Word of the day

May 7, 2019

Fulgurate – destroy (small growths or areas of tissue) using diathermy; to flash like lightning;  (of pain) intense, sudden, like flashes of lightning.


Thatcher thinks

May 7, 2019


Rural round-up

May 7, 2019

Research needed before tree-planting – Sally Rae:

Landowners considering planting trees need to question whether the benefits to their overall farming business are greater with the land in trees or in its existing use, RaboResearch sustainability analyst Blake Holgate says.

Government policy changes in forestry and climate change would make forestry a more appealing land-use option for some landowners. However, they should carefully consider a range of financial, strategic and environmental issues to ensure they made informed decisions, a new report by Rabobank said.

Mr Holgate, the report’s author, said there was “no one-size-fits-all” approach when deciding whether to plant trees.

It was important landowners gathered the appropriate information and sought expert advice to ensure the long-term implications of planting were well understood and any planting was done in the right place, with the right species for the right purpose. . . 

Farmers want clarity – Guy – Pam Tipa:

Farmers want policy certainty and are petrified about “kneejerk popular politics” similar to what the Government did with the oil and gas industry, says National agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy.

“The agriculture community is very concerned that they could be next,” Guy told Rural News at the Rabobank Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney. “I am picking up at this conference, talking to Kiwi farmers, that there are already headwinds.

So while prices are looking quite good for our farmers, there are very strong headwinds coming at them, to do with water quality, biological emissions, biodiversity and, importantly, capital gains tax and environmental taxes. . . 

First year a ‘learning curve’ for president – Sally Rae:

Simon Davies describes his first year as president of Otago Federated Farmers as a “learning curve”.

Mr Davies, a Toko Mouth sheep and beef farmer, took over from Phill Hunt last May. Now, he is preparing for his first provincial annual meeting in the top job.

It will be held on Friday at the function room at Centennial Court Motel in Alexandra from 4pm.

Part of that learning curve had been the diverse range of topics that he had been asked to comment on.

“It seems like an endless quantity of things that come along,” he said. . . 

Sound study makes water music – Richard Rennie:

Some avid gardeners swear playing music to plants helps accelerate their growth. Now researchers in Canterbury have found directing sound signals at soil could ultimately help improve its health, reduce nutrient losses and save farmers money. 

AgResearch senior scientist Dr Val Snow and Auckland University acoustics physicist Professor Stuart Bradley and have been leading work into better understanding the link between sound, water and run-off. They told Richard Rennie about their work.

A joint research project between AgResearch and Auckland University scientists at the leading edge of technology is using sound waves to determine optimal irrigation levels.

Known as the Surface Water Assessment and Mitigation for Irrigation (SWAMI), the technology is being used to define a relationship between how sound waves bounce off the soil surface and controlling irrigation applications. . . 

Health claims will sell goods – Richard Rennie:

Promoting New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture sectors as low-input, extensive, often grass-fed sources of food has become a leverage point for the industry, particularly red meat and dairy. But Nuffield scholar and business development manager Andy Elliot challenges it as an aspirational Aotearoa story. He wants to look harder at how products can earn more value through understanding consumers’ dietary and nutritional needs. He spoke to Richard Rennie.

As admirable as New Zealand’s extensive grass-fed farming system might be it’s not enough of a selling point to continue improving margins in an increasingly competitive international market, Nuffield scholar Andy Elliot says.

A year spent examining NZ’s path to markets has left him convinced a better approach is to re-evaluate why people eat, what they hope to get from food and what NZ products offer that others don’t. . . 

$5.7m loyalty payments to top shareholders:

Meat co-op Alliance Group has distributed $5.7 million in loyalty payments to key shareholders.

The quarterly payments have been made to the co-op’s Platinum and Gold shareholders who supply 100% per cent of their livestock to the company. Farmers are paid an additional 10c/kg for each lamb, 6c/kg for a sheep, 8.5c/kg for cattle and 10c/kg for deer.

The payments cover the period January-March 2019. . . 

 


Reserve Bank’s plan to cost farmers up to $8m/year more

May 7, 2019

The Reserve Banks’ plan to require banks to hold more reserves could cost farmers up to $800m a year in extra interest:

Estimates of the impact on interest rates range from the Reserve Bank’s own stab of 20 to 40 basis points up to the 120 bps estimated by the local arm of Swiss investment bank UBS, Federated Farmers says.

Multiplied across the agricultural sector’s $63 billion debt pile that would see farmers slugged for anywhere between $120m and $800m in extra interests costs annually.

“For farmers an increase in costs along the lines of the Reserve Bank’s modest estimate would be unwelcome enough while the worst-case scenario would be devastating,” the federation wrote to the Reserve Bank.

The bank wants trading banks to increase the minimum amount of capital they hold against loans from 8% to 16% within five years.

The increase is designed to ensure the banks have the capital needed to survive the write-downs on loans the Reserve Bank estimates would come with a one-in-200-years downturn.

Officially, the cost to the banks of meeting the new capital minimums is being put at $20b but banking sources believe it could be billions more. . . 

Ensuring banks survive a crisis is sensible but the Reserve Bank’s plan would require far greater reserves than ought to be needed and that will add high and unnecessary costs to loans.

Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean said shareholders in the banks’ Australian parent companies will not stump up that sort of money unless they can see a return.

In all likelihood that means interest rates would have to rise to offset the decrease in returns that would come with holding higher amounts of capital against the same amount of lending.

“We think the middle of that 80 to 120 basis points range is where it might come out but that is an average across all lending and it may fall differently across different portfolios of lending,” McLean said.

The increase is likely to be at the higher end of that range for agricultural lending because of the higher risk weighting applied to lending against farms, which historically experience bigger ups and downs in values and are seen as a riskier form of security than houses.

Because agricultural lending soaks up more capital per dollar lent the returns are lower for the banks’ shareholders relative to other types of lending where less capital is required. . . 

Should borrowers have to pay the price for safeguarding banks against a one in 200 year downturn?

The ANZ is warning farmers that if the Reserve Bank’s plan is implemented it will increase the cost of borrowing.

That in turn will increase the cost of production resulting in lower profits from farming and/or higher prices for food and fibre.

The Australian-owned companies which dominate the banking sector in New Zealand weathered the global financial crisis, why force them to hold such high reserves?


Quote of the day

May 7, 2019

I did not know that history is like a blood stain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it. – Peter Carey who was born on this day in 1943.


May 7 in history

May 7, 2019

558 – In Constantinopl, the dome of the Hagia Sophia collapsed, Justinian I immediately 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 Piłsudski and Edward Rydz-Śmigły and assisted by a symbolic Ukrainian force captured Kiev.

1920  Treaty of Moscow: Soviet Russia recognsed the independence of the Democratic 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 Khrushchev announced that his nation was holding American U-2 pilot Gary 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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