365 days of gratitude

February 1, 2018

Irrigation is wonderful but nothing beats rain.

It’s been falling most of the day, not just here but in many of the areas where it’s desperately needed,  and I’m very, very grateful for it.


Word of the day

February 1, 2018

Blashy – rainy; muddy; wet; gusty; thin, watery, weak; frivolous; overtalkative.


Thursday’s quiz

February 1, 2018

You’re invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual case of apricots.


Rural round-up

February 1, 2018

Let ideas flow on water management – Andrew Curtis:

Andrew Curtis is chief executive of IrrigationNZ, a national not-for-profit membership organisation for farmers and growers who use irrigation. It carries out training on efficient water use.

As year’s went, 2017 was a fairly dramatic one. In February, one of the biggest fires in New Zealand history ignited on the Port Hills amid tinder-dry conditions, causing thousands of residents to be evacuated. In March, the Upper North Island was soaked, Auckland experienced its wettest March day in nearly 60 years, and more than 300 homes were flooded.

July brought flooding to Otago and Canterbury, with snow and strong winds in other areas. The end of the year saw a marked change, with many regions experiencing record low levels of rain in November. . .

Remembering rain will come – Sally Rae:

Central Otago farmer Donny Maclean has a saying – ”we’re a day closer to rain than we were yesterday”.

It was important to keep remembering that, he said, as the searing heat continued to beat down on his Omakau farm, reaching temperatures up to 36degC on Monday.

”Central Otago will never let you down. It’ll take you right to the edge [but] it’ll come right in the nick of time,” he said.

Bellfield has been the Maclean family for 125 years and it was the longest period of continual heat Mr Maclean (56) had experienced during his years of farming.

”We’ve never been this hot this long,” he said yesterday. . . 

Long term effect on farmers considered – Simon Hartley:

The public and businesses are being urged to take a long-term view of the drought affecting Otago and Southland, given the compounding factors being faced by all farmers.

The lack of water, rising irrigation costs, failed crops, diminished feed stocks and crop replacement are just some of the issues being faced by farmers in the months ahead, Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said, after a medium-scale adverse drought event was declared in parts of Otago and Southland yesterday.

”This drought is going to affect crops for some time yet, going into autumn and winter,” he said, when contacted, yesterday. . . 

Mycoplasma outbreak highlights flaws:

The formation of an action group to provide a voice for and to assist Southland farmers understand and deal with Mycoplasma bovis is a positive move.

It is good to see farmers, veterinarians and other members of the industry working together in the quest to eradicate the bacterial cattle disease.

Eradication remains the focus of the Ministry for Primary Industries and so it should, given the implications of the disease not only for New Zealand’s rural sector, but also the country as a whole. . . 

Exports and imports hit new highs in 2017:

Both exports and imports reached new highs in 2017, as New Zealand earned more from agricultural products and bought more cars and computers, Stats NZ said today.

“The previous high for the value of goods exports in a calendar year was 2014,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The previous high for imports was 2015.”

Annual exports were valued at $53.7 billion for the year ended December 2017, up $5.2 billion (11 percent) from 2016. Dairy products led the rise, up $2.8 billion to $14.0 billion. Meat rose $706 million to $6.6 billion. Logs, wood, and wood articles rose $546 million to $4.7 billion. . .

Monthly exports reach new record in December:

Exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese lifted total exports to a record $5.6 billion in December 2017, Stats NZ said today. Monthly exports were $1.1 billion higher than in December 2016.

“Record export values of dairy products drove total exports to their highest-ever monthly value,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The previous highest values for both dairy exports and total exports were recorded in the 2013/14 dairy export season, when dairy prices were at a high level.” . . 

Comvita will report 1H profit over $3M, confirms annual guidance on normal honey harvest – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita expects to report a “significant turnaround” in its first-half results, with net profit over $3 million, and says it is tracking in line with its full-year guidance after good weather in December and January boosted the honey harvest.

The Te Puke-based company, due to report its earnings for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2017, later this month, said the honey season has progressed to a point where it has early estimates of an average or normal harvest season, though it won’t have full visibility of the crop until April/May. The company’s chief executive Scott Coulter said it was a “welcome return to generally favourable weather conditions conducive to producing honey, compared to the extremely poor season in 2017.” . . 

The changing face of Agritech:

Industries rise, fall and evolve under the constant development of new and innovative technologies. Refrigeration changed how food was supplied, the lightbulb enabled us to utilise more hours in the day, the telephone connected people and the internet distributed information far better and quicker than ever before.

A new a wave of digital technologies is here. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoTs), blockchain, big data, robotics and automation are just some of the technologies currently impacting business. No matter whether it’s banking, engineering, retail or agriculture, these innovations are changing how each sector operates. . .


When water flows money flows

February 1, 2018

In the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s I took photos of the Waiareka Valley from Mitchell’s Hill in Enfield.

This is what it looked like with any irrigated land standing out like blots of green ink on parchment.

Thanks to the North Otago Irrigation Company Scheme this is what it looks like now:

The big brown patch is barley, in the distance are dry land hills which stand out against the irrigated paddocks.

Unlike many other areas where irrigation has been curtailed or cut altogether, the NOIC scheme and others in the district which are fed from the Waitaki River keep going. The Waitaki keeps on flowing to generate electricity providing enough water to spare for irrigation and still keep the river above its minimum flow level.

If it wasn’t for so much irrigation in North Otago now the media would have been full of drought stories and Oamaru would be feeling the pinch as farmers stopped spending.

Now enough water keeps flowing in the river to irrigate the land, money keeps flowing into town and the busineses which service and supply farmers.

The economic and social benefits of that are obvious.

The environmental benefit is less obvious but equally valuable.

Water on land keeps pasture growing, protecting soils from erosion. A condition of consent for the scheme was that water was diverted to the Waiareka Creek to keep it flowing. In the past it would have been a series of stagnant pools after so little rain, now it runs clear.

Irrigation has made farming in North Otago sustainable. The economic, environmental and social benefits of that flow through the district.

There are other parts of New Zealand where water could be stored at times of high flow to be used in dry weather but in the current political climate the chances of that happening are slight.

 


Quote of the day

February 1, 2018

 The word “education” comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.Muriel Spark who was born on this day in 1918.


February 1 in history

February 1, 2018

1327 Teenaged Edward III was crowned King of England, but the country was ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.

1662 Chinese general Koxinga seized the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.

1663 Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, Filipino foundress of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, was born  (d. 1748).

1790 The Supreme Court of the United States attempted to convene for the first time.

1793 French Revolutionary Wars: France declared war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

1814 Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupted, killing around 1,200 people.

1842 The Fifeshire arrived in Nelson with the first immigrants for the New Zealand Company’s latest venture, which followed the settlement of Wellington, New Plymouth and Wanganui.

First NZ Company settlers arrive in Nelson

1861 Texas seceded from the United States.

1862 Julia Ward Howe‘s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.

1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1873 John Barry, Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, was born (d. 1901).

1884 Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.

1893 Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.

1896 The opera La bohème premieresd in Turin.

1897 Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in South Korea, opened in Seoul.

1901 Clark Gable, American actor, was born  (d. 1960).

1908 King Carlos I of Portugal and his son, Prince Luis Filipe were killed in Terreiro do Paco, Lisbon.

1918 Muriel Spark, Scottish author, was born  (d. 2006).

1920 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began operations.

1931 Boris Yeltsin, 1st President of the Russian Federation, was born.

1934 Bob Shane, American folk singer (The Kingston Trio), was born.

1937 Don Everly, American musician (Everly Brothers), was born.

1937 Ray Sawyer, American singer (Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show), was born.

1942 Vidkun Quisling was appointed Premier of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.

1943 The German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad.

1946 Trygve Lie of Norway was picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.

1957 Felix Wankel‘s first working prototype DKM 54 of the Wankel enginewas running at the NSU research and development departmentVersuchsabteilung TX in Germany.

1958 Egypt and Syria merged to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.

1958 The United States Army launched Explorer 1.

1960 Four black students staged the first of the Greensboro sit-ins.

1965 The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada was renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.

1968 – Canada’s three military services, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, were unified into theCanadian Forces.

1972  Kuala Lumpur became a city by a royal charter granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

1974 A fire in the 25-story Joelma Building in Sao Paulo killed 189 and injures 293.

1979 – The Ayatollah Khomeini was welcomed back into Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.

1981 Trans-Tasman sporting relations reached breaking point at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl underarm (along the ground) for the final delivery of a limited-overs cricket international against New Zealand.

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

1989 The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

1992 The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal Disaster case.

1996 The Communications Decency Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.

1998 Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne became the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral.

2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

2004 251 people were trampled to death and 244 injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

2005 King Gyanendra exercised a coup d’état to capture Nepal, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.

2005 – Canada introduced the Civil Marriage Act, making Canada the fourth country to sanction same-sex marriage.

2009 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay head of state in the modern world.

2013 – The Shard, the tallest building in the European Union, was opened to the public.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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