Word of the day

November 22, 2014

Decubitus – the posture adopted by a person who is lying down; an act of lying down; the position assumed in lying down.


Rural round-up

November 22, 2014

The dairy robots are coming – Keith Woodford:

Milking cows is far from exciting. People milk cows for money and not for fun. What if it could all be done by robots?

Well, those days have come. Already there are at least 16 New Zealand commercial dairy farms with robot milkers and the number is increasing rapidly. In Scandinavia and the Netherlands in particular, but also elsewhere in Northern Europe, there are now thousands of these robots. They are also coming to America.

Robots are coming to Europe and the US faster than to New Zealand because of differences between their farm systems and ours. On Northern Hemisphere farms, it is typically just a wander down the barn of 50 metres or so for the cow to meet up with a robot. In contrast, on nearly all of our farms the cows graze pastures and it can be a kilometre or more back to the milking shed. For efficiency, each robot needs a steady supply of cows throughout the day and night, and does not want a whole herd turning up at the same time. . .

Business idea that turns pest pines into high-quality essential oils a winner:

Taking an environmental problem and turning it into a commercial success has seen Queenstown social enterprise team Wilding & Co awarded with the ‘most innovative idea’, the first of three $1,000 milestone awards from Contact Energy, co-principal partner of Ākina Foundation’s six-month accelerator programme, Launchpad.

Over the last century wilding pines, native to North America, have taken over much of the South Island and their eradication has become a focus not only for the government, but also for local communities in the area.

Wilding & Co plays its part by clearing and controlling the spread of wilding pines in the Central Otago region, distilling them into high-quality essential oils and finished products marketed for their scent, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. They have also secured orders for many tonnes of bulk oil from international buyers. . .

Frost-fighting gloves earn prize for innovation:

A project to keep green fingers warm in cold Southern winters earned Otago’s Sarah Fenwick a placing in yesterday’s Young Horticulturist of the Year innovation awards and a $2,500 scholarship.

Ms Fenwick – who qualified for the competition by winning the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year award earlier this year – took out second place in the AGMARDT Market Innovation section for ground-breaking glove inners made of titanium lined limestone neoprene. Northland’s Patrick Malley took out first prize for a project to make kiwifruit traceable to the orchard of origin.

Ms Fenwick, a horticulturist working on Dunedin’s green spaces for infrastructure company Delta, says her project is “an innovative approach to guard against the loss of finger sensitivity. . .

 Patrick Malley Takes Out 2014 Young Horticulturist of the Year Title:

Whangarei kiwifruit grower, Patrick Malley, has taken out his third consecutive victory this year by winning the ‘2014 Young Horticulturist of the Year’ title at a ceremony in Auckland last night.

Earlier this year Patrick won the 2014 Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition in Mount Maunganui, and went on to win the NZ Young Grower of the Year at the national competition in Christchurch.

In addition to winning the overall title last night, Patrick also took out The AGMARDT Market Innovation Project Award; The Fruitfed Supplies Leadership Award; and The Primary ITO Career Development Award. . .

 ASB Farmshed Economics Report: A case of if, not when, for higher interest rates:

• Interest rates to stay low for longer
• Uncertain times ahead for dairy
• Meat prices continue to shine

Interest rates are staying lower for longer according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“Farmers have been keeping a close eye on the financial markets. With the RBNZ signalling a long pause on OCR rises in the current low inflation environment, it’s looking like interest rates will be staying lower for longer,” says ASB Rural Economist Nathan Penny.

“We expect the OCR to hold at 3.5% until September 2015 and now predict it will peak at 4%.”

It’s been a long hard road for dairy but whole milk powder prices may have finally hit their bottom. . .

New Commitment programme for Wools of New Zealand:

Wools of New Zealand has rolled out an annual wool commitment programme for its growers which it believes is an industry first.

The STAPLE® programme is the latest initiative for the grower owned wool marketing and sales company following implementation of its successful Direct to Scour (D2S) model and more recently, its Stable Price Mechanism, a model aimed at minimising wool price volatility between growers and clients.

Wools of New Zealand Chief Executive Ross Townshend says “the aim of the programme is to provide certainty of supply to customers direct from growers, allowing planning and confidence of meeting contracts. It’s an important tool in reducing price volatility and improving sustained, predictable returns and commercial certainty to our shareholders’ and customers’ businesses.” . . .

Growing dairy heifers – a focus on what good looks like:

A Northland heifer-rearing focus farm is being established along with four others around the country as part of a DairyNZ-led initiative to provide graziers with the tools, knowledge and resources to grow dairy heifers more effectively.

An open day will be held at the Northland focus farm in Okaihau, owned by Alister and Lyn Candy, on November 26 from 10.30am to 2.00pm.

Both graziers and dairy farmers are encouraged to attend with key topics including target weights and feed planning, animal health issues, managing the grazier-dairy farmer relationship and setting calves up for the run-off. . .

Qualified veterinarian and animal health executive joins Simcro as CEO:

Dr Roger Wakelin has been appointed as the new CEO of animal health delivery systems company Simcro. From December 1, Dr Wakelin will assume responsibility for all of the day to day operations. Current CEO Will Rouse will assume the role of Executive Chairman, while continuing to be a director and significant shareholder.

Dr Wakelin’s experience has spanned both production and companion animals. He worked for more than a decade in production and companion animal veterinary practices in New Zealand, Ireland, UK and South Africa. He moved into the animal health pharmaceutical industry and held technical, market development, marketing and senior management positions with companies such as Pitman Moore, Bayer and more recently Merial USA. Rouse says that Simcro’s Board of Directors are pleased and excited about their latest appointment. . .


Saturday’s smiles

November 22, 2014

A post-heart attack recuperation class was full with several patients and their partners.

The physiotherapist said, ” Remember that gentle exercise is good for you.  Walking is especially beneficial, it’s low impact and gets you out in the fresh air.  Just pace yourself, don’t do anything that causes pain and try to stay on a soft surface like grass.”

“Partners,  you’re in this together. It wouldn’t hurt you to go walking with the patient.  In fact, that shared experience would be good for you both.”

The room became quiet as the partners absorbed this information.

After a few moments a man at the back of the room, slowly raised his hand.

“Yes?” said the Instructor.

“I was just wondering if it would be all right if she carries a golf bag while we walk?”


Friday’s answers

November 22, 2014

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said: There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.?

2. Who/what are the characters Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless and in which book by which author would you find them?

3. 3. It’s laitier in French, latteria in Italian, lechería in Spanish and miraka in Maori, what is it in English?

4. What is an abomasum?

5. What’s your favourite dish/recipe using cheese?

Points for answers:

Andrei got 4 2/3 (#2 had three parts and I’m sure you knew the author) with a bonus for a better memory than I’ve got – I had a suspicion I’d asked questions about Cold Comfort Farm before but wasn’t certain).

Gravedodger wins a virtual roulade (with asparagus and Windsor Blue cheese) for five right – the Italian, Spanish and Maori don’t translate as milkman but the French does so I’m accepting it).

Alwyn gets three and 2/3 (missed the author in #2).

J Bloggs gets 3.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


Saturday soapbox

November 22, 2014

Saturday’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, amuse, bemuse or simply muse. but not to abuse.
Do you agree or disagree?


November 22 in history

November 22, 2014

498 – Symmachus was elected Pope in the Lateran Palace, while Laurentius was elected Pope in Santa Maria Maggiore.

845 – The first King of all Brittany, Nominoe defeated the Frankish king Charles the Bald at the Battle of Ballon near Redon.

1307 – Pope Clement V issued the papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets.

1574 – Discovery of the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile.

1635 – Dutch colonial forces on Taiwan launched a pacification campaign against native villages, resulting in Dutch control of the middle and south of the island.

1718 –  British pirate Edward Teach ( “Blackbeard“) was killed in battle with a boarding party led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard.

1808  Thomas Cook, British travel entrepreneur, was born (d. 1892).

1812 – War of 1812: 17 Indiana Rangers were killed at the Battle of Wild Cat Creek.

1819  George Eliot, (Mary Ann Evans) British novelist, was born (d. 1880).

1830 – Charles Grey, (2nd Earl Grey), became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1837 – Canadian journalist and politician William Lyon Mackenzie called for a rebellion against Great Britain in his essay “To the People of Upper Canada”, published in his newspaper The Constitution.

1869 – In Dumbarton, Scotland, the clipper Cutty Sark was launched – one of the last clippers ever to be built, and the only one still surviving to this day.

1890 Charles de Gaulle, President of France  was born (d. 1970).

1899 Hoagy Carmichael, American composer, was born (d. 1981).

1908 – The Congress of Manastir established the Albanian alphabet.

1913 – Benjamin Britten, British composer, was born (d. 1976).

1917 Jon Cleary, Australian author, was born (d 2010).

1928 – The premier performance of Ravel’s Boléro in Paris.

1932 – Robert Vaughn, American actor, was born.

1935 – The China Clipper took off from Alameda, California for its first commercial flight, reaching its destination, Manila, a week later.

1939 General Bernard Freyburg took command  of the British Expeditionary Force.

Freyberg takes command of NZ expeditionary force

1940 –  Following the initial Italian invasion, Greek troops counterattack into Italian-occupied Albania and capture Korytsa.

1943  Billie Jean King, American tennis player, was born.

1943 – Lebanon gained independence from France.

1954 – The Humane Society of the United States was founded.

1958  Jamie Lee Curtis, American actress, was born.

1963 – In Dallas, Texas, US President John F. Kennedy was killed and Texas Governor John B. Connally seriously wounded.

1963 – US Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States.

1967 – UN Security Council Resolution 242 is adopted by the UN Security Council, establishing a set of the principles aimed at guiding negotiations for an Arab-Israeli peace settlement.

1973 – The Italian Fascist organization Ordine Nuovo was disbanded.

1974 – The United Nations General Assembly granted the Palestine Liberation Organization observer status.

1975 –  Juan Carlos was declared King of Spain following the death of Francisco Franco.

1977 – British Airways started a regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service.

1986 – Mike Tyson defeated Trevor Berbick to become youngest Heavyweight champion in boxing history.

1987 – Two Chicago television stations were hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom.

1988 – The first prototype  B-2 Spirit stealth bomber was revealed.

1989 – In West Beirut, a bomb exploded near the motorcade of Lebanese President René Moawad, killing him.

1990 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher withdrew from the Conservative Party leadership election, confirming the end of her premiership.

1995 – Toy Story was released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.

2002 – In Nigeria, more than 100 people were killed at an attack aimed at the contestants of the Miss World contest.

2004 – The Orange Revolution began in Ukraine, resulting from the presidential elections.

2005 – Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.

2012 – Cease-fire began between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel after eight days of violence and 150 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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