365 days of gratitude

September 24, 2018

Weather forecasting might be a science but it is an inexact one.

No matter the knowledge and skill of forecasters and the advances in technology at their disposal, nature will always have the last say.

In spite of that more often than not, forecasters are right and when they warn of a cold snap it pays to take heed.

In farming, especially at this time of year with lambing and calving underway, it is particularly important to act on intimations of inclement weather.

Tonight I’m grateful for a weather forecast that allowed us to plan for cold and wet.

 


Word of the day

September 24, 2018

Eggtaggle – the act of wasting time in bad company.


Awakening New Zealand

September 24, 2018

Aren’t we blessed to be able to wake up to this?

 


Rural round-up

September 24, 2018

There is support out there for Hawke’s Bay farmers – Georgia May:

Farmers constantly deal with situations that are out of their control, heavy weather, dairy payouts and stock illness. A vulnerability that doesn’t weigh on the minds of many others.

It’s been nearly three weeks since heavy rain struck the Hawke’s Bay region where some farmers lost up to 25 per cent of their newborn lambs.

While attitudes of farmers generally remain stoic through difficult times, others have spoken out, saying that they feel forgotten about. . .

Plant shows Alliance is serious

Processing has begun at Alliance’s new $15.9 million venison plant at Lorneville in Southland.

The first deer went through the plant last Monday. 

Once operating at peak capacity the plant will employ about 60 people.

It has improved handling facilities and an enhanced configuration. 

The slaughterboard, boning room and offal area are larger than those at Alliance’s venison processing facilities at Smithfield and the company’s former Makarewa plant. . .

Comprehensive interim tax report a useful step:

The Tax Working Group’s (TWG) Interim Report provides a useful resource for how New Zealand’s tax system could be improved says Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard.

“It’s a good piece of work. The report clearly articulates and explores the issues we raised in our submission – it’s a highlight when you can see you have been heard.”

A big issue explored in the report is whether to extend New Zealand’s taxation of capital income, says Andrew. “Federated Farmers remains opposed to a significant broadening of the capital gains tax particularly if it taxes unrealised capital gains.”

“The report outlines the value of providing ‘roll-over relief’ for farms sold to the next generation and for farmers wanting to ‘trade-up’ to a bigger more expensive farm.  These were two critical issues we raised in our submission to the TWG back in April so we are pleased that it has listened to us on those points. . .

Tax Working Group findings support private land conservation:

QEII National Trust is pleased to see the Tax Working Group’s recommendations acknowledged the scope for the tax system to support, sustain and enhance land protected by QEII covenants.

QEII National Trust CEO, Mike Jebson says “our covenantors know the value of investing in protected private land and we are pleased to see the Tax Working Group include suggestions that costs incurred in looking after land protected by QEII covenant should be treated as deductible expenses for tax purposes in their interim conclusions.” . .

UK farmers have edge on Kiwis – Jack Keeys:

Over the past 12 months I’ve visited numerous farms and agricultural companies throughout Britain. 

That insight provided an opportunity to observe New Zealand agriculture from an outside perspective and get a clear comparison with those on the other side of the world. 

Driving through Scotland, Ireland, Wales and now England I see the farms here exhibit a large variation in size, topography, climatic conditions and pasture management. 

However, some broad commonalities become very apparent.

The farms have insufficient infrastructure, they are under-stocked and have very inefficient pasture management.

Most farms require subsidies s to be profitable.  . .

Hunters under attack again:

Hunters all over new Zealand feel like they under an intense attack from the Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage who has let her personal hatred of wild animals cloud her judgement.

“This mass killing of up to 25,000 Himalayan Tahr is unprecedented in this country and about one million kilos of meat will be left to rot on the mountains of New Zealand. The stench and pollution of headwater streams will be on the Minister’s head. This is our food basket on which many families rely on.” says Alan Simmons President of The NZ Outdoors Party. . .


We need to talk about GM

September 24, 2018

We need to talk about genetic modification, former Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman says.

Sir Peter Gluckman says the debate over whether to use genetically edited grasses to combat greenhouse gas emissions is more philosophical than scientific.

It’s also more emotional and political than rational.

The former Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister spoke to The Country’s Jamie Mackay about his report released this week in which he suggests New Zealand needs to have a “national conversation,” about using GMOs in agriculture.

“What I’ve raised in the report is just that if we’re serious about climate change, if we’re serious about environmental protection, if we’re serious about a reduction in predators and protecting biodiversity, we perhaps need to think again about whether the technologies which are increasingly being used offshore have got a role to play in New Zealand.” . . 

There are widespread calls for farmers to play their part in reducing emissions but many of those agitating for that are also opposed to allowing GM.

It is a tool widely used in other countries that is being denied to New Zealand farmers.

Mackay wonders if consumers will want to eat products from animals that have grazed on genetically modified grass, but Gluckman says this is already happening.

“Around the world consumers are eating lots of meat and lots of milk that are coming from genetically modified crops now … it’s been going on at least for a decade broadly around the world.”

It’s also in a lot of the food we’ve been eating for years. Most corn and soy that we import will have come from GM crops.

Gluckman says the issue is more “philosophical rather than a scientific debate” with a number of countries ruling that gene editing does not need the same regulatory controls as gene modification, but “other countries are not so certain.”

Gluckman believes there needs to be a discussion around the use of GM grasses before New Zealand begins testing them.

“I think that in theory it’s possible in New Zealand. It’s just that in practice it’s not possible and I think one would need a much broader national conversation to look through the issues which are largely more philosophical and values-based than they are scientifically based.”

We saw huge areas of corn when we were in Colorado and Nebraska on an IrrigationNZ tour 10 days ago.

All of it was genetically modified.

Farmers there have been producing GM crops for years with no problems in the field or in the market.

They told us it had both economic and environmental benefits. It yielded better and required fewer chemicals to grow.

AgResearch is trialing GM grass in the USA because it can’t do it here. The grass has the potential to make a significant reduction to methane emissions.

Opponents of the technology say it could risk our reputation for producing clean and green feed.

Surely the risk our competitors will be gaining the benefits of GM grass and marketing their meat as cleaner and greener is even greater.

Science is rarely 100% settled. But after decades of use in many countries there has been no evidence of any problems with GM that would put our farming at risk, and plenty of evidence of the benefits.

New Zealand needs to start talking about GM and the  conversation must be based on science and facts, not emotion and philosophy.


Quote of the day

September 24, 2018

In all science error precedes the truth and it is better It should go first than last. – Horace Walpole who was born on this day in 1717.


September 24 in history

September 24, 2018

622 Prophet Muhammad completed his hijra from Mecca to Medina.

1180 Manuel I Komnenos, last Emperor of the Komnenian restoration died after which the Byzantine Empire slipped into terminal decline.

1625 Johan de Witt, Dutch politician, was born (d. 1672).

1645  Battle of Rowton Heath, Parliamentarian victory over a Royalist army commanded in person by King Charles.

1664 The Dutch Republic surrendered New Amsterdam to England.

1667 – Jean-Louis Lully, French composer, was born (d. 1688).

1674  Second Tantrik Coronation of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

1717 Horace Walpole, British novelist and politician, was born (d. 1797).

1725 Sir Arthur Guinness, Irish brewer, was born (d. 1803).

1841  The Sultan of Brunei ceded Sarawak to Britain.

1852  The first airship powered by (a steam) engine, created by Henri Giffard, travelled 17 miles (27 km) from Paris to Trappes.

1869 “Black Friday“: Gold prices plummeted after Ulysses S. Grant ordered the Treasury to sell large quantities of gold after Jay Gould and James Fisk plotted to control the market.

1871 –  Lottie Dod, English athlete, was born (d. 1960)

1877  Battle of Shiroyama, decisive victory of the Imperial Japanese Army over the Satsuma Rebellion.

1890 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounced polygamy.

1892 – Adélard Godbout, Canadian agronomist and politician, 15th Premier of Québec, was born (d. 1956).

1896 F. Scott Fitzgerald, American novelist, was born (d. 1940).

1898 – Charlotte Moore Sitterly, American astronomer, was born (d. 1990).

1905 Lionel Terry killed Joe Kum Yung to draw attention to his crusade to rid New Zealand of Chinese people.

Race killing in Haining St, Wellington

1906  U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation’s first National Monument.

1914 Sir John Kerr, 18th Governor-General of Australia, was born (d. 1991).

1916 – Ruth Leach Amonette, American businesswoman and author, was born (d. 2004).

1917 – Ten New Zealand soldiers were killed when they were hit by a train at Bere Ferrers in the United Kingdom.

Bere Ferrers rail accident

1935  Earl Bascom and Weldon Bascom produced the first rodeo ever held outdoors under electric lights at Columbia, Mississippi.

1936 Jim Henson, American puppeteer, was born (d. 1990).

1941 Linda McCartney, American singer, fashion designer and photographer, was born (d. 1998).

1942 Gerry Marsden, English singer (Gerry & The Pacemakers), was born.

1946  Cathay Pacific Airways was founded in Hong Kong.

1946 – Lars Emil Johansen, Greenlandic educator and politician, 2nd Prime Minister of Greenland, was born.

1947 The Majestic 12 committee was allegedly established by secret executive order of President Harry Truman.

1948 – Garth Porter, New Zealand-Australian singer-songwriter and producer, was born.

1948  The Honda Motor Company was founded.

1950  Forest fires blacked out the sun over portions of Canada and New England. A Blue moon (in the astronomical sense) was seen as far away as Europe.

1957  Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, was opened in Barcelona.

1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation.

1962  United States court of appeals ordered the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith.

1968  60 Minutes debuted on CBS.

1973  Guinea-Bissau declared its independence from Portugal.

1979  Compu-Serve launched the first consumer internet service, which features the first public electronic mail service.

1990  Periodic Great White Spot observed on Saturn.

1994  National League for Democracy was formed by Aung San Suu Kyi and various others to help fight against dictatorship in Myanmar.

1996  U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty at the United Nations.

2005  Hurricane Rita made landfall in the United States, devastating Beaumont, Texas and portions of southwestern Louisiana.

2008  The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was topped off at 1,389 feet (423 m), at the time becoming the world’s highest residence above ground-level.

2009 – The G20 summit began in Pittsburgh with 30 global leaders in attendance. It marked the first use of LRAD in U.S. history.

2013  A 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck southern Pakistan, killing more than 327 people.

2014 – The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), a Mars orbiter launched into Earth orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), successfully inserted into orbit of Mars.

2015 – At least 1,100 people were killed and another 934 wounded after a stampede during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


%d bloggers like this: