366 days of gratitude

March 18, 2016

Something happens in the life of a friend and I want to say something that will help but can’t come up with the right words.

That’s when I search through my collection of wise words from other people who in prose or poetry have said what needs to be said so much better than I could.

Today I’m grateful for other people’s words.


Word of the day

March 18, 2016

Fumarole – a hole or opening in or near a volcano, through which hot sulphurous gases emerge.


Rural round-up

March 18, 2016

Research is critical to future prosperity – Allan Barber:

By the time most of you read this, I will have delivered an address to a Meat Industry Research workshop at Ruakura. Preparation for this has severely taxed my knowledge of research directed at the future prosperity of the red meat sector. Depending on the reaction to my presentation, I will almost certainly find out whether or not I have succeeded in talking sense and, more important, introducing some relevant fresh ideas to the audience of scientists and people with infinitely greater technical credentials than I.

The workshop’s themes are added value, value from quality, and provenance and food assurance which neatly encapsulate what the meat industry needs to provide the consumers of the world and extract from the market. Research output will obviously have to contribute new developments to this, as the industry cannot find its place in the sun by continuing to do what it has been doing to date. . . 

K5 “could prove effective rabbit killer

A new weapon in the war on rabbits could be introduced into New Zealand next autumn.

The RHDV1-K5 virus is a Korean strain of the lethal calcivirus already present in New Zealand that causes rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD).

Leader of Landcare Research’s rabbit biocontrol initiative Dr Janine Duckworth said yesterday the new strain of virus could help New Zealand farmers slash rabbit numbers by up to 30%.

Landcare Research and the New Zealand Rabbit Co-ordination Group are seeking approval from the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Environment Protection Authority to introduce the ‘‘K5” virus. . . 

The kiwi behind Northland’s biggest dairy farmer – Peter de Graaf:

The man who became Northland’s biggest dairy farmer puts his success down to the skills he gained helping on his father’s farm as a child.

Merv Pinny and his wife Cara sold their 10 Mangakahia Rd farms to the Spencer family on February 29, for an undisclosed sum, thought to be around $40 million, after an initial sale last year to a Chinese firm fell through.

Mr Pinny, 56, grew up on the family dairy farm at Te Aroha. . . 

Anthony Alexander Sinclair (Tony) Trotter: 1924 – 2016 – Chris Trotter:

TONY TROTTER – “Mr Country Calendar” – died today (Wednesday, 9 March 2016) aged 91, from natural causes.

As the television broadcaster who chose its distinctive theme music, and moved the programme out of the studio and “into the field”, Tony shapedCountry Calendar into the nation’s most beloved television series. The iconic programme, celebrating every aspect of rural life, is still being produced, and this year celebrated its own fiftieth anniversary.

Tony’s later work included the ground-breaking Natural World of the Maori, with Tipene O’Reagan, and the quirky A Dog’s Show – which turned the obscure country sport of sheep-dog trialling into a popular television show. Tony ended his broadcasting career in 1989 as the Executive Producer of Television New Zealand’s award-winning Natural History Unit in Dunedin. . . 

For Dad (a poem) – Chris Trotter:

Wheeling gulls enfold the tractor

like feathered confetti.

My father, head half-turned,

To keep the furrow straight,

Is dwarfed by the immensity

Of the paddock he has ploughed.

To my child’s eye,

The birds’ raucous accolade

Is well-deserved:     . . 

Zespri announces more SunGold licence at start of 2016 kiwifruit season:

At the start of what is set to be a record-breaking 2016 season, Zespri is positioning itself for the future by announcing the release of a further 400 hectares of its gold kiwifruit variety SunGold this year.

In making the decision to release the additional licence this year, the Zespri Board signalled that – dependant on the product’s performance and future global demand – an additional 400 hectares of SunGold licence will also be released each year in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride said releasing more SunGold hectares was tremendously exciting for the industry and the decision had been made in response to overwhelming global demand for the variety. . . 

Geographical indications law a step closer for New Zealand wine and spirit makers:

A proposed new law that will enable wine and spirit makers to register the geographical origins of their products is a step closer says Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith.

The Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Amendment Bill was debated for the first time today and will now go through the select committee process, including public submissions.

The Bill amends the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act which was passed in 2006 but never brought into force. . . 

Key Issues Addressed at Winds of Change Agri-Conference:

Over 130 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals will gather in Wellington on Monday (21st) for the annual Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Conference.

Challenged with discussing the ‘winds of change’ currently sweeping across the farming landscapes of New Zealand and Australasia, delegates will hear from keynote speakers including Steven Carden, CEO of Landcorp Farming Ltd, Paul Morgan, Chairman of Wakatu Incorporation, Prof. Jacqueline Rowarth from the University of Waikato, James Parsons, Chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ, Doug Avery, Malborough farmer, and Scottie Chapman, CEO of Spring Sheep Dairy Ltd.

Agenda topics will include exporting and new markets, innovations in sheep milk, changing demands for food and nutrition, encouraging young people into agriculture, farm tourism and connecting rural and urban communities. . . 

International Agri-Leaders Visit Wairarapa Showcase Farms

Pirinoa School Set to Receive Funds:

Over 130 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals will visit two farms in Pirinoa, South Wairarapa, next week (Wednesday 23rd March), as part of the annual Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) ‘Capital Connections; winds of change’ Conference.

The delegation, which includes well-known industry leaders and commentators such as Steven Carden, CEO of Landcorp Farming Ltd, Prof. Jacqueline Rowarth from the University of Waikato, Malborough farmer, Doug Avery, and James Parsons, Chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ, will spend time at the Warren family’s Romney stud, Turanganui, and the Weatherstone family’s dairy farm, Rotopai. . . 

Farm dog ‘a hero and a honey’ – Brooke Hobson and Thomas Mead:

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, including ones with four paws — like Lilly the farm dog who got burnt in a fire.

Lilly suffered burns to all four paws and parts of her body after a fire got out of control at Sharedale farm near Timaru.

Farm manager Darcy Tong says a four-week-old fire reignited in a block of trees last week.

“I was at home and went back up to check on it and [the fire] was out of control,” he says. . . 

Farmers spray hundreds of litres of milk in protest in Brussels – Amy Forde:

Farmers from across Europe were protesting today in Brussels as EU Agriculture Ministers met to try and come up with solutions to the ongoing crises in the dairy and pigmeat sectors.

The video below shows one farmer with a churn on his head spraying European Parliament buildings with milk. 

Low prices across all farming sectors and the Russian ban were what they were protesting over. . . 

Cowsmopolitan Dairy Magazine's photo.

Cervus Equipment Manawatu opens new Feilding branch:

Leading John Deere dealership Cervus Equipment Manawatu has formally opened its brand-new, purpose-built branch in Feilding.

Following seven years of local sales, service and support, Branch Manager Dan Clavelle says the new Feilding branch will enable Cervus Equipment Manawatu to continue and expand its local operations.

“Cervus Equipment Manawatu is committed to adding value to our customer’s businesses every day,” Mr Clavelle said. . . 


Friday’s answers

March 18, 2016

Teletext and Andrei posed the questions for which they get my thanks.

If they’ve stumped us all they can claim a virtual patch of four leaf clovers by leaving the answers below.


They’re from the Opposition & won’t help

March 18, 2016

If I’m from the government, I’m here to help,  is greeted with suspicion, the sudden enthusiasm Opposition MPs are showing for the regions in general and dairying in particular is being seen as nothing more than political opportunism.

The Chicken-Littleing from Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and some media isn’t helping.

The sky isn’t falling.

Dairy prices are lower in real terms than they have been for more than 20 years which is a challenge for farmers, sharemilkers, their staff and those who service and supply them.

There were a few forced farm sales and other business failures when the dairy price was over $8.

There will be some more in the coming months and that will be very difficult for everyone affected.

But most will hang on, with the support of their banks, and get through what is a temporary slump.

Labour leader Andrew Little’s attempt to demonise banks did nothing more than show he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.

His calls for stiff arming banks and legislation to force them to pass on interest rate cuts has been greeted with the derision they deserve.

His response to the Reserve Banks’ explanation about its stress-testing of banks provided further evidence he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

The media release made it clear the banking system was robust to a severe dairy stress test.

. . .Five banks that are the largest dairy sector lenders participated in a stress test run by the Reserve Bank in late 2015. Two scenarios were tested, with scenario one assuming that the dairy payout recovers to $5.25 per kilogram of milksolids by the 2017/18 season and a fall in dairy land prices of 20 percent. Under the second scenario, the dairy payout was assumed to fall to $3 in 2015/16 and remain below $5 until the 2019/20 season with a fall in land prices of 40 percent.

Head of Macro Financial Bernard Hodgetts said both scenarios assume the dairy payout remains lower for longer than was assumed in the economic projections contained in the Reserve Bank’s March Monetary Policy Statement.

“On average, banks reported losses under the two scenarios ranging between 3 to 8 percent of their total dairy sector exposures,” said Mr Hodgetts.

“Bank lending to the dairy sector stands at around $38 billion, which is approximately 10 percent of the banking system’s total lending. We would expect losses of the order seen in the stress scenarios to be absorbed largely through lower bank earnings rather than through an erosion of bank capital.”

The test results suggested that in the shorter term, banks would increase their dairy lending in order to support existing borrowers facing negative cash flow, before facing a longer term rise in loan losses if there were a prolonged dairy sector downturn. . . 

Anyone who understood this would have been pleased that banks were prepared to support existing borrowers and could cope with losses in a worst-case scenario.

That Little didn’t understand it became evident at Question Time on Wednesday:

Andrew Little: Is he at all concerned about the Reserve Bank’s projection that dairy land values will crash by between 25 and 40 percent, which will undermine the livelihoods of thousands of Kiwis?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: That is the problem with the Leader of the Opposition—it is that you cannot take him seriously, when he actually misrepresents the Reserve Bank Governor. The Reserve Bank Governor is not saying there is a projection that land prices will drop by 25 to 40 percent; he is doing a stress test to say what would happen if land prices went down. There is quite a—

Grant Robertson: And that’s the scenario we’re in now.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, banks—reserve bankers do that all the time, because their prudential requirements require them to make sure the banking system is strong. And what he is saying is, even under a worst scenario like this, the banking system is very strong.

Andrew Little: Has the Prime Minister actually read the Reserve Bank’s report released at 2 p.m. today; if so, has he read it?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: No, what I have read is the release—the press release—because it came out at 2 o’clock today, and I got this only 1 minute before I came here. But what the release says quite clearly is (a) the banking system is very strong, (b) under its worst-case scenarios—to quote—“The test results suggested that in the shorter term, banks would increase their dairy lending in order to support existing borrowers …”, and it is saying that even in the worst scenario, the losses could be between 3 percent and 8 percent of their total dairy exposure. Banks have considerably more exposure than just this, and, as the member was pointing out yesterday, banks have been making pretty good money. They can afford, if they have to—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Bring the answer to a conclusion

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: —to take some losses in that sector.

Andrew Little: Does he agree with Mind Your Own Business that “approximately 100,000 businesses employing upwards of one million New Zealanders are facing reducing revenue because of the dairy downturn.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I do not have anything to back that up—I would need to see the analysis. But it could be as small as a business that is affected, from someone who sells sandwiches to someone who works in that area. There is a very large range of businesses in that sector.

Andrew Little: Is it fair that our dairy farmers go bankrupt and 100,000 small businesses face reduced revenue while overseas-owned banks continue to make $90 million a week and speculators circle over our farmland?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is, I think, terribly confused about what is happening. What you have got is a scenario where dairy prices are lower, and what we should be doing is supporting dairy farmers with the things that we can control. We cannot control the exchange rate and we cannot control commodity prices and we cannot control the weather. We can control free-trade agreements, planning laws, health and safety, Resource Management Act reform, and a variety of other things, and on this side of the House we support helping those farmers, actually, in good times and in bad.

With the exception of West Coast Tasman, Palmerston North and Winston Peter’s opportunistic enthusiasm for Northland, Opposition parties don’t even try to win regional seats.

Their MPs flit in for photo opportunities but their sudden faux support for dairy farmers merely shows how little they understand the people and the issues.

The dairying downturn is a passing car at which the Opposition is barking.

Farmers don’t want banks strong-armed, they don’t want bail-outs and they certainly don’t want a return to the any of the government-knows-best policies, the recovery from which necessitated the radical reforms of the 80s and 90s.

Those are mad ideas from the Opposition and they won’t help.


Quote of the day

March 18, 2016

I’m proud that we ran good honest businesses, paid our taxes, never went broke and gave work to many thousands of Australians. – Dick Smith who celebrates his 72nd birthday today.


March 18 in history

March 18, 2016

37 The Roman Senate annulled Tiberius‘ will and proclaimed Caligulaemperor.

1229 Frederick II,  Holy Roman Emperor declared himself King of Jerusalem during the Sixth Crusade.

1241 Kraków was ravaged by Mongols.

1314 Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake.

1438 Albert II of Habsburg became King of Germany.

1608 Susenyos was formally crowned Emperor of Ethiopia.

1766 The British Parliament repealed the Stamp Act, which had been very unpopular in the British colonies.

1781 Charles Messier rediscovered global cluster M92.

1834  Six farm labourers from Tolpuddle were sentenced to be transported to Australia for forming a trade union.

1837 Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States, was born (d. 1908).

1850 American Express was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo.

1858 Rudolf Diesel, German inventor, was born  (d. 1913).

1865 The Congress of the Confederate States of America adjourned for the last time.

1869 Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born  (d. 1940).

1871 Declaration of the Paris Commune; President of the French Republic,Adolphe Thiers, ordered evacuation of Paris.

1893 – Former Governor General Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver challenge cup, later named after him, as an award for the best hockey team in Canada – the Stanley Cup.

1893 Wilfred Owen, British poet, was born (d 1918).

1906 Traian Vuia flew the first self-propelled heavier-than-air aircraft in Europe.

1913  King George I of Greece was assassinated in the recently liberated city of Thessaloniki.

1915 Richard Condon, American novelist, was born (d. 1996).

1915 Three battleships were sunk during a failed British and French naval attack on the Dardanelles.

1921  The second Peace of Riga between Poland and Soviet Union.

1922 Mohandas Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for civil disobedience. He would serve only 2 years.

1922 – The first public celebration of Bat mitzvah, for the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, was held in New York City.

1923 Mathrubhumi one of the largest Malayalam daily started to publish from Kozhikode in Kerala.

1925 The Tri-State Tornado hit the Midwestern states of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, killing 695 people.

1928 Fidel V. Ramos, 12th President of the Philippines, was born.

1932 John Updike, American author, was born (d. 2009).

1936 Frederik Willem de Klerk, President of South Africa, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.

1937 The New London School explosion killed three hundred, mostly children.

1937 –  Spanish Republican forces defeated the Italians at the Battle of Guadalajara.

1937 – The human-powered aircraft, Pedaliante, flew1 kilometre (0.62 mi) outside Milan.

1938 Charley Pride, American musician, was born.

1938  Mexico nationalised all foreign-owned oil properties within its borders.

1940 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass and agreed to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.

1941 New Zealand troops arrived in Greece to bolster Allied defences.

NZ troops arrive in Greece

1944 – Dick Smith, Australian Adventurer and Businessman, was born.

1944 The eruption of Mount Vesuvius  killed 26 and causes thousands to flee their homes.

1945 Joy Fielding, Canadian novelist and actress, was born.

1945 World War II: 1,250 American bombers attacked Berlin.

1947 Patrick Barlow, English actor, comedian and playwright, was born.

1949 Alex Higgins, Northern Irish snooker player, was born  (d. 2010).

1950 John Hartman, American drummer (Doobie Brothers), was born.

1951 Ben Cohen, American co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, was born.

1953 An earthquake hit western Turkey, killing 250.

1959 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law allowing for Hawaiian statehood.

1960 James MacPherson, Scottish actor, was born.

1962 The Evian Accords put an end to the Algerian War of Independence.

1965 Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonovleft his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes to become the first person to walk in space.

1967 The supertanker Torrey Canyon ran aground off the Cornish coast.

1968  Gold standard: The U.S. Congress repeals the requirement for a gold reserve to back US currency.

1970 Lon Nol ousted Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia.

1971 A landslide at Chungar, Peru crashed into Lake Yanahuani killing 200.

1974 Oil embargo crisis: Most OPEC nations ended a five-month oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.

1980 At Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia, 50 people were killed by an explosion of a Vostok-2M rocket on its launch pad during a fueling operation.

1989 A 4,400-year-old mummy was found near the Pyramid of Cheops.

1990  In the largest art theft in US history, 12 paintings, collectively worth around $300 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

1996 A nightclub fire in Quezon City, Philippines killed 162.

1997  The tail of a Russian Antonov An-24 charter plane breaks off while en-route to Turkey causing the plane to crash and killing all 50 on board and leading to the grounding of all An-24s.

2003 – British Sign Language was recognised as an official British language.

2006 – Mike Rann secured the first Labor majority government in South Australia since 1985 by winning the state election.

2012 – Tupou VI became King of Tonga.

2014 – The parliaments of Russia and Crimea signed an accession treaty.

2015 – The Bardo National Museum in Tunisia was attacked by gunmen. 23 people, almost all tourists, are killed, and at least 50 other people are wounded.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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