Word of the day

January 21, 2015

Bavin – a bundle of brushwood or kindling used for fuel, for making a broom,  or in fences or drains;  a fagot bound with only one band; anything useless.


Rural round-up

January 21, 2015

Action needed now to minimise drought losses:

Farmers need to act now if they are to cope with the effects of a predicted drought in Canterbury, Lincoln University experts say.

But they also need to be thinking long-term with more dry-spells looking likely.

Chris Logan, Animal Programmes Manager at Lincoln University, says it seems the region may be in for a hard drought of a kind which has not been seen for some decades. . . .

 HSBC says global dairy prices should recover:

HSBC’s economists are expecting global dairy prices will start recovering from current lows, largely because of a sharp run-down in Chinese dairy imports.

Paul Bloxham, HSBC’s chief economist in Sydney, said Chinese imports had dropped to seemingly unsustainably low levels.

He said once China begins buying again, prices should at least partly rebound.

Global Perspective Will Help NZ Agribusiness Grow:

An agribusiness symposium with a global focus will help New Zealand businesses continue to develop their production, marketing and logistics skills to grow sales and exports.

That’s the view of agribusiness consultancy, AbacusBio that is underwriting the second Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium in March 2015.

AbacusBio partner, Anna Campbell says after attending the Harvard Agribusiness Executive Seminar in China a few years ago, the company was inspired to organise a comparable event locally so more New Zealand businesses could benefit from the learnings and networking.

The three–day program is facilitated by the Director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program, Mary Shelman and Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Ireland, Prof. Damien P. McLoughlin, who bring an international perspective, she says. . .

ANZ announces assistance package for farmers affected by Big Dry:

ANZ today announced an assistance package for farmers affected by extreme dry conditions across much of New Zealand’s east coast.

Many areas, including Canterbury, have experienced “severely dry” conditions over the past two months compared with the long-term average, according to Niwa.

“The Big Dry is affecting areas which haven’t experienced extreme conditions like these for many years, so for a lot of farmers this is new territory,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Bank’s Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .

 

David Jones explains why the red meat sector growth targets are not likely without major reform, and what should be done in 2015 with a sector ‘unable to help itself:

Currently, over 80% of our agricultural produce is shipped offshore each and every year, and over the next decade the sector has big ambitions to double export earnings to $64 billion.

The Red Meat Sector Strategy (RMSS), launched by the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand in May 2011, hopes to achieve growth in the sector of $3.4 billion NZD by 2025, across all parts of the value chain.

The three key influences focused under RMSS are:

• Improving how and what we sell in overseas markets

• Aligning procurement between farmers and processors .

• Adopting best practice production and processing . . .

Economists to discuss challenges of feeding a growing planet . . .

A world perspective on the short and long run impacts of food price changes on poverty will be up for discussion at a major international economics conference in Rotorua next month.

The World Bank’s, Dr Will Martin, will lead the discussion on food price changes and poverty as part of a session on challenges in the agrifoods sector at the 59th Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society’s (AARES) annual conference being held in Rotorua from February 10 to 13.

Dr Martin is manager for agricultural and rural development in the World Bank’s Research Group and president-elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. His recent research has focused primarily on the impacts of changes in food and trade policies and food prices on poverty and food security in developing countries. His research has also examined the impact of major trade policy reforms-including the Uruguay Round; the Doha Development Agenda; and China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation. . .

 Farmers urged to watch for yellow bristle grass:

 Horizons Regional Council is urging farmers to keep an eye out for yellow bristle grass, an invasive summer weed that spreads rapidly through pasture causing a loss in production.

 Horizons environmental programme coordinator plant security Craig Davey says the grass is already affecting farming in Waikato and is easily transferred from roadside infestations, via stock movement and infested hay.

“Like a lot of weeds, yellow bristle grass is quick to colonise bare ground. Hot, dry conditions, poor machinery hygiene practices and spraying to bare earth can all exacerbate its spread,” Davey says. . .


Still too much capacity?

January 21, 2015

Meat plants in the South Island and parts of the North Island are running at full stretch to cope with stock coming off farms which are running short of feed.

This  is inconvenient for those wanting to restructure the meat industry who argue that there is over capacity in killing space.

What would happen to the stock that farmers are selling now if there was less capacity?

Holding stock would put its health at risk unless farmers could buy supplementary feed and that could be too expensive for many.

How much killing space is enough?

There are strong arguments on the grounds of animal welfare to ensure that meat works can cope with surges of stock during prolonged dry spells which means there will be surplus capacity when the weather puts less pressure on feed.

 


GDT index up 1%

January 21, 2015

Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade price index increased by 1% in this morning’s auction.

gdt21115

That’s the third consecutive increase which is encouraging after the price  falls at the end of last year.

gdt21.1.15

Whole milk powder which has the most influence on the payout to farmers increased 3.8%.

gdt211152

 

 

 


Dry but not drought

January 21, 2015

The South Island’s east coast is dry, but not yet in drought:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has met with local farmers near Ashburton today and says that dry conditions are a concern.

“The dry summer may have been good news for holidaymakers but farmers are starting to feel the pinch in South and Mid-Canterbury, North Otago, and Wairarapa.

“Restrictions are in place for some irrigators as water levels drop, and the short term outlook is not showing much rain on the horizon.

“Most farmers I talked to today are managing by de-stocking and using feed supplies, but are hopeful of rain before too long to set them up for winter.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries keeps a close eye on the amount of rainfall, soil moisture levels and river levels and also gets good information from people on the ground.

“At this stage the Government is not planning to classify this event as a medium-scale adverse event, but we will continue to keep a close watch. District or regional groups need to make a formal request for any such a declaration and at this stage this hasn’t been deemed necessary.

“This threshold would be reached when the lack of rainfall has an economic, environmental and social impact on farming businesses and the wider community.

“It’s important to note that support is already available from Government agencies in all regions. Farmers should contact IRD if they need help or flexibility with making tax payments, and standard hardship assistance is available from Work and Income.

“I would urge farmers to make use of the good advice and support available from their local Rural Support Trusts. They are doing a great job of coordinating farming communities and providing information.

“Unfortunately droughts are nothing new for farmers. Two summers ago we suffered through the worst drought in 70 years, and last year we had severe dry spells in parts of Northland and Waikato.

“It is a tough situation for many with this coming on top of a lower dairy payout. However, I know that farmers are resilient and have come through many challenges like snowstorms, earthquakes and commodity price fluctuations before.”

Whether or not it’s officially dry, the wise course of action for farmers is to monitor conditions and make decisions on what they know.

In the old days of subsidies some farmers would wait for a declaration of drought before making decisions because they’d get assistance.

That doesn’t happen now and nor should it.

The weather is one of the many variables farmers face and it’s up to them to deal with it and its impact on their businesses whether or not it’s officially a drought or just another prolonged dry period.

In North Otago the situation isn’t as bad as it is further north because so much of the area is covered by irrigation schemes fed from t he Waitaki River which gives a very high degree of reliability.

That reliability is something farmers further north are seeking:

Farmers in South Canterbury are pushing to be able to take water from Lake Tekapo, with extremely dry conditions forecast to continue.

They rely on the Opuha Dam which is only a quarter full and falling fast.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said access to alpine water like farmers have further south in North Otago would make a huge difference.

He said taking water from Lake Tekapo was a very viable option.

“Surprisingly enough, Lake Tekapo is actually higher than Burkes Pass, so you can feasibly bring water over Burkes Pass and down into the Fairlie Basin to water much of South Canterbury,” he said.

“That would also help to supplement the Opuha Dam. So it is feasible to do that.”

Dr Rolleston said resource consent to bring water from Lake Tekapo over Burkes Pass was granted but was given up when the Opuha Dam was built. . .

That would be expensive but so too is prolonged dry weather.


January 21 in history

January 21, 2015

763 – The Battle of Bakhamra between Alids and Abbasids near Kufa ended in a decisive Abbasid victory.

1189 – Philip II of France and Richard I of England began to assemble troops to wage the Third Crusade.

1525 – The Swiss Anabaptist Movement was born when Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and about a dozen others baptised each other in the home of Manz’s mother in Zürich, breaking a thousand-year tradition of church-state union.

1643 Abel Tasman was the first European to reach Tonga.

1749 – The Verona Philharmonic Theatre was destroyed by fire.

1789 The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, was printed in Boston, Massachusetts.

1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French Convention, Louis XVI of France was executed by guillotine.

1824   Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, American, Confederate army general was born (d. 1863).

1859 – Ice came to Nelson for the first time.

1864 – The Tauranga Campaign started during the New Zealand Land Wars.

1887 – Brisbane received a daily rainfall of 465 millimetres (18.3 inches), a record for any Australian capital city.

1893 – The Tati Concessions Land, formerly part of Matabeleland, was formally annexed to the Bechuanaland Protectorate, which is now Botswana.

1899 – Opel manufactured its first automobile.

1905 Christian Dior, French fashion designer, was born (d. 1957).

1908 – New York City passed the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, but the measure was vetoed by the mayor.

1911 – The first Monte Carlo Rally.

1915 – Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit, Michigan.

1919 – Meeting of the First Dáil Éireann in the Mansion House Dublin. Sinn Féin adopted Ireland’s first constitution. The first engagement of Irish War of Independence, Sologhead Beg, County Tipperary.

1921 The Italian Communist Party was founded at Livorno.

1924 Benny Hill, English actor, comedian, and singer, was born (d. 1992).

1925  Albania declared itself a republic.

1938 Wolfman Jack, American disk jockey and actor, was born (d. 1995).

1940  Jack Nicklaus, American golfer, was born.

1941 Plácido Domingo, Spanish tenor, was born.

1942,  Mac Davis, American musician, was born.

1944 New Zealand & Australia signed the Canberra Pact, which was an undertaking by both countries to co-operate on international matters, especially in the Pacific.

NZ and Australia sign the Canberra Pact

1950 Billy Ocean, West Indian musician, was born.

1953 Paul Allen, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Microsoft, was born.

1954 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), was launched in Groton, Connecticut by Mamie Eisenhower, the First Lady of the United States.

1958 – The last Fokker C.X in military service, the Finnish Air Force FK-111 target tower, crashed, killing the pilot and winch-operator.

1960 – Miss Sam, a female rhesus monkey, lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, aboard Little Joe 1B – an unmanned test of the Mercury spacecraft.

1968 Battle of Khe Sanh – One of the most publicised and controversial battles of the Vietnam War began.

1974 Rove McManus, Australian television host and comedian, was born.

1976 – Commercial service of Concorde began with London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.

1976 Emma Bunton, English singer (Spice Girls), was born.

1977 – President Jimmy Carter pardoned nearly all American Vietnam War draft evaders.

1981 – Tehran released United States hostages after 444 days.

1997 – Newt Gingrich became the first leader of the United States House of Representatives to be internally disciplined for ethical misconduct.

1999 – War on Drugs: In one of the largest drug busts in American history, the United States Coast Guard intercepted a ship with over 4,300 kg (9,500 lb) of cocaine on board.

2002 – The Canadian Dollar set all-time low against the US Dollar (US$0.6179).

2008 – Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 11 September 2001, and Asian stocks dropped as much as 15%.

2011 – 2011 Albanian opposition demonstrations.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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