365 days of gratitude

May 7, 2018

One of the benefits of life just south of the 45th parallel is distinct seasons.

The weather isn’t yet signalling autumn, but the leaves are, painting the garden, deciduous shelter belts and amenity plantings red and gold.

Today I’m grateful for nature’s autumnal beauty.

 


Word of the day

May 7, 2018

Reave – carry out raids in order to plunder; rob by force;  steal; break or tear apart; split, divide or cleave;  a long and generally straight boundary wall made of stone.


Rural round-up

May 7, 2018

The threat of irrational environmentalism – Dr Doug Edmeades:

I never thought it would end. Certainly I never thought that I might be alive to see the beginning of its end.

I am referring to the Enlightenment – the intellectual movement that began in the 17th century. It saw the end of Dark Ages and ushered in the Age of Reason. Mystical and religious certitude and bigotry gave way to reason based on objectively derived evidence.

Rather than praying to God for a good crop you adopted the latest technologies to ensure the crop did not fail. And if it did fail it was not seen as a consequence of your failure to appease God through prayer, but because you did not fully understand or fully implement the best knowledge and technology. If you prayed it was for more science, please. . . 

Economic development is about more than wishful thinking:

The Government risks serious damage to New Zealanders’ livelihoods by replacing the real productive economy with wishful thinking, National’s Economic Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“On TVNZ’s Q&A this morning, Economic Development Minister David Parker spoke of his wish to reduce the number of livestock in this country. He said horticulture, such as growing apricots, would be better for the environment.

“He said the problem was that it was too expensive to pick fruit in New Zealand. But, no worries, we’ll invest in robotics. Robots will pick the fruit and the economy will surge.

“This is wishful thinking on a grand scale and it fails on so many levels.

“Mr Parker also admitted that the Government hadn’t done an analysis of what the economic impact of his proposed shift away from current land use. . . 

Plan to keep scheme farmer owned – Sally Brooker:

Farming leader William Rolleston has come up with a plan to keep the Hunter Downs irrigation scheme fully farmer-owned.

The former Federated Farmers national president, who farms in South Canterbury, outlined his idea at the federation’s South Canterbury provincial annual  meeting in Waimate on Friday afternoon.

The irrigation scheme, which has resource consent to use water from the Waitaki River on land towards Timaru, has struggled to get landowners to buy enough shares to make it financially viable. Originally aimed at a 21,000ha command area, it was reduced to 12,000ha last year. . . 

 

Quacker of a start for duck shooting :

Duck-shooting season is off with a bang, with tens of thousands of people turning out across the country for the opening weekend.

The season officially started at 6am yesterday and runs through until August.

Fish and Game’s spokesperson Don Rood said hunters were on good behaviour and there were no reports of serious injury on day one.

“That’s all credit to our licence holders for doing the right thing. We’ve been pushing the education message with them. Safety is the very first priority before anything else – no duck is worth a shooting accident.”

In 2016, three people were accidentally shot at the beginning of the season. . . 

Alliance beefs up offering – Neal Wallace:

Alliance Group has launched premium branded beef under the label Pure South Handpicked 55 Day Aged Beef.

To qualify each carcase, irrespective of breed, is individually selected and visually assessed. 

It must have a high marbling score, low Ph range and extended wet aging.

The launch follows three years of research and will be targeted at the New Zealand food service sector and overseas markets. . . 

Farmers back in driving seat – Lindy Nelson:

Time, creative thinking, resources to create change and information all support us to turn business threats into opportunities.

Leadership well-applied and executed is one of those resources that inspires and supports action to respond.

Applied leadership was exactly what was demonstrated at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s recent workshop on the red meat sector story where our sector’s origin brand story, go-to-market strategy and response to the threat of alternative proteins were unveiled.

It was inspiring on a number of fronts – what the leadership team of B+LNZ has achieved and who it had collaborated with, its in-depth understanding of customers and detailed analysis of the synthetic protein threat and the knowledge that place of origin acts as a shortcut to consumer understanding and trust in our products.

All of this provides a strategy for action alongside the release of the origin brand story. . . 

Whare’s new lease on life – Toni Williams:

A  little red corrugated-iron whare will roll smoothly behind a vintage tractor in the Greg Donaldson Contracting Ashburton Wheels Week Plus street parade this month.

The whare  will be taking its place among members of the Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club in the parade on the final day of the Wheels Week Plus  programme.

  The club has about 100 members, so expect to see a few vintage machines. The whare, which sits on a truck chassis, plays a big role in the life of Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club president John Hall. It holds warm memories and its walls are lined with memorabilia — newspaper clippings, places and events Mr Hall has visited. . . 

 


#getnzonthemap

May 7, 2018

100%PureNZ is running a campaign to #getnzonthemap.

We found a map in Asunción, Paraguay last year and did out best to put New Zealand back where it belongs:


Govt sowing seeds for another ag-sag?

May 7, 2018

Let’s start with something we can agree on: we all want clean waterways.

Where opinion diverges is on how that is to be achieved.

The government thinks part of the solution is in reducing cow numbers:

Environment Minister David Parker told TVNZ 1’s Q+A programme that in some parts of New Zealand cow numbers may have to be cut.

‘Well, cow numbers have already peaked and are going down, but yes, in some areas, the number of cows per hectare is higher than the environment can sustain. That won’t be done through a raw cap on cow numbers; it will be done on nutrient limits, the amount of nutrient that can be lost from a farm to a waterway, because it’s not just a dairy cow issue.’

It’s not just a cow issue and it’s not just nitrogen and phosphorus as this chart from the Agricultural Research Centre shows:

As I have said many times before, the major contributor to problems in the Kakanui River isn’t farming it’s  seagulls.

Back to Q&A, just like with the government’s decision to end oil and gas exploration, it has no idea about the economic impact of reducing cow numbers:

CORIN This is a massive signal. This is like your oil and gas. This is you saying to the farming sector, ‘You cannot continue with some of your practices in dairying, and we will force you to have less cows.’ What work have you done to look at what the economic impact of that would be? Because we know if there’s a drought, for example, and milk production goes down a couple of percent, it takes off a percent off GDP.

DAVID Mm. Well, I think the Landcorp example is illustrative that it’s not the end of the world for dairying.

The Landcorp example is not a good one because the company’s return on capital is abysmal and it’s propensity for making losses couldn’t be sustained by private businesses.

CORIN Have you done the work that shows what the economic impact for some, particularly dairying regions, would be?

DAVID We haven’t done an analysis of what the economic effects would be. But it’s very, very difficult to model, because second-best from the farmer perspective may still be very close to the same outcome profit-wise. Can I go back to what I was saying that I think one of the answers to this in south Canterbury, for example, lies in land use change towards more cropping, more horticulture, which are high-value land uses. . . 

It’s not just difficult to model, it’s ignoring the reality that land, climate and soils that suit dairying don’t necessarily suit horticulture.

Jacqueline Rowarth pointed out nearly two years ago, a reduction in cow numbers would have unexpected consequences:

Replacing dairy with horticulture might have some economic merit, but land suitability has to be considered, as does the supporting infrastructure and inputs.

The point about any land-based activity is that it suits the topography and climate, which interact with the parent material to create the soil. Farmers and growers understand the nature of the interaction, and then manage the deficiencies – fertilisers, irrigation, shelters, for instance.

They also consider the infrastructure, processors and markets. Land that can be used economically and environmentally sustainably for horticulture has mostly been converted already.

There are also detrimental environmental impacts to be considered. Research on the Canterbury Plains reported in the media last year indicated that dairy conversions involving fertiliser and irrigation, actually increased organic matter.

The reverse is also true. And when organic matter breaks down, nitrogen is released as is carbon dioxide.

Massey University’s professor Tony Parsons has examined the land-use challenge with funding from the New Zealand Agricultural Research Centre (NZAGRC). He has calculated that at a given N input, dairy produces two to three times as much food, similar or less methane and less than half the amount of nitrogen loss.

He has also shown the use of supplements improves efficiencies. Combined with strategic use of shelters and feed pads, nitrogen losses can be reduced. . . 

A lot of work has been, and continues to be, done into improved practices which reduce dairying’s environmental impact

Keith Woodford says that we need a rational debate about water:

In recent years, the debates about water rights and water pollution in New Zealand have become increasingly torrid. Most New Zealanders have fixed views on the topic and are confident their views are correct. Human nature then leads to so-called facts being organised to buttress those fixed views.

There is a term for this phenomenon called ‘noble cause corruption’.    The problem is that ‘we’ have the ‘noble cause’ and ‘they’ have the ‘corruption’. And so, within this framework, the water debate has been characterised by huge superficiality, rhetoric and shouting. The opportunities for shared learning and accommodation have been minimal. . . 

Radical environmentalists and anti-farming groups have done a very good job with the superficiality, rhetoric and shoutingWhat we need now is science and the recognition that problems decades in the making will take time to solve and that improving water quality isn’t as simple as reducing cow numbers.

Currently, there is great confusion between issues of water quantity and water quality.  Dirty dairying has become the catch phrase.  At a public level, distinguishing between nitrogen leaching, phosphorus runoff, bacterial loadings and sediment does not occur.  There is also very poor understanding as to the constraints to cash crop and horticulture production in the absence of irrigation.

The rural community also has to accept that change is necessary. . . 

The rural community, and farmers in particular have generally not only accepted that change is necessary but have poured money into making changes which enhance and protect waterways.

They are aware, as the government and many others don’t appear to be, that water quality isn’t just about the environment, it also has a direct impact on the economy.

It is remarkable how huge swathes of the big-city populations have lost sight of the dependence New Zealand has on its natural resource-based industries. They do not appreciate that destruction of agriculture is incompatible with poverty elimination. . . .

Dairying has revived communities that were dying, creating jobs on farms and in businesses which service and supply them. Schools which were in danger of closing have had their rolls boosted, sports clubs which were in decline have been revived.

It has also provided a huge boost to the national economy, as the biggest or second biggest export earner and a major contributor to the annual tax-take.

The regional slush fund will be no compensation for the destruction of businesses and the people who depend on them. The fund itself will be in danger if the tax take and export income are severely reduced by attacks on farms and farmers.

The Lange-Douglas policies created the ag-sag of the 80s.

Few would argue with the necessity for change and what that government did but this government ought to have learned from the damage done by how they did it.

Farmers aren’t arguing against the need for clean water.

We’re just very worried that the government is sowing the seeds for another ag-sag.

They, and too many other people, don’t understand the economic and social cost of forcing fast changes, especially where they’re not backed by science.


Quote of the day

May 7, 2018

Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office but to serve obey them.  – David Hume who was born on this day in 1711.


May 7 in history

May 7, 2018

558 – In Constantinopl, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapsed, Justinian Iimmediately ordered that it be rebuilt.

1272 The Second Council of Lyons opened to regulate the election of the Pope.

1348  Charles University in Prague (Universitas Carolina/Univerzita Karlova) was established as the first university in Central Europe.

1429  Joan of Arc ended the Siege of Orléans, pulling an arrow from her own shoulder and returning, wounded, to lead the final charge.

1664  Louis XIV  inaugurated the Palace of Versailles.

1697  Stockholm’s royal castle was destroyed by fire.

1711 David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian, was born (d. 1776).

1718  The city of New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

1748 Olympe de Gouges, playwright and feminist revolutionary, was born (d. 1793).

1763  Indian Wars: Pontiac’s Rebellion began – Chief Pontiac began the “Conspiracy of Pontiac” by attacking British forces at Fort Detroit.

1812 Robert Browning, English poet, was born (d. 1889).

1824  World premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Vienna, conducted by Michael Umlauf under the deaf composer’s supervision.

1832 The independence of Greece was recognized by the Treaty of London.Otto of Wittelsbach, Prince of Bavaria was chosen King.

1836 The settlement of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico was elevated to the royal status of villa by the government of Spain.

1840  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer, was born (d. 1893).

1840  The Great Natchez Tornado struck  Natchez, Mississippi killing 317 people.

1846 The Ngati Tuwharetoa village of Te Rapa on the south-western shore of Lake Taupo was obliterated in a landslide.

Devastating landslide at Lake Taupo

1847  The American Medical Association was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1847 Archibald Primrose, United Kingdom Prime Minister, was born (d. 1929).

1856 – Henry Sewell took office as colonial secretary – as early premiers were called, the first to hold this position in New Zealand.

1864  American Civil War: The Army of the Potomac, under General Ulysses S. Grant, broke off from the Battle of the Wilderness and moved southwards.

1888 – A meeting in Dunedin presided over by the mayor unanimously called for a ban on further Chinese migrants.

Anti-Chinese hysteria in Dunedin

1892 Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia, was born (d. 1980).

1895  Russian scientist Alexander Stepanovich Popov demonstrated to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society his invention, the Popov lightning detector — a primitive radio receiver.

1901 – Gary Cooper, American actor, was born (d. 1961).

1909 Edwin H. Land, American inventor ,was born (d. 1991).

1915  World War I: German submarine SM U-20 sank  RMS Lusitania, killing 1,198 people.

1919 Eva Peron, Argentine first lady, was born  (d. 1952).

1920  Kiev Offensive (1920): Polish troops led by Józef PiłsudskiandEdward Rydz-Śmigły and assisted by a symbolic Ukrainian force captured Kiev.

1920  Treaty of Moscow: Soviet Russia recognsedthe independence of theDemocratic Republic of Georgia.

1927 Angelos Sikelianos organised the first Delphic Festival in Delphi to celebrate the ancient Greek Delphic ideal.

1928 Dixie Dean scored a hat trick for Everton F.C. against Arsenal F.C. to set a new goal scoring record of 60 goals in a season.

1937 Spanish Civil War: The German Condor Legion, equipped with Heinkel He 51 biplanes, arrived in Spain to assist Francisco Franco’s forces.

1940 Angela Carter, English novelist and journalist, was born (d. 1992).

1942 During the Battle of the Coral Sea, United States Navy aircraft sank the Japanese Imperial Navy light aircraft carrier Shōhō. The battle marked the first time in the naval history that two enemy fleets fight without visual contact between warring ships.

1943  Peter Carey, Australian author, was born.

1944 Richard O’Sullivan, British actor, was born.

1945  World War II: General Alfred Jodl signed unconditional surrender terms at Reims ending Germany’s participation in the war.

1945 Christy Moore, Irish folk artist, was born.

1946 Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering (later renamed Sony) was founded with around 20 employees.

1946 Thelma Houston, American singer, was born.

1948 The Council of Europe was founded during the Hague Congress.

1952 The concept of the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, was first published by Geoffrey W.A. Dummer.

1953  Ian McKay, British soldier (VC recipient) was born (d. 1982), .

1954 Indochina War: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ends in a French defeat (the battle began on March 13).

1956 Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, was born.

1960  Cold War: U-2 Crisis of 1960 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchevannounced that his nation was holding American U-2 pilotGary Powers.

1964  Pacific Air Lines Flight 773, a Fairchild F-27 airliner, crashed near San Ramon, California, killing all 44 aboard; the FBI later reported that a cockpit recorder tape indicated that the pilot and co-pilot had been shot by a suicidal passenger.

1974 West German Chancellor Willy Brandt resigned.

1986 Canadian Patrick Morrow became the first person to climb each of the Seven Summits.

1992 Michigan ratified a 203-year-old proposed amendment to the United States Constitution making the 27th Amendment, which bars the U.S. Congress from giving itself a mid-term pay raise, law.

1992  Three employees at a McDonald’s Restaurant in Sydney, Nova Scotia, were murdered and a fourth permanently disabled after a botched robbery.

1992 – Latvia conducted its first post-Soviet monetary reform and began issuing Latvian rublis, a temporary currency in use until the introduction of Latvian lats. The move reduced the pressure on Latvian economy caused by shortage of cash and hyperinflation of rouble, and led way to ultimately successful economic reforms.

1995 Finland won the World Championship in men’s ice hockey after beating Sweden in the final

1998 Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for $US40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

1999  Pope John Paul II travelled to Romania becoming the first pope to visit a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054.

1999  Kosovo War: In Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens were killed and 20 wounded when a NATO aircraft bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

1999 Guinea-Bissau, President João Bernardo Vieira was ousted in a military coup.

2002  A China Northern Airlines MD-82 plunged into the Yellow Sea, killing 112 people.

2007  The tomb of Herod the Great was discovered.

2009 – More than 100 police officers began a 40-hour siege of a lone gunman in Napier.

2013 – 27 people were killed and more than 30 injured, when a tanker truck crashed and exploded outside Mexico City.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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