Word of the day

July 9, 2019

Symposiarch  – the master of a feast or symposium; a person presiding over a banquet or formal discussion; toastmaster.


Thatcher thinks

July 9, 2019


Rural round-up

July 9, 2019

Uncertainty plus unique ownership structure drive Fonterra share volatility – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s shares have been on a steady downward slide for the last 18 months. In January 2018 they were selling at $6.60 dropping to $3.86 at closing on 30 June 2019.

Then this last week things suddenly turned volatile, dropping at one point on 4 July a further 10 percent to $3.45, before rising by six percent to $3.69 at close of trade on 5 July.

The causes of the long-term drop are well understood. Very simply, Fonterra made a loss of $196 million in financial year 2018 largely because of write-down on assets. Fonterra is also now in asset-selling mode to strengthen its balance sheet. Non-farmer investors are coming to understand that, with family silver having to be sold as well as some rubbish disposal, any turnaround is likely to be long-term rather than short-term. . .

One billion tree flawed says climate scientist :

The Forestry Minister Shane Jones’ one billion trees won’t reduce carbon emissions, as too few natives are being planted, climate scientist Jim Salinger says.

The government has allocated $120 million in grants to landowners to plant trees on their properties, and wants two-thirds of those planted to be natives.

Forestry New Zealand figures show in the first year, of the 91m trees planted, only 12 percent were native. . .

Falling log prices may make some woodlots unprofitable – ANZ -Rebecca Howard

(BusinessDesk) – In-market prices for logs in China – New Zealand’s largest export market – have fallen in recent weeks and ANZ Bank warns the drop will make the harvest of some woodlots unprofitable.

While some price softening is not unusual at this time of year as construction activity slows in the hot months, “the scale of the correction was unexpected,” said ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby.

The price of an A-grade log landed in China has fallen from US$130/JAS cubic-metre in early June to approximately US$105/JAS cubic-metre.. .

Vet behind Mycoplasma Bovis detection hopeful for eradication:

The Ōamaru vet, whose efforts led to the identification of cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis in New Zealand, says she is optimistic the disease can be eradicated.

Earlier this week, Dr Merlyn Hay was given the Outstanding Contribution to the Primary Industries Award, for her work to identify M Bovis in July 2017.

Dr Hay told Saturday Morning that the disease was very hard to diagnose, and in many other countries it was only detected after it had already been spreading for several decades . .

Group aims to help farmers improve M. Boris response – Daniel Birchfield:

Lines of communication between the Ministry for Primary Industries and farmers impacted by cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis have been muddied for too long, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says.

Alongside Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley, he chaired the first meeting of the recently formed Waimate/Waitaki Mycoplasma Bovis Advisory Group held at the Waimate District Council on Wednesday.

The group, modelled on a similar Ashburton arrangement, was formed to support the ministry’s M. bovis eradication programme and assist with regional decision-making to benefit farmers. . .

Lamb contract rewards loyalty – Colin Williscroft:

A $9/kg fixed-price lamb contract for August is a reward for customer loyalty, Affco national livestock manager Tom Young says.

So, farmers generally should not raise their hopes it signals prices higher that they might usually expect as the season unfolds.

The contract has been the subject of much discussion at sale yards but Young said it is not an offer being made to every farmer.

It is only available to loyal clients, farmers who have shown Affco consistent support. . .

Dismantling free markets won’t solve biodiversity threat – Matt Ridley:

Driven perhaps by envy at the attention that climate change is getting, and ambition to set up a great new intergovernmental body that can fly scientists to mega-conferences, biologists have gone into overdrive on the subject of biodiversity this week.

They are right that there is a lot wrong with the world’s wildlife, that we can do much more to conserve, enhance and recover it, but much of the coverage in the media, and many of the pronouncements of Sir Bob Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), are frankly weird.

The threat to biodiversity is not new, not necessarily accelerating, mostly not caused by economic growth or prosperity, nor by climate change, and won’t be reversed by retreating into organic self-sufficiency. Here’s a few gentle correctives.

Much of the human destruction of biodiversity happened a long time ago . . .


Cleaner water priority for councils

July 9, 2019

Otago Federated Farmers’ chair Simon Davies wants councils to be held to the same standards as farmers when it comes to water quality:

Across the country, more and more catchment groups and other farmer-led environment-focused groups are getting stuck in.

In my own neck of the woods, the recently launched Tokomairiro Water Catchment Group is made up of farmers who are trying to do their bit to improve the water in the local river.

So I was appalled to discover the local district council has applied for resource consent to continue to discharge untreated wastewater (a nice way of saying raw sewage) and stormwater into the same river during high rainfall.

For some time now the agricultural sector has been being dragged through the mud over its environmental footprint. Farmers are now lifting their efforts, and spending a lot of money, to improve farm practices and the quality of the water leaving their properties.

They’re upgrading effluent systems and other infrastructure, excluding stock from waterways, running nutrient budgets and increasing riparian planting, to name just some of the initiatives.

Most farmers are aware that activities on their land can affect water quality. They’re seeing the benefits of changes they’re making and it is now an accepted part of being a good farmer.

It’s not hard to understand why we get grumpy when we put in the time, effort and resources to improve our sustainability but the same cannot be said for urban councils . . 

Dealing with wastewater is one of the core responsibilities of district and city councils.

Yet too many get distracted by other projects at the expense of the infrastructure and practices needed to  gain and maintain the required standards.

Farmers can be prosecuted for effluent spills that could reach a waterway. Time after time councils get away with actually spilling wastewater into streams, rivers and the sea.

Councils should be held to the same standard as farmers and other businesses and ensure best practice wastewater management is a top priority.


Quote of the day

July 9, 2019

Every act of perception, is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination.Oliver Sacks who was born on this day in 1933.


July 9 in history

July 9, 2019

455 Roman military commander Avitus was proclaimed emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1357  Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor assisted in laying the foundation stone of Charles Bridge in Prague.

1540 Henry VIII  annulled his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

1541 Estevão da Gama left Massawa, leaving behind 400 matchlock men and 150 slaves under his brother Christovão da Gama, with orders to help the Emperor of Ethiopia defeat Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi who had invaded his Empire.

1755  French and Indian War: Braddock Expedition – British troops and colonial militiamen were ambushed and defeated by French and Native American forces.

1764 Ann Radcliffe, English writer, was born (d. 1823).

1789  In Versailles, the National Assembly reconstituted itself as the National Constituent Assembly and began preparations for a French constitution.

1790 Russo-Swedish War: Second Battle of Svensksund – the Swedish Navy captured one third of the Russian fleet.

1793 The Act Against Slavery was passed in Upper Canada and the importation of slaves into Lower Canada prohibited.

1807 The Treaties of Tilsit were signed by Napoleon I and Alexander I.

1810 Napoleon annexed the Kingdom of Holland as part of the First French Empire.

1815 Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Benevente became Prime Minister of France.

1816 Argentina declared independence from Spain.

1836 Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 1908).

1850 President Zachary Taylor died and Millard Fillmore became the 13th President of the United States.

1863  American Civil War: the Siege of Port Hudson ended.

1867 An unsuccessful expedition led by E.D Young sets out to search for Dr David Livingstone.

1868  The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.

1896 William Jennings Bryan delivered his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetallism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention.

1900 Queen Victoria gave royal assent to an Act creating the Commonwealth of Australia thus uniting separate colonies on the continent under one federal government.

1901 Dame Barbara Cartland, English novelist, was born (d. 2000).

1916 Sir Dean Goffin, New Zealand composer, was born (d. 1984).

1916  Sir Edward Heath, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born (d. 2005).

1918 Great train wreck of 1918: in Nashville, Tennessee, an inbound local train collided with an outbound express killing 101 and injuring 171 people, making it the deadliest rail accident in United States history.

1922  Johnny Weissmuller swam the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’.

1925 Charles E. Wicks, Professor, co-author of Fundamentals of Momentum, Heat, and Mass Transfer, was born.

1927   Ed Ames, American singer and actor, was born.

1927  Susan Cabot, American actress (d. 1986).

1929 Lee Hazlewood, American country singer, songwriter and producer, was born (d. 2007).

1932 Donald Rumsfeld, 13th & 21st United States Secretary of Defense, was born.

1932  The state of São Paulo revolted against the Brazilian Federal Government, starting the Constitutionalist Revolution.

1933 Oliver Sacks, British neurologist and author, was born (d. 2015).

1943 World War II: Operation Husky – Allied forces perform an amphibious invasion of Sicily.

1944 World War II: Battle of Normandy – British and Canadian forces captured Caen, France.

1944  World War II: Battle of Saipan – Americans took Saipan.

1944 – World War II: Finland won the Battle of Tali-Ihantala, Red Army withdrew its troops from Ihantala and dug into defensive position, which ended the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive.

1945 Dean R. Koontz, American author, was born.

1946 Bon Scott, Australian singer (AC/DC), was born.

1947 O.J. Simpson, American football player, actor, was born.

1948 Pakistan issued its first set of Postage stamps, bearing images of the Constituent Assembly, the Jinnah International Airport (Quaid-e-Azam International Airport), and the Shahi Fort.

1955 The Russell-Einstein Manifesto was released by Bertrand Russell in London.

1956 Tom Hanks, American actor, was born.

1958 Lituya Bay was hit by a mega-tsunami – a wave recorded at 524 meters high, making it the largest wave in history.

1959 Jim Kerr, Scottish singer (Simple Minds), was born.

1962  Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States of America.

1962 Andy Warhol’s  Campbell’s Soup Cans exhibition opened at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

1975  The National Assembly of Senegal passed a law that paved the way for a (highly restricted) multi-party system.

1979  A car bomb destroyed a Renault motor car owned by famed “Nazi hunters” Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at their home in France. A note purportedly from ODESSA claimed responsibility.

1982 Pan Am Flight 759 crashed in Kenner, Louisiana killing all 145 people on board and eight others on the ground.

1984 York Minster was struck by a lightning bolt and the resulting fire ravaged most of the building.

1986 The New Zealand Parliament passed the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalising homosexuality.

Homosexual Law Reform Bill passed

1989 Two bombs exploded in Mecca, killing one pilgrim and wounding 16 others.

1991  South Africa was readmitted into the Olympic movement after 30 years of exclusion.

1995  The Navaly church bombing was carried out by the Sri Lankan Air Force killing 125 Tamil civilian refugees.

1999  Days of student protests began after Iranian police and hardliners attacked a student dormitory at the University of Tehran.

2002 The African Union was established in Addis Ababa, with the first chairman is Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa.

2006  At least 122 people were killed after a Sibir Airlines Airbus A310 passenger jet, carrying 200 passengers veered off the runway while landing in wet conditions at Irkutsk Airport in Siberia.

2011 – South Sudan gained independence and seceded from Sudan.

2014 – A gunman killed six people including four children near Spring, Texas.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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