365 days of gratitude

February 21, 2018

The heating had turned itself off some time before we got home last night.

It takes a while to cool down so the house was still reasonably warm in spite of two days with no sun.

However, by this morning the temperature had dropped again and it was still raining.

My farmer went to investigate with more hope than certainty and came back in with a grin to say the heating was working again.

Just as it cools slowly it also reheats slowly but by mid morning I could feel the difference and this evening we’re back to a comfortable temperature.

After another day of rain I’m very grateful for that.


Word of the day

February 21, 2018

Finnimbrun – a knick-knack, trifle or trinket.


28 papers stuffed

February 21, 2018

Stuff has announced it’s ditching 28 of its papers:

The full list of titles being closed is:

AvenuesWaikato FarmerAdmire MarlboroughNZ Dairy FarmerDiscover MagazineSelwyn and Ashburton OutlookAdmire NelsonHastings MailChristchurch MailNapier MailThe TribuneKaikoura StarInvercargill EyeAuto XtraSouth Canterbury HeraldClutha LeaderWaiheke MarketplaceNewsLinkWairarapa NewsQueenstown MirrorNZ FarmerWaitaki HeraldCanterbury FarmerNorth Waikato NewsCentral District FarmerRotorua ReviewOtago Southland FarmerRuapehu Press.

This is very tough for the people whose jobs are at risk.

There might be opportunities for someone to take over some of the titles but print media is not a growing business and rural media is a very crowded space.

We knew farming was in resurgence when the letterbox started filling up with give-aways.

We now get several free rural papers a week, sometimes three or more in a day.

If we don’t have time to read them when they come they often go out barely read or unread because at least another has come before we get back to them.


Rural round-up

February 21, 2018

Farmers face hefty riparian planting bills – Robin Martin:

Taranaki farmers could face hefty bills as the regional council toughens enforcement of its riparian planting programme to clean up waterways.

The council has begun auditing more than 1700 dairy farms and now says their plans for planting along riverbanks and streams must be completed by 2020.

Taranaki’s riparian planting programme – the largest in the country – has received international recognition and is has been credited with improving water quality. . . 

NAIT problems stymie M. bovis response – Nigel Malthus:

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says farmers’ problems in complying with NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) have slowed the response to Mycoplasma bovis.

NAIT could be a lot easier to use, she says.

While it works well for recording animals arriving at a processing works, there are apparent breakdowns in compliance when farmers are transferring stock among themselves. . .

Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored

Forest safety, improving productivity and getting workers off the felling site has been a major push for forestry managers, forest owners, logging contractors and equipment suppliers to modify their wood harvesting operations over the last few years. Another major driver to increased mechanisation has been the skilled machine operator shortages that many forestry companies are now currently facing. The ultimate goal of the industry is to have “no worker on the slope, or no hand on the chainsaw”.

Technology development and the pace of change over the last couple of years, in keeping with other industries, has been rapid and exciting for the forestry industry. Recent research is suggesting that by 2019, 35% of leading organizations will be exploring the use of robots to automate operations. Forestry isn’t any different. In fact, the switch is already underway. . .

Fonterra And the A2 Milk Company Form Comprehensive Strategic Relationship:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (Fonterra) and The a2 Milk Company (a2MC) have today entered into a comprehensive strategic relationship that links Fonterra’s global milk pool and supply chain, manufacturing capability and in-market sales and distribution capacity with a2MC’s brand strength and capabilities.

As part of the partnership, Fonterra will now begin conversations with its farmers to source an A2 milk pool for a2MC products in New Zealand, which is intended to significantly expand over time to help meet the growing demand for a2MC products. A similar milk pool in Australia will also be developed. . . 

MPI targets vehicles and machinery from Japan:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has introduced new measures to reduce the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs arriving in vehicles and machinery from Japan.

The changes will require all used vehicles (cars and trucks) to undergo inspection and cleaning at an MPI-approved facility in Japan prior to export.

In addition, any used machinery or other types of used vehicles from Japan will require certification proving it has undergone cleaning by an appropriate provider, says Paul Hallett, MPI Biosecurity and Environment Manager.  . .

Feedback sought for upgrade of fertiliser-spreader standard:

The (NZGFA) is calling on fertiliser spreaders up and down the country to have their say ahead of a review of the industry’s Spreadmark programme.

Dean Brooks, the NZGFA’s president, says the programme – which was first developed in 1994 to raise the standard of fertiliser spreading performance and to provide a benchmark for best practice – will soon be reviewed by the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC). . .

Funding request to federal Health Minister met with ‘positive response‘ – Sally Cripps:

We were swamped.” That was how psychologist, Dervla Loughnane, described the overwhelming response to the news that a texting counselling service had been launched for rural people in need.

Announced by the Queensland Country Life at the start of February, it was hoped the Virtual Psychologist service, supported by Aussie Helpers, would save lives and that’s what has happened, according to Dervla.

“It was so overwhelming that in the first 24 hours we had to double our staff on the lines,” she said. . .

 


Who do members want

February 21, 2018

It amuses me to read  commentators stating that National Party members favour this candidate or that one for the leadership.

They write as if the membership is a single being with a single view.

I doubt that is true for any party and it certainly isn’t for National.

It’s a broad church party, the only one in New Zealand still able to measure its membership in 10s of thousands, and one which values individual rights, including the right to different points of view.

The members of that broad church have a range of views on just about everything, most don’t go to regular meetings nor do most press their views on MPs, even on such an important internal matter as the leadership.

They might agree with David Farrar on the factors which are important in the party’s leader.

But if there is any consensus on the issue it will not be on which candidate is best.

It might be gratitude that caucus is sufficiently gifted to have five strong contenders.

Members might also agree that whoever the next leader is s/he must have what it takes, including a wise head and warm heart, to lead the party back into government sooner rather than later.

And I think all will agree that once the leader is decided, caucus must unite behind her/him and address itself to both holding the government to account and ensuring it is much better prepared for government than the current one was.


And still it rains

February 21, 2018

Our rain gauge holds only 25mms.

My farmer had emptied it before we left home on Monday and it was overflowing when he checked it this morning.

One of our staff has recorded nearly 100mms since it started raining on Monday.

It’s still raining steadily but, thankfully, we have escaped the serious damage that Cyclone Gita brought to other areas.

Christchurch, Buller, Grey District, Selwyn, Westland, Tasman and Taranaki have each declared a state of emergency as ex-tropical Cyclone Gita shows her heavy hand.

Authorities and people in the affected districts are all on high alert as a state of emergency has been declared in those provinces.

The downpour has also led to record rainfalls particularly in Kaikoura, where 194.4mm had fallen by about 7.40pm – four times more than the monthly normal, according to Niwa.

A total of 53.6mm of rain fell in the area between 4 and 5pm – the wettest hour on record and over a month’s worth of rain in only an hour. . . 

 


Quote of the day

February 21, 2018

Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. –  W.H. Auden who was born on this day in 1907.


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