Word of the day

February 9, 2019

Patavinity – the dialectal characteristics of Padua as seen in the writings of Livy; use of dialect or local slang or expressions when writing.


Sowell says

February 9, 2019


Saturday’s smiles

February 9, 2019

A man wanted Valentine’s Day to be special, so he bought a bottle of absinthe and stopped by the florist’s to order a bouquet of his wife’s favorite flower: white anemones.

Unfortunately, the florist was sold out of flowers and had only a few stems of feathery ferns.

The man asked the florist to make a bouquet out of the ferns and the flask of liquor. He added a card and proceeded home.

After a romantic candlelight dinner, he presented his wife with the gift.

She opened the card to read, “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.”

With a tear in her eye, she whispered to him lovingly, “Yes, and with fronds like these, who needs anemones.”


Rural round-up

February 9, 2019

He’s turning a pest into profit – Luke Chivers:

A young New Zealander has created technology that can turn the invasive algae didymo into paper, fabric and bioplastic and it is helping to clean up our waterways. Luke Chivers explains.

He could be a psychologist, businessman or environmentalist but wherever Logan Williams, 23, ends up he will make his mark on the innovation scene.

The young entrepreneur from Timaru founded Biome Innovation, which creates biodegradable material from didymo, the invasive river weed also known as rock snot.

Williams saw first-hand the impact didymo had on waterways in South Canterbury while he was growing up. . . 

Rural Women NZ: privacy concerns in violence Act – Yvonne O’Hara:

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is concerned that there is a lack of access to services and support for rural people and their families who are in abusive situations.

National president Fiona Gower said although RWNZ supported the Government’s efforts to create an effective preventive response to family violence through information sharing, it did not support a system that put people at risk and left victims feeling vulnerable and unable to seek help because they are afraid of confidentiality breaches.

The Government recently passed The Family Violence Act 2018, which comes into effect on July 1, and promotes clients’ information sharing and disclosures between Government sectors, such as health and education.

However, RWNZ was concerned the privacy of family violence victims may be at risk. . . 

Scientific approach to soil and water – Ken Muir:

”From data to dags” is Waituna farmer Ray McCrostie’s motto.

Despite all his old-school approaches, gleaned from 50 years’ farming in the district, he has taken a very scientific approach to managing the health of his soil and looking after the quality of water on his property.

”The soil is the engine room that drives all our production and water is the blood that flows through that soil, so it makes sense to manage both of them the best we can,” Mr McCrostie said.

The scientific approach to soil and water began some years ago when he began testing the water flowing from a single pipe on his sheep and beef farm into the Waituna Stream. . . 

Viticulture requires strong note of financial nouse :

Viticulture is a practical industry suited to practical people — so discussing budgets and financial spreadsheets with an accountant isn’t usually an enjoyable conversation.

But as viticulture expert James Crockett has discovered, gaining financial knowledge is the key to running a successful and sustainable horticultural business.

“I’ve always struggled with finance and trying to get my head around creating a budget and understanding financial dashboards. When you’re in high level meetings and people are talking about assets and things it’s hard not to drift off and think about what’s for lunch.” . . 

The year of the rise of fresh produce: – United Fresh:

Whether you’re growing it, selling it or just eating it, fresh produce in New Zealand is a core staple in every household. With great growing conditions and an innovative, versatile industry, we’re lucky to have access to some of the tastiest fruit and vegetables on the planet.

In 2019, global indications are that fresh produce is at the top of every trend list. Healthy, nutritious food, prepared with love is the key to happiness in homes across the nation, but the days of meat and two vege gracing our plates every night may be a distant memory. So what exactly will our kitchens be producing this year? What will our grocery lists look like? And what on earth is a Jafflechute? United Fresh, New Zealand’s only pan-produce industry organisation, has broken down the top fresh produce trends from around the world and around the country so pour yourself a guava and hemp seed smoothie and take note. . . 

Former forestry block converted to cattle farm up for sale:

A substantial dairy grazing property owned by Wairakei Pastoral Limited, a large corporate farming enterprise, has been placed on the market for sale.

The Taupo property consists of four individually-titled landholdings, ranging in size from 93 hectares to 275 hectares – which are being marketed for sale individually, in any combination, or as an entire 675 hectare farm.

It sits within the Wairakei Estate (25,723 hectare) precinct which contains some 18 dairy units that Pamu, formerly Landcorp, have been operating. . . 


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

February 9, 2019

Today is Carole King’s birthday which brings back happy memories from last year.

We were in Denver with an evening to spare before joining IrrigationNZ’s tour of Colorado and Nebraska when we saw advertisements for Beautiful: The Carole King Story.

Professor Google told us we were only a few blocks from the theatre and had time to walk there before it started.

There were tickets to spare, we bought them and spent the next few hours entranced.

We didn’t know how many of her songs we knew until we heard them.

From the first song  It might As Well Rain Until September  to the last encore, it was Beautiful.

 


Quote of the day

February 9, 2019

Everybody understands friendship, and friendship is different than love – it’s a different kind of love. Friendship has more freedom, more latitude. You don’t expect your friend to be as you think your friend should be; you expect your friend just to love you as a friend. Carole King who celebrates her 77th birthday today.


Farmer confidence drops

February 9, 2019

Federated Farmers January Mid-Season Farm Confidence Survey shows farmers are gloomy about the general economic outlook and concerned about staff recruitment:

“The survey found the lowest level of confidence in the economy since July 2009, when we were just emerging from the Global Financial crisis,” Federated Farmers Vice-President and economics spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

“As with the wider business community, I think we’re seeing concern about the impact of global uncertainty and instability on our key export markets, with the likes of Brexit and US-China trade relations.”

We’re also seeing farmers wary about changes to water management, tax and employment law.

Just 5.1% of the farmer respondents expected general economic conditions would improve over the next 12 months, while 45.9% expected they would worsen. The level of pessimism is a fivefold increase on the July 2017 survey.

Continuing difficulty recruiting staff is another finding that stood out, with a net 40.1% of respondents finding it harder over the past six months to recruit skilled and motivated staff as opposed to easier, up 4.2 points on the July 2018 survey.

“While that might reflect seasonal factors, it’s also driven by the generally tight labour market and immigration restrictions,” Andrew said.

“Dairy and arable farmers have found staff recruitment particularly hard.

“This indicator has steadily worsened over the 10-year life of the survey and is at a record level of difficulty.”

Employment changes made late in the previous government’s term made recruitment and retention of immigrant workers harder and this government has done nothing to remedy that.

It was the 20th time the Federation had commissioned the twice-yearly survey and the 1,462 responses to agricultural market research company Research First was one of the biggest yet.

Just on 56% of respondents said they were currently making a profit, down from 62.3% in July 2018. Meanwhile 9.3% are making a loss, up from 7.8% and 32.4% are just breaking even, up from 27.8%.

The odd loss is expected in farming, but year after year just breaking even or mining equity is unsustainable.

“Meat and wool farmers continue to be the most positive about their current profitability, and their sentiment improved a little since July. But dairy’s worsened – no surprise given the fall in dairy commodity prices and farmgate milk price forecasts in the second half of 2018 – and arable’s also fell slightly,” Andrew said.

Looking out over the year ahead, nearly 30% of respondents expected farm profitability would worsen vs 18% who expected profit improvement – a 21.8% fall on July’s 10.4% net positive score.

“Optimism about future farm production has decreased over the past six months, particularly for dairy and arable farms. Dairy farms have seen the largest net negative change between July and January (-20.2%).

The upwards trend of the GlobalDairyTrade auctions this year gives hope, but it was coming off a low base and few are banking on a payout of more than $6 a kilo.

Other findings:

– Farmers overall expect their spending will increase slightly over the next 12 months, particularly meat and wool farmers.

– Farmers in most regions expected their debt levels to increase over the next year, with the North Island’s East Coast the exception.

– Continuing a finding of the last four surveys, regulation and compliance costs remain the greatest concern for farmers. Concerns about climate change policy and the ETS that became increasingly prevalent over the past three surveys has levelled out, and concern about the political situation has also decreased.

– For this survey drought did not register as a concern – most unusual for a January survey.

Drought might not have registered when the survey was done, but it will be now, especially in the Tasman District where fires are still raging.

Nelson farmers affected by this week’s fire are beginning to count their losses, while others in the region are preparing for the increasing possibility of severe drought.

Farmer Steve German, whose stock had to be put down because of the fire, said it was going to be a hard road replacing them.

Mr German had about 80 breeding ewes up Redwood Valley Road next to a forestry block when the wind changed direction on Tuesday and went down the valley.

He said the SPCA shot some of the sheep on site the next morning and then in the afternoon they went up with the fire and police and mustered everything out of there.

In total Mr German said he lost about 66 ewes.

“Pretty much the whole flock of Suffolk breeding ewes is gone,” Mr German said.

“I’ve been breeding them for 10 years… it was my premium breeding line of Suffolk ewes… [they were] a real nice flock of sheep… real shame to see them gone,” he said.

Most of the homes evacuated due to the blaze were lifestyle blocks with a mixture of animals, including sheep and cattle. . . 

Farmers whose stock survived will be concerned about feeding them if their pastures, crop, hay and silage have been destroyed by fire.


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