Word of the day

August 8, 2015

Boketto – gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking.


Rural round-up

August 8, 2015

Removal of subsidies and tariffs to boost NZ farm incomes – econfix: (Hat tip: Utopia)

With most of the attention has been focused on the TPP the 161 countries of the World Trade Organisation had set a deadline of the end of July to agree on a “work programme” to substantially complete the Doha round of global trade talks later this year.

Launched in 2001, the Doha round was to pick up where the Uruguay round of global trade liberalisation left off six years earlier. The deadlock in negotiations is ultimately down to a belief that the EU and the US and the large developing countries of China, Brazil and India have each given up more than its fair share in liberalising agricultural trade and the other side should do more. . .

Canterbury dairy farms facing big bills as milk payout crashes:

South Canterbury farmer Ben Jaunay is “farming for free” and facing losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if milk prices keep falling.

Banks are tipping dairy giant Fonterra’s payout for its latest financial year to go below $4 a kilogram. The value of whole milk powder dropped sharply at Fonterra’s global commodity auction this week, increasing fears for its payout forecast on Friday.

Jaunay manages more than 3000 cows on two properties near Timaru.  . .  

Collaboration Paying Off For New Zealand’s Avocado Industry:

Plans to quadruple sales of New Zealand avocados by 2023 is off to a roaring start with the industry almost hitting the half way mark last season with a record 7.1m trays worth $135m harvested during 2014-15 season.

Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, Jen Scoular, says the goal is to achieve $280m worth of sales by 2023 through a five year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Confidence is riding high, and the industry is on track to achieve the PGP objectives and significantly boost avocado sales and productivity in less than ten years,” says Scoular. . .

 Russian ‘food crematoria’ provoke outrage amid crisis:

Russian government plans for mass destruction of banned Western food imports have provoked outrage in a country where poverty rates are soaring and memories remainof famine during Soviet times.

Even some Kremlin allies are expressing shock at the idea of “food crematoria” while one Orthodox priest has denounced the campaign, which officially began on Thursday, as insane and sinful. However, the authorities are determined to press on with destroying illegal imports they consider “a security threat”. . .

Pipfruit industry continues to ripen:

The boom behind the apple industry’s growth in recent years is being put down to new export markets and varieties.

Apple exports were worth more than $530 million in 2014, and the industry has a goal to reach $1 billion by 2022.

Ministry for Primary Industries chief assurance strategy officer Bill Jolly told the pipfruit industry conference in Wellington the industry’s growth was finally looking rosy.

“For ten years, we sort of stuck around that $320-360m mark, and then suddenly we got a real jump in 2012, and you guys have been going great guns ever since. The growth in this industry has been absolutely spectacular.” . .

Big increase in rural broadband for Wellington region:

Communications Minister Amy Adams says nearly 10,500 homes, workplaces and schools in rural parts of Wellington now have access to faster, more reliable broadband.

The latest results for the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) as at 30 June 2015 were released today.

“By 2016, 90 per cent of New Zealand homes and businesses outside the Ultra-Fast Broadband phase one footprint will have access to better broadband,” Ms Adams says. . .

 

New certification scheme for dairy farm systems consultants:

A certification scheme designed to give farmers confidence in the quality and standard of the advice they receive from their dairy farm systems consultants was launched today at the New Zealand Institute for Primary Industries Management (NZIPIM) national conference in Ashburton.

Development of the scheme has involved a collaborative partnership between DairyNZ, leading dairy farm systems consultants, and NZIPIM, who will continue to be involved in developing and testing the scheme’s assessment tools and associated training to ensure the material is kept current and relevant to the profession. . .

 

 


Saturday’s smiles

August 8, 2015

An engineer, a mathematician, and a physicist were standing around the university flagpole when an English professor wandered by.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“We need to know the height of the flagpole,” one of the trio said, “and we’re discussing the formulas we might use to calculate it.”

“Watch!” said the English professor.

She pulled the pole from its fitting, lay it on the lawn, found a tape measure in her handbag, measured the pole and said, “It’s exactly 8 metres.” Then she replaced the pole and walked away.

“English professor!” sneered the mathematician, “We ask her for the height, and she gives us the length.”

      *      *      *

A French guide was chatting with her American client and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in the Tricolour.

“Our flag symbolises our taxes,” she said. “We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them.”

“That’s the same with us,” the American replied. “Then we see stars too.”


Tweeting panel

August 8, 2015

TV3 asked me to join The Nation’s tweet panel with Generation Zero co-founder Kirk Serpes this morning.

It was an interesting exercise.

Good interviewers listen to what interviewees say and base their next question on what they hear. I tried to do that with my tweets but kept missing the next point as I was tweeting on the last and trying to keep up with other tweets coming in.

Lisa Owen interviewed Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings talking about the farm gate milk price announcement today. This was followed by  reporter Torben Akel discussing governments appointing ex-MPs to government boards and an interview with American journalist Ben Taub who’s been writing about why teenagers’ journeys to jihad. 

The studio panelists were Heather du Plessis-Allan, Jacqueline Rowarth and Bernard Hickey.

Having Heather on the panel was very good marketing for Story which she’ll be co-hosting with Duncan Garner. It starts this Monday.

You can see the tweets here.


Rural round-up: payout edition

August 8, 2015

Fonterra forecasts $3.85:

Fonterra suppliers will get a total possible payout of $4.85/kg of milksolids this season – but there’s a catch.

The farmgate milk price is $3.85/kg MS with a predicted dividend of 40-50 cents then an extra 50 cents for each fully shared kilogram giving a total of $4.85/kg MS.

But the extra 50 cents is a loan, interest-free for up to two years, which farmers will have to apply for. Farmers would have to pay the money back when the Farmgate Milk Price or Advance Rate went above $6/kg MS.

Shareholders’ Council Welcomes Fonterra Shareholder Support Package Announced as Milk Price Plummets:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Duncan Coull said the Co-operatives unique position has enabled it to provide assistance to its farmers in these tough times. The announced support package in the form of an interest free loan of 50 cents per kgMS for production between June and December will help farmers get through the tough times ahead.

While Fonterra Farmers were expecting a drop in the forecast Milk Price (down $ 1.40 per kg/MS to $ 3.85) it does not make today’s announcement any easier to bear. The dividend forecast of 40 – 50 cents per share lifts the total available for payout to $4.25 – $ 4.35 per kgMs. The retention policy means that the forecast Cash Payout for the season would be in the range of $ 4.15 – $ 4.20 for a fully shared up farmer. . .

Interest-free loans soften payout hit – Fran O’Sullivan:

Fonterra’s top brass cooked up a $430 million parachute so that the dairy co-operative could offer farmers a cushion for yesterday’s brutal cut to the forecast milk payment.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings and chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini began work on the deal five to six days ago along with a couple of the co-operative’s farmer directors.

The upshot was that the Fonterra board was able to yesterday tick off a plan to leverage savings from the company’s transformation project and pump them out to farmers in the form of interest free loans. . .

Plan – do more and work longer – Neal Wallace:

Gerald Holmes concedes he will be a grumpy employer this milking season.

The Taieri dairy farmer has been through downturns before and said the biggest change he will make on his 600-cow farm is to become more self-sufficient.

“It is easy to say no to everything regardless of how reasonable the expense is.”

Gone this season are the days of calling in a plumber, mechanic or electrician to repair equipment.  . .

Times just get tougher for dairy industry – Sally Rae:

”If it continues into next year, … it’s going to be ugly for a lot of people. There will be casualties eventually.”

That was the sobering response of Berwick dairy farmer Mark McLennan on a day dubbed ”Black Friday” for the dairy industry, with Fonterra slashing its 2015-16 forecast price to $3.85 per kg of milk solids, the lowest figure since 2002.

DairyNZ’s latest analysis showed an average farmer needed $5.40 per kg to break even. . .

Fonterra revises down milk price to $3.85 – Tao Lin  and Gerald Piddock:

Fonterra’s decision to slash the price it pays its farmers for milk solids will wipe $2.5 billion off the economy, an analyst says.

Fonterra has cut its milk price forecast to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, down from $5.25.

Fonterra has also announced it will provide an estimated $430 million in financial support for farmers to help them cope with the low payout. . .

It is tough down on the farm – Regan Schoultz:

Craig Maxwell, his wife Kathy, and their daughter Penelope have been living on their dairy farm in Paparimu just south of Auckland for 25 years.

It is a big part of who they are as people and a lot of time, blood and sweat has been poured into it.

News of Fonterra’s announcement, informing New Zealanders that the farmgate milk price is set at $3.85, is not welcome.

“It is obviously disappointing but not surprising,” he said. “Nobody is going to be shocked by that figure, but no one is going to be happy.” . .

Milk price drop will have big impact on rural communities:

Rural businesses, not just dairy farmers, will feel a big impact from Fonterra’s announcement today that its 2015-16 Forecast Farmgate Milk Price is reducing from $5.25 to $3.85, says industry body DairyNZ.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the drop means a further reduction of $150,000 for the average dairy farm income for this season. “The harsh reality of this announcement is that Fonterra farmers won’t actually receive $4.25-$4.35 because of the way the payment system works. It’s likely to be more like $3.65,” he says. (see graph below for more details)

“The effect on the level of payments over a season will keep farmers’ cash income constrained for at least the next 18 months and it will take some farmers many years to recover from these low milk prices. . .

Massive fluctations in milk price show NZ’s dairy model ‘flawed’, Landcorp boss Carden says – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – A $4.55 swing in the forecast milk price paid to farmers over two seasons shows there’s something wrong with New Zealand’s dairy model, which is centred around farmer-owned Fonterra Cooperative Group, and it needs to change, says Landcorp Farming chief executive Steve Carden.

Fonterra today slashed $1.40 from its forecast payout to farmers to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, below the 2015 season’s $4.40/kgMS and less than half the record $8.40/kgMS paid in 2014. A slump in global milk prices through the course of the year had markets primed for a reduced payout, and state-owned Landcorp, the country’s biggest farmer, was pleased to lock in as much as it could at Fonterra’s $5.25/kgMS guaranteed milk price for the current season.

Landcorp’s Carden said the Wellington-based state-owned enterprise had been anticipating a weak revision for a while, so today’s result wasn’t a surprise. . .

Government should fast-track rural infrastructure to assist dairy regions:

Federated Farmers wants the Government to fast-track its infrastructure projects in dairy regions to assist local economies through the downturn in dairy prices.

Fonterra has announced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for 2015/16 of $3.85 per kilo of milk solids. In late July last year Fonterra’s forecast price was at $6 per kilo for the 2014/15 season.

Federated Farmers Dairy Spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says small scale rural service industries, such as engineering or contracting, in some instances might be hit harder than the dairy farmers they traditionally rely on for work. . .

‘Black Friday’ will mean huge debt for farmers – Emma Jolliff:

Today has been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ not just for dairy farmers, but the whole New Zealand economy.

Fonterra has slashed its forecast payout to farmers to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, which is well below the break-even rate of $5.70.

Economists say it could strip $1.5 billion or more out of the New Zealand economy.

Sally Bosch has been sharemilking for eight years.  She knew a drop in the payout was coming, but not one this big. . .

Farmers cashing up assets – Dene Mackenzie:

Otago dairy farmers are selling what they can to generate cash flow as they face up to an immediate prospect of lower milk payout prices for the next 18 months to two years.

Holiday homes, second cars and unneeded plant and equipment have been the first on the block but accountants contacted yesterday by the Otago Daily Times say more, harder decisions will need to be made by some farmers.

Fonterra will this afternoon announce what many expect to be a sharply downgraded milk payout forecast for the current season. . .

 

 

 


Saturday soapbox

August 8, 2015

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 abuse.

Australian Volunteers International's photo.

If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together – African proverb.


August 8 in history

August 8, 2015

1220 Sweden  was defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.

1503  King James IV of Scotland married Margaret Tudor.

1509  The Emperor Krishnadeva Raya was crowned, marking the beginning of the regeneration of the Vijayanagara Empire.

1576  The cornerstone for Tycho Brahe’s Uraniborg observatory was laid on Hven.

1588  Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ended, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.

1647  Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeated Irish forces.

1709  Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal.

1786  Mont Blanc was climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard.

1793 The insurrection of Lyon.

1794 Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver led an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.

1870 The Republic of Ploieşti, a failed Radical-Liberal rising against Domnitor Carol of Romania.

1876  Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph.

1879 Bob Smith, American founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1950).

1889 – Jack Ryder, Australian cricketer, was born (d. 1977).

1908 Wilbur Wright made his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans.

1910  The US Army installed the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’s Wright Flyer.

1911 The millionth patent was filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.

1915 The Wellington Battallion captured Chunuk Bair.

Wellington Battalion captures Chunuk Bair

1918  Battle of Amiens began a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).

1929 Ronald Biggs, British Great Train robber, was born.

1929  The German airship Graf Zeppelin began a round-the-world flight.

1932 – Luis García Meza Tejada, Bolivian general and politician, 68th President of Bolivia

1937 Dustin Hoffman, American actor, was born.

1940 The “Aufbau Ost” directive was signed by Wilhelm Keitel.

1942 In Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) were executed.

1942  The Quit India resolution was passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India.

1945 The Soviet Union declared war on Japan and began the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.

1946  First flight of the Convair B-36.

1947 Pakistan’s National Flag was approved.

1949  Bhutan became independent.

1950 Ken Kutaragi, Founder of PlayStation, was born.

1961 The Edge, (Favid Evans) Irish guitarist (U2), was born.

1963 Great Train Robbery: a gang of 15 train robbers stole 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.

1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

1973 – Kim Dae-Jung, a South Korean politician and later president, was kidnapped.

1974  Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day.

1980  The Central Hotel Fire, Bundoran , Ireland.

1988  The “8888 Uprising” in Burma.

1989    STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia took off on a secret five-day military mission.

1990  Iraq occupied  Kuwait and the state was annexed to Iraq.

1991  The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapsed.

1991  John McCarthy, British journalist held hostage in Lebanon for more than five years by Islamic Jihad, was released.

2000  Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor.

2007 An EF2 tornado touched down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.

2010 –  A mudslide in Zhugqu County, Gansu, China, killed more than 1,400 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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