word of the day

January 28, 2016

Acyrologia  – inappropriate, inexact or improper use of a word, particularly replacing one word with another word that sounds similar; absurd or humorous misuse of a word; malapropism.


366 days of gratitude

January 28, 2016

The door bell rang and I thought, “Bother, it will be someone trying to sell me something.”

I was wrong, it was an old friend who happened to be passing and popped in to say hello.

Today I’m grateful for surprise visits from old friends.


Rural round-up

January 28, 2016

Rural to benefit:

Rural fire chief Mike Grant hopes the intentions outlined in Fire Service reform documents become reality.  

Grant, the principal rural fire officer for the Southern Rural Fire Authority, said much of the detail was unknown because it had still to be discussed by Cabinet but there was a consistent message on how the new management entity should operate in the review document, submissions and analysis. . . 

Dairy farming best choice for Dairy Woman Network local co-convenor

Matamata sharemilker Suzie van Heuven could not imagine going back to working in town.

The Dairy Woman Network (DWN) co-convenor for the East Waikato group is hooked on dairy farming.

That might not be surprising seeing she grew up on a farm in Waitoa except for the fact that her high school career ambition was to be a vet or a cop.

But while waiting to be old enough to apply for the police force she dabbled in the dairy industry and by 2011, had progressed to farm manager. During that time she was involved in the Ngarua Young Farmers club, where she met her future husband, Alex. . . 

Despite Expected Milk Price Correction, 45 Cent Drop is a Sobering Blow to Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Duncan Coull, said that today’s announcement of a 45 cent drop in the 2015/16 forecast F from $4.60 kg/MS to $4.15 kg/MS, is one that will further amplify the effects of the current low milk price environment on Farmers and their businesses.

Duncan Coull: “Farmers are very aware that this is a global story which is now having a significant local effect. Strong supply out of Europe coupled with flat demand is driving market sentiment as evidenced by the GDT results. . .

More moo woo – Alison Campbell:

Once I started paying attention to the woo around milk I realised how much of it there is. And how ready people are to accept it.

I’ve written about the notoriously non-scientific Food Babe before. Someone with a high pain threshold could probably manage a daily blog post on this young woman and the way she manipulates opinion, and sometimes sells the very things she inveighs against… But I digress!

Today I noticed she’s shared a link about how drinking milk encourages the development of osteoporosis. I was mildly suspicious about the source (‘healthy-holistic-living.com) but before taking a look, I skimmed the comments. Oh dear. . . 

New Science Challenge to boost land productivity and the environment:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today launched the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, which aims to enhance primary sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving land and water quality.

The National Science Challenges are dedicated to breaking new ground in areas of science that are crucial to New Zealand’s future.

“From an economic standpoint they don’t come much more important than this,” Mr Joyce says.  “There is increasing confidence that new agricultural tools will be able achieve both these crucial objectives for New Zealand.  The job of this challenge is to use science to accelerate the development of these tools.” . . 

Welfare of horses and donkeys the focus of a new code:

New minimum standards and best practice guidelines for the management of domestic horses and donkeys have been developed in a new code of welfare.

The new code comes into effect on Thursday (28 January 2016) and includes standards for equine management, food and water requirements, handling, training and equipment, husbandry practices and equine health.

The code has been developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) and applies to horses, ponies and donkeys and their hybrids kept for any purpose including those kept as companions (pets), for breeding, sport, entertainment or as working animals. The code also applies to foals and any horse captured from the wild. . . .

Retiring Farmers Urged to Consider All Options Before Selling Up:

With succession front of mind for New Zealand agriculture, a North Island sheep and beef farmer turned agribusiness advisor is encouraging farm owners to explore all of the options before settling on a succession plan.

Sean Bennett, a veteran of 20 years on the land prior to becoming an agribusiness advisor for Crowe Horwath, suggests that succession is one of the industry’s biggest challenges over the next decade.

“When you consider the average age of a New Zealand farm owner is marching steadily towards 60, and the forecast capital required to replace their exit has been estimated at over NZ$60 billion, it’s easy to see why there are widely held concerns,” says Bennett. . . 

Soaring Start to Karaka Select Sale:

After just one day of trade at the three-day Karaka 2016 Select Sale the aggregate is already over half of the final aggregate of last year’s Sale, thanks to spirited competition at all levels of the market.

The momentum from the prosperous Premier Sale flowed through to the first day of the Select Sale with the aggregate, average, median and clearance rate tracking higher than Day One of the Sale last year, with two days of the Sale remaining. . . 

 

American Cattlemen's photo.


Thursday’s quiz

January 28, 2016

The questions posed are improving my general knowledge so much I’d be tempted to leave the questions up to you even if I wasn’t blogging lighter.

But that’s academic because I am still blogging lighter which leaves it up to you to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual case of blackboy (or is it black boy?) peaches.


Three Labour leaders for TPP

January 28, 2016

Two of Labour’s former leaders, Phil Goff and David Shearer, who are still senior members of its caucus are quite clear that they support the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

A third former leader, Helen Clark, also supports the agreement.

Mr Goff, a former leader and former Trade Minister and now an Auckland mayoral candidate, and David Shearer, also a former Labour leader, last night told the Herald they both still supported the TPP.

Mr Goff said the deal should be signed.

Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark also backed the TPP among 12 countries and it was begun under her leadership. Mr Goff was Trade Minister.

Labour has decided to oppose the TPP on the grounds that it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty.

Mr Goff did not blatantly criticise Labour’s position. But he effectively dismissed that view and the suggestion that Labour would not be able to prevent foreign investors buying New Zealand residential property.

“Every time you sign any international agreement you give away a degree of your sovereignty.” He cited the China free trade deal negotiated when he was Trade Minister.

“We gave up the sovereign right to impose tariffs against China when we signed up to the China free trade agreement. But it came with quid pro quos. China gave up its right to impose huge tariffs on us.

“That’s what an international agreement is; it’s an agreement to follow a particular course of action and a limitation on your ability to take action against the other country.

“You have the ultimate right of sovereignty that you can back out of an agreement – with all the cost that that incurs.”

The costs of not being part of such a wide trade agreement would be significant.

The TPP obliges member Governments to treat investors from member countries as though they were domestic unless exceptions are written into the agreement. Labour wanted an exception written in for investors in residential housing but National did not seek it.

Mr Goff is critical of National for choosing not to do that.

“But there is more than one way to skin that particular cat,” he said. “We retained the right to make it financially undesirable or unattractive to buy up residential property in New Zealand.

“You can still impose, as Singapore and Hong Kong do, stamp duty on foreign investors.” . . 

Labour’s biggest achievement last year was the appearance of caucus unity.

This breaking of ranks shows that the veneer of unity was thin.

That some in Labour disagree with the caucus position might entertain political tragics.

But the bigger significance is that for the first time in decades it’s walking away from the consensus it’s had with National on free trade.

Caucus disunity might hamper its chances of returning to government. But it will get there sooner or later and any failure to foster free trade progress as successive governments have, won’t be in the country’s best interests.


Fonterra drops forecast to $4.15

January 28, 2016

Fonterra has dropped its forecast payout from $4.60 a kilo to $4.15.

In a newsletter to shareholders, chair John Wilson says:

  • Today we’ve unfortunately had to announce that the forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2015/16 season is being reduced from $4.60 per kgMS to $4.15 per kgMS.
  • When combined with the previously announced earnings per share range of 45-55 cents per share, this amounts to a forecast Cash Payout of $4.50 – $4.55 per kgMS for the current season after retentions.
  • I know the reduction of our milk price forecast will be very tough on your farming businesses. As we get closer to our half year results, we will look at ways we can use the expected improvement in dividend returns and the financial strength of our Co-op to help support your cash flow.
  • Global economic conditions are continuing to impact demand for a range of commodities, including dairy. Despite this, our Co-op is performing well in the areas within our control and is on-track to generate improved dividend returns to farmers.
  • We remain confident in the long-term fundamentals of international dairy demand, but right now, the market remains out of balance.
  • Our previous forecast was based on the consensus view that the market would return to balance over first half of this year. However, the timeline for that correction has been pushed further out.
  • Farmers in other regions, particularly Europe, have not responded to the lower global prices by reducing supply as rapidly as New Zealand farmers have.
  • Last week I met with the leaders of the other major international dairy co-operatives. All have a similar view to ours on the medium term forecast, with one European co-operative introducing incentives to encourage their farmers to reduce supply.
  • Clearly, current prices are unsustainably low for farmers globally and cannot continue in the longer term.
  • Given the uncertainty, there continues to be further price risk. Your Board will continue to update you as the season progresses.
  • The 9.8 per cent drop in the forecast means we have had to reduce the Advance Rate payments. . . 

This isn’t surprising and follows Westland’s announcement of a lower forecast payout.

Few farms would have made a profit on the higher forecast. Today’s announcement will mean the average farm will be earning about $50,000 less than had the earlier forecast been maintained.

Fonterra’s media release is here.


Quote of the day

January 28, 2016

The things that we love tell us what we are. – Saint Thomas Aquinas who was born on this day in 1225.


%d bloggers like this: