Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) say it is distressing to see rural communities suffer due to a lack of access to quality health services.
RWNZ president Gill Naylor says the health and wellbeing of rural communities is at risk of further deterioration if something is not done to resolve the issues facing people who live, work and play in rural New Zealand.
In June this year, a rural health strategy was added to the Pae Ora Healthy Futures legislation which came into effect last month. The strategy had been removed during the select committee phase but was added back into the legislation after Health Minister Andrew Little was convinced to add it by his party’s ‘rural caucus’.
Naylor says the challenges rural families face with access to health services are varied and include a lack of rural midwives, lack of rural nurses and GPs, lack of rural mental health services, delays in emergency services such as ambulances and long distances to travel for services like allied health and cancer treatment. . .
Exotics forestation surges on ETS carbon values – Richard Rennie:
The Climate Change Commission is estimating exotic forestation has surged to a rate well beyond the annual levels it says is required for New Zealand to achieve 380,000ha of exotic plantings by 2035.
The commission’s general manager for emissions budgets, Stephen Walter, told delegates at this year’s Carbon Forestry conference that the latest data indicates 60,000ha of exotic forest will be planted this year. That is more than twice the rate the commission envisaged.
This is also reflected in the Ministry for Primary Industries’ workload for accepting forests into the Emissions Trading Scheme. MPI’s ETS forestry manager, Simon Petrie, said there is an application queue of 130,000ha of forest awaiting scheme approval as of June.
The recent move by the commission to recommend the government limit carbon units is partly due to concern that current ETS emissions prices will drive large-scale afforestation for sequestering carbon, rather than behaviour change to reduce emissions. . .
Rural residents ropeable over lack of cellphone coverage – Rachel Graham :
Residents in Ladbrooks, a seven-minute drive from the edge of suburban Christchurch, say living in a cellphone coverage blackspot is annoying and dangerous.
Ladbrooks School, with its 150 pupils, sits in the centre of a semi-rural area with an increasing number of lifestyle blocks.
It also sits in the middle of a cellphone black spot.
Ladbrooks School principal Margaret Dodds said the lack of cellphone coverage was much more than an inconvenience. . .
Bale-grazing experiment benefits cows and soil – Shawn McAvinue:
A grass and hay wintering system is showing promising results in Northern Southland.
AgResearch Invermay soil scientist Ross Monaghan is running a nearly $1 million project to explore whether dairy cows grazing on pasture in winter can reduce nitrogen leaching and mud compared with being on traditional forage crops.
The Soil Armour Project was launched in October 2020.
Experiment sites are live on a dairy farm on the Telford campus near Balclutha and Freedom Acres Dairy Farm at Wendonside. . .
More than 250 growers, suppliers, industry leaders and government officials from around the country will gather at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson for the 2022 NZ Apples and Pears Inc (NZAPI) Conference.
The Conference will be held on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 August, with the industry AGM being held on Wednesday 24 August at 4pm. An ‘Agritech in the Orchard’ field day will be also be held on Wednesday 24 August, a collaboration between Callaghan Innovation and NZAPI.
The theme for the 2022 conference is ‘Adapting to New Horizons’. NZAPI CEO Terry Meikle says that two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, we have learned to modify and adapt to a new environment to ensure New Zealand pipfruit can continue to compete on the global stage, demand premiums and remain an industry exemplar.
“NZ is widely regarded as the best apple and pear producer in the world, but to retain that title, we must continue to adapt and innovate. The Conference will explore how we as an industry can meet and succeed in these new environments. . .
Improving crop resilience with nanoparticles – Neil Savage:
Materials that can carry CRISPR gene-editing into plant cells could be key in the fight against global hunger.
There were sceptics when Michael Strano and his colleagues published their method for using nanoparticles to alter the biology of living plants (J. P. Giraldo et al. Nature Mater. 13, 400–408; 2014). In a letter to Nature Materials, one prominent plant scientist stated that the findings were wrong. “She wrote to the editor and said, ‘What these authors are proposing is not possible. We think they’re misinterpreting their data’,” Strano recalls.
But the chemical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, won over his critics, overturning an assumption that the membrane of the chloroplast — an organelle within plant cells that is responsible for photosynthesis — was impervious. “We had real-time video of particles going into this seemingly impenetrable chloroplast,” he says. The method, known as lipid exchange envelope penetration (LEEP), allows scientists to calculate where a nanoparticle will go to inside a cell — such as into the chloroplast or another organelle — or whether it will remain in the cytosol, the fluid that surrounds the organelles. This information can inform the design of nanoparticles that carry gene-editing machinery to targeted areas to rewrite the plant’s genome and imbue it with properties such as pest and disease resistance.
In particular, researchers are exploiting the CRISPR gene-editing system to engineer food crops that offer higher yields, or plants that produce compounds used in medications. The technology, for which Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, allows specific stretches of DNA to be targeted for editing, deletion or replacement. . .