Word of the day

August 22, 2017

Fopdoodle –  stupid or insignificant fellow; fool; simpleton; someone of little significance.


On a lighter darker note

August 22, 2017

North America experienced a total solar eclipse yesterday their-time, this morning in NZ.

NASA explains it here.

And  Cowsmopolitan Dairy Magazine reacted with this:

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Once upon a time there was light in my life. But now there’s only dark at the barn. Nothing I can do. A solar eclipse at the farm.

 


Rural round-up

August 22, 2017

Honesty breeds motivation in deer farmers’ support group – Tim Fulton:

A North Otago deer farmer tells Tim Fulton about how joining a farmers’ Advance Party has helped him make production gains.

A network of deer farmers is helping “geographic outliers” Dallas and Sarah Newlands to prepare for the biggest investment of their farming career.

The Newlands of North Otago are fourth-generation farmers 20km inland from Maheno, running the family’s 111-year old Viewmont property and a newer acquisition, Maraeweka.

They’re on rolling country, surrounded by dairy farmers but reliant on trough and small-scale water supply schemes to shield them against drought. . .

New tech simplifies DNA sequencing for primary sector – Alexa Cook:

Improvements to new DNA sequencing technology will help researchers use genetics to solve problems faster in animals, plants and other organisms, a Palmerston North scientist says.

Rob Elshire and his wife Robyn run a genetic analysis centre in Palmerston North and say they’ve developed an open-source DNA analysis method that can generate 300 percent more data than other technology, but at the same cost.

Similar science was used to create a gold kiwifruit variety to be resistant to the vine disease PSA. . . 

Westland appoints new Chief Financial Officer:

Westland welcomes a new Chief Financial Officer with some 20 years’ experience of international business finance on 21 August.

Toni Brendish, Chief Executive of Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-operative, has appointed British-born Dorian Devers to the CFO role at Westland.

“I’m very excited about the potential for Westland with an appointment of someone of Dorian’s calibre,” Brendish said.  . . 

Synlait Cements Relationship with New Hope Nutritionals:

Synlait  has today announced a new supply agreement with New Hope Nutritionals for production of their infant formula brands.

The arrangement provides certainty of supply for both companies over a five year period.

“This supply agreement has clarified our infant formula partnership with New Hope Nutritionals for the near future, allowing both of us to plan with confidence,” said John Penno, Synlait’s Managing Director and CEO. . . 

World’s rarest wading bird released in Mackenzie Basin:

51 black stilt, the world’s rarest wading bird, are being released at Mount Gerald station in the Mackenzie basin today.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the birds will add to the 60 released into the Tasman valley earlier this month, significantly boosting the wild population.

“DOC works really hard on black stilt (kakī) recovery, controlling predators in their braided river habitats and hatching and rearing chicks in aviaries before releasing them into the wild. This programme has helped build numbers in the wild from a low of 23 to more than 106 adult birds today,” Ms Barry says. . . 

Top two North Island young winemakers off to national final:

The annual Tonellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year regional competition was held at EIT (Eastern Institute of Technology), Hawkes Bay on Friday with Sara Addis from Trinity Hill Winery taking out first place and Tom Hindmarsh from Martinborough’s Dry River coming a close second, in third place was Hadiee Johnson from Te Awa.

Both Sara and Tom will go on to represent the North Island at the Tonellerie de Mercurey National competition in Auckland, competing against the first and second place winners from the South Island on Wednesday 20th September. . . 

Dairy industry body joins GIA biosecurity partnership:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has become the fifteenth and largest industry sector to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

DCANZ is the national organisation representing the dairy processor and exporters sector, comprised of 11 members responsible for 99% of the milk processed in New Zealand.

“It’s very pleasing to have DCANZ working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners on biosecurity,” says Mr Guy.. . .

Dispatch from NZ no. 2 Resource Management Act (RMA) – Jonathan Baker:

In 1991, New Zealand created an overarching and ambitious piece of legislation. The Resource Management Act (RMA), pulled together and replaced a whole host of existing legislation covering town and country planning, pollution consents, land use and environmental legislation.

The RMA was developed over time, out of a recognition that the legislative framework was insuficient to address the emerging recognition of sustainable development as introduced by the Brundtland Commission. A Review Group led the process which occured aco]ross a change of Government. . . 


Funny but sadly true

August 22, 2017

This should be funny.

But as the rural-urban divide widens and the inability to join the dots between farming and food increases it becomes more and more sadly true.

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FARMING noun [farm – ing] The art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you are trying to kill them.


Automation answer to artificially high wages

August 22, 2017

NZ First wants a minimum wage of $20 an hour. The party also wants less immigration.

A higher minimum wage and fewer migrants are being promoted by other parties on the left too.

The dangers of that can be seen in the UK where British farms are preparing to work with fewer seasonal workers after Brexit:

The production of strawberries, raspberries and other berries has increased from some 60,000 tonnes a year to over 140,000 tonnes, and these are picked almost entirely by migrant workers from the EU. In 2015 about 85,000 seasonal agricultural workers came to Britain, 30,000 or so of them to pick fruit. As a recent report by Andersons Farm Business Consultants concludes, without EU labour the sector’s recent growth “would not have been possible”.

As Britain prepares to leave the EU and probably end the free movement of workers from the continent, farmers are scrambling to find farm hands. But they are also exploring more rigorously the alternatives to a bountiful supply of cheap labour, such as using more automation and increasing existing workers’ productivity. . .

There is no doubt that farmers are struggling to find workers. There are some Brexit-related reasons for this: the pound has fallen precipitately against the euro; and Britain is now often perceived to be “a xenophobic and unfriendly country”, says John Hardman, a director of one recruiting agency, HOPS Labour Solutions.

But the shortfalls also reflect structural shifts in the EU economy, in particular the rising prosperity, and higher wages, of those countries such as Poland and Romania that have historically supplied workers to Britain. . . 

Alison Capper, who chairs the horticultural board of the National Farmers Union, a lobby group, says that some British farmers are now having to make decisions “as to what to pick and what to leave”. But for now there is unlikely to be a lot of fruit left rotting in the fields. And to forestall such an eventuality, many in the industry have been heeding the government’s advice, to recruit more British workers, automate, or become more efficient—but with very mixed results.

Trying to recruit more British workers has, in the words of Mr Hardman, been a “staggering disaster”. He has managed to get only a handful of Britons out of 12,000 recruits sent to 225 farms. Money is not the main problem. Many farms pay above the minimum wage of £7.50 ($9.65) an hour, and fast pickers can earn up to £12 on piecework. But most Britons seem not to want to move to where the farms are, nor to take up jobs that only last for the season and involve getting up at 5am to work outdoors.

This is not confined to the UK. New Zealand horticulturists have the same problems, though ironically some of the migrants who will do the work here are from the UK.

Robots, on the other hand, are perfectly happy with such conditions, and are getting ever more dexterous at picking hard fruit, if not the squishier sort. Machines to pick strawberries and apples are already in use. They can pick at only about one-third the rate of a human, and farmers reckon that they miss about 15% of the crop. But they can make up for that by working 24 hours a day. They are expensive, though: one of the most popular strawberry-pickers costs about $250,000. Most farmers estimate that their large-scale deployment could still be a decade off.

As more businesses use robots and technology improves the cost will come down.

In the interim, farms have been trying to wring more productivity out of their existing operations. Many have invested in metal tabletops to grow strawberries so that workers can pick them more quickly. Farmers now grow particular strains that produce more fruit over a longer season, such as ever-bearing strawberries. Others are spending more time on training their pickers. One farmer, Harry Hall, says that he has been able to improve his workers’ picking speeds by about 15% this year. Valya, a Bulgarian university student working on his farm in Twyford, 50km west of London, says that whereas she started out picking raspberries at 9kg per hour, after training she can pluck 11kg. . . 

Increased productivity is better for workers, businesses and the wider economy.

But artificially boosting wages through an increase in the minimum wage would add costs to businesses which would be passed on to consumers.

And if immigration is cut the problem will not be how much each worker can do, but how to get the workers who are willing and able to do the work.


Quote of the day

August 22, 2017

We face up to awful things because we can’t go around them, or forget them. The sooner you say ‘Yes, it happened, and there’s nothing I can do about it,’ the sooner you can get on with your own life. You’ve got children to bring up. So you’ve got to get over it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things. –  E. Annie Proulx who celebrates her 82nd birthday today.


August 22 in history

August 22, 2017

565  St. Columba reported seeing a monster in Loch Ness.

1138 Battle of the Standard between Scotland and England.

1485  The Battle of Bosworth Field, the death of Richard III and the end of the House of Plantagenet.

1559 Bartolomé Carranza, Spanish archbishop, was arrested for heresy.

1642 Charles I called the English Parliament traitors. The English Civil Warbegan.

1654 Jacob Barsimson arrives in New Amsterdam – the first known Jewish immigrant to America.

1770  James Cook‘s expedition landed on the east coast of Australia.

1780 James Cook‘s ship HMS Resolution returned to England after Cook was killed in Hawaii.

1791  Beginning of the Haitian Slave Revolution in Saint-Domingue.

1798 French troops landed in Kilcummin harbour, County Mayo to aid Wolfe Tone’s United Irishmen’s Irish Rebellion.

1827 José de La Mar became President of Peru.

1831  Nat Turner’s slave rebellion commenced leading to the deaths of more than 50 whites and several hundred African Americans who are killed in retaliation for the uprising.

1849 The first air raid in history. Austria launched pilotless balloons against the Italian city of Venice.

1851 The first America’s Cup was won by the yacht America.

1862 Claude Debussy, French composer, was born (d. 1918).

1864  Twelve nations signed the First Geneva Convention. The Red Crosswas formed.

1875 The Treaty of Saint Petersburg between Japan and Russia was ratified, providing for the exchange of Sakhalin for the Kuril Islands.

1893 Dorothy Parker, American writer, was born (d. 1967).

1901 Cadillac Motor Company was founded.

1902  Theodore Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to ride in an automobile.

1909 Julius J. Epstein, American screenwriter, was born (d. 2000).

1915 James Hillier, Co-inventor of the electron microscope, was born (d. 2007).

1922  Michael Collins, Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Free State Army was shot dead during an Anti-Treaty ambush at Béal na mBláth, County Cork, during the Irish Civil War.

1925 Honor Blackman, English actress, was born.

1926  Gold was discovered in Johannesburg.

1932 The BBC first experimented with television broadcasting.

1934  Bill Woodfull of Australia became the only cricket captain to twice regain The Ashes.

1934 – Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. general, was born.

1934 – Sir Donald McIntyre, English bass-baritone, was born.

1935 E. Annie Proulx, American author, was born.

1939  Valerie Harper, American actress, was born.

1941 World War II: German troops reached Leningrad, leading to the siege of Leningrad.

1942  World War II: Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy.

1944 World War II: Romania wascaptured by the Soviet Union.

1949  Queen Charlotte earthquake: Canada’s largest earthquake since 1700.

1950  Althea Gibson became the first black competitor in international tennis.

1952 The penal colony on Devil’s Island was permanently closed.

1961  Roland Orzabal, British musician (Tears for Fears), was born.

1962 An attempt to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle failed.

196  The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered cargo ship, completed its maiden voyage.

1963  Joe Walker in an X-15 test plane reached an altitude of 106 km (66 mi).

1968 Pope Paul VI arrived in Bogotá –  the first visit of a pope to Latin America.

1969 New Zealand’s first Young Farmer of the Year contest was won by Gary Frazer.

First 'Young Farmer of the Year' chosen

1972 Rhodesia was expelled by the IOC for its racist policies.

1973 Howie Dorough, American singer (Backstreet Boys), was born.

1978 The Frente Sandinista de Liberacion – FSLN – occupied national palace in Nicaragua.

1989 The first ring of Neptune was discovered.

1996  Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law, representing major shift in US welfare policy

2003  Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.

2004   The Scream and Madonna, two paintings by Edvard Munch, were stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Oslo.

2007 – The Storm botnet, a botnet created by the Storm Worm, sent out a record 57 million e-mails in one day.

2012 – Ethnic clashes over grazing rights for cattle in Kenya’s Tana River District resulted in more than 52 deaths.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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