The Secret Language of Trees

November 2, 2019


Hat tip: Brain Pickings

‘Tis not the season . . .

November 18, 2018

. . . to be hailing:

Rural round-up

November 14, 2018

Mackenzie Country and Waitaki: Balancing the extremes – Sally Rae:

Over the past two decades, the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley have undergone significant change.

The region has gone from a little known backwater to one of the highest profile battlegrounds over environmental protection and agricultural intensification, farmer Annabelle Subtil says.

The Omarama woman  addressed  delegates at the New Zealand Grassland Association’s 80th annual conference in Twizel last week. . . 

Farmers find irrigation can be controversial -Sally Rae:

For Glenn and Sarah Fastier, farming Simons Hill Station  on the eastern side of State Highway 8 between Tekapo and Twizel  is like living in a glasshouse.

The Mackenzie district was an area  many New Zealanders felt connected to and, when it came to land use, there were a lot of differing opinions as to what was appropriate, Mr Fastier said.

They farm next to Simons Pass Station, where a high-profile dairying operation is being established by  Dunedin businessman Murray Valentine,  attracting the ire of environmental activists.

“There’s definitely a different public perception on anything related to dairy. I don’t often think it’s justified. . . 

Guiney for the protest and McBride for the promise – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra shareholders have spoken loudly with the re-election of Leonie Guiney and election of soon-to-be-former Zespri chairman Peter McBride.

One director position is unfilled because incumbent Ashley Waugh, Maori farming leader Jamie Tuuta and multi-farm Canterbury candidate John Nicholls did not reach the required 50% approval of votes cast.

Waugh’s failure to reach the threshold is another aspect of the protest vote and the mood for change among farmer-shareholders after Fonterra’s worst year in financial results and setbacks. . . 

Details vague on proposed rewards scheme – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra will introduce a single on-farm assurance and recognition scheme including the existing milk quality, animal welfare and environmental requirements.

The scheme will begin next season, farmers at the annual meeting in Lichfield were told.

Chairman John Monaghan said the new scheme has not been named and Farm Source employees will interview farmers on the types of recognition and rewards it should contain.

“Once the commercial value is better understood we will decide whether to expand the programme to include financial incentives.”

A small minority of farmers who do not meet minimum standards will be subject to demerits, as is the case now. . . 

Profits up at Westland Milk pre-tax – Brendon McMahon:

Westland Milk Products yesterday posted a before-tax profit of $3.25million as it tries to claw its way to profitability.

Last year’s before-tax profit was just $29,000.

On releasing its annual report the West Coast farmer-owned co-operative acknowledged it was still not industry competitive and lacked “financial flexibility” due to high debt levels and the need for more working capital. . . 

Four Mycoplasma bovis myths busted:

Many farmers are going through a challenging time with the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. But the Ministry for Primary Industries says their stress and anxiety is being compounded by some misinformation. Here the MPI dispels some of those myths:

Myth 1: Mycoplasma bovis has been in New Zealand since around 2004

All of the available research, as well as data collated during on-farm investigations, indicates that Mycoplasma bovis is likely to have arrived in New Zealand in late 2015 to early 2016. Although investigations are ongoing, two pieces of evidence give MPI confidence about that: . . 

Three young leaders up for major agribusiness award :

THREE young agriculturalists from Australia and New Zealand are through to the final for the prestigious 2019 Zanda McDonald Award. 

The award is widely recognised as a badge of honour in the agriculture industry, recognising future leaders and innovative young professionals from both sides of the Tasman.

The 2019 finalists are made up by two Australians and one New Zealander, who were described by judges as ‘diverse and equally impressive’.  . . 

Kea get own gym

January 12, 2018

How could you not love a country where kea get their own gym to distract them from playing with road cones?

Vote for Sam and NZ beauty

February 8, 2017

Otago University student Sam Deauchrass, and talented photographer, has been selected in the top 25 of the Discovery Channel’s intern project.

In a Facebook post he says:

This is where it gets serious…it has come down to a public vote and the 5 people with the most votes by the 19th of February get an interview with the Discovery Channel management team in Sydney Australia! Below is the link to vote
The internship itself looks incredible, working for the Discovery Channel you get to travel around the world to locations such as New York, Italy, Iceland, Malaysia, Singapore & London, also working days at the Discovery Channel Headquarters in London & USA.
Just scroll to my photo & You can vote 10x daily (Literally click ‘Vote Now’ 10 times), it’s so easy to vote and has the potential to make such a big difference!…/
Please share & spread the word! 🙂

Sam’s photo is a stunning one of Nugget Point lighthouse, shortly after sunset.

A win in this prestigious competition would not just be good for Sam but also showcase New Zealand’s natural beauty.

Please follow the link and vote for him – it’s easy as clicking vote 10 times.


366 days of gratitude

December 3, 2016

Mother duck was agitated.

Three of her ducklings were safely huddled behind her but five more had fallen through the grating of the cattle stop.

Mother duck clucked and the ducklings clucked back but she couldn’t help them and they couldn’t help themselves.

I knelt on the cattle stop and reached down, the ducklings scuttled away from me and into a corner.

I stretched my left arm through the grating to deter them from running to the left and reached from behind the ducklings with my right, grabbed some down between two fingers, lifted the duckling up and deposited it beside its mother.

She shooed it towards the other four and continued clucking.

Four more times I herded the ducklings into the corner with one arm and picked one up with the other.

Four more times the mother shooed the rescued duck towards the others.

When the fifth was safely reunited with the family, mother duck stopped quacking and herded her offspring down the path.

Today I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a duck family happy.

Visualising earthquakes

November 30, 2016

AUT and Colab lecturer Dr Stefan Marks used a virtual reality simulation to visualise the 14 November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake and every earthquake in New Zealand since 1900:

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