It can take a while . . .

06/08/2022

. . . to get used to a new taste.

But then again:

 


Rural round-up

03/08/2022

Government flip-flopping helping no-one – 50 Shades of Green:

Last week’s letter from Minister Shaw and Nash is baffling.

‚ÄúWhile we consulted on options to prevent exotic forests from registering in the permanent forest category by the end of the year, we have now decided to take more time to fully consider options for the future direction of the ETS permanent forest category. ‚Ķthis means it is unlikely that we will propose closing the permanent category to exotics on 1 January 2023‚ÄĚ

This backflip which we can only conclude has come about on the back of opposition advocacy but with no context for doubling down is unbelievably odd, given last week‚Äôs CCC urgency around limits to offsetting with exotic pine. If MńĀori concerns were what has driven this backflip those concerns could have been dealt with through an exemption‚Äôs regime. Now we are left with no plan, no certainty and even less faith of any decent plan to manage climate change and pollution from industries who have shown little urgency around change while they can merrily plant our food producing hill country in an exotic that will never be harvested and therefore provide no economic benefit to New Zealand.

At least that proposal was something to work with and plan around. . .

Farmer confidence plumbs new depths Feds survey finds:

In January farmer confidence was at the lowest level recorded in biannual surveys that Federated Farmers has been running since 2009. Last month’s survey found it had dropped even further.

More than 1200 farmers from around New Zealand responded to the July survey and a net 47.8% of them considered current economic conditions to be bad, down 55.6 points from January when a net 7.8% considered conditions to be good.

“That‚Äôs a huge drop in six months, Federated Farmers President and trade/economy spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

“Obviously inflation and supply chain disruption fallout from COVID and Russia‚Äôs invasion of the Ukraine are part of it, but continued concern over the pace and direction of government reform and regulation, not to mention staff shortages, are also contributing to uncertainty and gloom,” he said. . . .

Aerial methods used to rid Otago of wallabies

Wallaby hunters are turning to helicopters, drones and thermal cameras in a bid to eradicate the pests from Otago.

The Otago Regional Council predicted the cost to the South Island economy would escalate to about $67 million a year within a decade if action wasn’t taken now.

The pests cause serious damage to the environment, deplete forest understories, prevent native forest regeneration, compete with livestock for food, foul pastures, and damage crops and fences.

The council is part of the government’s national wallaby eradication programme. . .¬†

Fonterra to close Brightwater milk powder plant:

Fonterra has today announced it will be closing the milk powder plant at its Brightwater site near Nelson in April 2023. However, milk collection and associated activities will continue at Brightwater as Fonterra moves its milk transfer activities there from Tuamarina.

The small aging plant processes about 0.25% of the Co-operative’s overall milk supply into whole milk powder. Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Fraser Whineray says the move, which will instead see the milk being processed at Fonterra’s Darfield site, is in line with Fonterra’s long-term strategy.

“We know milk supply is declining over time, flat at best, so we need to make sure we’re getting the most out of every drop of milk and optimising our plants to match both consumer demand and available milk supply.

“Part of our long-term strategy is to direct more milk into our Foodservice and Consumer business, less into Ingredients, and in some cases, to divert product away from the Global Dairy Trade auctions. This, along with forecast capital and maintenance costs, means we’ve made the tough decision to close our milk powder plant at Brightwater. . .

New wood fibre technology set to future proof local hort, agri industries NZ Plant Producers:

When you purchase locally grown fruit, vegetables, or plants from your favourite retailer they will have been grown in compost or potting mix which usually contains a highly sought-after ingredient called peat which boosts production, retains nutrients, and holds water.

An estimated 60,000 cubic metres of growing media (compost, garden/potting mixes etc) is used each year within the horticultural and agricultural industries in New Zealand and much of it contains peat.

There is a small amount of peat extracted here in New Zealand but as peat bogs are regulated in the same way as the likes of coal mines their days are numbered.

Most of the peat contained in compost and other growing media used by New Zealand growers is imported from Canada or Eastern Europe. . . 

Emerging leaders take on B+LNZ’s Generation Next programme¬†:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Generation Next programme is well underway.

The programme targets emerging farming leaders, building their technical skills while widening their network.

Participants attend three workshops over a six-month period to upskill in key farm management areas with topics spanning from understanding financial and management basics to technology and genetics as well as mental health and wellbeing.

The first North Island intake graduated last week after completing module three. . . .

 


To flush or not to flush

23/07/2022

When you’ve grown up flushing loo paper down the loo it’s very hard to not do it.

But this map shows that countries where the plumbing system can cope with paper flushing are in the minority.

Thanks: Brilliant Maps


If the world was Argentinian-centric. . . .

16/07/2022

. . .  The world map would look like this:

Thanks: Brilliant Maps


How do you pronounce scone?

09/07/2022

Thanks: Brilliant Maps


11/12

06/06/2022

11/12 in Pew’s international affairs quiz.

Analysis of the poll makes interesting reading:

. . .On average, Americans give more correct than incorrect answers to the 12 questions in the study. The mean number of correct answers is 6.3, while the median is 7. But the survey finds that levels of international knowledge vary based on who is answering. Americans with more education tend to score higher, for example, than those with less formal education. Men also tend to get more questions correct than women. Older Americans and those who are more interested in foreign policy also tend to perform better.

Political party groups are roughly similar in their overall levels of international knowledge, although conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats tend to score higher on the scale than do their more moderate counterparts. . . 

Hat tip: Kiwiblog


3/10

19/05/2022

Oh dear, worse than a chimp rolling a dice –¬† only 3/10 in the Spinoff’s Budget history quiz.

 


17/24 & 18/20

07/02/2022

I scored 17/24 in the Life in the UK Quiz which is a requirement for people seeking citizenship there.

Several of the answers were guesses and a lot of the questions were ones I am sure people born in the UK wouldn’t get right.

It doesn’t matter for me. My father was Scottish which gives me the right to citizenship and enabled me to get a UK passport when I worked there during my OE.

But if I was wanting to know if someone would be a good citizen I’d come up with a much better test than this one.

The Australian one is better (and not just because I got 18/20 in it).

There isn’t a test for people seeking citizenship in New Zealand.

What questions would be appropriate to ask if there was?

Hat Tip: Elle Hunt at the Spinoff


Cold kills more than heat

11/08/2021

More people die from the cold than heat:

It is much easier to cool down in extreme heat that usually lasts only hours to days than to warm up in the killer cold that can last weeks or months.

This isn’t an argument to ignore climate change. It is an argument for being very careful about unexpected, possibly fatal, consequences of policies designed to lower emissions.

Several weeks ago RNZ reported on fears for the elderly as frosts started to bite and on Monday night the power went off completely:

. . .General manager of operations Dr Stephen Jay told the Herald he couldn’t rule out any further disruption to the network, stating “the emergency is far from over”.

“Things are running tight. Supplies have been running to the wire this morning.”

Last night’s outages affected parts of Wellington, KńĀpiti Coast, TaupŇć,¬†Hamilton, Napier, Hastings, Auckland and WhangńĀrei.

None were warned yesterday that they would be without power, on a night which saw many cities head towards, or below, zero degrees. . . 

Households were inconvenienced, many people had to endure the cold and, oh the irony, people who couldn’t charge their EVs had to rely on petrol and diesel fuelled cars.

The black out also caused problems for businesses. Stock had to be turned away from freezing works and cows were left unmilked on some farms that do 16-hour milking.

National Party leader Judith Collins likened the outage to that which happened in a third world country.

“We do not live in a third world country.

“It was one of the coldest nights of the year last night and many families couldn’t keep warm.

“We should always expect that it will be colder in winter and we’ll need to use more energy, but the Government has failed New Zealanders by not being prepared.

“The Government has to be able to keep the lights on. This useless lot has failed to do that. ” . .¬†

Power companies must accept some of the blame but government policies are also responsible:

. . .As   Point  of  Order  sees  it,  there  will  be  a  great  deal  of  hand-wringing  in the Beehive  (and   possibly  some  glee across   in  the  Opposition  wing).   For  this   is  a  crisis   all   of  the  government’s  own  making. 

Remember¬† that the¬† decision¬† to¬†¬† ban¬† further¬† offshore¬† oil¬† exploration¬† was¬† Ardern‚Äôs¬† ‚Äúnuclear¬† moment‚ÄĚ.¬† It¬† drove¬† away¬† international¬† oil¬† explorers, just¬†¬†¬† at¬† the¬† time¬† a¬†¬† bunch¬† of¬† companies¬† had¬† been¬† planning further¬† work,¬† including¬† the¬† exploitation¬†¬† of¬† already discovered ¬†fields.

Since  then,  first  the  Labour-NZ  First  coalition  set  the  target  of  becoming  100% renewable  which  spurred  the  big  electricity  generators  to  turn  away  from fossil  fuels, earmarking more investment  for  wind farms,  and  subsequently  demand  for  electricity   has  outpaced  expectations.   

Labour’s  focus  on  renewables yielded  the  kind of  political  irony   this  week  when  700 MW  of wind  turbine  capacity  lay idle  because the  air  was  so  still  (but  the  locals were freezing). . .

Neither solar nor wind generation is 100% reliable. The sun doesn’t shine every day, it never shines at night, and wind turbines need neither too much nor too little wind to operate.

The government blundered into policies to reduce the use of fossil fuels without a proper plan for the transition. As a result we’re burning dirtier imported coal than our own and having power cuts.

Hamish Rutherford explains:

. . .As has happened before, Woods blamed the issue on commercial decisions by private companies. That does not get us very far. Of course companies make commercial decisions.

Between the decision to rip up the rules on the gas market, to the difficulty consenting renewables projects, to the threat to build hydro storage at Lake Onslow, the market is simply responding to the signals that the Government is sending it.

The government might think climate change is an emergency that requires drastic action but it won’t get buy-in from people who expect a first-world power supply when its policies result in third-world service.

This is night time in North Korea, blacked out among its brighter, lighter neighbours.

,

We need security of supply so that we don’t have to endure the same cold, dark nights here.


9/15

01/06/2021

9/15 in Stuff and DairyNZ”s quiz for World Milk Day.

Could do better.


23/22

09/09/2020

23/22 – extra point for correctly spelling jandal.

I’d add:

23. Crib

24. Dag

25. ABs

26. Whanau


Rural round-up

13/03/2020

The challenge for NZ food production is keeping up with the science while Fonterra restores its financial health – Point of Order:

Technology  is  opening  a  whole  new direction for  food production, reports  The  Guardian.

Robotics   and drones are reducing   the need for humans to be on the  land,  while  vertical  farming,  in which  vegetables  can be grown in sunless  warehouses using  LED  lighting, gene editing and metagenics are delivering new definitions of  food.

According to a¬† recent¬† report¬† by the think tank¬† RethinkX, within¬† 15¬† years¬† the rise of¬† cell-based meat ‚Äď made¬† of animal cells¬† grown in a bioreactor ‚Äď will bankrupt¬† the US‚Äôs¬† huge¬† beef industry,¬† at the same time¬† removing the¬† need to grow soya¬† and maize¬† for¬†¬† feed. . .¬†

Can new crops crack down on cow methane? Meet the scientists finding out – Alex Braae:

The debate about methane emissions from farming is both ongoing and polarising, and many are pinning their hopes on scientific advances to avoid both de-stocking and climate breakdown. But how effective can these measures actually be? Alex Braae visited a research lab on the front lines of this fight. 

At a sprawling campus on the outskirts of Palmerston North, research is taking place that could shape the future of New Zealand’s rural economy. 

It is here that the grasslands facility of crown research entity AgResearch is based. And it is here where one of the most important scientific questions in the country is being thrashed out ‚Äď can science help meaningfully lower the methane emissions of cows and sheep? ¬†. .

Wairarapa ‘heading into a drought’ – Fed Farmers – Marcus Anselm:

Wairarapa farmers are seeking central government backing as the threat of a drought moves closer.

Dry conditions in neighbouring ManawatŇę and Tararua and other nearby areas have led to Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor confirming a “medium sized adverse event” for the regions.

“Many parts of the country are doing it tough due to a substantial lack of rain,” O’Connor said. . .

Parched conditions in Hawke’s Bay hitting hard amid calls for drought declaration – Anusha Bradley:

Hawke’s Bay farmers and leaders are urging the government to declare a drought as parts of the region experience the driest period on record.

Central Hawke’s Bay and Hastings were the worst hit with farmers saying the lack of water had not only hit summer crops but winter feed was now at risk if it did not rain soon.

For some parts of Hawke’s Bay, the four months between November and February have been the driest in 50 years. . .

Drought for North Island, Chatham Islands, part of South unlocks $2m relief funding :

The entire North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands have been declared as being in drought by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

O’Connor said the large-scale adverse event declaration, announced this morning, would unlock up to $2 million of funding to help farmers and growers from now until June 2021.

Medium-scale drought declarations had already been announced in Northland, Auckland and Waikato, Gisborne, ManawatŇę, Rangitńękei, and Tararua – but this new classification covers the entire North Island along with Tasman, Marlborough, KaikŇćura, North Canterbury and the Chathams. . .

Moves to make horticultural water available to Kaikohe residents – Susan Botting

Far North District Council is aiming to tap into new government-funded Kaikohe water storage to permanently supply the mid-north town.

Far North District Council (FNDC) mayor John Carter said the council had already been working with Government and Northland Regional Council (NRC) on using the water from storage to be built in the North through the region’s $30 million Provincial Growth Fund project.

Carter said FNDC wanted to set up a scheme like had been developed for Kerikeri in the 1980s. This had been developed with the dual purpose to permanently provide water for horticulture and Kerikeri township. . .

Straight Off The Tussock chapter 1 – Tim Fulton:

Broomfield in North Canterbury was a quiet pond, but Jack was the stone that skipped across it.

 I was constantly in trouble. My father Gordon was away most of the time, always busy, so I rarely saw him.

And my mother Winifred, well, she was 45 when I was born and totally incapable of looking after children, so during the day I was usually left to my own devices. One of the first things I did on the farm was paint one of our white calves red with house paint. I’d noticed how the calves got marked at certain times of the season so I painted the whole calf. Terrible job they had getting the paint off…nearly killed it. Another time, father had shorn about 20 wethers ready to go to market. Back in the 1920s you had to brand your sheep for shearing, but he’d left these ones alone because they were going to be sold about three weeks later. I decided they hadn’t been branded properly so I got the dog and away I went; mustered them into the top paddock, down the road into the yards, into the front pen of the shearing shed and proceeded to brand them. As far as I could tell there wasn’t a space left on them untouched. Well, that was the last time I was in the pen with a branding iron. Father was so ashamed of the sheep he kept them stuck out of sight in the paddock until they were ready to shear again. I could have only been three or four…

After the bushfires, what now? –¬†Roger Franklin:

The usual controversy about fuel reduction burning in forested parks and reserves has erupted in the wake of the ‚ÄúBlack Summer Bushfires‚ÄĚ (as they have become known) in NSW, Qld and Victoria. Predictably, two broad camps formed up on opposite sides of the blackened and shrivelled no-man‚Äôs land that, until a few months ago, had been beautiful eucalypt forests and havens for wildlife.

On one side are the land and bushfire managers, land owners and volunteer firefighters, people who deal with fire in the real world. They are all calling for more prescribed burning, knowing that it will  mitigate bushfire intensity, making fires easier and safer to control.  Loud in opposition are the green academics and environmentalists, usually supported by the ABC, claiming that fuel reduction does not work, and even if it did, this would be a pyrrhic victory, because the burning would have destroyed our fragile biodiversity. . . 

Meat and dairy sales surge in December quarter:

Meat and dairy boosted the total volume of manufacturing sales to its strongest quarterly rise in six years, Stats NZ said today.

The volume of total manufacturing sales rose 2.7 percent in the December 2019 quarter, after a flat September 2019 quarter, when adjusted for seasonal effects. It was led by a 7.9 percent lift in meat and dairy products manufacturing sales, following falls in the two previous quarters.

‚ÄúThis quarter‚Äôs rise is the largest increase in total manufacturing sales volumes in six years,‚ÄĚ business statistics manager Geraldine Duoba said. . .

 


Palindrome day

02/02/2020

Today is 02.02.20, a rare palindrome day.


10/15

26/12/2019

10/15 In the Spinoff’s news of the year quiz.


8/10

13/09/2019

8/10 in the Herald’s history quiz.


Melbourne Cup picks

06/11/2018

It’s Melbourne Cup day.

My picks, based on total ignorance of form are:

1:  (because I know the owners):
7

Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (18)

 

2: (because the jockey is in blue):

1

Best Solution (IRE) (6)

3: (because the jockey is in Otago colours – blue and yellow).

Marmelo (GB) (10)

The field and form are here


12/14

01/10/2018

12/14 in this French test – given how rusty the slight grasp I have on that language is, the test must be pretty simple.


108

01/09/2018

How’s your English grammar?

108
‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ Top 0.01% Language god
Your English level has reached extraordinary heights. No one can compete with you.

A reflection on the simplicity of the exercises rather than my grasp of grammar.


8/10

19/08/2018

8/10 in an old (2010 but I stumbled across it today) Stuff farming quiz.

The racing question was one I got wrong.

I include racing stories in rural round-ups because it’s rural, but is it farming?


Can you identify these flowers?

01/08/2018

41/50 in this flower quiz.


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