Word of the day


Aa – basaltic lava forming very rough, jagged masses with a light frothy texture.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Importance of sequestration highlighted :

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says the Ministry for the Environment’s report “Net Emissions and Removals from Vegetation and Soils on Sheep and Beef Farmland” is valuable.

It recognised there was significant sequestration happening on sheep and beef farmland in New Zealand and was part of an ongoing process to build understanding of the issue.

Chief executive Sam McIvor says B+LNZ stands by the AUT research it commissioned that arrived at different figures, but the numbers are not the focus.

“We absolutely stand by Dr Case’s independently reviewed robust and credible research. While there are differences in some of the methodologies MfE used in their report – particularly their netting-off of all harvested forest that doesn’t take into account the replanting and additional new planting we know is happening – it reinforces the importance of on-farm sequestration. . . 

Working together on common goals – Colin Williscroft:

Beef + Lamb NZ’s new independent director Bayden Barber brings a mix of business acumen, governance experience and a Maori voice to the boardroom table. Colin Williscroft reports.

Bayden Barbour’s first meeting with his fellow B+LNZ directors was a workshop that also brought together board members from DairyNZ and Federated Farmers to look at a range of issues they have a shared interest in.

He says working together on mutual challenges makes sense, not only because it’s a more effective use of resources, but also because of the opportunities it provides to gain an appreciation of other views and approaches.

That includes complying with rules and regulations coming out of central government that increasingly require engagement with iwi and hapu right through legislation. . . 

Opportunities to reduce lamb losses – Dr Ken Geenty:

Lost production and income from lamb deaths at lambing can range from moderate to horrendous. This wastage can be minimised by sound animal health, good feeding management, and genetic selection. Ram purchases each year should focus on genetics, with high lamb survival. Ewes need to be fed to maintain ewe body condition score (BCS) of 3, with lamb birth weights between 4.2 and 7.4kg for multiples and singles respectively. With veterinary advice a sound animal health plan should be developed.

In planning to minimise lamb losses next lambing it is strongly recommended to revisit results from previous years. These may include causes of lamb deaths, most commonly starvation-exposure for light multiples and dystocia for heavier multiples and singles. Management to minimise these losses will include separation of pregnant ewes with multiples given preferential feeding in mid-late pregnancy, and those with singles fed less generously. The aim being to achieve the range of lamb birth weights shown in Figure 1.

Advance planning for pregnancy and lambing can include choosing and preparation of your best lambing paddocks for multiple lambing ewes. Preferences will be for easy contour, good shelter, and a feed bank at lambing of at least 1400kg DM/ha. . . 

Bee health still priority despite vote outcome –  Yvonne O’Hara:

Apiculture New Zealand will continue to focus on bee health and education as part of its strategies for the good of the sector, despite the majority of commercial beekeepers’ voting ”no” to the introduction of a commodity levy last week.

ApiNZ held a meeting on Monday, the first since the vote result.

Apiarist and board member Russell Marsh, of Ettrick, said while the outcome was disappointing, the commodity levy was just part of ApiNZ’s various strategies going forward.

He said bee health, sustainability and industry education were the key priorities. . . 

Kiwi skills sought after in Ireland – Anne Lee:

A Kiwi couple who moved to Ireland to further their dairying and science careers may have had the brakes put on their travel due to Covid, but it’s not stopping them from learning on the job. Jacob Sievwright and Katie Starsmore hope the knowledge they’re gaining will have a direct benefit to New Zealand. Anne Lee reports.

As the song says, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, but for a young Kiwi couple the move to Ireland has been an ideal way to build on their dairying and science careers and get to see a whole new chunk of the world – Covid-19 aside.

Jacob Sievwright and Katie Starsmore have been in Ireland since June 2019, and although the global pandemic has put the handbrake on their wider travels over the past year and they’ve been in the strictest lockdown level over recent weeks, their jobs mean they’re both classed as essential workers.

Katie works at Teagasc Moorepark on research that could arguably be deemed essential not only to Ireland but also to the planet – investigating ways to reduce methane emissions from cows and help limit the effects of climate change. . . 

Walgett’s Stone’s Throw Cafe enjoys influx of travellers due to COVID-19 pandemic – Billy Jupp,:

YOU would expect that opening a small business in the height of one of the worst droughts on record would be tough going.

Those seasonal conditions coupled with a global pandemic, which caused the entire world to isolate, seemed like a recipe for disaster.

However, the challenges have not just helped Waglett’s Stone’s Throw Cafe survive, but thrive.

Travellers who traded their international or interstate holidays for something more regional have provided a welcome boost to the Fox Street eatery and others like it across country NSW. . . 

Yes Sir Humphrey


No food no people


Food security is being highlighted at the launch of the Year of Fruit and Vegetables at parliament last night.

The importance of food security and people having access to fresh and healthy fruit and vegetables is being highlighted at the launch of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables at Parliament tonight (10 March).

“Access to fresh fruit and vegetable growers is essential for healthy people.  What often gets forgotten is the vital role that the people who grow fruit and vegetables play in ensuring fresh fruit and vegetables are on the table,” says Horticulture New Zealand (HortNZ) Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.

“Covid has shown us that we cannot rely on imports and has highlighted how lucky we are in New Zealand that we can grow most of our own food.  We need to make sure that we protect this ability. 

“But at the same time, fruit and vegetable growers are being asked to meet increasingly strict objectives for climate change and compliance in general, without the important role of feeding people being factored in.

“If New Zealand is to meet its climate change and economic goals, growers and farmers need to be empowered to adapt and reduce emissions.

“The Paris Accord clearly states that producing food while adapting to climate change is vital.  No food, no people.  As a country, we need to grow fruit and vegetables to feed ourselves and to export, to earn essential overseas revenue. 

“Give our growers the tools, incentives and time, and we could lead the world in climate change adaption and global food production.  This will require significant research and development to find the tools and techniques needed to make a difference.”

Those of the darkest green persuasion may well rejoice in a world without people.

The more sensible among us understand the importance of food security and be worried about the risks – both natural and political – that food producers face.

Why are we waiting?


Australia has opened its borders to New Zealanders, why aren’t ours open to our neighbours?

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the only thing holding up a two-way travel bubble with New Zealand is our Government’s lack of urgency, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

When asked by media today on how far away a full travel bubble with New Zealand is, Prime Minster Morrison said: “I’m happy for them to open it up as soon as the Prime Minister and her Government would like to do that.”

Prime Minister Morrison’s assessment that it was up to Jacinda Ardern whether Australian tourists spend their money in Queenstown or Cairns should be a wake-up call to our Government, Ms Collins says.

“Our Government has been dragging its feet for nine months on a travel bubble while Australia has been good to go.

“Australia showed us the risks associated with a two-way bubble are minimal and manageable. They opened their border to New Zealanders in October and it has worked.

Tourism NZ estimates that a trans-Tasman bubble, combined with domestic tourism, would see tourism spend in this country return to 70 per cent of pre-Covid levels, Ms Collins says.

“A two-way travel bubble would be a major boost for New Zealand’s tourism sector, which has been all but left for dead by Jacinda Ardern’s Government.

“We need to get this bubble up and running before winter to give places like Queenstown the opportunity to have a bumper ski season.

“New Zealand could be in the unique position of being the only external tourism market for Australians to visit – Australians who have been stuck at home for 12 months.”

You can find Scott Morrison’s comments to media here at appox. 24.30.

Australia has shown how it can be done.

It allowed New Zealanders to enter without the need for managed isolation, required that when there was community transmission here and let us travel freely again when that was no longer an issue.

The closed border is threatening businesses and it is also having a very high human cost.

Trans-Tasman travellers are taking up a lot of MIQ beds that could be freed up to allow New Zealanders and essential workers from countries where Covid-19 is still in the community to come home.

I know a family who are trying to get their son home from Australia to visit his terminally ill father.

I know several others with children and grandchildren they can’t visit.

I was supposed to be the marriage celebrant for a couple last April. Their families and lots of friends were travelling from Australia and the lockdown cancelled the wedding. It was rescheduled for this month but the requirement for the Australian guests to endure two weeks in MIQ led to a postponement and they are now hoping to be able to go ahead next January.

I know two other couples with family and friends on both sides of the Tasman who won’t commit to wedding plans until the borders open.

If I can list this many without having to think, how many tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of other people are similarly frustrated by the government’s failure to come up with a plan to allow the border with Australia to open safely.

There is no community transmission of Covid-19 there and none here.

Why are we waiting when the high human cost is anything but kind to people and the economic cost is so high, possible terminal, for so many businesses?


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