Word of the day

September 21, 2017

Zounderkite – foolish or stupid person; idiot, nincompoop.

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Rural round-up

September 21, 2017

Bronwyn Muir replies to Rachel Stewart:

Dear Rachel,

I don’t really have the time to write this as busy running some rural businesses but here goes….

You probably don’t remember me – I held the Taranaki FFNZ Presidents position for nearly 4 years and sat in the wings biting my tongue while you ran off at the mouth / pen and tried to hold Feds and farmers to ransom time and time again.

Well I don’t hold the position anymore and have had enough of your tripe and personal attacks to put it politely – there is too much at stake for all New Zealanders right at this point! . .

QR code to prove SFF product origin:

Dunedin meat processor Silver Fern Farms is introducing new retail packaging in New Zealand and overseas, to allow consumers better access to proof of origin of the product.

Chief executive Dean Hamilton said the investment in traceability would support the growth of the company’s Silver Fern Farms branded products.

“We want to deliver transparency in the food chain for our consumers who are increasingly interested in knowing where their food has come from and that their food has been produced safely, with care and in a sustainable way.” . . 

First-time environment award entrants encourage others to put their hands up

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards has been a great learning and development experience for new Kaitaia farmers Gay Pembroke and Mark Corby.

“The past 12 months have been great fun. It was a wonderful experience and I think entering the awards and being involved in the process has given us a lot more confidence that what we are doing is on track,” Gay says.

The couple have owned their 102ha dairy support/beef block at Kaitaia for the past three years. Neither Gay nor Mark are from a farming background, and the change that they made in their lives from 4ha to 102ha was exciting but massive. . . 

The time is ripe to transform agriculture and feed the world :

Political and agricultural leaders gathered at the University of Illinois today to see transformative work by Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) that has increased yields by 20 percent.

The research project announced that it will continue work to address the global food challenge with the support of a $45 million, five-year reinvestment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID)..

The great GMO freak-out expose – Lenore Skenazy:

It all began when a neighbor of filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s sent a text asking if she could borrow some organic milk.

Kennedy texted back, “You can borrow some milk, but I don’t have organic.”

The friend politely declined, which set Kennedy to thinking. His family drank conventional milk. Did that make him a dad who didn’t care about his kids’ safety, or the environment?

That would be odd, since he was nominated for an Oscar for his film about a community garden blooming in South-Central Los Angeles. .

Hurricane Irma wiped out half of Florida’s citrus crop –Kate Yoder:

The Sunshine State expected to harvest 75 million boxes of oranges this year. That number is looking decidedly slimmer after Irma knocked fruit off trees, flooded fields and groves, and broke irrigation pipes.

The hurricane took out an estimated 50 percent of the season’s citrus crop statewide, USA Today reports. Based on reports from the field, losses may be even higher in South Florida. . .


Thursday’s quiz

September 21, 2017

You are invited to post the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual bunch of daffodils with a bonus virtual bunch for anyone who has an election theme.


Water tax by the numbers

September 21, 2017

When policy is based on politics rather than logic it’s difficult to work out the cost, but IrrigtionNZ has done the numbers for the water tax:

Recent attempts to estimate the cost of Labour’s proposed water tax to farmers have demonstrated a basic lack of understanding of how irrigation works, says nonprofit membership body IrrigationNZ.

This issue, which is compounded by a lack of detail from Labour about how the tax would be applied, has resulted in some widely varying estimates. Radio New Zealand’s ‘Fact or Fiction’ series calculated the cost for irrigated farms at $13,800 a year, whereas figures from DairyNZ have estimated a figure of $45,000 a year.

On top of this, yesterday Jacinda Ardern told TVNZ there are 12,000 farms in New Zealand and 2,000 of them have irrigation. In fact according to Statistics NZ and the 2012 Agricultural Census there are 58,071 farms in NZ and 10,500 have consent for irrigation. Irrigation NZ estimates the number of irrigated farms is now at around 11,000.

‘The public will rightly be confused by these very different figures,’ says IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Andrew Curtis. ‘But the lack of detail on how Labour would apply a water tax compounded with the sheer number of variables between farms – for example their size, what they produce, and how dry the region is, makes it hard to estimate with accuracy. While recent coverage has focused on the impact on dairy farms – just over half of our irrigated farms are not used for dairy – but for sheep or beef, arable farming, horticulture or vineyards. These farmers and growers will also pay the tax.”

IrrigationNZ has spent the last decade developing a comprehensive suite of standards, codes of practice, guidelines and knowledge resources on irrigation, and now run over 50 training courses a year nationally. IrrigationNZ’s main focus is providing knowledge and training to help irrigators achieve ‘excellence in irrigation.

‘Our figures, based on the average irrigated farm in Canterbury of 220 hectares, show an actual average cost of $24,000 to $29,000 a year (at 2 cents per 1000 litres). We’ve used Canterbury figures because there is no national average figure available for the size of an irrigated farm – but there is for Canterbury, where 60 per cent of irrigated land is.’

‘When this additional cost is put in context of the profit generated by a family farming business – it will create a significant impact, particularly for sheep and beef, arable and vegetable farmers who have reasonably tight operating margins.”

Mr Curtis adds that there will be larger farms and those farmers operating in drier climates who will be facing significantly higher bills of $40,000 to $50,000 or more.

Will non-irrigated farms pay?

While both Radio New Zealand and DairyNZ calculated water tax costs for non-irrigated farms, it remains unclear whether these farms would be paying the tax as it is unclear whether they would qualify as ‘large commercial users of water’. The only users mentioned by Labour are water bottlers and irrigators.

6% of New Zealand farms are irrigated (around 11,000 farms). Regardless of whether other farms may pay some of the tax costs, the majority of the tax will fall on a small subset of farmers.

Calculating a water tax on irrigated farms – key variables:

Type of farming – from dairy, to sheep, arable, or horticulture (DairyNZ’s figures were for dairy farms)
Size of farm
Amount of rainfall
Actual water use vs consented take
Number of days irrigation water is applied
The cost of the tax.
IrrigationNZ has been surprised by the growing number of irrigation experts in NZ.

‘Academics, economists and organisations that wouldn’t have the knowledge to turn on an irrigator are all offering their expert opinions on the cost of a water tax. Anyone talking about the potential cost of a water tax must have some basic understanding of water use by irrigators and not everyone offering an opinion currently seems to have that,” says Andrew Curtis.

‘We’d be happy to run a special course for the growing list of water tax experts – to help people to brush-up on their irrigation knowledge and assumptions.’

Calculating irrigation water use – the backbround

Before entering into the ‘how much will irrigators pay’ debate some basic knowledge of water use by irrigators is required.

‘The key piece of information is 1 mm of rainfall (noting rainfall is measured in millimetres not millilitres) falling over 1 hectare is equivalent to 10m3 which is equivalent to 10,000 litres). This provides some context around the sensationalist numbers being used by some parties around irrigation water use,’ says Andrew Curtis.

“For example over the Canterbury region (4.5 million hectares) an annual rainfall of just under 1,650mm or 74 trillion litres falls. However, we all know this isn’t distributed evenly and that’s why we need to irrigate – to provide additional rain for a crop to grow during dry periods. Under 500 mm falls at the coast, rising to 1,000 mm in the foothills and well over 2,000 mm in the mountains.”

For the 500,000 ha of irrigation in Canterbury (based on a seasonal allocation of 550 mm which is explained below) this means the maximum use for irrigation is 4.5 trillion litres or 6% of the annual rainfall.

“It is important to realise irrigators must hold a consent to take water for irrigation, and this contains a seasonal allocation expressed as a volume in m3. This volume is the maximum amount of water an irrigator is allowed to take and based on 80% application efficiency (the agreed industry standard) and 90% supply reliability,” says Mr Curtis.

Councils use a water allocation tool, such as Irricalc (http://irrigationnz.co.nz/practical-resources/irrigation-development/water-allocation-calculator/) to calculate a farms seasonal irrigation allocation requirements. These tools are based on a daily time step water balance model that uses the local climate and the farms soil water holding properties.

“However, when we case study an individual farm we always base it on the seasonal volume written on their consent – as this is the most likely method through which a water tax charge will be calculated,” says Mr Curtis.

David Clark gives the impact the tax will have on his cropping farm:

 


Quote of the day

September 21, 2017

This world is full of conflicts and full of things that cannot be reconciled. But there are moments when we can… reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen who was born on this day in 1934.


September 21 in history

September 21, 2017

455 – Emperor Avitus entered Rome with a Gallic army and consolidated his power.

1217 Livonian Crusade: The Estonian tribal leader Lembitu and Livonian leader Kaupo were killed in Battle of St. Matthew’s Day.

1411 Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, claimant to the English throne, was born (d. 1460).

1745 Battle of Prestonpans: A Hanoverian army under the command of Sir John Cope was defeated, in ten minutes, by the Jacobite forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

1756 John Macadam, Scottish engineer and road-builder, was born (d. 1836).

1792 The National Convention declared France a republic and abolished the monarchy.

1827  Joseph Smith, Jr. was reportedly visited by the angel Moroni, who gave him a record of gold plates, one-third of which Smith has translated into The Book of Mormon.

1834 Betty Guard and her children were rescued from Ngati Ruanui (who had held them captive in Taranaki since April) by troops from HMSAlligatorand Isabella.

Rescue of <em>Harriet</em> survivors begins

1860   In the Second Opium War, an Anglo-French force defeated Chinese troops at the Battle of Baliqiao.

1866 – H. G. Wells, English writer, was born (d. 1946).

1874 –  Gustav Holst, English composer, was born (d. 1934).

1897  The “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial was published in the New York Sun.

1898  Empress Dowager Cixi seized power and ended the Hundred Days’ Reform in China.

1902 Sir Allen Lane, British founder of Penguin Books, was born (d. 1970).

1921  A storage silo in Oppau, Germany, exploded, killing 500-600 people.

1932  – Shirley Conran, English journalist and author, was born.

1934  A large typhoon hit western Honshū killing 3,036 people.

1934 – Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter and poet, was born. (d. 2016).

1937 J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was published.

1938  The Great Hurricane of 1938 made landfall on Long Island, killing an estimated at 500-700 people.

1939  Romanian Prime Minister Armand Calinescu was assassinated by ultranationalist members of the Iron Guard.

1942  On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Nazis sent more than 1,000 Jews of Pidhaytsi to Belzec extermination camp.

1942  In Poland, at the end of Yom Kippur, Germans ordered Jews to permanently evacuate Konstantynów and move to the Ghetto inBiała Podlaska, established to assemble Jews from seven nearby towns.

1942 In Dunaivtsi, Ukraine, Nazis murdered 2,588 Jews.

1942  The B-29 Superfortress made its maiden flight.

1947 Stephen King, American author, was born.

1947 Don Felder, American guitarist (Eagles), was born.

1950 Bill Murray, American comedian and actor, was born.

1957 Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister of Australia, was born.

1961  Maiden flight of the CH-47 Chinook transportation helicopter.

1964  Malta became independent from the United Kingdom.

1964  The XB-70 Valkyrie, the world’s first Mach 3 bomber, made its maiden flight from Palmdale, California.

1965 David Wenham, Australian actor, was born.

1972  Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire country under martial law.

1972 – Liam Gallagher, English singer-songwriter, was born.

1976  Orlando Letelier, a member of the Chilean socialist government which was overthrown in 1973 by Augusto Pinochet,  was assassinated in Washington, D.C.

1978 Doug Howlett, New Zealand rugby union footballer, was born.

1981 Belize was granted full independence from the United Kingdom.

1981  Sandra Day O’Connor was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.

1989  Hurricane Hugo made landfall in South Carolina.

1991  Armenia was granted independence from Soviet Union.

1993 Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspended parliament and scrapped the then-functioning constitution, thus triggering the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993.

1999  Chi-Chi earthquake in central Taiwan, left about 2,400 people dead.

2001 – AZF chemical plant exploded in Toulouse killing 31 people.

2003 – Galileo mission was terminated by sending the probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere, where it was crushed by the pressure at the lower altitudes.

2004  The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War and the Maoist Communist Centre of India merged to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

2008  Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the two last remaining independent investment banks on Wall Street, become bank holding companies as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.

2013 – al-Shabaab Islamic militants attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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