fonterra would make a big loss.

Fonterra’s solution for 2014 is to build capital by retaining some 70c per kg milksolids (i.e. per kg of fat plus protein) from the theoretical milk price. This will see about $1 billion retained in Fonterra’s bank account, which in turn will avoid major new borrowings. . . .

Giant DHL moves on from fracas – Tim Fulton:

South Island farming giant Dairy Holdings Ltd believes it has emerged stronger on the other side of an ownership dispute involving titans of New Zealand farming. Chief executive Colin Glass talks to Tim Fulton about DHL’s approach to its 300 staff, its governance and industry outlook.

Dairy Holdings Ltd (DHL) could strictly be classed as a corporate, although its chief executive Colin Glass squirms at the word.

The business owns more than 50 farms and milks about 40,000 cows on more than 14,000ha but prides itself on another statistic – the number of staff it has helped into farm ownership.

Making the step from contract milker or sharemilker to outright farm ownership was difficult but not impossible, Glass said. . .

Where next for the badger cull? – Philip Case:

The future of the badger cull in England has been cast in doubt after a leaked report concluded the pilots in the South West were not effective.

Details of the long-awaited independent scientific assessment of last year’s trial culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset, seen by the BBC, claimed they fell short of their targets .

The Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which was appointed by DEFRA to evaluate the pilots, has apparently also concluded they failed the test for humaneness, after 5% of culled badgers took longer than five minutes to die.

On public safety, however, it is understood the panel will report there were no issues. . .

Dairy Industry Winners Focused On Debt Reduction:

The winners of the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition, Chris and Carla Staples, are focused on reducing debt and increasing equity.

The couple, who won $11,300 in prizes, are positioning themselves to take the next step to farm ownership.

The other major winners at the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards were Jason Macbeth, the region’s Farm Manager of the Year, and Amy White, winner of the Dairy Trainee of the Year title. . . .

Weather or weevils? It pays to check:

Is it the weather or is it weevils? That’s the question farmers should be asking if poor pasture growth is threatening on-farm productivity.

Clover root weevil is being reported across the country and especially in the Lower South Island where its prevalence is particularly high this summer. Nodules on clover roots fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and provide a ‘free’ form of nitrogen fertiliser. Weevils feeding on them disturb the nitrogen fixing with subsequent damage to foliage and pasture quality.

“Many farmers may be putting slower pasture or animal growth rates down to lack of sunshine and overcast weather given the mixed summer we have had. However clover root weevil may also be an issue on their properties and is often a hidden cause of poor pasture productivity,” says Ballance Agri-Nutrients Research and Development Manager Warwick Catto. . .

NZ Whisky proclaimed one of the world’s best:

He’s believed to have visited more whisky distilleries than anyone on earth and Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible boasts over 4,500 whiskies. But few score 94 points or higher, so Murray has created a special symbol for the handful of whiskies that earn the status ‘Liquid Gold.’

In a great start to 2014 for the New Zealand Whisky Company, Jim Murray’s latest edition hot off the press in London, sees the South Island Single Malt 21 y.o. scored at 95 points, placing it in the highly coveted category. This is the first time ever that a New Zealand whisky has scored so high and been anointed ‘Liquid Gold’.  

“This is a salute to the craftsmanship of the Dunedin distillers,” says company CEO Greg Ramsay. “Being recognised as one of the world’s great whiskies by Jim Murray, that’s the ultimate endorsement of your dram and all the Dunedin distillers like Cyril Yates can be proud that what they were doing in the 80s and 90s in New Zealand, was every bit as good as what the Scots were doing over in Speyside and on Islay.”  . . .


Pretend visitor

March 16, 2014

 

PretendVisitorSM

 

We stood out on the porch before we went inside & she told me her secret. Pretend you’re just visiting, she said. That way you’ll forget that they’re family.

Pretend Visitor – ©2014 Brian Andreas
Published with permission.
You can sign up for a daily dose of whimsy like this at the link above.

Not so good old days

March 16, 2014

From the ODT’s 100 years ago, a moving tale of cruelty:

Some sidelights on the work which women are sometimes called on to do on a farm were given in the Hawera Magistrate’s Court today, when a farmer’s wife proceeded against her husband, for persistent cruelty to her and her two children and for (1) a maintenance order, (2) a separation order, and (3) a guardianship order.

According to the evidence the parties were married six years ago, and they went to live on a farm at Patea. For a time matters went on smoothly, but subsequently trouble arose, the complainant saying that the defendant insisted upon her assisting with the milking. She had to do her own household work in addition, feed the calves, and chop the firewood. Witness used to go into the shed between 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning, when she milked from 25 to 30 cows out of a herd of 112.

Witness had to milk the same number of cows in the evening, and did not finish until nearly 8.30. She had too much to do, and had often complained of having to work in the cowshed, but her husband only retorted: ”You will come if I want you.” Witness was milking up to the night before her first child was born and three weeks later she was in the shed again. Later on, the defendant put in milking machines, and then she had to strip over 40 cows.

Witness complained that she had to borrow money to come to Hawera to be confined for her second child and while there she received ”pocket” money from her mother. She had only received £1 in pocket money during the six years of her married life. On one occasion the defendant had made trouble about her asking for a shilling to buy a hat, remarking that she could do without it. Her mother made most of the clothes for the children, but had never been paid for them. . . .

A sad reminder that those weren’t always the good old days.


Bluegreen for good growth

March 16, 2014

The left like to think they have a mortgage on green issues.

They don’t, and most of their policies to protect and enhance the environment come at considerable cost to the economy.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible to have sound environmental policies which don’t handicap the economy, and  to have sound economic policies which don’t come at the cost of the environment.

Photo: Now here's a real plan for our economy.

Good economic policies enable better environmental ones – cleaning up past mistakes and maintaining high standards comes at a cost.

By worlds standards New Zealand’s water quality is high, but there is still a lot of room for improvement in many places.

In light of that, the announcement of  an extra $1.2 million to help communities clean-up waterways is very welcome.

The Government is investing a further $2.1 million to help communities improve New Zealand’s freshwater quality, Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced.

Ms Adams made the announcement at the Bluegreens Forum in Kaikoura today.

“This further investment adds to the Government’s strong commitment to improving the quality of our freshwater, as we develop a package of cohesive reform and clean-ups that will lead to the more productive and sustainable use of our freshwater resource within a generation,” Ms Adams says.

The Government’s freshwater reform programme includes a National Objectives Framework, national bottom lines for freshwater, collaborative planning processes, better water accounting, and spending hundreds of millions of dollars to clean-up historical contamination of our iconic waterways.

“I know that many New Zealanders want to play an active part in improving the quality of the water in our local lakes and rivers.

“To encourage this, today I am announcing the Government is allocating $1.1 million to a fund to support local water quality initiatives that support the freshwater reforms.

“These projects will involve the community, raise awareness and strengthen collaboration.”

Further information, including how to apply for the funding, will be announced shortly.

“As well as helping people take action to improve freshwater quality, we also need to make sure the activity is achieving results.

“So, a further $1 million will be targeted at enhancing the monitoring of freshwater quality in New Zealand.

“A large network of sites is currently used for assessing the state of our rivers. These sites were established for a variety of reasons, but the data collected is not necessarily representative of the whole country.

“This money will be used to improve the effectiveness of the monitoring, enabling more representative and precise reporting on the state of New Zealand’s freshwater.

“This will also support the National-led Government’s environmental reporting framework which will enhance New Zealanders’ understanding about the state of our environment.

“New Zealand is in the middle of ambitious freshwater management reforms and this money will support regional councils to involve their communities in taking action.

“At the same time we are ensuring that good information is available to shape the decisions that communities need to make about water quality in their region.”

Photo: Investing a further $2.1 million in community freshwater action


$100m foundation for environment & education

March 16, 2014

A $100 million philanthropic foundation to support and invest in high impact New Zealand-based environmental and education projects  has been launhed.

The NEXT Foundation is funded through the benefaction of New Zealanders Annette and Neal Plowman, who have already supported a number of significant philanthropic projects, including the Rotoroa Island Trust in the Hauraki Gulf, Project Janzsoon in the Abel Tasman National Park and Teach First NZ which aims to tackle educational inequality.

The Foundation will make commitments of approximately $5 – $15 million in up to three projects each year. Any individual or group with a high impact, well-structured idea in the areas of education or environment will be able to submit an Expression of Interest for funding consideration.

The Foundation has an Advisory Panel of notable New Zealanders who will help with project selection and a Board of Directors chaired by Chris Liddell.

Mr Liddell, also Chairman of Xero, and previously Vice Chairman of General Motors and CFO of Microsoft Corporation, says education and the environment have been chosen as the two categories for support and investment because they have the greatest potential to inspire and create lasting value for New Zealanders.

“We have a vision of creating a legacy of environmental and educational excellence for the benefit of future generations of New Zealanders,” he says.

“To achieve this vision we will make significant commitments to projects that are aspirational, ambitious and high impact. The Foundation will be a strategic investor in well-managed projects that deliver a meaningful and measurable return toward the education of New Zealanders and the protection of our unique landscape, flora and fauna.

“We admire the foresight of our benefactors,” said Mr Liddell, “and believe their generosity will have a profound impact on the future of our country.”

The Foundation was welcomed by the government:

“This new philanthropic foundation represents a huge commitment to New Zealand’s conservation and environmental challenges that Governments will never be able to fully fund. Its founders, through Project Janszoon and the Rotoroa Island Trust, have already shown a great commitment to New Zealand’s natural environment. This new foundation opens the door to other high impact conservation projects in other parts of our country,” Dr Smith says.

“This exciting development reinforces the merit of the Department of Conservation developing a new partnership approach to its work of protecting New Zealand’s flora, fauna and special places.”

“Education is the best investment New Zealand can make in its future. This new foundation will help drive innovation and excellence, and complement the work the Government is doing to raise standards and provide our children with a modern learning environment,” Ms Kaye says.

“We are committed to working with the NEXT Foundation to maximise the environment and educational gains from this incredible act of generosity towards New Zealand’s future,” the Ministers say.

This is an extraordinary act of generosity  which will make a positive difference for generations.


Sunday soapbox

March 16, 2014

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, amuse or bemuse.

Happy words.  We hope that you are having a great Sunday!


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