Word of the day


Plotz – collapse or be beside oneself with excitement, frustration, annoyance, or other strong emotion; to burst with or be overcome by strong emotion; to collapse or faint, as from surprise, excitement, or exhaustion; to fall down from extreme excitememnt or abhorance; to become emotional, with excitement, grief or anger.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


CCC submissions flood in – Neal Wallace:

Methane reduction targets remain a contentious issue for the livestock sector, which is critical of Climate Change Commission recommendations for an even steeper reduction pathway than proposed in the Zero Carbon Act.

Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers are labelling the proposed new targets as unrealistic and not backed by robust science, economic or farm system analysis.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the revised target is a 13.2% reduction in biogenic methane emissions below 2017 levels by 2030.

“This represents a 32% increase in the level of ambition compared to the 2030 biogenic methane target contained in the Zero Carbon Act, which is to reduce methane emissions to 10% below 2017 levels by 2030,” McIvor said. . . 

Smith to push for more automation in the hort sector – Peter Burke:

More automation in orchards – that’s what Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) director general Ray Smith says he’s going to push hard for in the coming 12 months.

He told Rural News that there is real growth in horticulture and the opportunity for more, but New Zealand as not solved the labour supply problem.

“Too much of the horticultural industry has been built off the back of immigrant labour and the risk of that is what we see now,” Smith says.

“If anything goes wrong with that supply chain of workers then you have massive problems. That is why there is a need for the investment in automation and we want to see this directed to what can be done in orchards.”

Milking shed ravaged by fire, community spirit gets farmers back up and running – Joanne Holden:

A South Canterbury farmer whose milking shed, built by his father, was ravaged by fire has got his dairy operation back on track, with a little help from his friends.

The 30-year-old Waitohi milking shed was “fully ablaze” when Hamish Pearse, and five of his staff, grabbed a fire hose each and attacked the flames, keeping them at bay until the fire brigade arrived with five appliances about 20 minutes later.

“The staff were pretty shaken up by the whole thing,” Pearse, of Waitohi, said.

“My dad was emotional about it too, because he built that milking shed himself . . . He came back to see his pride and joy burnt down.” . . 

Synlait ponders lack of profit – Hugh Stringleman:

Synlait may not make a profit this financial year because of sharply reduced orders from a2 Milk Company for packaged infant formula, rising dairy commodity prices and global shipping delays.

At the start of the season Synlait directors expected net profit in FY21 to be similar to last year’s $75 million, then in December they said net profit would be approximately half that of FY20.

They have now said the anticipated result for FY21 will be “broadly breakeven”, which includes the possibility of no profit overall and a small loss in the second half, which is already two months old.

When releasing its first-half results, Synlait said the December downgrade from major customer and minority shareholder a2MC was significant and sudden. . . 

Wyeth’s move west welcomed – Peter Burke:

A few weeks ago, Richard Wyeth took over as chief executive of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products and says his first impressions of the company and its people are positive.

It was only a few months ago he was head of the highly successful Maori-owned dairy company Miraka – a company he helped set up from scratch.

However, Wyeth says he’s really enjoying the new job at Westland and what’s really impressed him is the people in the business.

“There is a really strong desire to see the business do well and people are working really hard to do this,” he told Rural News. . . 

Scientists are testing vaccines for flystrike – Chris McLennan:

Scientists believe they are closing in on a commercial vaccine for flystrike.

Prototype vaccines have already been developed half way through a four-year $2.5 million research project between the wool industry and CSIRO.

A potential vaccine against flystrike has been the subject of decades of research work.

Blowfly infestation of sheep wool, skin and tissue results in an estimated $280 million losses to the wool industry. . . 

Easter bunny hunt tally nearly 12,000


The Central Otago Easter Bunny Hunt rid the region of nearly 12,000 rabbits:

The message could not be any clearer — when it comes to Central Otago and Wanaka’s countryside there is only one bunny welcome at Easter.

Twenty-five teams of 12 set out to prove that at the weekend.

Yesterday the weary hunters from across the South Island and beyond returned to the Dunstan Equestrian Centre near Alexandra to tally the numbers of rabbits killed as part of the expanded-format Great Easter Bunny Hunt.

Traditionally 24 hours long, this year’s Alexandra Lions Club event ran from 8am on Good Friday until yesterday.

The hunt was last held in 2017.

It was cancelled the following year because of the Otago Regional Council K5 rabbit virus release programme.

Further cancellations followed in 2019, due to an extreme fire risk, and last year, because of Covid-19. 

The three-year hiatus and the longer time frame was reflected in the death toll netted from blocks of land from from Millers Flat, to Wanaka, and to Lauder.

A total of 11,968 rabbits were shot along with 555 other pests — stoats, possums, turkeys, and more, making for a total of 12,523 animals shot. . .

My father recalled hillsides moving with rabbits in the Hakataramea Valley in the 1930s.

It’s not that bad in Central Otago now but rabbit numbers are reaching plague proportions in places.

Landowners will be very grateful to the Easter Bunny Hunt hunters who have put a dent in the population.


Yes Sir Humphrey


Permanent DST would leave us in dark


Oh bliss!

Daylight Saving Time ended yesterday and how lovely it was to have daylight just after 6:30.

Not everyone is happy with the change and someone has started a petition to make DST permanent.

If people petitioning against changing clocks were doing so to stop them going forward in spring I’d sign.

If someone petitioned to start daylight saving later and finish it earlier I’d support them.

But keep DST all year? Absolutely not.

Proponents of permanent DST appear not to understand how little daylight there is in the middle of winter and the impact the sun rising would have.

Weather watch explains what happens at the winter solstice:

In the Deep South (Southland) the total amount of available sunlight at the moment (that means, if it’s not a cloudy day and you have a clear sunrise and sunset) is around 8 and a half hours each day. While in northern New Zealand it’s slightly longer at 9 and three quarter hours. Around 9 hours in the middle etc.

In practice that means sunrise and sunset times in the middle of winter are 7:33am and 5:11pm in Auckland; 7:47am and 4:58pm in Wellington; 8:03am and 4:59 in Christchurch and 8:20am and 4:59pm in Dunedin.

If clocks stayed forward the sun wouldn’t rise until 8:33 in Auckland, 8:47 in Wellington, 9:03 in Christchurch and 9:20 in Dunedin. Further north the sun would rise a little earlier and set a little later, further south and it would rise even later and set earlier.

Children would be going to school in the dark. Farmers, tradies and all other outside workers wouldn’t have enough light to work until an hour later than now; and roads would be icier later in the day.

For what gain?

What use would people in Auckland make of daylight to 6:11 instead of an hour earlier when it’s cold and, often wet?  What would people in Dunedin do if the sun was up until 5:59?

Some proponents of permanent DST suggest adopting different time zones. Large countries do that with times changing as you move from east to west.

But how practical would it be to have different time zones from north to south?

It would complicate life for anyone operating nationwide and for people with family and friends in different areas.

It simply wouldn’t be worth the bother for a little more light for a little longer on cold evenings.

One argument for permanent DST is the disruption to body clocks when the time changes. It is said to negatively affect circadian alignment, sleep health, viral immunity, and longevity

It always feels a bit like jet lag without having had a holiday.

If that is a strong enough argument for not altering clocks, keep them where they are in spring. Don’t inflict on us the many problems of darker mornings for so little gain of light on cold winter evenings.

%d bloggers like this: