Word of the day


Abbozzo – the first draft of a literary or artistic work; the first colouring laid on a picture after the sketch has been blocked in; a rough draft, sketch or outline of something; a rough drawing or model.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Southland MP Joseph Mooney invites Green Party co-leader James Shaw to Southland to meet Groundswell NZ – Rachael Kelly:

Farmer protest group Groundswell NZ said it would ‘’most definitely’’ meet with Green Party co-leader James Shaw if he accepted an invitation to visit Southland.

Southland MP Joseph Mooney wants to extend an invitation to Shaw to the province to meet with the group, who he says Shaw ‘’unfairly vilified in the media this week”.

A spokesperson from Shaws’ office said: ‘’Joseph Mooney is welcome to send an invitation to the Minister, and it will be considered alongside all the others we receive.’’

Shaw admitted for the first time this week that it was Groundswell he was referring to in an interview with Ngati Hine FM last month, when he referred to ‘’a group of pākehā farmers from down south’’ who were ‘’always pushing back against the idea that they should observe any kind of regulation about what they can do to protect the environment”. . . .

B+LNZ launched emissions calculator – Neal Wallace:

The sheep and beef industry have taken a significant step towards managing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission obligations, with the launch of an emissions calculator for farmers.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has released the free-to-use calculator, which takes information about a farm and stock numbers and applies science and data about average emissions at national, regional and farm system level to calculate on-farm emissions and sequestration.

It has been funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership and endorsed by the Meat Industry Association (MIA), AFFCO NZ, Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Ovation NZ, Progressive Meats, Silver Fern Farms, Taylor Preston, Te Kuiti Meats, Universal Beef Packers and Wilson Hellaby NZ.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the calculator has been independently assessed as meeting the requirements for calculating emissions under the He Waka Eke Noa programme and agreement with the Government. . . 

Fences fixed first as farmers count cost of flooding – Country Life:

Farmers in Mid-Canterbury say it could take months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up the mess on their farms following last month’s massive flooding.

It’s been an extremely challenging situation for neighbouring farmers Anne-Marie Allen and Chrissie Wright, who say they are still trying to get their heads around the scale of the damag of Anne-Marie and her husband Chris’s farm resemble a bombsite.

Their six-hectare water storage pond is destroyed, fences are buried, machinery has been damaged and logs, branches, rocks, gravel and up to a metre of silt have been dumped on the Ashburton Forks property. . .

M bovis eradication on track – Annette Scott:

The next few months will be busy for the Mycoplasma bovis programme as it winds closer to a successful nationwide eradication of the disease.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is confident the programme is on track to eradicate the disease from New Zealand in the next five years.

“The programme has been refined and improved, the science and practice on the ground has helped get us to where we are now, just a pocket of five infected properties,” O’Connor said.

But, he says, the next few months will be busy and crucial. . . 

Farmers helping Meat the Need charity via Silver Fern Farms – Linda Hall:

Mince — it must be the most versatile red meat you can buy.

Most people would be able to come up with a nutritious meal by just adding some flavour and vegetables. It goes a long way and it’s reasonably priced.

However, there are many people out there who still can’t afford to buy enough food to feed their family.

It’s not surprising that the need for food parcels is growing with the price of housing and accommodation skyrocketing — and there’s no end in sight. . .

Scottish pig sector ‘at risk’ due to unfair supply chain practice :

The future of the Scottish pig industry is at risk due to continued unfair supply chain practices, NFU Scotland has warned.

It has written to Pilgrim’s, the processing partner of Scotland’s largest abattoir in Brechin, to urge them to stop operating pricing practices that ‘threaten’ the sector.

Farmers had ‘serious concerns’ resulting from the ‘uncompetitive price’ paid by Pilgrim’s for pigs going to the Brechin abattoir.

“The price is uncompetitive compared to alternative market routes,” NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy said. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey


If 12 weeks is better . . .


Research from the UK suggests a 12 week gap between the first and second doses of the Covid vaccine is better than a shorter time:

Experience from the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout suggests 12 weeks may be the optimum gap between first and second doses, giving a better immune response than when the doses are closer together. So why are so many New Zealanders being offered their vaccines three weeks apart?

When the British Government launched its vaccination programme, the big gap between first and second doses was more a function of necessity than science.

The strategy was primarily focused on getting one dose in the arm of as many citizens as possible, with the second dose coming later, when supply ramped up.

Isn’t that the scenario here? We don’t have enough vaccines to give enough people, including those deemed to be more vulnerable to Covid-19, the first dose.

That gap between doses mostly ended up being two to three months apart.

But as researchers looked at the results, they found that the delay turned out to have another major benefit. “The bigger the gap you can leave between vaccines the better the immune response”, Cambridge University consultant clinical virologist Dr Chris Smith told RNZ. “Twelve weeks was de rigueur.”

Same message from a June 2021 study from the University of Birmingham and Public Health England: “Antibody response in people aged over 80 is three-and-a-half times greater in those who have the second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine after 12 weeks compared to those who have it at a three-week interval.” . . 

The World Health Organization recently talked about 21 to 28-day intervals between Pfizer doses, but says the second dose can be extended to 12 weeks to gain coverage for high priority populations.

In contrast to the UK, New Zealand has adopted a different strategy, focusing on optimising two doses for our most vulnerable citizens and minimising the gap between doses, in some cases, to as few as three weeks.

The UK research tells us that a more successful rollout strategy for New Zealand should look less like New Zealand in June 2021 (above).

Instead, it should look more like the UK in March 2021 (below) . . .

Is it better to have more people partially vaccinated or around half as many fully vaccinated?

What we do know is that New Zealand is a country with zero-community cases, and as Associate Professor Nathan Bartlett of the University of Newcastle’s School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy put so clearly: “The improved immunity conferred from waiting longer must be weighed against the risk of contracting Covid in the meantime.”

As there is little to no risk of contracting Covid-19 in New Zealand, it seems logical that New Zealand should focus on improving immunity over the longer term – and that currently suggests a longer gap between doses. . .

If 12 weeks between doses gives better protection than a shorter gap a change in strategy to delay the second dose for most people could provide two benefits.  More people could get the partial protection from a first dose and then get better long term protection from a bigger gap before the second dose is given.

Given we have no community transmission at the moment and a shortage of vaccines, using the supplies scheduled for second doses to give more people a first dose seems to be better than double dosing fewer people sooner.

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