National working in and for the south #35

August 16, 2014

Fantastic Fact # 35:

Word of the day

August 16, 2014

Disputatious – fond of having heated arguments; fond of or given to disputation; argumentative; contentious; disagreeable, quarrelsome, or likely to enter into disputes; controversial.

Hat tip: Rob Hosking

Rural round-up

August 16, 2014

 Not celebrating yet – Andrea Fox:

Bay of Plenty farmer David Jensen’s commitment of nearly a third of his milk production this season to Fonterra’s June guaranteed milk price (GMP) of $7 a kilogram of milksolids (MS) looks set to boost his coffers by at least $80,000 but he’s not crowing.

He knows that would be foolhardy, given the roller-coaster ride of the milk price this year and the long stretch of the season ahead.

This is Jensen’s second round on Fonterra’s new fixed milk price programme. In last year’s pilot scheme his business posted a $45,000 opportunity cost after he committed milk at $7/kg MS in what is set to be a record $8-plus payout season. . .

Pipfruit sector’s future ‘very bright’ – Pam Jones:

Good returns are expected in the pipfruit industry this year following a record season last year, Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive officer Alan Pollard says.

Mr Pollard was one of the keynote speakers at the two-day Pipfruit New Zealand conference in Queenstown last week, and visited three Central Otago orchards and one winery with delegates during a field day after the conference.

The conference built on the Pipfruit New Zealand strategic plan, which was released at last year’s conference and outlined how to achieve a goal of developing the pipfruit industry into a $1 billion export industry by 2022, Mr Pollard said. . .

Innovative sheep farmers winners

Southland and Otago did well in the third annual Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Napier last week.

AbacusBio managing director Neville Jopson, of Dunedin, received the Focus Genetics sheep industry science award in recognition of his work in the industry, while Mount Linton Station, in Southland, won the Alliance Group terminal sire award for lamb growth and meat yield and the SIL-ACE award for terminal sire for lamb growth.

Andy Ramsden, of Wanaka, was awarded the Allflex sheep industry innovation award for his input to increasing the productivity of New Zealand sheep during the past 20 years, and Riverton’s Blackdale Coopworth stud won the Telford dual purpose award for reproduction, lamb growth plus adult size and wool production. . .

Agricultural drones taking off on farms:

Robots are not only taking their place in milking sheds or on vineyards and orchards – aerial drones are increasingly being used to extend the reach and view of human farmers.

Unmanned aerial vehicles or aerial robots – known in the military world as drones – are increasingly being used for a range of activities on farms, including checking fences and water systems, and monitoring and even moving stock.

Linda Bulk of the Aeronavics company, said farmers were surprised at how easy they were to use.

“It’s so practical,” she said. “There’s that eye in the sky, what you see from above is so much more informative than when you’re on eye level to start with and it gets into those hard to reach areas that are often a hazard for quad bikes. . . .

Improved Returns See Rise in Cattle Numbers:

Dry conditions in the northern North Island and continued land use change in the South Island saw New Zealand’s sheep numbers decrease 3.2 per cent over the 2013-14 season, while beef cattle numbers increased 1.6 per cent.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service carries out a stock number survey annually. Its latest survey shows sheep numbers dropped to 29.8 million in the year to 30 June 2014.

B+LNZ Economic Service Chief Economist Andrew Burtt says strong mutton prices, driven by rising demand from North Asia, encouraged a high level of cull ewe processing for the second year in a row.

Breeding ewe numbers, at 19.96 million, were slightly down (-1.4%) on the previous June. The largest contributor to the overall decline was the South Island, reflecting the continued land use trend towards dairy and dairy support activities.


Meadow Mushrooms Opens Second Stage Of $120 Million Redevelopment:

The second stage of a $120 million redevelopment and expansion project at one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural enterprises will be opened this week.

The $12 million investment into the extension of Meadow Mushrooms’ Christchurch farm will add a further 60 jobs and increase production by 37,000 kilograms of fresh white mushrooms a week.

This project follows the $45 million expansion undertaken by the company on site in 2011 and is the second of three stages to completely reconfigure the company’s infrastructure in New Zealand. A new office administration and headquarters construction project will commence before the end of the year and will be followed by an expansion of the compost facilities and growing shed conversions.

“This development demonstrates Meadow Mushrooms’ confidence in the future market and our commitment to the industry,” said John Barnes, CEO of Meadow Mushrooms. . . .




What movie are you?

August 16, 2014

What movie are you?

It’s A Wonderful Life

You are sweet and sentimental and there are very few people who don’t want to see you, at least once a year. You are particularly popular around Christmas time. You reaffirm the belief that goodness prevails. You remind people that they can make a difference in the lives of those around them, no matter where they happen to be.

I’ll have to put that on my to-see list because I haven’t seen it.

Saturday’s smiles

August 16, 2014

* I was going to call the apathy hotline the other day but then I thought, what’s the point?

* Fifty percent of people think apathy is rife. the rest don’t really care.

* People keep asking me how I’m going to vote. I keep telling them I’ve got more important things to worry about than politics – like how come I’m paying so much tax.

* The AGM of Apathy Anonymous was cancelled because nobody turned up.

* The AGM of the Ignorance Institute was cancelled because no-one knew when and where it was being held.

* Two kids are sitting in a high school hall, listening to the principal give the welcoming speech for the year. The principal says, “The two greatest dangers that students face are ignorance and apathy.”

One of the students turns to her friend and asks, “What’s ‘ignorance and apathy?'”

The other student says, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”



IP can go land can’t

August 16, 2014

A large majority of New Zealanders want the government to clamp down on farm sales to foreigners.

The latest poll suggests three-quarters of voters say it should be made harder for foreign investors to buy large tracts of farmland, while just under a quarter say it should not.

Click here to see full graphics

But opinion was more evenly divided over whether too much farmland had already passed into foreign ownership, with 52 per cent agreeing and 41 per cent disagreeing.

I suspect many of those asked wouldn’t know how much land is in foreign ownership or understand the figure if they did.

Few would understand the difference between productivity from a very small area of prime horticultural land and a large area in the high country either.

However, a majority of people questioned for the poll also thought foreign investment benefited the economy. . .

Of course it does.

Foreign investment brings money into New Zealand, helps employ New Zealanders and develop assets, including but not only land.

Why do land sales cause an uproar when company sales do not?

Has anyone noticed an uproar over Golden State Food’s purchase of Snap Fresh?

Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the largest diversified food processors and distributors in the U.S., announced today that it has acquired ownership of Snap Fresh Foods, a New Zealand-based provider of premium salad greens, vegetable mixes, baby-peeled carrots, fresh sprouts, dressings and condiments. The acquisition of Snap Fresh Foods includes two facilities in New Zealand that service that region as well as export to China.

“We look forward to expanding our regional produce foodservice business into the fast-growing retail sector with such a strong and successful brand as Snap Fresh Foods,” said Neil Cracknell, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Golden State Foods. “The addition of Snap Fresh provides great growth opportunities for GSF particularly in the retail salads segment, while providing new products and capabilities to our existing food service customers in the region.”

The only reaction I’ve noticed is this exchange on Twitter:

We have a lot to gain from foreign investment.

If there are concerns about potential losses too any change to rules should be based on facts not emotion – and keep in mind that intellectual property is portable and can be taken from New Zealand but land isn’t and can’t.

Red to purple to blue

August 16, 2014

Dunedin is supposed to be the second reddest patch in the country after South Auckland.

In his speech launching the National Party campaign for Michael Woodhouse and Hamish Walker last night, deputy leader Bill English gave the numbers from the last few elections which shows that is no longer the case.

National candidates have been steadily eroding Labour majorities in the Dunedin North and South seats and National’s party vote has been steadily rising.

He also gave some numbers which showed why Dunedin voters should be supporting National which included unemployment below the national average at less than 4%.

You wouldn’t know that from the way some of the city leaders, who ought to be building Dunedin up, keep talking it down.

National has a much more positive view of the city and the team – MPs, candidates and volunteers including a very active group of Young Nats – are working hard to get the good news out.

The city that was red could now be considered purple which is getting very close to blue.


Mike, Hamish, Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor and Bill.

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