365 days of gratitude

January 29, 2018

My farmer and I did a road trip to Waipukurau and back last week.

We enjoyed the scenery, appreciated the work which went in to reopening the road that had been closed by the 2016 earthquakes, and called on friends.

We had a wonderful time and returned home safe and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

January 29, 2018

Betwattled – surprised; addled, befuddled, bewildered, confused; confounded; to be in a distressed state of mind; foggy-headed; too sleepy to think straight; drunk.

Thanks to the reader who pointed me at this on Twitter.


Rural round-up

January 29, 2018

Raising profile of farm careers – Sally Rae:

Brought up in a Southland farming family, Olivia Ross grew up living and breathing  the red meat sector.

From raising pet lambs to seeing processing chains process the property’s lambs each year, her exposure to the industry was unlimited.

After leaving Takitimu Primary School in the rural township of Nightcaps, she headed to boarding school in Invercargill and that was when her association with, and understanding of, the urban population began. . . 

Strong sales show venison, velvet booming:

Confidence in the future profitability of venison and velvet production has flowed through to the market for sire stags, with strong sales reported throughout the country, Deer Industry New Zealand says.

Breeders reported a marked improvement on last year’s results. Although no stags broke the $100,000 mark, average prices were up strongly for most sales, several by more than 50%. The overall clearance rate was  94%, compared with 83% last year.

Venison schedule prices to farmers normally peak  each year in October before the last chilled shipments leave for Europe for the annual game meat season. This season, prices  continued to rise into January, with the published average now around a record $10.30kg for a carcass in the preferred weight range, DINZ chief executive Dan Coup said. . . 

Better dialogue needed to help bridge divide with farming’s critics – Andrew McGivern:

The weather certainly plays on people’s minds in different ways at this time of year.

Those planning a holiday at the beach naturally have a different perspective to those estimating pasture growth to determine if there will be a feed surplus or deficit for their animals.

Until last year, I would have never said that you can’t get too much rain over that late summer/early autumn period, but the Tasman Tempest closely followed by two cyclones made a liar out of me.

And with the early hot and dry start to summer we had in December, the immediate future for farmers in the Waikato was looking bleak. But we had that rain in early January and have now had a bit of a follow up, so once again the grass is growing, and things are starting to look up.

The decline in milk production has stirred the overseas markets up with GlobalDairyTrade prices improving. That also buoys farmers’ morale, knowing that it is strengthening the milk price. . . 

Synlait’s 2017 / 2018 Forecast Milk Price Remains Steady at $6.50:

Synlait Milk has reaffirmed its milk price forecast of $6.50 kgMS for the 2017 / 2018 season.

However the company has signalled that this forecast is dependent on commodity prices continuing to firm for the rest of the season.

“Our price of $6.50 kgMS has remained in place since May 2017, but global pricing remains unpredictable,” says John Penno, Managing Director and CEO. . . 

No regrets after going robotic – Mark Daniel:

While robotic (voluntary) milking systems appear to be gaining in popularity, the Fisher Farm, between Cambridge and Te Awamutu, has a head start on today’s converts.

Now well into its sixth season, the operation milks 300 cows over 80ha, and lays claim to the title of being the first farm in Waikato to install a DeLaval VMS.

When owner John Fisher first looked at the concept, the farm had a traditional herringbone milking shed without a feed pad, and was operated by two full-time staff and a relief milker.  . . 

 

Booming horticulture exports forecast to soon rise to $5.6b – Jamie Gray:

Horticulture is fast becoming agriculture’s “fourth engine” and will soon rival the meat industry in export receipts, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries, in its latest update, said horticulture’s strong growth is forecast to continue, with exports expected to reach $5.4 billion for the year ending June before rising to $5.6b in the next year.

Meat and wool export revenue is forecast to increase 4.2 per cent to $8.7b in the year, supported by strong red meat prices and increasing exports of value-added products, then to $8.8b the following year. . . 

Hort’s performance worth watching as avocados smash records – Andrew Marshall:

Supercharged activity in several horticulture categories in recent years has prompted Rural Bank to tag the sector as one to watch closely in 2018.

In particular, a couple of notable movers smashing records in domestic and export markets are avocados and oranges.

In the vegetable industry, crops with increasing export market traction and likely price growth in the year ahead include asparagus, celery, broccoli and cauliflower, according to Rural Bank’s Ag Answers research team. . . 


Alas there are rules

January 29, 2018

Another quote of the day:

Let me start this by saying that I love Central Otago as much as anyone, and that, if I could, I would employ someone with a high powered slug gun and a decent scope to take aim at the bare backside of anyone seen defecating in the open and I would put people who dump litter in our beautiful places in public stocks. Alas, there are rules against such things. . . Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan.


Basics before bright lights

January 29, 2018

The Auckland Harbour Bridge has became a multimedia stage for a massive light and sound show:

Ninety thousand LED lights and 100 floodlights beamed and flashed from the Harbour Bridge in time with original music, delighting thousands who packed viewing points around the city to watch.

Every visible beam, arch, pile, girder, strut and pylon lit up for a six-minute show which was repeated at 9.30pm, then every half hour until midnight. . . 

Vector has committed $10 million to the project for installation and maintenance costs over the next 10 years.

Bridge authorities New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Council have also committed funding. . . 

The show may well be spectacular but if I was a ratepayer I’d be asking why the council was spending money on bright lights when it’s basic infrastructure is failing:

Four homes have been evacuated in the Auckland suburb of Milford after a burst sewage pipe spilt waste through local properties.

A fire service spokeswoman said they were called to the scene on Shakespeare Rd at 2.40am on Sunday after receiving reports of a water leak.

Upon arrival, the water leak was found to be a burst sewage pipe and Auckland Council was notified. . . 

Safeswim has issued a long-term no-swimming warning near the Wairau Creek outlet due to its “high risk” and has further advised people not to swim on Milford Beach. . . 

There is constant bad publicity about the impact of dairy farming on rivers in spite of the fact that farmers have collectively spent millions of dollars ensuring they are not polluting watersway and most problems now are due to the lag-effect from poor practices in the past.

Farmers have responded to the pressure to clean up their acts but councils are being far too slow to sort out urban water issues.

Queenstown Lakes District Council has been fined $37,500 for discharging raw sewage into the protected Kawarau River and criticised for systems that allowed it to happen.

The judge’s written decision said the Queenstown Lakes District Council pleaded guilty to discharging contaminants to land that then entered water.

It said a jetboat driver on the Kawarau River, near Frankton, smelt the sewage on February 20, 2017.

He smelt it again the next day, investigated and found discoloured water entering the river.

“There were solids and paper particles floating in the water,” the judge said.

The material was found to be entering the river through a blocked district council stormwater drain.

“It appears that the wastewater system had been deliberately designed and constructed by the district council so that any overflow of wastewater would go into the stormwater system,” Judge Dwyer said. . . 

It would be better for councils to spend money on the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure than fines for breaches.

That is a far higher priority than light and sound shows.


Quote of the day

January 29, 2018

When you’re thirsty and it seems that you could drink the entire ocean that’s faith; when you start to drink and finish only a glass or two that’s science. – Anton Chekhov who was born on this day in 1860.


January 29 in history

January 29, 2018

661 – The Rashidun Caliphate ended with the death of Ali.

757 – An Lushan, leader of a revolt against the Tang dynasty and emperor of Yan, was murdered by his own son, An Qingxu.

904 – Sergius III came out of retirement to take over the papacy from the deposed antipope Christopher.

1676 – Feodor III became Tsar of Russia.

1814 – France defeated Russia and Prussia in the Battle of Brienne.

1834– US President Andrew Jackson ordered first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labour dispute.

1842 Auckland’s first Anniversary Day regatta was held.

Auckland's first Anniversary Day Regatta

1845 “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe  was published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1856 Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross.

1860 Anton Chekhov, Russian writer, was born (d. 1904).

1863 Bear River Massacre.

1874 John D. Rockefeller Jr., American entrepreneur, was born (d. 1960).

1880 W.C. Fields, American actor and writer was born  (d. 1946).

1886 Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

1891 Liliuokalani was proclaimed Queen of Hawaii, its last monarch.

1916  Paris was first bombed by German zeppelins.

1939 Germaine Greer, Australian writer and feminist, was born.

1940 Three trains on the Sakurajima Line, in Osaka collided and exploded while approaching Ajikawaguchi station. 181 people were killed.

1944  USS Missouri (BB-63) the last battleship commissioned by the US Navy was launched.

1944 Approximately 38 men, women, and children died in the Koniuchy massacre in Poland.

1944 In Bologna the Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio was destroyed in an air-raid.

1945 Tom Selleck, American actor, screenwriter and film producer, was born.

1949 Tommy Ramone, Hungarian-born musician and record producer (The Ramones), was born.

1954  Oprah Winfrey, American talk show host and actress, was born.

1996 President Jacques Chirac announced a “definitive end” to French nuclear weapons testing.

1996 – La Fenice, Venice’s opera house, was destroyed by fire.

2001 Thousands of student protesters in Indonesia stormed parliament and demanded that President Abdurrahman Wahid resign due to alleged involvement in corruption scandals.

2002 In his State of the Union Address, United States President George W. Bush described “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of Evil.

2005 The first direct commercial flights from the mainland China(from Guangzhou) to Taiwan since 1949 arrived in Taipei. Shortly afterwards, a China Airlines carrier landed in Beijing.

2006 – India’s Irfan Pathan became the first bowler to take a Test cricket hat-trick in the opening over of a match.

2009 – The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt ruled that people who do not adhere to one of the three government-recognised religions, while not allowed to list any belief outside of those three, were still eligible to receive government identity documents.

2009 – Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was convicted of several corruption charges, including the alleged solicitation of personal benefit in exchange for an appointment to the United States Senate as a replacement for then-U.S. president-elect Barack Obama.

2013  – SCAT Airlines Flight 760 crashed near the Kazakh city of Almaty, killing 21 people.

2015 – Malaysia officially declared the disappearance of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident and its passengers and crew presumed dead.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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