Word of the day

October 30, 2017

Dadirri –  inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness; a ‘tuning in’ experience with the specific aim to come to a deeper understanding of the beauty of nature.


Rural round-up

October 30, 2017

Brexit problems proliferate while negotiators procrastinate– Alan Barber:

An Agri Brigade piece in the latest Private Eye, that marvellous example of good old-fashioned investigative journalism, made me acutely aware of the law of unintended consequences that inevitably applies to trade agreements. With less than 18 months until Brexit, UK negotiators don’t appear to have made any tangible progress towards a workable agreement with their EU counterparts.

In fact each side is talking right past the other: the EU wants to set the amount the UK will pay to exit before discussing important things like trade and the UK doesn’t want to mention it for fear of causing political mayhem at home. And we think we’ve got problems with the coalition discussions which should have reached a conclusion by the time you read this. . .

EU plans to trade ‘much’ more with Australia and New Zealand after Brexit – Jon Stone:

An upcoming trade deal between the European Union and Australia and New Zealand will help to dramatically increase trade between the blocs, the EU’s trade commission has said.

Despite high-profile Brexiteers hoping Britain would do more trade with Commonwealth countries after Britain leaves the bloc, the EU has pulled away with a head-start in negotiating its own agreement with the two former British colonies.

Cecilia Malmström told the European Parliament on Wednesday that her negotiating team was moving to the next phase of preparations for the trade deal. . .

Overseas land ownership not just a New Zealand problem – Alan Barber:

On a recent trip to Australia I read an article about overseas land holdings on that side of the Tasman which illustrates

the dramatic growth in Chinese investment in Australian agricultural land. In contrast to the rather sketchy and out of date statistics available in New Zealand, the Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land Register provides very specific figures at 30th June this year.

Foreign investors now own 13.6% of Australian agricultural land, up from 11% three years ago, with British investment at 33% still the largest source of foreign capital, although this percentage has fallen sharply from 52% 12 months earlier. . .

Technology needs human factor – Richard Rennie:

Kellogg participant and Ballance Agri-Nutrients technical expert Oliver Knowles embarked on his six-month course with the aim of better understanding how farmers take up new technology, particularly precision agri-tech. His work comprised a review of literature on farmer adoption and uptake and a study of applying the findings of that to precision ag technology. He told Richard Rennie about it.

Understanding farmers will help them adopt new technology and develop precision agriculture attitudes, Kellog scholar Oliver Knowles says.

During his study Knowles realised there was more to be uncovered about the make-up of Kiwi farmers.

Early on in his research he quickly came to recognise the conflict farmers almost subconsciously had to deal with when adopting new ideas. . .

LIC: dairying must adapt:

LIC chairman Murray King has warned dairy farmers of the threat of disruption and told them they must keep improving and adapting to the changing world.

New Zealand dairy farmers have a global edge in terms of productivity and profitability, but the industry needs to remain ambitious about keeping that edge against the best in the world.

King was speaking at the farmer-owned co-operative’s annual meeting in Invercargill. . .

Genetically modified wheat used to make coeliac-friendly bread – Michael Le Page:

People forced to avoid gluten could soon have their bread (and cake) and eat it. Now there are strains of wheat that do not produce the forms of gluten that trigger a dangerous immune reaction in as many as 1 in 100 people.

Because the new strains still contain some kinds of gluten, though, the wheat can still be used to bake bread. “It’s regarded as being pretty good, certainly better than anything on the gluten-free shelves,” says Jan Chojecki of PBL-Ventures in the UK, who is working with investors in North America to market products made with this wheat.

Gluten is the general term for all the proteins in wheat and related cereals. During baking, these proteins link up to form elastic chains, which is what holds breads and cakes together as they rise. . .


SPCA list of shame

October 30, 2017

The SPCA’s list of shame is topped by the case of a labrador-cross tied up for weeks and left to suffer from the pain of a metal chain embedded in her neck.

The annual list reveals details of 10 of the most shameful animal abuse cases across New Zealand this year. It’s being released today ahead of the 2017 SPCA Annual Appeal, the organisation’s biggest nationwide fundraising drive, from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th November.

Thanks to the work of SPCA Inspectors, some of the animals on this year’s List of Shame survived to have a second chance at a happy, healthy life. This year’s ambassador, Maggie, was found tied up with a chain deeply embedded into her neck. The owner had tied her up away from the house, saying it was to hide her horrific injuries from his children. Removal of the chain with bolt cutters revealed pus-filled wounds up to 7cm wide and 4cm deep around the dog’s neck. She has since made a full recovery, and been rehomed with a loving, new family in Gordonton, near Hamilton. . . 

The list is here, be warned it’s sickening.


Govt business what not how

October 30, 2017

The Green Party is sticking to its plan to reduce dairy farming:

Prior to the election, the Green Party said it would pay more than $136 million for farmers to move to more sustainable practices and if it were in government it would invest in a Sustainable Farming Fund.

Green Party leader James Shaw said a priority would be putting together a package to help farmers make the transition from dairy farming.

He said the Greens wouldn’t be pushing for a cap on the number of cows.

But Mr Shaw said dairy farmers would need help to change.

“A lot of dairy farmers are still heavily in debt from the acquisition of the land and also the conversions and also it’s a pretty difficult time when the price of milk is still somewhat depressed.

“So you know the thing we’re going to be pushing hardest on is making sure that there is a package available for farmers to help them make that transition.”

Mr Shaw said dairy farmers needed to make the transition to more sustainable methods of farming.

Setting standards for water quality is the business of government.

Dictating how that is achieved is not.

It might be that dairying isn’t appropriate in some places. But other land uses aren’t necessarily any kinder to the environment and it could be that a change in management could make dairying a better option than any other form of farming.

Dairying has got a bad reputation, some of which might be justified. But some is based on historical practices no longer in use and some on alternative facts not supported by science.

Some of the latter comes from organisations with an anti-dairying agenda.

Jamie McFadden, a member of Federated Farmers North Canterbury executive, rightly asks is our freshwater fishery really in crisis?

Last year Fish & Game sought and received approval from the Department of Conservation (DoC) to place a winter fishing ban on all North Canterbury rivers below State Highway 1.

At the time, Fish & Game claimed the North Canterbury freshwater fishery was in crisis and it was because of farming.

Both DoC and the Rural Advocacy Network have requested the evidence supporting these claims. After 18 months no evidence has been forthcoming. DoC now realise they have been misled and have said they will not renew the fishing ban unless Fish & Game provide evidence.

Earlier this year I attended a public meeting in Rangiora organised by Fish and Game where the fishing ban was discussed. I presented our submission challenging the lack of evidence behind the fishing ban, particularly for the Hurunui and Waiau rivers. A show of hands was taken and the clear majority of the 70 attendees felt the ban should not apply to these rivers. Of those who fished the Hurunui and Waiau the majority thought these were healthy fisheries. . . 

Clearly there are a range of factors affecting our freshwater fishery and increasing fishing pressure, particularly near Christchurch, is one of them.

A local fishing guide has for several years been undertaking the annual trout spawning surveys in the Waimakariri River. This year he reported better numbers than have ever been seen and some superb stream improvements by many farmers – the future is bright.

In late autumn I checked the middle reaches of the Hurunui River catchment and photographed numerous shoals of 10-20 trout. In one pool alone I counted 65 good-sized healthy trout.

A balanced report on the state of our freshwater fishery would acknowledge there are some healthy fisheries, concerns with some other fisheries and a range of factors affecting both. It is disappointing that Fish & Game has made no attempt to correct their misinformation in the media.

Many farming families are Fish & Game licence holders and enjoy the recreational opportunities our rivers provide. Farmers want to know what they need to do to fix any water quality problems they are causing.

There are many examples of farmers actively engaging in improving water quality and undertaking stream enhancements. Farmers want to work with organisations like Fish & Game but the continual attacks on farmers undermine the ability to achieve this.

We would like to see Fish & Game publicly drop the anti-farming broad brush ‘dirty dairy’ campaign, correct their misinformation in the media and develop a more constructive approach to freshwater issues.

Farmers, and others, are working to improve water quality and this report from Seven Sharp showing definite improvements in Taranaki dairy country.

Meanwhile, science is making progress with pasture species:

Research is in progress but plantain-based pastures may be useful for reducing nitrate leaching while maintaining or increasing milksolids production.

The urine patch is the major source of nitrogen loss to the environment on dairy farms and different forages can be used to reduce nitrate leaching, either by lowering the nitrogen loading in urine patches or increasing the nitrogen uptake from the urine patch.

Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching (FRNL)

Research in Canterbury and Waikato the FRNL programme has found that urine-N concentration of cows grazing plantain was 56% lower than those grazing perennial ryegrass/white clover pastures, and 33% lower for cows grazing 50/50 pasture-plantain.

Within FRNL, diverse pastures that include plantain were identified as a promising tool for reducing N leaching. Modelling estimated that, at commercial scale, N leaching could be reduced by 10 and 20% when the area of the farm sown in diverse pastures was 20 and 50%, respectively. This was because of lower total urinary N excretion and lower urinary N concentration (Beukes et al. 2014; Romera et al. 2016).

Sustainability balances economic, environmental and social concerns.

Dairying generally gets ticks for its economic and social contributions and farmers and industry bodies like DairyNZ, are making good progress to address environmental concerns .

DairyNZ acting chair Barry Harris said last season saw dairy export earnings reach $13.4 billion, which is on par with the five-year average, and illustrates how well farmers have responded to the low milk prices of previous seasons.

“I see the decade ahead of us to be transformational for our sector. Never before have we had a stronger mandate for the dairy sector to concentrate on productivity – to produce more from less, and to do so sustainably,” says Barry.

“We support initiatives that incentivise farmers to use the best environmental practices. While the 2010s have been about dairy positioning itself for the changes ahead, I see the 2020s as heavily focused on making those changes.

“New Zealand’s environmental reputation, the reputation that gives us an advantage on the global market, relies on us upholding and improving our sustainability.” . . 

Thanks to good science, herd numbers can decrease while production increases.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said in 2016/17 national cow numbers fell to 4.86 million from 5 million previously, with the average herd size dropping five cows to 414.

“Yet production per cow set a new record – increasing by 9kg per cow (381kg MS/cow).” . . 

 

The government and its partners needs to stick to the what, not the how.

Good progress is being made and it will continue to be made not by political dictates but by good practice based on sound research.


Quote of the day

October 30, 2017

In our time, the curse is monetary illiteracy, just as inability to read plain print was the curse of earlier centuries. –  Ezra Pound who was born on this day in 1885.


October 30 in history

October 30, 2017

1137  Battle of Rignano between Ranulf of Apulia and Roger II of Sicily.

1226  Tran Thu Do, head of the Tran clan of Vietnam, forcedLy Hue Tong, the last emperor of the Ly dynasty, to commit suicide.

1270  The Eighth Crusade and siege of Tunis ended by an agreement between Charles I of Sicily and the sultan of Tunis.

1340  Battle of Rio Salado.

1470  Henry VI returned to the English throne after Earl of Warwick defeated the Yorkists in battle.

1485  King Henry VII was crowned.

1501  Ballet of Chestnuts – a banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace with fifty prostitutes or courtesans in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

1735 John Adams, second President of the United States, was born (d. 1826).

1751  Richard Sheridan, Irish playwright, was born(d. 1816).

1831 Escaped slave Nat Turner was captured and arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.

1863  Danish Prince Wilhelm arrived in Athens to assume his throne asGeorge I, King of the Hellenes.

1864 Second war of Schleswig ended. Denmark renounced all claim to Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg, which come under Prussian and Austrian administration.

1865 The Native Land Court was created.

Native Land Court created

1885 Ezra Pound, American poet, was born (d. 1972).

1894  Domenico Melegatti obtained a patent for a procedure to be applied in producing pandoro industrially.

1896 Kostas Karyotakis, Greek poet, was born (d. 1928).

1905  Czar Nicholas II of Russia granted Russia’s first constitution, creating a legislative assembly.

1918  A petition with more than 240,000 signatures was presented to Parliament, demanding an end to the manufacture and sale of alcohol in New Zealand.

Massive prohibition petition presented to Parliament

1918  The Ottoman Empire signed an armistice with the Allies, ending theFirst World War in the Middle East.

1920  The Communist Party of Australia was founded in Sydney.

1922 Benito Mussolini was made Prime Minister of Italy.

1925   John Logie Baird created Britain’s first television transmitter.

1929 The Stuttgart Cable Car was constructed.

1938  Orson Welles broadcast his radio play of H. G. Wells’sThe War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience.

1941  World War II: Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved U.S. $1 billion inLend-Lease aid to the Allied nations.

1941  Otis Williams, American singer, was born.

1941 – 1,500 Jews from Pidhaytsi (in western Ukraine) were sent by Nazis to Belzec extermination camp.

1944  Anne Frank and her sister Margot were deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

1945  Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers to break the baseball colour barrier.

1945  Henry Winkler, American actor, was born.

1947 Timothy B. Schmit, American musician (Eagles), was born.

1947  The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was the foundation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), is founded.

1950  Pope Pius XII witnessed “The Miracle of the Sun” while at the Vatican.

1953  Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approved the top secret document National Security Council Paper No. 162/2, which stated that the United States’ arsenal of nuclear weapons must be maintained and expanded to counter the communist threat.

1960 Diego Maradona, Argentine footballer, was born.

1960  Michael Woodruff performed the first successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

1961   The Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over Novaya Zemlya; at 58 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise.

1961 – Because of “violations of Lenin’s precepts”, it was decreed thatJoseph Stalin‘s body be removed from its place of honour inside Lenin’s tomb and buried near the Kremlin wall with a plain granite marker instead.

1970  In Vietnam, the worst monsoon to hit the area in six years causes large flooded, kills 293, leaves 200,000 homeless and virtually halts the Vietnam War.

1972   A collision between two commuter trains in Chicago, Illinois killed 45 and injured 332.

1973   The Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey was completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time.

1974  The Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman took place in Kinshasa, Zaire.

1975  Prince Juan Carlos became Spain’s acting head of state, taking over for the country’s ailing dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

1980  El Salvador and Honduras signed a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969′s Football War before the International Court of Justice.

1983  The first democratic elections in Argentina after seven years of military rule.

1985  Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.

1987   In Japan, NEC released the first 16-bit home entertainment system, the TurboGrafx-16, known as PC Engine.

1991   The Madrid Conference for Middle East peace talks opened.

1993  Greysteel massacre: The Ulster Freedom Fighters, a loyalist terrorist group, open fire on a crowded bar in Greysteel. Eight civilians were killed and thirteen wounded.

1995  Quebec sovereignists narrowly lost a referendum for a mandate to negotiate independence from Canada (vote is 50.6% to 49.4%).

2000   The last Multics machine was shut down.

2002  British Digital terrestrial television (DTT) Service Freeview begins transmitting in parts of the United Kingdom.

2005  The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche (destroyed in the firebombing of Dresden during World War II) was reconsecrated after a thirteen-year rebuilding project.

2013  – 45 people died after a bus fuel tank caught fire in the Indian city of Mahbubnagar.

2014 – Sweden became the first European Union member state to officially recognise the State of Palestine.

2015 – At least 56 people were killed and more than 155 injuries after a fire in a nightclub in the Romanian capital Bucharest..

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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