Word of the day

July 5, 2018

Cornu – a horn, especially a bony part that resembles a horn; a horn-shaped projection of the thyroid cartilage or of certain bones (such as the hyoid and the coccyx); either of the two lateral cavities of the uterus, into which the fallopian tubes pass.


Political Compass

July 5, 2018

Scrubone is back and is inviting us to do the Political Compass test.

I scored:

Economic left/right 3.0

Social libertarian/authoritarian -3.79

personalised chart

Scrubone has the results from the past which showed me as 3.5 on the left/right and -.5 on the libertarian/authoritarian.

Does this mean I’m a bit closer to the centre and more liberal or that when, as many questions left me wanting to put neutral/don’t know, I went to the more liberal answer more often this time?


Thursday’s quiz

July 5, 2018

You are invited to pose the questions.

Anyone stumping everyone will win a virtual batch of Spicy Lemon Biscuits.


Rural round-up

July 5, 2018

Discovery that could help save the world – new diet to make cows burp less methane – Gerard Hutching:

New Zealand could be the first country in the world to change a cow’s diet so it burps out less methane.

Dutch nutrition company Royal DSM is developing a commercial feed additive which it hopes will be on the market in two years’ time. Studies had shown it could reduce up to 30 per cent of cattle methane in intensive farm systems.

It is focusing on New Zealand because the country’s livestock produce a lot of methane, one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

A single dairy cow generates about 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year in the form of methane (CH4). . .

Robotic technology running at Alliance Dannevirke plant :

State-of-the-art robotic technology is now running as part of the Alliance Group’s $10.6 million investment in its Dannevirke meat processing site.

The primal/middle cutting machinery is part of the co-operative’s investment programme in the plant which also included a redsigning the boning room.

The technology is the most advanced system of its kind in New Zealand. The custom-built primal/middle cutting technology features an x-ray unit which analyses each carcass and instructs two cutting machines where to cut.

It automatically adjusts to a wide variation in carcass size, a challenge in the red meat processing sector. The technology also minimises waste and improves the accuracy of the cut. . .

New fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and NZ merino :

A unique, environmentally friendly fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and a New Zealand merino wool blend will be displayed as part of the Material Innovation exhibition at the London Design Museum.

The material, which was created by renowned Danish designers Kvadrat, was designed to be a sustainable replacement for leather in the latest Range Rover model.

Jaguar Land Rover NZ sales operations manager Ben Montgomery says the merino wool blend was chosen by the designers for its premium characteristics. . . 

Kiwi meat can cut the mustard – Annette Scott:

There are no facts in the future. It’s all just an educated or opinionated guess, agri-futurist and digital strategist Melissa Clark-Reynolds told 250 sheep and beef farmers in Christchurch.

In her keynote address to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s FarmSmart 2018 Clark-Reynolds said the biggest challenges in futureproofing farming will come in a changing business farming model.

“The future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed,” she said. . . 

LIC takes disease precautions – Glenys Christian:

Breeding companies are gearing up for the busy spring mating season with extra measures to stop the spread of Mycoplasma bovis between dairy farms.

LIC shareholder councillor Mark Meyer, who farms at Tangiteroria, told a farmer meeting in Dargaville AI technicians have already inspected nearly 5000 dairy farms to make sure they have one major suitable entry point and footbaths were in place.

There was 100% compliance with 60 technicians in the field for winter milk inseminations despite some pushback from farmers to start with, he said.  . . 

Best advice to U.S. dairy farmers? ‘Sell out as fast as you can’ – Phil McCausland:

Small-dairy farmers are getting squeezed out by corporate agriculture. “That is not what America is about,” a struggling farmer said.

All Curtis Coombs wanted was to raise cows and run his family’s dairy farm in this slice of Kentucky hill country, less than 35 miles from Louisville. But a few weeks ago, he was forced to sell his milking herd of 82 cows, putting an end to his family’s nearly 70-year dairy business.

On a rain-drenched Monday, Coombs, his father and his uncle struggled to shove their last 13 cows into a trailer destined for auction and slaughter. As the earthy smell of manure filled the air, the men yelled for the Holsteins to move and urged them forward with the whack of a plastic stick. . . 


Farmers aren’t on strike

July 5, 2018

When I skim read a headline I thought it said hundreds of farmers were walking off the job.

They aren’t:

The nation need not worry today – the farmers that produce your food and the lion’s share of the nation’s export earnings still got up at the crack of dawn today. While those that work at the Farmers department store, that started as a sears-type mail order catalogue for rural customers, may be on strike today.

Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis confirmed the nation’s farmers have not walked off the job.

“Having no source of income is a frightening reality – hence farmers work.”

Farmers, the department store was founded by Robert Laidlaw CBE. Laidlaw was born in Scotland and emigrated to Dunedin when he was a boy. In Auckland he founded Laidlaw Leeds, a Sears-type mail order catalogue for rural customers.

This later merged with older The Farmers Union Trading Company to become what is now Farmers Trading Company Ltd, the last remaining nationwide chain of department stores in the country.

In all seriousness, we hope both sides of this issue can soon find a middle ground and everything can get back to normal for everyone involved.

“Strikes can be mentally damaging for those involved so during this time we hope everyone keeps an eye on their health.” . . 

The media release which sparked this story is here.


Beware council well-beings

July 5, 2018

Giving councils the power to put well-beings before core services poses big risks for ratepayers:

Federated Farmers says a return to a looser legislative mandate for local government activities presents a “depressing scenario” for those who foot the bill – ratepayers.

Feds President Katie Milne fronted the Government Administration Select Committee this morning and said farmers were deeply concerned that proposed changes will act as an impetus for higher local government spending and rates.

The Local Government (Community Well-being Amendment) Bill also “puts the cart before the horse” because the Productivity Commission hasn’t yet started its local government inquiry.

“Park this Bill at least until the Commission has done the grunt work and sorted out the drivers of council spending and recommended how councils should be funded in future,” Katie said.

Federated Farmers believed the vast majority of ratepayers favour the current purpose statement for local government, to provide good quality local infrastructure, local public services and legislative functions “…in a way that is most cost effective for households and businesses…”.

The bill proposes a return to the so-called ‘four well-beings’ purpose, where local authorities “…promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities…”, with no mention of cost-effectiveness.

The last time the four well-beings were in the Act, 2002-2012, local government annual rates revenue jumped 94%, when inflation was 28%.

“Since the removal of the four well-beings, growth in spending and rates have moderated significantly.  This despite stronger population growth,” Katie said.

“Despite some crazy ideas, like Rotorua’s infamous Mudtopia debacle, the signal from the Act’s current purpose statement has generally helped to focus council behaviour. However, in this year’s round of long-term plans we are starting to see some creep back; perhaps councils have been encouraged by the signals they are getting from government and this Bill.”

The original “four well-beings” legislation also included a robust consultative regime.  That’s missing in the current bill.

“With weak community engagement provisions and no relationship with funding, the re-insertion of the four well-beings is flawed and risky.

“Ratepayers cannot afford for us to go back to the out of control spending and rates increases of the 2002 to 2012 decade.”

Katie referred to the Local Government Business Forum’s report on council funding, noting the growth in non-core vs core spending over recent years, and the concern this Bill will exacerbate this trend.  To see the report, go to https://www.fixcouncilfunding.co.nz/

Property-value based rating imposes a disproportionate cost of local body funding on farmers.

This Bill will inevitably lead to higher rates and higher costs for farming.

It will also enable central government to load even more responsibilities and costs on to local government.

Councils should concentrate on core services and not saddle ratepayers with feel-good well-being projects that they can ill afford.


Quote of the day

July 5, 2018

The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog! Bill Watterson who celebrates his 60th birthday today.


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