Word of the day

May 28, 2019

Scop –  an Old English bard or poet.


Thatcher thinks

May 20, 2019


Reserve Bank’s plan to cost farmers up to $8m/year more

May 7, 2019

The Reserve Banks’ plan to require banks to hold more reserves could cost farmers up to $800m a year in extra interest:

Estimates of the impact on interest rates range from the Reserve Bank’s own stab of 20 to 40 basis points up to the 120 bps estimated by the local arm of Swiss investment bank UBS, Federated Farmers says.

Multiplied across the agricultural sector’s $63 billion debt pile that would see farmers slugged for anywhere between $120m and $800m in extra interests costs annually.

“For farmers an increase in costs along the lines of the Reserve Bank’s modest estimate would be unwelcome enough while the worst-case scenario would be devastating,” the federation wrote to the Reserve Bank.

The bank wants trading banks to increase the minimum amount of capital they hold against loans from 8% to 16% within five years.

The increase is designed to ensure the banks have the capital needed to survive the write-downs on loans the Reserve Bank estimates would come with a one-in-200-years downturn.

Officially, the cost to the banks of meeting the new capital minimums is being put at $20b but banking sources believe it could be billions more. . . 

Ensuring banks survive a crisis is sensible but the Reserve Bank’s plan would require far greater reserves than ought to be needed and that will add high and unnecessary costs to loans.

Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean said shareholders in the banks’ Australian parent companies will not stump up that sort of money unless they can see a return.

In all likelihood that means interest rates would have to rise to offset the decrease in returns that would come with holding higher amounts of capital against the same amount of lending.

“We think the middle of that 80 to 120 basis points range is where it might come out but that is an average across all lending and it may fall differently across different portfolios of lending,” McLean said.

The increase is likely to be at the higher end of that range for agricultural lending because of the higher risk weighting applied to lending against farms, which historically experience bigger ups and downs in values and are seen as a riskier form of security than houses.

Because agricultural lending soaks up more capital per dollar lent the returns are lower for the banks’ shareholders relative to other types of lending where less capital is required. . . 

Should borrowers have to pay the price for safeguarding banks against a one in 200 year downturn?

The ANZ is warning farmers that if the Reserve Bank’s plan is implemented it will increase the cost of borrowing.

That in turn will increase the cost of production resulting in lower profits from farming and/or higher prices for food and fibre.

The Australian-owned companies which dominate the banking sector in New Zealand weathered the global financial crisis, why force them to hold such high reserves?


Rural round-up

March 14, 2019

Lack of Kiwi workers a problem – Chris Tobin:

Young New Zealanders are still slow in coming forward to work in the dairy industry and it’s becoming a mounting problem, not just in dairy, but also in other sectors.

South Canterbury Federated Farmers dairy spokesman Ads Hendriks said he advertised a position in recent months and only one of the nine applicants was a New Zealander.

”Two were Filipinos already on a farm in New Zealand, two were Indians also on farms here and then there were four others from India.

”The one New Zealander had a CV which had three months on a job, followed by another three months and another three months. That’s the sort of choice you have as an employer.” . . 

Could Overseer be leading to troubled waters? –

Time is fast running out to iron out all the issues with Overseer, writes Federated Farmers North Otago Dairy Chair Jared Ross.

Key Otago Regional Council Water Plan nitrogen leaching rules take effect in April 2020 and your attention is needed immediately.

A recent meeting on the Otago water plan drew a sizeable crowd, who picked a number of gaping holes in the regulation as they tried to understand the real impact on their business beyond April 1, 2020.

Many of these shortcomings relate to the hard numbers based on Overseer contained with the Otago water plan. . . 

Three generations all judging – Sally Rae:

There was something a bit special going on in the equestrian judging at the Wanaka A&P Show.

Three generations of one family were officiating in the ring, led by family matriarch, the remarkable Catherine Bell (81), of Southland. Mrs Bell has had a lifetime involvement with horses and ponies and that interest has been passed on to her daughter Dawn Kennedy, who is in her 60s, and grand-daughter Georgina Bell (22).

All three were at Wanaka, kept busy with various judging duties.. . 

Time for Marlborough to discuss water storage

It is time once again, as the wider Marlborough community, to discuss water storage writes Federated Farmers Marlborough provincial president Phillip Neal.

Liquid gold or water as it is known in Marlborough is our lifeblood.

The Marlborough Environment Plan hearings have just finished after fifteen months. Water allocation was the last issue raised but I think the most important.

This included water allocation from all our rivers, especially our biggest river and aquifer, the Wairau. . . 

Motueka fruit exporter opens cutting edge apple packhouse – TIm O’Connell:

A major player in Motueka’s fruit industry says its new apple packhouse is as “good as it gets in the world” .

Golden Bay Fruit Packers’ new 25,000 square metre packing house has been officially opened on a 4.6 hectare site on Queen Victoria St.

More than 800 guests from the Motueka community and the company’s 200 Pasifika RSE workers attended the opening ceremony inside the new building on Tuesday. . .

Seeka purchases Aongatete Coolstores for $25m:

Seeka Limited today announced that is has agreed to purchase kiwifruit orcharding, packing and coolstore business and assets of Aongatete Coolstores Limited in the Bay of Plenty for $25m.

Seeka Chief Executive, Michael Franks said the acquisition was aligned to the company’s growth strategy and builds on Seeka’s kiwifruit foundation. “Aongatete’s kiwifruit packhouse and coolstore facility processes around 4.5m trays of green and gold fruit, providing Seeka additional market presence in a growth industry. The acquisition compliments our existing business with further infrastructure in a great growing location.” . . .

Dutch cows are about to walk on water: here’s how – Richard Martyn-Hemphill:

This spring in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam, cows will walk on water.

Holy Cow?!

Not exactly: they’ll simply be the first offshore bovine residents aboard a maverick urban agtech project known as the Floating Farm.

Two vast steel mooring poles fasten a buoyant three-story structure of concrete, steel, and polycarbonates to the riverbed beneath Rotterdam’s Merwehaven Harbour.

If it is a bit surprising all those materials stay afloat, it will be even more so once it gets packed, over the next few months, with a hale and hearty herd of 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows.  . . 


March 10 in history

March 10, 2019

241 BC Battle of the Aegates Islands – The Romans sank the Carthaginian fleet bringing the First Punic War to an end.

1606 Susenyos defeated the combined armies of Yaqob and Abuna Petros II at the Battle of Gol in Gojjam, which made him Emperor of Ethiopia.

1762 French Huguenot Jean Calas, who was wrongly convicted of killing his son, died after being tortured by authorities; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform.

1804 Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.

1814 Napoleon I of France was defeated at the Battle of Laon in France.

1830 The KNI, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, was created.

1831  The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

1844 – Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist and composer was born (d. 1908).

1847  Kate Sheppard, New Zealand suffragist, was born  (d. 1934).

1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican-American War.

1861 El Hadj Umar Tall seized the city of Segou, destroying the Bambara Empire of Mali.

18867 – Lillian Wald, American nurse, humanitarian, and author, founded the Henry Street Settlement, was born (d. 1940).

1869 The New Zealand Cross was created because New Zealand’s local military were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, all to men who served in the New Zealand wars, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world.

New Zealand Cross created

1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call by saying “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

1891 Almon Strowger, an undertaker patented the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.

1905 Eleftherios Venizelos called for Crete’s union with Greece, and started the Theriso revolt.

1906 Courrières mine disaster, Europe’s worst ever, killed 1099 miners in Northern France.

1912 Yuan Shikai was sworn in as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China.

1917  Batangas was formally founded as one of the Philippines’s earliest encomiendas.

1922 Mahatma Gandhi was arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation.

1933  – Elizabeth Azcona Cranwell, Argentinian poet and translator, was born (d. 2004).

1933 An earthquake in Long Beach, California killed 115 people and causes an estimated $40 million dollars in damage.

1945 The USA Army Air Force firebombed Tokyo, and the resulting firestorm killed more than 100,000 people.

1946  – Mike Hollands, Australian animator and director, founded Act3animation, was born.

1947 – Kim Campbell, Canadian lawyer and politician, 19th Prime Minister of Canada

1952 –  Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, was born.

1952  Fulgencio Batista led a successful coup in Cuba and appointed himself as the “provisional president”.

1957 Osama bin Laden, Islamist and leader of al-Qaeda, was born (d. 2011).

1959 Tibetan uprising: Fearing an abduction attempt by China, 300,000 Tibetans surround the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent his removal.

1964 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born.

1969 James Earl Ray admitted assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He later retracted his guilty plea.

1970 Captain Ernest Medina was charged with My Lai war crimes.

1977 Rings of Uranus: Astronomers discover rings around Uranus.

1980 Madeira School headmistress Jean Harris shot and killed Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower.

1983 – Carrie Underwood, American singer-songwriter and actress, was born.

1980 – Formation of the Irish Army Ranger Wing

1990 In Haiti, Prosper Avril was ousted 18 months after seizing power in a coup.

1995 – Auckland Warriors debuted in the New South Wales Rugby League’s expanded Winfield Cup competition.

Auckland Warriors debut

2000 NASDAQ Composite stock market index peaked at 5132.52, signaling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom.

2006 The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.

2017  – The impeachment of President Park Geun-hye of South Korea in response to a major political scandal is unanimously upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court, ending her presidency.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


Rural round-up

March 9, 2019

MP says Landcorp is ‘out of touch’ – Sally Rae:

Hamish Walker Hamish Walker Landcorp has rejected a suggestion by Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker that it is “out of touch” with farmers.

Mr Walker contacted the Otago Daily Times after yesterday’s primary production select committee meeting which he described as a “fiery one”.

But Landcorp spokesman Simon King said the company did not agree with Mr Walker’s categorisation of the exchanges “which from our perspective were, for the most part, well mannered” . . 

Lean tools boost performance – Richard Rennie:

Increasing costs, lack of time, poor performance and farmers’ inability to step out of the business prompted a self-help book to give farmers simple tools and concepts to address these issues.

Manawatu management consultant and dairy farmer Jana Hocken has taken some of the principals often used in big multi-nationals and put them into a New Zealand dairying context in her new book, The Lean Dairy Farm.

Hocken’s book is based on the concept of lean, aiming to achieve continuous improvement of things in farmers’ control. . . 

Entries open for inaugural NZ Primary Industries Awards:

Across New Zealand’s agri-sector, it has long been recognised that we need to tell our primary producers’ story better and to celebrate our innovators.  That’s what the new Primary Industries Awards are all about.

“The awards, which will be presented at the inaugural Primary Industries Summit at Te Papa in Wellington on July 1, are a great chance to increase awareness of the vital role the primary sector plays in the economy,” Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says.

“We want to identify and reward the most successful and innovative primary sector operators, and by promoting those role models we’ll stimulate greater involvement and interest in the primary sector from graduates, investors, politicians and the media.” . . 

Barking drones used on farms instead of sheep dogs – Maja Burry:

Robots aren’t just stealing human jobs, they’re after man’s best friend too – now there’s a drone that can bark like a sheep dog.

The latest drone developments come as more farmers have started using the technology for work on the farm in recent years.

Drone specialist from Christchurch-based DJI Ferntech, Adam Kerr, said the uptake in drones for agricultural uses had now made the National Agricultural Fieldays in Hamilton one of the biggest events in the company’s calendar.

“The past two years have seen farmers embrace drone technology to help with those jobs that are dirty, dangerous or just plain dull,” he said. . . 

2019 Northland Dairy Industry Award winner living the dream:

The 2019 Northland Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners realised while studying at university that the office life wasn’t for them, so they made the decision to chase the New Zealand rural life dream and haven’t looked back.

Colin and Isabella Beazley were named the 2019 Northland Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at Toll Stadium in Whangarei last night, and won $7,927 in prizes plus four merit awards. The other major winners were the 2019 Northland Dairy Manager of the Year Lorraine Ferreira, and the 2019 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year, Daniel Waterhouse. . .
Defra have no Brexit impact assessment for sheep farming

The government has not conducted any analysis of the potential impact of leaving the EU on British sheep farming, it has been revealed.

Defra has admitted, after a freedom of information (FoI) request, that it did not hold any information or documents relating to an assessment of the impact of Brexit on sheep farming.

A response from the department added: “We can confirm that to the best of our knowledge the information is not held by another public authority.” . . 


Sowell says

February 7, 2019


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