Word of the day

April 28, 2015

Curglaff  – the physical sensation or shock the body experiences from going in to cold water.


Rural round-up

April 28, 2015

Report card: could do better – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s Shareholders Council has told the co-operative’s directors and senior management the recent interim results were below the council’s expectations.

Council chairman Ian Brown said shareholders would rightfully feel disappointed that, in particular, an increase in dividend was not delivered.

He was introducing the FSC April report to all shareholders, one of four written reports a year. . .

Fighting nature with nature:

New research into sustainable pest management controls might soon offer avocado growers an effective non-chemical control against leafrollers.

The research, being conducted by scientists at Plant & Food Research aims to use the pests’ own sex pheromones to disrupt the mating process in an effort to reduce populations.

“Sex pheromones, the natural chemicals released by the females of many insect species to attract mates, can be used to disrupt communication between insects” says Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Max Suckling. . .

Fileding scientist’s seed drill a Rolls Royce system – Gerard Hutching:

Feilding soil scientist and inventor Dr John Baker is on a mission to save the world’s soils and has created a special machine that has been described as the “Rolls Royce” of direct drill seed machines.

With a turnover of between $3-4 million a year, Baker’s cross-slot no-tillage drills are sold in 18 countries and used extensively in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

As the earth’s soil quality diminishes, Baker’s drill has been touted by its designer and enthusiastic supporters as a potential saviour.

Recently researchers from the University of Sheffield found that soils under Britain’s allotments were significantly healthier than soils that had been intensively farmed. They said the UK had only 100 harvests left in its soil. . .

Boffins dirty on soil profile

New Zealand’s commitment to participating in the United Nation’s International Year of Soils has been challenged by some soil scientists.

With four months of the year already gone, Dr Doug Edmeades has questioned how much effort the NZ scientific community was making during the year for raising the profile of soils’ contribution to the economy and the potential careers on offer.

 “I was recently at a seminar in Wellington that described the gap that exists between scientists and society.  . .

Westpac honours rural women at Rocky:

PHILANTHROPIST Turia Pitt will join Rural Women’s Award state winners at a Beef Australia 2015 high tea in Rockhampton next week.

Westpac Agribusiness will celebrate the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award by honouring the winners’ quintet at the Women in Business High Tea, led by guest speakers Ms Pitt and Juliette Wright, founder of Givit. Westpac has been a long-term sponsor of the RIRDC Award.

 Susan Bower, head of Agribusiness at Westpac, said the bank was pleased to host the inspirational group at an event which would bring highly skilled women into agribusiness settings to share their skills.  . .

Automation marks new age for ag – Rebecca Sharpe:

RISING costs and difficulty in sourcing skilled labour have contributed to farmers seeking automated machinery systems for their operations, particularly in broadacre cropping enterprises.

Technology in this area continues to evolve quickly, with an Australian-first Yanmar driver-less tractor prototype revealed earlier this year in the Riverina.

But the days of driver-less machines haven’t yet been reached in Australia, according to Chesterfield Australia Integrated Solutions manager Paul Slatter, Brisbane, Queensland. . .


Bureaucracy trumps science & animal welfare

April 28, 2015

This is the triumph of bureaucracy over science and animal welfare:

British organic farmers are being forced to treat their livestock with homeopathic remedies under new European Commission rules branded ‘scientifically illiterate’ by vets.

Although homeopathy has been branded as ‘rubbish’ by the government’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, organic farmers have been told they must try it first under a new EU directive which came into force in January.

The regulation means that animals could be left diseased or in pain for far longer than necessary and organic meat could end up containing higher levels of bacteria, vets have warned.

John Blackwell, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: “We should always use medicines which have a strong science base and homeopathic remedies are not underpinned by any strong science.

“Disease is painful and farmers have an obligation to reduce that pain and not allow their animals to suffer so this regulation is troubling. It may lead to serious animal health and welfare detriment.

“If animals are not treated promptly it could lead to an underlying level of pathogen which could mean that the animal was no longer fit for human consumption.” . . .

The directive states that: “it is a general requirement…for production of all organic livestock that (herbal) and homeopathic products… shall be used in preference to chemically-synthesised allopathic veterinary treatment or antibiotics.”  . .

The Department for Food and Rural Affairs admitted that organic farmers were bound by the new regulations but said they could resort to other means, such as antibiotics, without losing their ‘organic’ status if homeopathic remedies proved to be ineffective.  . .

But what about the suffering of the animals while they wait for treatment that will work?

Vets in Norway have also called on their country’s Food Standards Agency to delay fully implementing the directive in protest at the “ridiculous” guidelines.

“We think it’s totally unacceptable from a scientific point of view because there’s no scientific basis for using homeopathy,” Ellef Blakstad, scientific director of the Norwegian Veterinary Association, adding that the move was “scientifically illiterate”.

“If you start using homeopathy, you prolong the time when the animals are not getting adequate treatment and that’s a threat to animal welfare.” . .

Antibiotics should not be used indiscriminately but no good farmer or vet should let animals suffer for bureaucracy when there’s a scientifically proven way to treat the problem.

A friend who was overseeing an organic farm received a call from the manager telling him sheep were dying in large numbers.

The overseer took one look at the stock and told the manager to drench them.

The farm lost its organic status but the stock survived and thrived.

Hat tip: Tim Worstall


Quote of the day

April 28, 2015

We still carry this old caveman-imprint idea that we’re small, nature’s big, and it’s everything we can manage to hang on and survive. When big geophysical events happen – a huge earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption – we’re reminded of that.James Balog


April 28 in history

April 28, 2015

357 – Emperor Constantius II entered Rome for the first time to celebrate his victory over Magnus Magnentius.

1192  Assassination of Conrad of Montferrat (Conrad I), King of Jerusalem, in Tyre, two days after his title to the throne was confirmed by election.

1253 Nichiren, a Japanese Buddhist monk, propounded Nam Myoho Renge Kyo for the very first time and declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, in effect founding Nichiren Buddhism.

1611 Establishment of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, the largest Catholic university in the world.

1715 Franz Sparry, composer, was born (d. 1767).

1758 James Monroe, 5th President of the United States, was born. (d. 1831).

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty: Captain William Bligh and 18 sailors were set adrift; the rebel crew returned to Tahiti briefly and then set sail for Pitcairn Island.

1792  France invaded the Austrian Netherlands (present day Belgium), beginning the French Revolutionary War.

1796  The Armistice of Cherasco was signed by Napoleon Bonaparte and Vittorio Amedeo III, the King of Sardinia, expanding French territory along the Mediterranean coast.

1862 American Civil War: Admiral David Farragut captured New Orleans.

1888 – The first British rugby team to tour New Zealand played its first match, against Otago at the Caledonian Ground in South Dunedin.

1902  Using the ISO 8601 standard Year Zero definition for the Gregorian calendar preceded by the Julian calendar, the one billionth minute since the start of January 1, Year Zero occured at 10:40 AM on this date.

1912 Odette Sansom, French resistance worker, was born (d. 1995).

1916 Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian automobile manufacturer, was born (d. 1993).

1920 Azerbaijan was added to the Soviet Union.

1922 Alistair MacLean, Scottish novelist, was born (d. 1987).

1926 Harper Lee, American author, was born.

1930 The first night game in organised baseball history took place in Independence, Kansas.

1932 A vaccine for yellow fever was announced for use on humans.

1937 – Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, was born (d. 2006).

1941 – Jack Hinton won the Victoria Cross.

1941 Ann-Margret, Swedish-born actress, was born.

1945 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were executed by a firing squad consisting of members of the Italian resistance movement.

1947 Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.

1948 Terry Pratchett, English author, was born (d. 2015).

1949  Former First Lady of the Philippines Aurora Quezon, 61, was assassinated while en route to dedicate a hospital in memory of her late husband; her daughter and 10 others are also killed.

1950 Jay Leno, American comedian and television host, was born.

1950  Bhumibol Adulyadej married Queen Sirikit.

1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Supreme Commander of NATO.

1952 Occupied Japan: The United States occupation of Japan ended with the ratification of Treaty of San Francisco.

1952 The Sino-Japanese Peace Treaty (Treaty of Taipei) iwa signed in Taipei between Japan and the Republic of China to officially end the Second Sino-Japanese War.

1956 Jimmy Barnes, Scottish-born singer, was born.

1960  Ian Rankin, Scottish novelist, was born.

1965 United States troops landed in the Dominican Republic to “forestall establishment of a Communist dictatorship” and to evacuate U.S. Army troops.

1967  Expo 67 opened to the public in Montreal.

1969 Charles de Gaulle resigned as President of France.

1969 – Terence O’Neill announced his resignation as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

1970 Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon formally authorised American combat troops to fight communist sanctuaries in Cambodia.

1974 Penélope Cruz, Spanish actress, was born.

1977 The Red Army Faction trial ended with Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe found guilty of four counts of murder and more than 30 counts of attempted murder.

1977 The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure was signed.

1978 President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daoud Khan, was overthrown and assassinated in a coup led by pro-communist rebels.

1981  Jessica Alba, American actress, was born.

1986 The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal, navigating from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve the USS Coral Sea.

1987 American engineer Ben Linder was killed in an ambush by U.S. funded Contras in northern Nicaragua.

1988  Near Maui, Hawaii, flight attendant Clarabelle “C.B.” Lansing was blown out of Aloha Flight 243, a Boeing 737 and fell to her death when part of the plane’s fuselage rips open in mid-flight.

1994  Former C.I.A. official Aldrich Ames pleaded guilty to giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and later Russia.

1996 Whitewater controversy: Bill Clinton gave a 4½ hour videotaped testimony for the defence.

1996 – In Tasmania Martin Bryant went on a shooting spree, killing 35 people and seriously injuring 21 more.

1997 – The 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention goes into effect, with Russia, Iraq and North Korea among the nations that have not ratified the treaty.

2001 – Millionaire Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist.

2008 – A train collision in Shandong, China, killed 72 people and injured 416 more.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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