Word of the day

May 26, 2015

Thanatology – the scientific study of death and the practices associated with it, including the study of the needs of the terminally ill and their families; the description or study of the phenomena of death and of psychological mechanisms for coping with them; the study of death and its surrounding circumstances.


Greenwash, exercise and soup

May 26, 2015

Discussion with Simon Mercep on Critical Mass today was sparked by:

* Envormation – a New Zealand-based website which aims to help consumers cut through the greenwash by understanding key environmental information about products and services. (hat tip Idealog).

*  How to fall in love with exercise.

And

* The Soup Chick


Rural round-up

May 26, 2015

Arable farmers voice safety concerns – Jemma Brackebush:

Arable farmers concerned with how changes to the Health and Safety Act may affect them are meeting WorkSafe representatives in Southland this week.

The Foundation for Arable Research’s group, Women in Arable, have organised sessions after farmers voiced uncertainty about the changes that are due to come into force later this year.

Spokesperson Anna Heslop said one session had already been held in Ashburton, where they found many people were sceptical of the new rules. . .

Fonterra unit investors kick unit values after interim result – Tim Fulton:

Investors are punishing Fonterra for a disappointing balance sheet and dividend payments to farmers, a Canterbury-based share advisor says.

The value of Fonterra’s listed investment units has dropped up to 20 per cent since the co-op’s interim result two months ago.

The sharemarket “wasn’t too happy” with Fonterra’s interim financial result on March 25 and the feeling had contributed to the unit price in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund falling from about $6 per unit to $4.80, Hamilton Hindin Green authorised advisor Grant Davies said. . .

Westland’s Farm Excellence roll-out close to 100%:

The first stage of the roll-out of Westland Milk Products’ new Farm Excellence (FarmEx) programme has almost been completed, with 97 percent of farms having had their first FarmEx assessment.

Launched in 2014, FarmEx works on the basic philosophy that what happens behind the farm gate impacts on Westland’s ability to sell in a highly competitive marketplace. The programme sets high quality production, environmental, animal welfare and sustainability standards for Westland’s shareholder suppliers.

The move has been welcomed by the Department of Conservation on the West Coast because of the positive environmental spin-offs that the programme entails. . .

Awards experience gave confidence – Sally Rae:

Dave and Janene Divers first entered the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards four years ago.

At that time, they were newcomers to running Table Hill, a 1650ha family owned property 5km inland from Milton.

While they did not get past the first round of judging, they enjoyed the process and gained a professional look at their business, along with confirmation that their vision was ”on the right track”, Mrs Divers said.

It gave them the confidence to move forward with their ideas and goals and they decided to enter again when they had a chance of injecting ”a bit of their personalities” into the business and achieving some of their goals. . .

Delmont Angus bull fetches top price of $15,000

A top price of $15,000 was achieved at the 15th Delmont Angus bull sale held recently on farm at Kuriwao.

John and Tracey Cochrane sold 25 bulls for an average price of $6388, with a top price of $15,000, to Jeff Farm at Kaiwera.

Bev and Malcolm Helm, from Rough Ridge Shorthorns, at Gimmerburn, sold eight bulls for an average of $5000 and a top price of $9000, to Rob and Sally Peter, from Cape Campbell, Marlborough. . .

No farm ‘fire-sale’ scenario from lower milk payouts says real estate industry leader:

Lower dairying payouts will lead to a tightening of the proverbial belt around many Canterbury farm budgets – but not a rush to the mass selling of productive units, according to the head of a leading real estate agency in the region.

Bayleys Canterbury director Bill Whalan said the full impact of the latest lowered Fonterra payout forecast would depend on how long prices remained depressed – but any talk of ‘fire sale pricing’ was wide of the mark.

“A vast majority of Canterbury dairy farmers are in a position to deal with this season’s low payout – and therefore a rush of distressed farm sales is not anticipated,” Mr Whalan said. . .


Woolly words

May 26, 2015

Drought is no laughing matter but a North Canterbury has found an opportunity for humour while feeding out:

. . .Parnassus sheep farmer Mike Bowler has been hit hard by the drought, which has crippled farming operations throughout North Canterbury.

The harsh conditions have scorched his fields, requiring Bowler to drop thousands of dollars of feed each day for his stock.

To vent his frustration, each day he scatters the feed into a different pattern, manipulating his sheep into a giant roadside billboard.

One day it was the shape of a kiwi; other days it has been the names of his grandchildren.

Bowler’s most popular design expressed in simple terms what many of his fellow farmers are thinking – “bugger”.

His sheep art had been a useful way for dealing with his frustration, he said.

“I feel that if I’m pouring that much money into the ground I might as well get some benefit from it, even if it is just a smile from somebody going along the road.” . . .


Flag of the day

May 26, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel is inviting people to upload designs for a new flag.

There’s more than 1500 in the gallery already.

Andrew McMillan blogs on the five essentials of a new flag:

1. Meet the design guidelines . . .

2 Remove the Union Jack. . .

3. Acknowledge Maori. . .

4. Have a bold recognisable symbol  . . .

5. Use our national colours . . .

He says few of those submitted meet these criteria, among those that do are:

NZ Flag Proposals2


Snow good but . . .

May 26, 2015

Ski fields didn’t have as much snow as they’d like last year and it wasn’t just the ski season that was affected.

Less snow on the mountains meant less snow melt to feed rivers and underground aquifers.

That combined with drought over summer and into autumn to put a lot of farms under severe pressure.

Good dumpings of snow a couple of weeks ago and the follow up in the last two days is good for ski fields, aquifers, rivers and farming.

But it’s not all good news. Met Service is forecasting the return of El Niño that could dent agricultural production:

. . .The El Nino weather pattern that meteorological forecasters are predicting this year is likely to reduce New Zealand’s agricultural output, based on historic data, economists at Bank of New Zealand say.

Historic data compiled by BNZ suggests a positive co-relation between New Zealand’s agricultural growth and the Southern Oscillation Index, a standardised index of sea level pressure differences between Tahiti and Darwin that is used to determine whether El Nino or La Nina is present.

The index dropped below 15 in May, a level that indicates the coming of El Nino. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed this month that the Pacific Ocean has officially entered into an El Nino pattern that has a 70 percent chance to last through the southern winter and spring.

El Nino typically increases the likelihood of drought in the east of New Zealand as a result of the strong frequent winds it brings from the west and south west, BNZ said. . .

Winters are supposed to be cold but cold weather continuing into spring holds back growth and  a continuation of drought will hit farms and those who depend on them hard.

Most farms and businesses can get through one season of drought but a second one or a continuation of the first puts even the best under a lot of pressure.

 

 


Quote of the day

May 26, 2015
Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts. E.B.White

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