Word of the day


Dissilient – bursting and opening with an elastic force; dehiscing explosively; springing apart; bursting apart, open or out.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Country roads not taking us home – Richard Rennie :

New Zealand’s long skinny, swampy, steep terrain has never made for easy road building and it’s a tribute to our pioneering forefathers this country has the roads it does, going to the places they do.

But the escalating impact of climate change, bringing rainfall events of ever greater intensity, is making keeping that spiderweb network of 76,000km of rural roads tougher to keep open, let alone improve.  

Rural local roads are already the poor relative to their state highway links. 

For 2021-22 an average of $170,000 per km is budgeted for state highway improvements, compared with only $14,700 a km for local roads. . . 

Low methane sheep coming to a farm near you? –  Esther Taunton

Farmers will soon be able to breed low methane sheep through a “world first” genetics programme. 

Beef and Lamb New Zealand has added low methane production to the list of traits breeders can target when choosing rams.

Farmers already use several “breeding values” (BV) to select animals with characteristics they want to strengthen in their flocks, including meat yield and lamb survival rate.

With the addition of a methane BV, they could also breed animals that produced less of the agricultural greenhouse gas. . . 

The problem with coconut milk – Pete Fitz-Herbert

His father-in-law’s innocent “coconut milk” mistake at the supermarket has Manawatū farmer Pete Fitz-Herbert thinking about food labels, “nut juice” and the meaning of communication in relationships.

Every relationship has communication issues at times.

Generally, it comes about because we switch roles temporarily. I know in this modern world we are meant to do everything equally but some days we should just be thankful we aren’t the Taliban.

So, when my father-in-law got released into the supermarket with an essential Covid grocery list (during those interesting times), it was something David Attenborough should have been commentating. . .

Final Zespri charter vessel departs :

Zespri’s last charter vessel carrying some of the final volumes of this season’s New Zealand kiwifruit crop has now departed the Port of Tauranga, bound for Tokyo and Kobe in Japan.

Around 158 tonnes of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit and 2,231 tonnes of Zespri Green Kiwifruit is onboard the charter reefer vessel MV Kowhai and is expected to reach Tokyo by the end of this month, with the season’s final container shipments scheduled to conclude over the coming weeks. In total, Zespri has used four charter vessels to Northern Europe, eight to the Mediterranean, four to North America’s West Coast and forty-one to Asia, along with almost 17,000 refrigerated containers to ship more than 160 million trays of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit this season.

Zespri’s Chief Global Supply Officer Alastair Hulbert says that there had been a huge effort right across the industry and supply chain to ensure fruit could get to market this season given the headwinds experienced in 2022.

“This has been a really challenging season given the ongoing impact of COVID-19 across the global supply chain, as well as the need to manage our fruit quality. . . 

Orchard sector manager Regan Judd names Young Horticulturist of the Year :

Twenty-six-year-old Regan Judd has taken out the title of 2022 Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Regan, an orchard sector manager at T&G Global in the Hawke’s Bay, represented fruit and vegetable growers across the two-day event in Karaka, Auckland this week.

The competition brings together finalists from all corners of the horticulture sector to vie for the grand title in a series of tasks designed to test their practical and theoretical skills, leadership qualities and more.

Regan says he is “stoked” to have won the grand title, particularly given the calibre of the six other finalists and the effort that went into preparing for the event. . . 

Red meat is not a health risk. New study slams years of shoddy research – Ross Pomeroy:

Studies have been linking red meat consumption to health problems like heart disease, stroke, and cancer for years. But nestled in the recesses of those published papers are notable limitations.

Nearly all the research is observational, unable to tease out causation convincingly. Most are plagued by confounding variables. For example, perhaps meat eaters simply eat fewer vegetables, or tend to smoke more, or exercise less? Moreover, many are based on self-reported consumption. The simple fact is that people can’t remember what they eat with any accuracy. And lastly, the reported effect sizes in these scientific papers are often small. Is a supposed 15% greater risk of cancer really worth worrying about? 

Study slams lazy research 

In a new, unprecedented effort, scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) scrutinized decades of research on red meat consumption and its links to various health outcomes, formulating a new rating system to communicate health risks in the process. Their findings mostly dispel any concerns about eating red meat

“We found weak evidence of association between unprocessed red meat consumption and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease. Moreover, we found no evidence of an association between unprocessed red meat and ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke,” they summarized.  . . 

RMA replacement could make farming harder


The Resource Management Act has been adding complications, expense and  frustration to anyone trying to build or develop.

Changes ought to be welcome but what’s been proposed could make farming harder:

Federated Farmers is worried proposed replacement resource management legislation focuses only on streamlining urban development and will make it harder, not easier, to farm in New Zealand.

“The government has gone out of its way to emphasise there will be less resource consents for infrastructure and housing. However down on the farm, it’s hard to see how the new law won’t see even more environmental red tape for farmers,” Feds national board member and resource management spokesperson Mark Hooper says.

“The proposed new Natural and Built Environment Bill includes a strict focus on the environment, a shift away from local democracy, decision making that is diluted into regional committees and a new framework for water allocation.”

The bill, which is now at select committee stage, is the first of three new pieces of legislation to replace the current Resource Management Act.

Resource management law needs to strike a balance between looking after the environment and allowing people to earn a living, Mark says.

“The proposed replacement Bill looks set to shift the focus away from current ‘sustainable management’ to a purpose statement that is singularly focused on environmental protection.”

Not only must resource use avoid impacts on the environment, it must now promote outcomes for the benefit of the environment.

This sounds like it’s been designed by people of the dark green persuasion who talk about sustainability but focus only on the environment without taking into account economic and social factors.

What will promoting outcomes for the benefit of the environment mean when renewing consents for taking water for irrigation, stock and housholds?

“Under the proposed new law it will be harder, not easier, for farmers to obtain resource consents.”

Federated Farmers argues New Zealand needs to wake up to the reality that our economy can no longer be taken for granted. In the last few years tourism, international education and the energy sector have suffered major setbacks.

The new Natural and Built Environment Bill now proposes to change how freshwater and other water is allocated in New Zealand.

“And now our big earner, agriculture, is staring down the barrel of emission charges that could see sheep and beef exports fall by 20 percent. Flawed resource management legislation, potentially putting more costs and delays for our producers on top of this, makes it tough to develop new economic sectors in our rural communities,” he says.

It won’t just make it hard to develop new economic sectors, it could threaten existing ones by making it harder to renew consents on which farmers depend to continue operating.

“That and the rise of blanket pine planting on productive farmland could be the final nail for many provincial towns.”

Those pines are an environmental disaster. They suck up groundwater which reduces flows in streams, provide a home for deer, possums and pigs and increase the potential for fires.

New Zealand has allocated resources in the past based on a ‘first in first served’ approach. The new Bill proposes allocating resources based on the principles of sustainability, efficiency and equity. The Bill states that a market-based approach must not be used for the taking of freshwater.

Does this mean an existing consent can be compromised if a later application is more sustainable, efficient or equitable?

“This change has come completely out of the blue for Federated Farmers.

“All farmers need water. Whether for irrigation, stock water, shed water and the ecological value it brings, it’s the lifeline farmers rely on, value and respect.

“Farmers are fatigued with the huge level of reform in the last three years, now isn’t the time to change the way water and nutrients are allocated in New Zealand.”

“Water allocation is an incredibly hard policy area to address. It’s worth having a process to discuss this, but the government has jumped straight to a conclusion, not bringing farmers with them. Options like market-based approaches shouldn’t be taken off the table without thorough consultation.”

Also of great concern to Federated Farmers and rural communities is that the new RMA bill accelerates the shift away from local decision making by elected representatives, in favour of centralising to 14 regional planning committees.

More centralisation, more bureaucracy and less local control and input are a hallmark of this government.

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