Word of the day


Culf – the loose feathers that come out of a mattress or cushion which adhere to the clothes of any one who has lain upon it.

Rural round-up


Science puts couple on the front foot:

Facing the challenge of reducing nitrate leaching while remaining profitable has spurred Canterbury farmers Grant and Jan Early to take part in the DairyNZ-led Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching research programme.

Grant and Jan farm near Mayfield in Mid Canterbury, an area deemed a ‘red zone’ under the Land and Water Regional Plan. The couple are required to reduce their nitrogen (N) loss by 15 percent by 2025 and 36 percent by 2035.

“That’s not going to be easy,” says Jan. “With the tools we have at the moment, it’s going to be very difficult, if not impossible. That’s why we wanted to be part of a research project looking at what you can do on-farm in a practical sense, and that’s going to mean we can reach that target.” . .

Kiwifruit exports rise in August:

Kiwifruit exports rose $73 million in August 2017 to reach $268 million, up 37 percent on the same month last year, Stats NZ said today.

The rise was the leading contributor to an increase of $306 million (9.0 percent) in overall goods exports, which was $3.7 billion in August. . .

Breathing new life into the Waimakariri:

Long before the Waimakariri River became a source of food for Maori, a water supply for farmers and a recreational hotspot for the half-million people living on its borders, it was quite literally a world builder.For thousands of years it has continued the legacy of mighty ice age glaciers that carved through the Southern Alps, pulling loose rock and sediment from its headwaters near Arthur’s Pass and sending them forth in a great alluvial wash from the mountains to the sea.

Today, its lower reaches have been straightened, its banks confined, flood barriers installed and some of its water used for irrigation. For 150 years, economic management for the benefit of settling Europeans was the overarching concern, much to the dismay of Maori and more recently the wider community as water quality issues become one of the country’s biggest challenges. . .

Celebrating the best of New Zealand made cheese:

October is a nationwide celebration of cheesemaking

Kiwis have more opportunities for cheese tasting than you can roll a wheel of cheese at this month as the country’s cheesemakers celebrate their craft.

Every October the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) members host a variety of tastings, inviting cultured Kiwis to events across the country to meet cheese makers and taste their wares. . .

Teenagers’ muddy cover-up fails as farmer catches him in midnight raid – Jennifer Elder:

A teenager who went poaching in Marlborough’s high country had the truck’s number plates carefully covered in mud, hoping the midnight hunt would not be traced back to him.

Reid Kevin Heyward, 19, was looking for deer or pigs to shoot in the Awatere Valley, southwest of Seddon, about 12.30am on September 2.

He had two rifles, hunting knives, ammunition and a spotlight in his Hilux truck, a police summary said. . .

Make it Cockietober Kerry McIvor


Kerry McIvor is exhorting her readers to be kind to farmers:

I would like to see everybody Kiss a Cockie this month.

Or Fondle a Farmer?

Whatever we decide to call it, let’s all show farmers a little bit of love during October. They deserve a break. 

Farmers, or rather farming practices, came under the spotlight during the election campaign and there was much debate about an urban/rural divide.

There’s no doubt farmers are feeling hard done by.

They’re being blamed for the poor water quality in New Zealand despite the fact city dwellers need to take responsibility for the filthy state of the harbours and rivers around them.

There are fewer people in the country than in cities and more rural rivers than urban ones. But a lot more effort has and is being put into improving and protecting water quality by farmers than most urban people individually and by their councils.

They’re being told how to manage their stock by people who have never set foot on a farm.

They’re being told they don’t pay their workers (farm labourers) enough and then told they pay their workers (Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings) too much. 

It is mostly dairy farmers who have come under fire but now sheep farmers are feeling the heat as well. . . 

A British professor of animal welfare who is in this country on a year’s secondment with the Safe says he was appalled at seeing sheep being shorn in Queenstown.

Apparently, the sheep were being manhandled and put into positions that were awkward for them, which, according to Dr Andrew Knight, would have been very stressful.

Then they are sent back out into the cold without their wool.

Would he prefer they were left with their wool to overheat and be more likely to suffer from flystrike or be cast?

The good doctor went on to concede the sheep hadn’t shown any signs of distress.

So how then did he know that they were traumatised?

It would appear Knight has a special insight into the brains of sheep.

He says sheep are stoic creatures that quietly take the treatment they are handed out.

Like little bucolic Buddhas, then. Higher sentient beings with a zen-like capacity to accept suffering and endure.

Or, how about, they show no signs of distress or suffering because they don’t actually bloody feel any?

They’d feel a lot more distress in full wool in the heat of summer and also be far less likely to seek shelter for their new born lambs.

He went on to complain about dogs menacing the sheep when they’re herding them, not actually nipping them or biting them.

He appears to be concerned that the dogs are just being really, really mean to the sheep.

He was also upset lambs are born in cold spring weather.

Lambing is timed to make the most of the grass cycle so ewes get enough to eat while feeding their offspring, lambs get enough when they’re weaned and ewes are in prime condition for tipping.

If the weather is cold, farmers do all they can to ensure lambs survive. The good professor might not appreciate that they did this for animal welfare reasons but even he should be able to,understand the financial incentive for ensuring lambs survive and thrive.

Knight should be made to sit down and watch a season’s worth of A Dog’s Show if he wants to truly understand sheep and herding dog dynamics.

And while he’s watching he could make himself useful, get out the knitting needles and start whipping up a few jerseys for the newborn lambs – which is what some dear old ladies do every year around lambing time.

No wonder farmers are frustrated.

We all want clean water and animals to have a happy and painfree existence before they make themselves useful and become a chop.

If you want to be a vegetarian, be one.

If you don’t want to wear wool, don’t.

But enough with the sanctimony and the smugness. And with the downright misinformation.

Let’s embrace Cockietober and show our farmers we care.

Most farmers care about producing high quality food and fibre using the best practices backed by good science.

They work hard in all weather to look after their stock and land.

The maxim that farmers don’t own their land, they are just caretakers for those who follow isn’t a cliche, it’s a guiding principle.

Thank you for appreciating that Kerre.

Quote of the day


We’re frightened of what makes us different. – Anne Rice who celebrates her 76th birthday today.

October 4 in history


23 – Rebels captured and sacked the Chinese capital Chang’an during a peasant rebellion.

610 Heraclius arrived by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrew Byzantine Emperor Phocas and became Emperor.

663  The battle of Baekgang began.

1209  Otto IV was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Innocent III.

1227  Assassination of Caliph al-Adil.

1363  End of the Battle of Lake Poyang; the Chinese rebel forces of Zhu Yuanzhang defeated that of his rival, Chen Youliang, in one of the largest naval battles in history.

1511  Formation of the Holy League of Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Papal States and the Republic of Venice against France.

1537 The first complete English-language Bible (the Matthew Bible) was printed, with translations by William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale.

1582 Pope Gregory XIII implemented the Gregorian Calendar. In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year was followed directly by October 15.

1625 – Jacqueline Pascal, French nun and composer, was born (d. 1661).

1626 – Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was born (d. 1712).

1636 The Swedish Army defeated the armies of Saxony and the Holy Roman Empire at the Battle of Wittstock.

1693  Battle of Marsaglia: Piedmontese troops were defeated by the French.

1777  Battle of Germantown: Troops under George Washington were repelled by British troops under Sir William Howe.

1779 The Fort Wilson Riot.

1824  Mexico adopted a new constitution and becomes a federal republic.

1830 Creation of the state of Belgium after separation from The Netherlands.

1853  Crimean War: The Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia.

1876  Texas A&M University opened as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, becoming the first public institution of higher education in Texas.

1883  First run of the Orient Express.

1883 – First meeting of the Boys’ Brigade in Glasgow.

1895 Buster Keaton, American comedian, was born (d. 1966).

1895 The first U.S. Open Men’s Golf Championship administered by the United States Golf Association was played at the Newport Country Club.

1910  Declaration of the Portuguese Republic. King Manuel II fled to the United Kingdom.

1910 – Adoption of the Flag of Bermuda.

1918  An explosion killed more than 100 and destroyed the T.A. Gillespie Company Shell Loading Plant in Sayreville, New Jersey.

1921 Riccardo Zanella became the first elected president of Free State of Fiume.

1923 US actor Charlton Heston was born(d 2008).

1927  Gutzon Borglum began sculpting Mount Rushmore.

1928  Alvin Toffler, American novelist, was born.

1931 Sir Terence Conran, English designer, restaurateur, retailer and writer, was born.

1937 English writer Jackie Collins was born.

1941 Anne Rice, American writer, was born.

1941 Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis character debuted on the cover of theSaturday Evening Post.

1942 Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, was born.

1943  U.S. captured Solomon Islands.

1947 Jim Fielder, American bassist (Blood, Sweat & Tears), was born.

1957 Auckland businessman Morris Yock trademarked the jandel.

Morris Yock trademarks the jandal

1957  Launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.

1957  Avro Arrow roll-out ceremony at Avro Canada plant in Malton, Ontario.

1958  Fifth Republic of France was established.

1959 Chris Lowe, British musician (Pet Shop Boys), was born.

1960  Eastern Air Lines Flight 375, a Lockheed L-188 Electra, crashed after a bird strike on takeoff from Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing 62 of 72 on board.

1962 Carlos Carsolio, Mexican alpinist. Fourth person to summit all 14 of the eight-thousanders, was born.

1966  Basutoland becomes independent from the United Kingdom and was renamed Lesotho.

1967  Omar Ali Saifuddin III of Brunei abdicated in favour of his son, SultanHassanal Bolkiah.

1976  Official launch of theIntercity 125 High Speed Train (HST).

1983   Richard Noble set a new land speed record of 633.468 mph (1,019 km/h), driving Thrust 2 at the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

1985   Free Software Foundation was founded in Massachusetts.

1991  The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treatywas opened for signature.

1992  The Rome General Peace Accords ended a 16 year civil war in Mozambique.

1992   El Al Flight 1862: an El Al Boeing 747-258F crashed into two apartment buildings in Amsterdam, killing 43 including 39 on the ground.

1993  Russian Constitutional Crisis: In Moscow, tanks bombard the White House, a government building that housed the Russian parliament, while demonstrators against President Boris Yeltsin rallied outside.

1997 The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history took place at the Charlotte, North Carolina office of Loomis, Fargo and Company.

1999 – the first World Smile Day was celebrated.

2001  NATO confirmed invocation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

2001  Siberia Airlines Flight 1812: a Sibir Airlines Tupolev TU-154 crashed into the Black Sea after being struck by an errant Ukrainian S-200 missile. 78 people were killed.

2003  Maxim restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa: 21  people were killed, and 51 others wounded.

2004  SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X Prize for private spaceflight, by being the first private craft to fly into space.

2010 – The Ajka plant accident in western Hungary released about a million cubic metres (35 million cubic feet) of liquid alumina sludge. Nine people were killed and 122 injured, and the Marcal and Danube rivers were severely contaminated.

Sourced from NZ history Online & Wikipedia

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