Word of the day

August 21, 2019

Aestivation – prolonged torpor or dormancy of an insect, fish, or amphibian during a hot or dry period; cessation or slowing of activity during the summer; especially slowing of metabolism in some animals during a hot or dry period; the arrangement of petals and sepals in a flower bud before it opens.


Thatcher thinks

August 21, 2019


Rural round-up

August 21, 2019

Output record delights new manager – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group recently marked the 2019 season at its Mataura plant in Southland by breaking a beef processing record. Business and Rural Editor Sally Rae talks to plant manager Melonie Nagel about breaking records — and life in New Zealand.

When cattle beast number 150,216 went through the Mataura plant last week, a photograph was taken to record the occasion.

The vibe in the factory – having beaten the previous record by more than 8000 – was “wonderful”, plant manager Melonie Nagel said.

It was an opportunity for staff to gather and also recognition that without a team effort – involving both Mataura employees and the farmers supplying the stock – it never would have happened, Ms Nagel said. . .

Banks want farm billions back – Nigel Stirling:

Floating farm mortgage rates and some fixed rates fell after the Reserve Bank slashed the Official Cash Rate but not all farmers are benefiting.

The country’s largest rural lender, ANZ, said it will cut its agri variable base rate by 40 basis points from today and its fixed base rates by between 20 and 30 basis points.

Other banks also signalled cuts to rural lending rates after the Reserve Bank moved to head off a slowing economy by lopping 50 basis points off the benchmark interest rate to a record low 1%. . .

Farmers furious at Australian animal rights activists publishing addresses and location on map – Gerald Piddock:

Federated Farmers are furious that an Australian animal rights group have begun listing descriptions and addresses of Southland farms on a website map, claiming it could encourage illegal activity by activists on farms.

The map, created by activist group Aussie Farms lists 150-200 farms, both drystock and dairy across the Southland region.

National president Katie Milne said it was hugely worrying that it could be the start of a more extreme form of animal activism in New Zealand, which in Australia and Europe had seen people break into farms, releasing and stealing stock and chain themselves to farm machinery. . . 

Making a difference:

John Ladley will go down in history as the person who took a broken Doug Avery to that life-changing lucerne workshop where he first met Professor Derrick Moot.

Over the years, John has watched with interest – and immense satisfaction – as Doug has transformed his business and life, raised awareness of mental health issues in rural communities and written a best-selling book.

“It has made me very aware of the influence you can have on one person’s life.”

For John, helping others become the best version of themselves is what gets him out of bed in the morning and as B+LNZ’s South Island General Manager, John sums his job up in just three words – “it’s all about people.” . .

Dairy product prices for manufacturers up 8.7 percent :

Prices received by manufacturers of butter, cheese, and milk powder rose 8.7 percent in the June 2019 quarter compared with the March 2019 quarter, after falls in the previous two quarters, Stats NZ said today.

Dairy product manufacturers received higher prices for products such as butter, cheese, and milk powder in the June 2019 quarter. Together, output prices for this group of products increased 8.7 percent from the previous quarter, the biggest rise in over two years. Prices rose by 16 percent in the March 2017 quarter. . . 

Cultured lab meat may make climate change worse – Matt McGrath:

Growing meat in the laboratory may do more damage to the climate in the long run than meat from cattle, say scientists.

Researchers are looking for alternatives to traditional meat because farming animals is helping to drive up global temperatures.

However, meat grown in the lab may make matters worse in some circumstances.

Researchers say it depends on how the energy to make the lab meat is produced. . . 


Less meat won’t save the planet

August 21, 2019

Radical environmentalists are trying to tell us eating less meat would save the planet. But would it? AHDB Beef & Lamb Sector Strategy Director Will Jackson says it should be about balance:

The recent report produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming has reignited the crusade against eating meat, specifically on this occasion, beef. However, the real messaging of the report appears to have been twisted to suit the needs of headline writers and single-issue campaigners.

From Parliament to dinnertime chat at home, the perceived impact of livestock farming on the environment is the hot topic. The BBC’s interpretation of the report on August 6 fed the fire of anti-meat rhetoric, suggesting the report should lead viewers to question whether meat-free diets could be a long-term solution to climate change.

However, what the report actually stated was: “Balanced diets, featuring plant-based foods, such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-GHG emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health.” Doesn’t sound very anti-meat does it? In fact, it backs the common sense notion that responsible livestock farming is part of the solution to climate issues, not the biggest offender.

If you take nutrient density into account meat looks even better than a lot of alternatives.

Even as reporters tried to drive an anti-meat line in the press conference, experts from the panel repeatedly pushed back to say the analysis was not suggesting people turn away from meat – or any other food stuff. This did not stop the media creating their own story with the IPCC report as yet another nail in the coffin of eating meat.

Just a couple of days later, we had the announcement that Goldsmiths University of London has withdrawn beef from their menu on campus in a stance to tackle their own negative impact on the environment. This decision was, we are led to believe, partly steered by the messaging from the IPCC report.   

How much faith do you have in a university that bases policy on misinterpreting a report rather than science?

Along with other industry bodies, AHDB has been supporting farmers to highlight a key fact missed in almost all reporting on emissions and livestock farming: meat and dairy production in the UK is among the most sustainable in the world. We have clear standards on animal welfare, increasingly, farms have right grass management systems in place, we have plenty of rain to make naturally occurring grass growing which grazing animals eat to create protein for humans with very few additional inputs needed. It is a natural cycle that also returns fertility to soils through manure. . . 

New Zealand production is even more sustainable.

There is a lack of understanding about British beef production and the distinction between it and production elsewhere in the world. With British livestock grazing in grass-based systems, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 2.5 times smaller than the global average. In fact, latest figures for the Committee on Climate change (CCC) acknowledge that emissions from farming amount to 9% of the national total, with 47% of that (so less than 4.5% total) from livestock digestion.

Again New Zealand is even better.

Combating environmental degradation is without doubt in everyone’s interest. However, the UK is very different to other places on earth and, because of our natural environment and the weather, remains one of the most sustainable places in the world to produce red meat. In fact, without grazing cattle and sheep, as much as 60% of agricultural land in the UK would be taken out of food production, due to the fact it is not suitable for cropping or growing other produce. This would also significantly change the cherished landscapes we have in this country which livestock help to manage efficiently and naturally.

Another recommendation in the IPCC report around livestock is to have improved manure management systems in place and to research into genetic improvement of livestock. At AHDB we are proud to support our farmers with a number of campaigns to combat both of these issues including work to neutralise slurry and Signet Breeding Services which provides genetic evaluations to livestock producers to help them identify sheep and cattle with superior breeding potential. . .

Amidst the slating of the beef industry for its environmental impact, there has also been a re-emergence of claims that red meat causes health problems,  with headlines such as ‘Red meat raises risk of breast cancer in women’ and ‘Swap beef burgers for chicken cuts’. However, the evidence continues to support the position that red meat plays a vital role in a healthy, balance diet. To help push that message, we’ve put together a number of fact-based tools with the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) which help highlight the positive health benefits of eating red meat https://ahdb.org.uk/redmeatandhealth. There is also a Podcast available to listen to about meat and health here https://audioboom.com/posts/7319846-meat-and-health

So, the message when we are speaking to people about these challenges on welfare and red meat, is to look behind the headlines and seek out the facts. Plus, always remember, all foodstuffs have an environmental footprint of some kind and perhaps talk about the water demands of avocado farming or nut production for a change?

It should be all about balance.

Anyone familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of need understands the importance of food security.

Grass-raised free-range stock on extensive farms which are the norm here produce meat which has a much smaller environmental footprint than intensively farmed stock elsewhere and plays a very important role to play in a healthy diet.

Unfortunately this is lost in the rhetoric of people who want to save the planet without taking account of the cost to the world and the need to feed people.


Quote of the day

August 21, 2019

There are a hundred ways in which a boy can injure—if not indeed kill—himself. The more adventurous he is and the greater his initiative, the more ways he will find. If you protect him from each of the first hundred, he is sure to find the hundred and first. Though most men can look back on their boyhood and tremble at the narrowness of some of their escapes, most boys do in fact survive more or less intact, and the wise father is the trusting father.Christopher Milne who was born on this day in 1920.


August 21 in history

August 21, 2019

1192  Minamoto Yoritomo became Seii Tai Shōgun and the de facto ruler of Japan.

1680  Pueblo Indians captured Santa Fe from Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt.

1689  The Battle of Dunkeld in Scotland.

1770  James Cook formally claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.

1772 King Gustav III completed his coup d’état by adopting a new Constitution, ending half a century of parliamentary rule in Sweden and installing himself as an enlightened despot.

1808 Battle of Vimeiro: British and Portuguese forces led by General Arthur Wellesley defeated French force under Major-General Jean-Andoche Junot.

1810  Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France, was elected Crown Prince of Sweden by the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates.

1821  Jarvis Island was discovered by the crew of the ship, Eliza Frances.

1831  Nat Turner led black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion.

1863  Lawrence, Kansas was destroyed by Confederate guerrillas Quantrill’s Raiders in the Lawrence Massacre.

1872 – Aubrey Beardsley, English author and illustrator, was born (d. 1898).

1878  The American Bar Association was founded.

1886 – Ruth Manning-Sanders, Welsh-English author and poet, was born (d. 1988).

1888  The first successful adding machine in the United States was patented by William Seward Burroughs.

1904  William “Count” Basie, American bandleader, was born  (d. 1984).

1911 Mona Lisa was stolen by a Louvre employee.

1915 – New Zealand troops attacked Hill 60 in the last offensive action fought by the New Zealanders during the Gallipoli campaign.

New Zealand mounteds attack Hill 60

1918   The Second Battle of the Somme began.

1920 Christopher Robin Milne, inspiration for the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, was born (d. 1996).

1930 Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, was born  (d. 2002).

1933 – Janet Baker, English soprano and educator, was born.

1938  – Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor, was born.

1942  Allied forces defeated an attack by Japanese Army soldiers in theBattle of the Tenaru.

1944 – Perry Christie, Bahamian politician, 3rd Prime Minister of the Bahamas, was born.

1944  Dumbarton Oaks Conference, prelude to the United Nations, began.

1945  Physicist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr. was fatally irradiated during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1952 Glenn Hughes, British bassist and vocalist (Finders Keepers/Trapeze/Deep Purple), was born.

1952  – Bernadette Porter, English nun and educator, was born.

1952  Joe Strummer, British musician and singer (The Clash), was born  (d. 2002).

1958  Auckland became the first city in New Zealand to introduce the ‘Barnes Dance’ street-crossing system, which stopped all traffic and allowed pedestrians to cross intersections in every direction at the same time.

Auckland pedestrians begin 'Barnes Dance'

1959  President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union – now commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day.

1963  Xa Loi Pagoda raids: the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces vandalised Buddhist pagodas across the country, arresting thousands and leaving an estimated hundreds dead.

1968  Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, crushing the Prague Spring and Nicolae Ceauşescu, leader of Communist Romania, publicly condemned the Soviet maneuver, encouraging the Romanian population to arm itself against possible Soviet reprisals.

1968  James Anderson, Jr. posthumously received the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine.

1969 Michael Dennis Rohan, an Australian, set the Al-Aqsa Mosque on fire.

1971  A bomb exploded in the Liberal Party campaign rally in Plaza Miranda, Manila, with several anti-Marcos political candidates injured.

1976  Operation Paul Bunyan at Panmunjeom, Korea.

1983  Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport.

1986 Carbon dioxide gas erupted from volcanic Lake Nyos in Cameroon, killing up to 1,800 people within a 20-kilometer range.

1991  Latvia declared renewal of its full independence after the occupation of Soviet Union.

1991  Coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev collapsed.

1993  NASA lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft.

2001 – NATO decided to send a peace-keeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

2001 – The Red Cross announced that a famine was striking Tajikistan, and called for international financial aid for Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

2007   Hurricane Dean made its first landfall in Costa Maya, Mexico with winds at 165 mph (266 km/h).

2013 –  Hundreds of people were reported killed by chemical attacks in the Ghouta region of Syria.

2016 – The closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro took place.

2017 – A solar eclipse traversed the continental United States.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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