Word of the day

March 25, 2020

Forfend – avert or prevent something evil or unpleasant; ward off; forbid; protect by precautionary measures; prevent; preserve; defined, secure, protect.


Thatcher thinks

March 25, 2020


Rural round-up

March 25, 2020

Farmers urged to continue producing food:

New Zealand farmers are being urged to carry on producing food while respecting coronavirus guidelines issued by the Government.

Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis says farming is classified as an essential service, so is milk and meat processing.

Lewis says that meat and dairy companies will continue to operate as the country moves into the highest level of alert for coronavirus from midnight Wednesday. . . 

Coronavirus: Farmers’ mental health important says Katie Milne -:

Farmers may be used to isolation but they still need to take care of their mental health says Federated Farmers president Katie Milne.

As efforts to slow the Covid-19 outbreak escalate in New Zealand, people are being asked to stay home and keep their distance from others, while social gatherings and events have been also cancelled.

As a result, farmers may find themselves cut off from everyday rural events that afford them much-needed social interaction, such as rugby games and catch ups at the pub. . . 

Friendly solution to farm water issues – Richard Davison:

A farmer-led catchment monitoring group wants to expand its activities following a successful first year.

In 2014, the Pathway for the Pomahaka water quality improvement project was launched in West Otago, which led to the establishment of the Pomahaka Water Care Group.

Last February, the award-winning group launched the latest phase of its action plan, in the shape of a ‘‘Best Practice Team’’ of 12 volunteers, set up to provide ‘‘self-policing’’ of water quality compliance among the catchment’s about 600 farms.

Team co-ordinator Bryce McKenzie — who farms 700 cows on 320ha adjoining the Pomahaka River — said the concept had worked well during its inaugural year. . . 

Westland Milk unveils Covid-19 strategy:

Westland Milk Products says Covid-19 is causing “minimal disruption” to its supply chains, with the company working to meet rising demand from China.

The second-largest dairy enterprise in New Zealand says domestic demand for its product range is also remaining consistent.

To keep up with demand in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company this morning announced that it is issuing measures to keep staff well and the factory running. . . 

Research reveals fodder beet value – Annette Scott:

New research into fodder beet shows portion control is critical to ensure safe feeding to dairy cows.

Fodder beet is widely used on South Island dairy farms as a versatile, high-energy, high-yield crop that allows cows to put on body condition quickly, if transitioned correctly. 

“This makes it an attractive option for farmers but because of the high sugar content careful transitioning onto the crop is critical,” DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley said.

The Sustainable Use of Fodder Beet research project confirms the crop can be a key part of dairy farm systems. . . 

 

Butchers run off their feet – and it’s not expected to ease – Shan Goodwin:

As butchers report they are now mincing higher value cuts like rump to keep up with astronomical demand, marketing experts and psychologists suggest empty red meat supermarket shelves are likely to be around for months.

It’s not that Australia will run out of beef. Export and food service orders are already being diverted to retail cabinets.

Rather, the unfolding dynamics of consumer behaviour amid the virus crisis indicates the inclination to fill freezers won’t fade. . . 


The best and the worst

March 25, 2020

A crisis brings out the best and the worst in people.

Among the good:

* the landlord who turned up at a small business and told the tenant he was forgoing rent for the next few months.

* the Subway franchisee who gave the fresh food she’s no longer able to sell to a food bank.

* the people who have created virtual networks with neighbours so people can ask for, and offer, help.

* the people who are doing what they should be – shopping as normal, maintaining safe distances from others, staying at home.

* the health professionals who are working to keep us all safe.

Among the bad:

* the panic buyers of groceries, alcohol and guns.

* the people who won’t follow the directive to stay home except for essential trips and maintain a two meter distance from others when they’re out.

 

 

 


It’s not all bad

March 25, 2020

The tourism slump could provide an opportunity for would-be renters:

Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer as long-term rentals instead.

New Zealand’s tourism industry has come to a standstill as the country responds to the spread of coronavirus.

A spokeswoman for Trade Me said usually 6 per cent of Trade Me rental listings were offered furnished. But since March 14, when the self-isolation rules were first announced, that number had increased to 11 per cent.

“This puts the total number of fully furnished rental listings at double what they were at the time last year,” she said. . . 

Economist Benje Patterson said huge number of Airbnb units had been put back into the rental market in Queenstown in particular. . . 

One reason for a shortage of rentals and homes to buy has been the number of properties being used for holiday rentals.

Landlords have been able to make more money with fewer hassles using the likes of Airbnb than they could with renting longer term.

“There are also large numbers of houses becoming available as people who have lost their jobs have moved out of rentals or have left New Zealand to head back to their home countries. I have seen reports of landlords throwing their hands up in the air and letting people break leases, rather than being stuck with someone who can’t pay rent. In other cases, there is evidence that tenants have done a runner.”

He said it was worrying because a big drop in yields for investors would push some to sell.

“A flood of forced sales, at a time when confidence to purchase a home is low, could cause severe instability to pricing. There is likely to be moves by the government over the next week or two to implement mortgage relief in order to prevent such forced sales. The last thing the government wants is for a mass rush to the exit push other homeowners into negative equity and compromise financial stability in anyway.” 

There probably wouldn’t be a lot of argument against mortgage relief for homeowners.

There might be more argument if it is extended to property investors especially when so much has been said about escalating property prices and the difficulty people have buying their first homes.


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