Word of the day

February 18, 2020

Ontological –   relating to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being or existence; showing the relations between the concepts and categories in a subject area or domain.


Thatcher thinks

February 18, 2020


Rural round-up

February 18, 2020

Working to nurture rural wellbeing – Sally Rae:

It’s been a tough time to be a farmer in the South.

But, as he helped man the Ag Proud New Zealand stand at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu last week, Mossburn dairy farmer Jason Herrick was still wearing a beaming smile.

Mr Herrick is heavily involved with the Ag Proud NZ initiative, set up last year to promote positive farming practices and raise awareness of rural people’s mental health. . . 

Solutions may have negative effect

Environmental solutions sought in New Zealand could have unintended global consequences, according to research presented at the Farmed Landscapes Research Centre workshop.

Ravensdown innovation and strategy general manager Mike Manning says there is debate over whether the environmental effects of food production should be calculated by hectare or by unit of food produced.

“If globally we want to continue to feed the world with the least impact environmentally then it is important to have the lowest footprint per unit of food and to maintain the investment in technology to reduce this footprint. To do otherwise simply has a worse global environmental outcome.”

In their research Manning, Jacqueline Rowarth and Ans Roberts looked at the production and environmental aspects of organic and conventional systems, taking into account economic aspects such as government subsidies. . . 

Big load to carry but couple pulls together – Sally Rae:

They say the couple that plays together, stays together.

In the case of Southland couple Brett and Lisa Heslip, their shared hobby is of the very noisy kind; they are enthusiasts of tractor pull, a phenomenally loud and curiously fascinating combination of sheer grunt and horsepower.

Tractor pull involves four different classes of tractor: standard, pre 85, sport and modified. Participants compete to see how far they can drag the Tractor Pull New Zealand weight transfer sled.

It was easy to find the tractor pull area at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu on Friday, as it just required following the noise. . . 

Farming fits the lifestyle – Ross Nolly:

Autumn calving is relatively new in Taranaki but one couple made the switch immediately when they bought their first farm. Ross Nolly reports

Switching to autumn calving wasn’t about making more money for Taranaki farmers Jaiden and Hannah Drought.

It was solely so they could enjoy long summer days with their children.

The couple who milk 360 cows on their 105ha effective farm at Riverlea near Kaponga say the pros of autumn calving far outweigh the downsides. . . 

Vineyard trialling native planting as herbicide alternative:

A commercial vineyard is investigating planting native plants and cover crops under vines as an alternative to spraying herbicides on the area.

Villa Maria Winery is running the trial with funding support from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.

Villa Maria’s co-ordinator for the project, Raquel Kallas said conventional practice in New Zealand vineyards was to maintain a bare strip under the vines by applying herbicides, typically two or three times per season. . .

Getting smarter at growing grass – James Barbour:

Trewithen is a 288ha farm with 1,100 cows in New Plymouth, owned by the Faull Family from Waitara. In his third season, sharemilker James Barbour takes us through the farm’s approach to nutrient management.

The problem

We cover a large area, so paddock variability is an important issue for us. If we just apply a blanket rate without testing or targeting, the costs mount up very quickly because of the scale of the operation.

We’re milking all year around with various winter run-offs. We have an ambitious target of 600,000kg MS. Our focus is on growing more grass, taking care of the animals and becoming increasingly efficient. And we’ve managed to cut our stocking rate while increasing production. . . 

 


End of Holden era

February 18, 2020

General Motors will no  longer be producing Holdens.

The decision is inevitable.

When a business has to be subsidised it runs out of options when the subsidies do.

I know of the legendary Holdens with bench seats and column gear changes only by repute.

But the car before my current one was a Holden Cruze which I liked for several reasons – it had heated seats which enabled me to keep warm in winter while still letting cool air in; it enabled the air to be directed at the windscreen alone, rather than screen and either feet or head which is the option in most other vehicles; and it was economical to run.

 

 


Govt shouldn’t be competing with private sector

February 18, 2020

Attempts to get onto the property ladder are being made more difficult by a government agency:

A first-home buyer has been left disappointed after Housing New Zealand, now called Kāinga Ora, bought out the apartment development she was purchasing a unit in.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, signed an agreement to buy a one-bedroom apartment in the Onehunga Bay Terrace Development, being built by Avanda.

She paid a 10 per cent deposit, of $54,200, at the start of August last year.

But in November she was told by real estate agents selling the development that the developer had entered into a conditional agreement with Kāinga Ora for it to buy the unsold units in the development. 

She said she was told if that happened she would be given the chance to cancel. She said she requested more information through her lawyer but was told there was no requirement to tell her anything further.

On January 16, she was sent a deed of cancellation by the developer, cancelling her agreement. She was told she would get her deposit back, plus the expenses she incurred in the deal, such as legal fees and the cost of a valuation. . . 

Housing is supposed to be one of the government’s priorities.

It won’t solve the shortage if its own agency is shutting out private buyers.

That’s unfair competition which does nothing to solve the problem of over demand and under supply.

The government should not be competing with the private sector in the housing market.

It should address the underlying reasons for the housing shortage, chief of which is the difficult and expense consent process.

 


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