Word of the day

23/12/2020

Reliquary – a container for holy relics; a container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept; a repository or receptacle, such as a coffer or shrin, for relics.


Yes Sir Humphrey

23/12/2020


Sowell says

23/12/2020


Rural round-up

23/12/2020

Resilient Kiwi spirit kept agriculture strong through pandemic :

Kiwi ingenuity and a drive to “make it work” have been pivotal in New Zealand’s agriculture sector getting through the COVID-19 pandemic with relatively little impact, according to a new study by AgResearch and its partners.

Farmers and others working in the agriculture and food systems in New Zealand and Australia were surveyed or interviewed about the impacts of COVID-19 in the period through to June 2020, which included national lockdowns. While acknowledging overall negative effects, additional stress and pressures from the pandemic and response, only 47 per cent of New Zealand survey respondents viewed the effect on their farms or businesses as negative over that period. A further 37 per cent said the effect was neutral. . . 

Nuffield Scholars’ tour taking in NZ– Yvonne O’Hara:

Southland dairy farmer Lynsey Stratford is looking forward to her “world tour of New Zealand” as part of the 2021 Nuffield New Zealand farming scholarship programme.

She was one of five people to be awarded scholarships. In addition to extensive study and travel, each scholar completes a project, which looks at improving an aspect of primary sector production.

Mrs Stratford would focus on farm health and safety; how to make farms safer for people working on them and what could be learned from other industries.

She had also been looking forward to the four months of overseas travel, which was part of the scholarship. However, as Covid-19 border restrictions meant that could not go ahead, organisers were putting together an alternative travel itinerary. . . 

Lambs sell to Southland buyers – Suz Bremner:

Lambs that were sold at on-farm sales in South Otago and Southland had a much shorter journey than others offered in the past few weeks, as Southland buyers secured the majority.

The first on-farm sale for the week was Dunmore Farm Ltd at Clinton, and Rural Livestock agent Mark Sheppard says the vendor was pleased with the results. 

“The sale was held in a howling nor’wester, but by the end of the day the vendor and purchasers were happy,” Sheppard said. 

“Buyers were from South Otago and Southland, and lambs were sold undrafted for this second annual sale.”  . . 

Lamb the top choice on Christmas Day – the great 2020 Kiwi Christmas survey :

The results of the most important vote of the year are in; lamb will be the most popular protein on Kiwis’ plates on Christmas Day. 

The result comes as part of the Classic Kiwi Christmas Survey – the third edition of the poll run by Retail Meat New Zealand.

The poll of over 1,800 Kiwis covering a range of Christmas traditions, saw lamb rise to the top as the go-to meat of choice with 37% of respondents saying they’ll be serving it for Christmas. Ham was a very close second with 32% and beef came third with 13%.

With lockdowns and a lack of travel impacting everyone in 2020, it’s unsurprising that 93% of respondents stated that spending time at Christmas with family was the most important part of Christmas – a three percent increase on 2019. . . 

Bostock Brothers wins sustainability award

Hawke’s Bay organic chicken business Bostock Brothers has won an award for its circular system methods such as recycling its home compostable packaging to use on its maize paddocks.

The business took out the Good Food Award at the 2020 Sustainable Business Awards. This award is presented to an organisation which is “transforming the food system to create a positive impact on people and/or the environment”.

The company was the first meat producer in New Zealand to use home compostable packaging and now also allows customers to return the packaging if they do not have a home compost, which creates a circular system.

The returned packaging is put into a large compostable site where it breaks down quickly and easily with the right amount of soil, heat oxygen and water. . . 

Nine-year growth trial in NT finds interesting comparisons – Bob Freebairn:

Cattle grazing in the long term grazing management trial at Douglas Daly Research Farm, 220 km south of Darwin. The nine-year study found better cattle performance on set stocked areas than intensively rotationally grazed ones.

THE published paper, “Effect of high-intensity rotational grazing on the growth of cattle grazing buffel pasture in the Northern Territory and on soil carbon sequestration”, while in a climate quite different to NSW is interesting.

The detailed research over nine-years, mid-2009 to mid-2018, was conducted at Douglas Daly Research Farm, 220km south of Darwin where average annual rainfall is 1209 millimetres usually falling between October and April. Growth of cattle was greater both per head and per hectare under continuous grazing (CG) compared to intensive rotational grazing (IRG). . .

 


One day before Christmas

23/12/2020

Twelve days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “If the wind keeps up the lucerne should be fit by mid-afternoon and we’ll start making hay so there could be a few extra men for tea.”

Eleven days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “I have to go through to a sale in Central today. I haven’t forgotten the school concert and I should be back in time, but if I’m late you’ll have to go without me.”

Ten days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “When you go into town this morning could you see if the spare part for the tractor has turned up yet  and pick up some drench as well. You’ll be passing the bank so could you drop these cheques in then pay these bills too please, there’s only two or three.”

Nine days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “We’ll be shearing today, one of the men will be in the shed so he’ll want lunch early, the other should be in at the usual time and I probably won’t be in ‘til after one. But if we get the irrigator fixed this afternoon there might be time to get the Christmas tree.”

Eight days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “One of the rousies didn’t turn up so I’ve had to get another at short notice. Would you mind giving her lunch and could you throw something together for her morning and afternoon tea?”

Seven days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “The farm advisor’s coming for a look round this morning and I’ll be working with cattle after lunch, but if you remind me before dinner I’ll go and get the tree.”

Six days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “I’ll be going to the sale this morning and it’ll take most of the afternoon to draft the lambs. But they shouldn’t need dagging so when we’ve loaded the truck I’ll have time to get the tree.”

Five days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “If the rain holds off  we’ll make a start on the silage this afternoon but it’ll be light til 10 so I should be able to get the tree.”

Four days before Christmas my farmers said to me, “We’ll be making silage again today. It would save time if you could bring lunch out to the paddock and we’ll probably want dinner too but if we finish early then I’ll go and get the tree.”

Three days before Christmas my farmer said to me, ,“Are you all organised for the staff party? When I’ve finished drenching those lambs I’ll have to shift the irrigator but I’ll be able to give you a hand after that oh and get the Christmas tree.”

Two days before Christmas my farmer said to me, “If we don’t get that irrigator hose today it’ll be next year before we do so could you go and pick it up from the carriers. I won’t have time to do any shopping now so while you’re in town why don’t you choose yourself something and charge it up to me? And, yeah,  I should have time to get the Christmas tree.”

One day before Christmas my farmer said to me, “The motorbike ran out of petrol in the back paddock. If you could come up in the ute to pick me up we could detour on the way back and get that Christmas tree.”


Yes Sir Humphrey

23/12/2020


How much longer can it last?

23/12/2020

Paying three to four times the gross earnings of a farm when buying one used to be regarded as reasonable.

That’s probably where values are at the moment.

I don’t know what the reasonable ratio between urban house values and average wages is but when houses in low income suburbs are selling for more than a million dollars it is well below current prices.

Last month an unremarkable 1960s weatherboard house on less than a quarter acre section in Ōtara in South Auckland sold for $1.01 million.

Another – which 12 years ago sold for $340,000 – went for $1.1m, more than triple its last sale price in October.

Manukau Ward councillor Efeso Collins said more than 80 percent of Pacific people did not own their own homes, and rising house prices were a cause of pain for his constituents, as rents went up and incomes did not.

“That means there are times where some people have to go without,” Collins said.

“I know there are parents who are decreasing the number of meals they’re having to ensure that the kids are eating enough, and getting three basic meals a day. That’s part of what I call the social trauma that’s being faced by many constituents that I work with.”

He said people felt hopelessness about the situation, which they did not think would get any better.

“I think people have given up. There are many people in the Manukau Ward… that have just given up.

“I’m really disappointed with what the government’s done. I think the government’s thrown money at a banking system that in my view isn’t working, and that’s not going to keep house prices down.” . . 

Low interest rates are part of the problem but the root cause is simply demand outstripping supply and the ridiculously high prices of houses is feeding through to higher rents:

New Zealand’s national median weekly rental price finished off the year 21 per cent higher than it was at the end of 2015 according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index.

Trade Me Property spokesperson Logan Mudge said the national median weekly rent was $520 last month, marking a 4 per cent increase on the same month in 2019 and a 21 per cent increase on this time in 2015. “November’s median weekly rent matched the all-time high we first saw in February this year.”

Nationally, supply was up by 6 per cent in November when compared with the same month last year. “This is the biggest year-on-year increase in supply we have seen since June. However, with demand sky-high, up by a whopping 20 per cent year-on-year, rental prices around the country have stayed very high.” . . 

How can any but the wealthy afford even the basic necessities let alone save for a deposit on a house when they’re paying so much in rent?

How much longer can this madness last?

When farm prices get too high, people stop buying and prices come back a bit.

The ones who get hurt by that are those forced to sell at prices that take most, all, or, sometimes more than all, of their equity.

If there’s a correction in house prices that will happen to some people.

If it doesn’t, is there an alternative to even more people being hurt by escalating rents and the worsening gap between what they could afford to pay for a house and the asking price?


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