365 days of gratitude

September 28, 2018

Remember when toll calls were expensive and reserved for matters of great moment?

Thankfully that’s no longer the case and most of us can talk to family and friends around the country and further afield without even thinking about the cost.

Today I received three calls from friends in distant places and I’m grateful for each and all of them.


Word of the day

September 28, 2018

Eutrapely – the quality of being skilled in conversation; conversational skill; wit; urbanity.


Rural round-up

September 28, 2018

NZ farmer confidence slides into negative territory– Rabobank:

New Zealand farmer confidence has eased from the previous quarter and is now at net negative levels for the first time since early 2016.

The third quarterly survey for the year – completed earlier this month – has shown net farmer confidence has fallen to -three per cent, down from +two per cent recorded in the June 2018 survey.

The survey found a fall in the number of farmers expecting agricultural economy conditions to improve in the coming 12 months (down to 20 per cent from 26 per cent last quarter) as well as those expecting conditions to worsen (23 per cent from 24 per cent previously) while an increased number of New Zealand farmers were expecting the performance of the agricultural economy to stay the same (54 per cent from 46 per cent last survey). . .

Room for improvement despite progress on M. bovis awareness:

Survey shows room for improvement despite progress on M. bovis awareness

More than half of sheep and beef farmers have made changes to reduce the risk of their stock becoming infected by Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis), according to research by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

57 per cent of farmers recently surveyed reported they had taken precautions against the disease while 71 per cent of farmers feel that they have a high level of knowledge on how to protect their stock from M. bovis.

Around a third of farmers surveyed (34 per cent) said they had implemented a buffer zone between them and their neighbours’ stock, as well as communicating with their neighbours about stock on the boundary. . . 

A jigsaw with bits missing – Annette Scott:

Mycoplasma bovis had a head-start on officials trying to eradicate it but Nait is helping them catch up.

While Nait is not perfect it has enabled the eradication attempt that otherwise might not have been possible, Ministry for Primary Industries intelligence group manager Alix Barclay says.

That head-start has, over time, meant changes to the design of surveillance and how it is implemented, Barclay said.

The intelligence team is responsible for tracing the disease, surveillance, targeting of sampling, data management and the diagnostic laboratory systems. . . 

Westland Milk’s payout at low end of guidance; cuts 2019 forecast – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products has cut its forecast for the 2019 season due to weak global butter prices and announced a farmgate return near the bottom end of guidance.

New Zealand’s third-largest dairy company said its final milk payout for the 2018 season was $6.12 per kilo of milk solids, less a 5 cent retention. That delivered a net average result for shareholders of $6.07 per kgMS. The cooperative had forecast a payout of $6.10 to $6.40 and the retention enabled it to report a pre-tax profit of $3.3 million for the 12 months ended July 31. . .

Tatua Financial Results for the Year Ended 31 July 2018:

The Tatua Board or Directors and Executive met on 26 September 2018 to consider the financial results for the 2017/18 season and decide on the final payout to our Suppliers. We are pleased to report that Tatua has had a good year and has achieved record Group revenue of $357 million, and earnings of $127 million.

Our focus on growing our value-add businesses has contributed significant additional revenue and our bulk ingredient product mix has served us well. . .

Selling bulls but keeping semen rights – Alan Williams:

Te Mania Stud is looking for sons of its sale-topping Australian sire to move the Angus breed forward.

Starting this year the stud is keeping a 50% interest in the semen of all the bulls it sells.

“This keeps us protected if one of the bulls comes through with brilliant traits and we can get that semen back to use through our dam line,” stock manager Will Wilding said.

The deal involves only semen sales. There’s no income-share when buyers use the bulls for physical mating.

Semen from Te Mania Garth was brought from Australia and used to breed the top-priced rising  . .

2019 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards entries open October 1st:

With less than a week until entries open in the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, organisers of the regional competitions are gathering in Rotorua for the annual conference to fine tune processes and launch events.

General Manager Chris Keeping says the conference is an opportunity for the many volunteers from around the country to come together after a busy winter season. “The conference will be a busy few days, bringing everyone up-to-date with the changes made to the entry criteria and visa requirements,” she says. . .

On the brink of innovative Ag technology acceptance: A Kenyan farmer’s perspective – Gilbert Arap Bor:

Farmers have good years and bad years. Here in Kenya, however, the good years never have seemed quite as good as they should be and the bad years have felt worse than necessary.

That’s because we can’t take advantage of a tool that farmers in much of the developed world take for granted: GMO crops. In many countries, they’ve transformed farming, helping farmers contend with weeds, pests, and drought. In my country, we’re still languishing in the 20th century, waiting for the arrival of this 21st-century technology.

We may in fact be on the brink of embracing innovative technology for agriculture, but the long and winding road to this welcome destination has been full of frustration and false starts. We’ve been at it for an entire generation. Africa already faces plenty of problems: poverty, climate change, a poor infrastructure, political instability, corruption and more. So the failure of Kenya and most other African nations to take up GMOs is especially painful because this problem is almost entirely self-imposed. . . 

 


Support person not action

September 28, 2018

The leaked report on the investigation into allegations that then-Minister Meka Whaitiri assaulted a staff member don’t reflect well on her :

. . . David Patten, the Wellington lawyer who conducted the inquiry for Ministerial Services, the employer of ministerial staff, found on the balance of probabilities that the staff member’s version was the more likely explanation.

He found that Whaitiri did not pull or drag the press secretary outside from the foyer of the building where the meeting was taking place.

But he found it more probable that Whaitiri approached the staffer from behind and grabbed her by the arm and that Whaitiri spoke in a raised voice to the staffer.

In evidence to the inquiry, the staff member said Whaitiri had blamed her for missing the media standup with the Prime Minister.

Having a paddy because she missed the stand-up is bad enough by itself even without any grabbing and raised voice.

“It was during … the break so I’d gone out into the hallway, gone to the bathroom and I’d just gone out into the hallway into the vestibule for a bit of a breather and that’s when she came over,” the staff member said.

“She grabbed me by the arm and pulled me outside and said she needed to talk to me and when we were outside she raised her voice.

“I wouldn’t say yelled but she did raise her voice to me and asked me if I knew what I was doing in my job and did I realise I’d missed a media opportunity and that that was embarrassing to her because it was her electorate.”

The staffer originally told the inquiry that Whaitiri had pinched her arm but changed that to grabbed.

“It was hard and it scared the living daylights out of me,” she said.

In other parts of her evidence, she said: “She was definitely angry, and was definitely mad that I had screwed up. It scared me a lot and I didn’t want to return to that [work environment].” . .

Patten’s finding in the draft report is: “The photographs taken by Morag Ingram on August 30 2018 of [the press secretary’s] upper right arm showing a bruise on that arm … are consistent, in my view, with someone being approached from behind and grabbed by a
right-handed person“. . .

In the urgent debate Labour MPs did a lot of defending and supporting Whaitiri without condemning her actions.

It is possible to do both, especially when this is the party that purports to stand up for workers. It’s the party that purports to abhor violence.

Its actions, in this instance, don’t reflect its words.

Political blood is thicker than water but that is no excuse for putting loyalty to a colleague before the principles of fair treatment of staff and not showing that in supporting her they also condemn the use of physical force.

How strident would Labour be if a National minister mistreated staff?

They wouldn’t accept the loss of ministerial warrant as sufficient punishment. They’d be calling for the MP to resign altogether.


Quote of the day

September 28, 2018

Any place that anyone can learn something useful from someone with experience is an educational institution. –  Al Capp who was born on this day in 1909.


September 28 in history

September 28, 2018

551 BC: Confucius, the Chinese philosopher was born (d. 479 BC).

48 BC  Pompey the Great was assassinated on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt.

351 Battle of Mursa Major: the Roman Emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius.

365  Roman usurper Procopius bribed two legions passing by Constantinople, and proclaims himself Roman emperor.

935  Saint Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus I of Bohemia.

995  Members of Slavník’s dynasty – Spytimír, Pobraslav, Pořej and Čáslav – were murdered by Boleslaus’s son, Boleslaus II the Pious.

1066  William the Conqueror invaded England: the Norman Conquest began.

1106 The Battle of Tinchebrai – Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose.

1238 Muslim Valencia surrendered to the besieging King James I of Aragonthe Conqueror.

1322  Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor defeated Frederick I of Austria in theBattle of Mühldorf.

1448  Christian I was crowned king of Denmark.

1542  Navigator João Rodrigues Cabrilho of Portugal arrived at what is now San Diego, California.

1571 – Italian artist  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born (d. 1610).

1708  Peter the Great defeated the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya.

1779  American Revolution: Samuel Huntington was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.

1781  American forces backed by a French fleet began the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, during the American Revolutionary War

1787  The newly completed United States Constitution was voted on by the U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.

1791  France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

1836 Thomas Crapper, English inventor, was born (d. 1910).

1844  Oscar I of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.

1864  The International Workingmen’s Association was founded in London.

1868  Battle of Alcolea caused Queen Isabella II of Spain to flee to France.

1889  The first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.

1891  Club Atletico Peñarol was founded under the name of Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club.

1899 Premier R.J. (‘King Dick’) Seddon asked Parliament to approve an offer to the British government of a contingent of mounted rifles to fight in Transvaal.

NZ answers Empire's call to arms in South Africa

1901 US television host Ed Sullivan was born (d. 1974).

1909 – Al Capp, American author and illustrator, was born (d. 1979).

1914 – Maria Franziska von Trapp, Austrian-American singer, was born (d. 2014).

1916 Peter Finch, English-born Australian actor,was born (d. 1977).

1928  The U.K. Parliament passed the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawingcannabis.

1928  Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

1934 French model and actress Brigtte Bardot was born.

1939 – Warsaw surrendered to Nazi Germany.

1944  Soviet Army troops liberated Klooga concentration camp in Estonia.

1946 English singer Helen Shapiro was born

1958  France ratified a new Constitution of France

1961 A military coup in Damascus effectively ended the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria.

1962  The Paddington tram depot fire destroyed 65 trams in Brisbane.

1971  The British government passed the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

1973  The ITT Building in New York City was bombed in protest at ITT’s alleged involvement in the September 11 coup d’état in Chile.

1975  The Spaghetti House siege, in which nine people were taken hostage, took place in London.

1987  The beginning of the Palestinian civil disobedience uprising, “The First Intifada” against the Israeli occupation.

1994  The car ferry MS Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.

1995  Bob Denard and a group of mercenaries took the islands of Comoros in a coup.

2000  Al-Aqsa Intifada: Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

2008  SpaceX launched the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1into orbit.

2009 The military junta leading Guinea, headed by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, sexually assaulted, killed and wounded protesters during a protest rally in the Stade du 28 Septembre.

2012 – Somali and African Union forces launched a coordinated assaulton the Somali port city of Kismayo to take back the city from al-Shabaab militants.

2012 – A Dornier Do 228 light aircraft crashed on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, killing 19 people.

2014 – Hong Kong protests : Benny Tai announced that Occupy Central was launched as Hong Kong’s government headquarters was being occupied by thousands of protesters. Hong Kong police resorted to tear gas to disperse protesters but thousands remained.

2016 – The 2016 South Australian blackout – causing the entire state’s power to go out for up to 2-3 days in some areas.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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