366 days of gratitude

September 22, 2016

Freesias symbolise innocence, thoughtfulness, trust, friendship and sweetness.

I didn’t know that until I looked it up this evening and also found:

Freesia is both the common and scientific name for these delicate flowers. They gained their name when botanist Christian P Ecklon named them after a fellow botanist,  Friedrich H. T. Freese as a tribute to their friendship. It is said that freesias symbolize friendship to honor the bond between Ecklon and Freese.

The scent of freesias take me back to my mother’s garden and the small, creamy white Freesia Burtoni.

A friend gave me some bulbs years ago and they multiplied beautifully but when we extended the garage the garden where they grew was covered in concrete before I was able to rescue them.

They are very difficult to come by now, usually only found in old gardens, and I haven’t been able to find any more.

But my garden does have several clumps of more modern varieties which do still smell gorgeous and I’m grateful for them.

 

 

 

 


Word of the day

September 22, 2016

Scrofulous – of, relating to, pertaining to, resembling, of the nature of, or affected with scrofula; disease with glandular swellings, probably a form of tuberculosis; having a diseased run-down appearance;  morally contaminated, corrupt or degenerate.


Rural round-up

September 22, 2016

The P epidemic has reached Waikato farms – Chris Lewis:

Federated Farmers runs an 0800 helpline for members, which is a popular way our members get value out of their subscriptions. Increasingly we are getting member calls around drugs and alcohol and advice on how to address this growing issue.

We’ve previously provided advice to farmers who have had multiple houses contaminated with P and even advice to a farmer for an entire workforce that tested positive for drugs. Some of the common questions being asked include: If I don’t have a drug and alcohol policy, how do I go about testing my staff? And, am I insured for my houses and business?

So what are our rights as employers? Should you turn a blind eye so your cows get milked? It is time to directly answer some of the questions, and for you to get answers from experts who work in this field. . . 

SFF ‘unleashed’ by assent – Dene Mackenzie:

Silver Fern Farms would be a ”company unleashed” now approval for Shanghai Maling to buy 50% of the Dunedin meat processor had been confirmed, SFF chairman Rob Hewett said yesterday.

After months of debate and some opposition from dissenting shareholders, Shanghai Maling received approval yesterday to inject $261million into SFF and take a 50% share.

The decision was never in doubt, although the Overseas Investment Office process was a ”black box”, Mr Hewett said in an interview. . . 

Govt defends Wairarapa water grant:

A Wairarapa irrigation system which didn’t stack up economically still got taxpayer cash from the Ministry for Primary Industries, says a damning study commissioned by Fish & Game.

But MPI is standing by its decision and says the report is flawed.

Fish & Game has released an independent analysis of the Wairarapa Water scheme’s successful application for $821,500 from MPI’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund for stage 2 of the scheme, which aims to irrigate 30,000ha.

The 2014 application was based on a long run farmgate milk price of $7.07 per kg of milksolids, which was questionable, and that 55 percent of the irrigated land would quickly be converted to dairy, says author Peter Fraser, of Ropere Consulting. . . 

Strong 2015/16 Profit Result for Fonterra, Encouraging Milk Price Signals Ahead for Fonterra Farmers

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Duncan Coull, said Fonterra’s recording of its highest ever EBIT, which resulted in Fonterra Farmers receiving a 60% increase on the earning per share received last season, was a positive result in an otherwise challenging environment.

Mr Coull: “The final payout of $4.30 for a fully shared-up Farmer is reflective of the very tough season we have endured.

“However, it is encouraging to see that Fonterra, assisted by the low Milk Price environment, has further driven volume into value and captured efficiency gains which have cumulated into a strong dividend while also serving to strengthen our Co-operative’s balance sheet. . .

Self-resetting rat traps 20 times better than standard traps -study:

Self-resetting rat traps are 20 times more effective at killing the pests than standard traps, a new study has shown.

The project – conducted by Bay of Plenty Polytechnic student Chantal Lillas – compared the amount of rats killed by self-resetting traps over a 10-day period last month, compared to the single-action traps more commonly used.

The self resetting traps were developed by the company Goodnature in collaboration with the Department to Conservation, and could reset up to 24 times before it needed to be reloaded. . . 

Zespri Board announces succession planning for new CEO:

The Board of Directors of Zespri will start a search process next year to select a new Chief Executive Officer. The succession is being planned with a view to having the new CEO in place by the beginning of 2018.

The current CEO Lain Jager, who was appointed Zespri CEO in December 2008, will remain in the role until the new CEO starts.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the Board is balancing continuity and renewal in the leadership of the organisation. “The Zespri Board has set out a process for succession at an optimal time. The timeframe helps to ensure continuity through this transition, which is important given Zespri’s critical role in the value chain for kiwifruit growers and customers globally.” . . 

NZ Merino lifts annual profit 19%, meets growth targets – Tina Morrison:

Sept. 21 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand Merino Co, a wool marketer that aims to develop higher-value markets for sheep products, posted a 19 percent lift in annual profit and said its business has doubled in value over the past three years.

Profit rose to $2.7 million in the year ended June 30, from $2.3 million a year earlier, according to the Christchurch-based company’s 2016 annual report. Revenue rose 4.9 percent to $114.7 million, while cost of sales gained 5.7 percent to $104 million. It will pay its more than 500 growers a total dividend of $1.36 million, up from $1.1 million the previous year and in line with its policy of returning 50 percent of profit to shareholders. . . 

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Don’t complain about a farmer with your mouth full.


Thursday’s quiz

September 22, 2016

This is your chance to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual chocolate cake.


Value-add shows value of co-operative

September 22, 2016

Fonterra has announced a 65% increase in net profit after tax to $834 million which the company says reflects a stronger business despite ongoing challenges in global dairy markets.

Highlights:

Sales volume increased 4% to 23.7 billion Liquid Milk Equivalents (LME)

· Revenue $17.2 billion, down 9%

· Normalised EBIT $1.4 billion, up 39%

· Net profit after tax $834 million, up 65%

· Return on capital 12.4%, up from 8.9%

· Ingredients inventories down 25%

· Gearing ratio reduced to 44.3% from 49.7%

· Debt reduced by $1.6 billion to $5.5 billion

· Earnings per share 51 cents

· Cash Payout $4.30

– Farmgate Milk Price $3.90 per kgMS

– Dividend of 40 cents per share

 . . . Chairman John Wilson said that the 2015/16 season had been incredibly difficult for farmers, their families and rural communities, with global dairy prices at unsustainable levels.

“Our Co-operative has responded. We continued with the significant and necessary changes we began in the business over three years ago to support our strategy and its priorities, and worked hard to return every possible cent of value back to our farmers.

“Our business strategy is serving us well. We are moving more milk into higher-returning consumer and foodservice products while securing sustainable ingredients margins over the GlobalDairyTrade benchmarks, especially through speciality ingredients and service offerings.

“Through increased earnings and continuing financial discipline we have increased the return on capital and strengthened our balance sheet by significantly reducing debt.

“We have done what we can to support our farmers with the Co-operative Support Loan, and early payment of dividends.

“After a period of deliberate and disciplined attention to the business, we have become a stronger Co-operative operationally, financially and in our mindset with a clear sense of direction and a structure which will support real momentum in our strategy going forward,” said Mr Wilson.

Mr Wilson said farmers’ decisions to reduce stocking rates and supplementary feeding to help lower costs resulted in milk collection across New Zealand for the 2015/16 season declining to 1,566 million kgMS, down three per cent on the previous season.

Strong volume and value growth

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said more volumes of milk sold at higher value is at the heart of Fonterra’s strategy.

“For our farmers, the promise is that we will make the most of their milk. We’re keeping that promise.

“We’ve seen the real strength of our ingredients business this year. The money our farmers have invested in stainless steel is giving us more choice, and we have matched production to the highest value customer demand. In a difficult market, we increased ingredients normalised EBIT this year by 24 per cent to $1,204 million.

“In consumer and foodservice, we converted an additional 380 million litres of liquid milk equivalents (LME) into higher returning products, bringing our total volumes in this business up from 4.5 billion LME to 4.9 billion. Increasing our consumer and foodservice volumes, and especially our foodservice growth, meant we increased our normalised EBIT in this business by 42 per cent to $580 million.

“Our results show that we continue to do what we said we would do right across the Co-op. We are single-minded about transforming our business to get the best results. We have cut our operating expenses, increased our free cash flow, reduced our working capital days, driven debt down, and reduced our capex and our gearing.

“All of this effort, combined with higher earnings and margins meant our measure of return on capital has increased from 8.9 per cent to 12.4 per cent.

“Our results show how our strategy is creating value for our shareholders. We are driving more volume into higher value products, and we are achieving results with increasing efficiency. We will continue to build on this strong platform to keep improving and delivering results to our farmers.

Investing in our communities and future

“At the same time, we have kept our promise to share great dairy nutrition with our communities through Fonterra Milk for Schools, and through our Grass Roots Fund and Living Water partnership, we are looking after local communities and the environment.

“We can only do all of this with the support and commitment of our farmers, investors and employees. Throughout the year we have challenged our people to adapt how we work to better manage the shifts in the global market. It has been a real team effort and I want to thank all of our people in New Zealand and around the world,” said Mr Spierings.

Future outlook

With a forecast Farmgate Milk Price of $5.25 per kilogram of milksolids (kgMS), the forecast total payout available to farmers in the 2016/17 season is $5.75 to $5.85 before retentions. This includes a forecast earnings per share range of 50 to 60 cents.

Mr Wilson said over the past three years the Co-operative had worked hard to align its structure to its strategy with a focus on achieving more value for the volumes of milk produced by its farmers.

“The higher forecast earnings per share range reflects the performance improvements the business will continue making.

“It is still early in the season, and we expect continuing volatility as reflected in price improvements in recent GDT auctions.

“Current global milk prices remain at unrealistically low levels, but as the signs in the market improve, we are very strongly positioned to build on a good result in the year to come,” said Mr Wilson.

The last season was a very tough one for dairying with the milk price well below the $5.05 almost all farms need to break even.

However, lower milk price makes it easier for the company to make money on its value-added products.

This shows the value of  the co-operative model. It enables producers to share the dividends which off-set the low milk price, and it is why Fonterra suppliers are determined to retain ownership of the company.

In businesses which aren’t co-operatives, higher dividends can come at the expense of producers.

You can see the annual results here.


Quote of the day

September 22, 2016

The greatest things are accomplished by individual people, not by committees or companies. – Fay Weldon who celebrates her 85th birthday today.

She also said:

Guilt to motherhood is like grapes to wine.

And:

One must be careful with words. Words turn probabilities into facts and by sheer force of
definition translate tendencies into habits.

And:

If anything happiness is a feeling of being essential.


September 22 in history

September 22, 2016

66  Emperor Nero created the Legion I Italica.

1236 The Lithuanians and Semigallians defeated the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in the Battle of Saule.

1499 Treaty of Basel: Switzerland became an independent state.

1515 Anne of Cleves, wife of Henry VIII, was born (d. 1557).

1586  Battle of Zutphen: Spanish victory over English and Dutch.

1598 Ben Jonson was indicted for manslaughter.

1692 Last people hanged for witchcraft in the United States.

1761  George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz were crowned King and Queen of the Great Britain.

1784  Russia established a colony at Kodiak, Alaska.

1789 Battle of Rymnik established Alexander Suvorov as a pre-eminent Russian military commander after his allied army defeat superior Ottoman Empire forces.

1862  Slavery in the United States: a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released.

1866 Battle of Curupaity in the War of the Triple Alliance.

1869 Richard Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold premiered in Munich.

1880 Dame Christabel Pankhurst, English suffragist, was born (d. 1958).

1885 Ben Chifley, Prime Minister of Australia, was born (d. 1951).

1885  Lord Randolph Churchill made a speech in Ulster in opposition to Home Rule e.g. “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right”.

1888 The first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published.

1893  The first American-made car, built by the Duryea Brothers, was displayed.

1896  Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

1906 At a meeting held in Wellington, Marianne Tasker attempted to establish a domestic workers’ union. Central to their demands was the call for a 68-hour working week.

Domestic workers call for 68-hour week

1908 The independence of Bulgaria was proclaimed.

1910  The Duke of York’s Picture House opened in Brighton, now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

1915 Arthur Lowe, British actor, was born (d. 1982).

1919 The steel strike of 1919, led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, began in Pennsylvania.

1920 – Anders Lassen, Danish-English soldier, Victoria Cross recipient, was born (d. 1945).

1924 Rosamunde Pilcher, English novelist, was born.

1927 Jack Dempsey lost the “Long Count” boxing match to Gene Tunney.

1931 – United Party Prime Minister George Forbes informed an inter-party conference that a coalition government was needed to ‘share the responsibility’ of dealing with the Depression.

1931 – Fay Weldon, English author and playwright, was born.

1934  An explosion at Gresford Colliery in Wales, lead to the deaths of 266 miners and rescuers.

1937  Spanish Civil War: Peña Blanca was taken; the end of the Battle of El Mazuco.

1939  Joint victory parade of Wehrmacht and Red Army in Brest-Litovsk at the end of the Invasion of Poland.

1941  World War II: On Jewish New Year Day, the German SS murdered 6,000 Jews in Vinnytsya, Ukraine.

1951  The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, was televised on NBC.

1955 The British television channel ITV went live for the first time.

1958 Andrea Bocelli, Italian tenor, was born.

1960 The Sudanese Republic was renamed Mali after the withdrawal of Senegal from the Mali Federation.

1965 The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 (also known as the Second Kashmir War) ended after the UN called for a cease-fire.

1970  Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

1971 Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, was born.

1975 Sara Jane Moore tried to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford, but was foiled by Oliver Sipple.

1979 The Vela Incident (also known as the South Atlantic Flash) was observed near Bouvet Island, thought to be a nuclear weapons test.

1980  Iraq invaded Iran.

1985 The Plaza Accord was signed in New York City.

1991 The Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library.

1993 A barge struck a railroad bridge near Mobile, Alabama, causing thedeadliest train wreck in Amtrak history. 47 passengers were killed.

1993  A Transair Georgian Airlines Tu-154 was shot down by a missile in Sukhumi, Georgia.

1995 An E-3B AWACS crashed outside Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska after multiple bird strikes to two of the four engines soon after takeoff; all 24 on board were killed.

1995 Nagerkovil school bombing, carried out by Sri Lankan Air Force in which at least 34 died, most of them ethnic Tamil school children.

2003  David Hempleman-Adams became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon.

2011 – CERN scientists announced their discovery of neutrinos breaking the speed of light.

2013 – At least 75 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a church in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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