Word of the day

October 3, 2019

Morbidezza – a delicate representation of flesh tones in painting; a musical term denoting a soft or delicate performance of a piece; extreme softness, smoothness, or delicacy, especially in works of art, sculpture, music.


Thatcher thinks

October 3, 2019


Rural round-up

October 3, 2019

Gas targets will divide society – Alan Williams:

Alliance believes its Dannevirke sheep meat plant’s small size will let it survive a big fall in eastern North Island livestock numbers because of a loss of farmland to forestry.

If a similar change in land use happens in Southland the farmer-owned co-operative could be more exposed because the bigger operators in a region are likely to be most affected, chairman Murray Taggart said.

Anecdotal evidence indicates the scale of land use change could mean the loss of half a meat plant in the eastern North Island, he told shareholders in North Canterbury.

The industry believes taking out half a million stock units would essentially close down the equivalent of one plant, he told Farmers Weekly. 

The transparency of the scale of forestry interests buying farmland appears greater in the eastern North Island than in other regions.

It is possible the full extent of the loss of productive farmland might not be picked up until the damage is done. . . 

GM safe and we need it: plant biologists – Associate Professor Richard Macknight, Dr Lynette Brownfield, Associate Professor Paul Dijkwel, Associate Professor Michael Clearwater, Professor Paula Jameson and Dr Nijat Imin:

 A group of scientists belonging to the New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists say it’s time to review GM laws. They say new techniques in gene-editing can help ensure a clean green future for New Zealand.

When genetic modification technologies were newly-developed, people were rightly concerned that this relatively untested technology might harbour risks to health and the environment. So in the year 2000, the NZ government established a Royal Commission into the use of GM. After widespread and careful consultation, the commissioners’ report recommended an approach that preserved opportunities and that NZ should “proceed carefully, minimising and managing risks”. Specifically, around crop plants, the commissioners suggested New Zealand postpone any decision until more information had been obtained and the technology had developed.

The Royal Commission was nearly 20 years ago, so where do things now stand around crop plants?  . . 

Controversial red meat research bucks vegan diet trend recommendations – Stephanie Bedo:

As more people turn to eating less meat, new and “controversial” research gives you reason to return to red meat.

While the vegan trend has taken off, a series of reviews has found there are very few health benefits to cutting your meat consumption.

Based on a series of five high-quality systematic reviews of the relationship between meat consumption and health, a panel of experts recommends that most people can continue to eat red and processed meat at their average current consumption levels. . . 

Miraka pioneers farm carbon report :

Māori-owned milk processor Miraka is now reporting carbon emissions for each of its 100-plus supplier farms.

The Taupo company claims this as a first for New Zealand.

The farm-specific reports give detailed understanding of each farm’s greenhouse gas emissions and compare results between farms.

Miraka’s general manager of milk supply, Grant Jackson, says many of its farmers know little about their carbon footprint. . . 

A toast to the future – what we’ve learned from 200 years of New Zealand wine – Sarah Templeton & Lisette Reymer:

A birthday is always a time for reflection; a time to consider all you’ve achieved and what goals you’d want to tackle in the future.

I imagine that’s no more relevant than at a cool 200th – maybe one day I’ll know, if modern medicine does its thing. 

But believe it or not, this year we’re celebrating the 200th birthday of the New Zealand wine industry, which outdates even the Treaty of Waitangi. 

Aussie Reverend Samuel Marsden recorded September 25, 1819 as the day he first planted a vine in Kerikeri. The birthday was celebrated last week with the replanting of a vine in the same spot outside the Stone Store, accompanied by a celebration dinner and of course, a lot of wine.  . . 

Dutch tractor protest sparks ‘worst rush hour’ – Anna Holligan:

Tractor-driving farmers taking to the streets to demand greater recognition have caused the worst ever Dutch morning rush hour on Tuesday, according to motoring organisation ANWB.

There were 1,136km (700 miles) of jams at the morning peak, it said.

Farmers reacted angrily to claims that they were largely responsible for a nitrogen oxide emissions problem.

A report has called for inefficient cattle farms to be shut down and some speed limits lowered to cut pollution.

Farming groups believe they are being victimised while the aviation industry is escaping scrutiny. . . 


Don’t doom us to darker days

October 3, 2019

 Take Back The Clocks wants daylight saving to be abolished:

. . .Louis Houlbrooke, chief executive and founder of Take Back The Clocks, said the twice yearly changes disrupted people’s sleep, were unnatural, and made international business much more complicated.

“They cause disruption and inconvenience to people’s lives in a trivial sense but also in more serious ways with tired drivers and the impact on dairy cows.” . . 

Most people who favour shifting clocks forward want more light for recreation in the evening. They don’t take into account that that means less light in the morning for people who work, making it harder to do early morning tasks like milking and mustering.

He suggested moving New Zealand to permanent “summer hours” – the change in late September that leads to sunnier evenings and darker mornings.

If there is any change to daylight saving it should be shorter not longer.

When it started clocks went forward in late October and back in early March. Someone decided if some daylight saving was good, more would be better without taking into account we don’t get the same amount of daylight all year.

We were waking up to light at 6am last week, this week it’s nearly 7am and before the clocks go back in autumn the sun doesn’t rise here until about 7:50. It’s even worse further south.

Waiting a few weeks in spring before clocks went forward and putting them back in early to mid March would make a big difference to the amount of light in the morning.

If daylight saving was permanent, mid-winter sunrise wouldn’t be until 9:30am in Invercargill.

Children would be walking and biking to school in the dark, roads would be icier until later and there would be no benefit from a bit more light in the evening when it’s so cold.

Daylight saving is too long now, please don’t doom us to year-long darker dawns.


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