365 days of gratitude

November 8, 2018

Pruning the Banksiae rose fell off my to-do list.

But my lack of action has been rewarded by a display of floral exuberance, made all the better by weather which is far from clement and for that I’m grateful.


Rural round-up

October 16, 2018

Farming with depression a daily battle for young Waikato Farmer – Gerald Piddock:

Paige Hocking takes it one day at a time in battling depression while working on a dairy farm.

She seldom makes long-term plans because she never knows when the black dog might wander in.

It all starts in the morning when she wakes up on the 125-hectare farm she works as a dairy assistant near Waiterimu in Waikato.

The 21-year-old was diagnosed with depression three years ago. She describes its effects as like shaking up a bottle of soft drink. . .

Scheme’s success testament to conscience of rural community – Richard Davison:

Water quality in New Zealand’s creeks and rivers has become a hot-button issue during recent years, and much has been made of the failure to live up to the nation’s “100% Pure” branding.

Given recent headlines declaring Otago’s waterways to be “horrific”, and with only 60% considered better than “fair” over the course of a 10-year analysis, it would be easy to believe the message has not been getting through to where — and to whom — it matters.

Those often bearing the brunt of blame for deteriorating water quality have been farmers, but their characterisation as wilfully ignorant, environment-wrecking profiteers could not be further from the truth, according to Landcare Research environmental scientist Craig Simpson. . . 

Bees taking farmer on busy journey – Sally Rae:

Julie Kearney is getting a buzz out of bees.

Mrs Kearney and husband Tony farm sheep and beef cattle on Shingly Creek Station, a 2000ha property on the Pig Root.

Nearly three years ago, the fifth-generation farmers were discussing how they did not see many bees on the farm.

So Mrs Kearney completed a certificate in apiculture through Taratahi and she now has 14 established hives. . . 

Mycoplasma bovis compensation mired in delays as plot thickens – Keith Woodford:

The messages coming from MPI, and also mirrored by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s recent comments, are that good progress is being made with Mycoplasma bovis eradication and that MPI is getting on top of its problems. The reality from where I stand is somewhat different.

As of 12 October, official data shows there have been 400 claims lodged for compensation, starting back in the late 2017. Of these, 183 have been either partially or totally paid, leaving 217 waiting in the system. Of those that have been paid, MPI provides no data as to how many are partially paid and how many are total.

In the last four weeks, MPI has averaged 14 payments per week, with an average total weekly payment of around $1.1 million.   At that rate, it will take about four months to clear the existing backlog to get even partial payments. . . 

Massive leap forward for New Zealand sheep genetics:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics has just launched a new $5 million genetic evaluation system – a transformative step for the country’s sheep industry.

B+LNZ Genetics General Manager Graham Alder says the new evaluation is the result of four years of research, developing new cloud-based computing systems and testing.

“It is based on Single Step technology, whereby genomic information is incorporated into the evaluation, alongside traditional genetic measures. The result is a faster, more accurate evaluation, which allows New Zealand ram breeders to make better, more-timely decisions around the selection and dissemination of profitable and consumer-focused genetics. . .

New NZ Young Farmers CEO plans North Island road trip to visit members:

NZ Young Farmers’ new chief executive will “couch surf” her way around the North Island next month.

Lynda Coppersmith has announced plans for a road trip to meet members in Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and the Waikato.

She will also join 40 teachers on a Teachers’ Day Out event in Hawke’s Bay on November 6th. . . 

’Jaw dropping’ : New Zealand offers lessons in tackling climate change – Peter Hannam:

Scott Simpson, New Zealand’s National Party environment spokesman, stunned a trans-Tasman investment meeting last week by stating that climate action was “too important to be playing politics with”.

Or rather, it was the Australian delegates who were shocked, so used are they to the toxic debates in Canberra.

“It made my jaw drop, that’s for sure,” said Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change. . .


Still supporting Simon

October 16, 2018

Why are some in the media saying the Ross saga is a threat to Simon Bridges’ leadership?

His expenses were leaked, he asked for an inquiry, the Speaker appointed someone to do one, cancelled it for no good reason, then secretly got one done anyway.

The PwC report didn’t find conclusive proof of who the leaker is but the evidence “points to Mr Ross”.

Bridges released the report and the caucus will meet to discuss it this morning.

None of this provides grounds to destabilise his leadership.

Even if Ross wasn’t the leaker his bizarre texts show he has ruled himself out of caucus.

If he has mental health issues, and those texts indicate he has, he should get the help he needs, but he should resign while he gets it.

Otherwise, I can’t see that caucus will have any choice but to expel him.

Rather than threatening Bridges as some in the media are forecasting, this will strengthen his leadership, and anyone I’ve spoken to in the party (admittedly a very small number) will support that.

Yes, his personal support in polls is reportedly low. That is inevitable for any leader of the opposition at this time in the electoral cycle.

Although there have been very few public polls, no-one who knows is disputing that National’s party support remains around the same as it was at the election.

Anyone who wants to challenge the leader when the party has that level of support doesn’t have the wisdom and sense to lead.

It might not be much fun being in opposition, but the road out of it is not paved with internal dissent and disunity under a revolving leadership.

Until this blip National was doing a very good job of being united, highlighting faults in the government – and there have been more than enough of them – and working on policy development in preparation for the election.

The decision for caucus is a no-brainer – expel the dissident, carry on united under Bridges’ leadership and earn the votes to return to government.

The alternative is to follow the bad example of Labour which left them wandering in the wilderness of opposition for nearly nine years.


Quote of the day

October 12, 2018

Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail – Luciano Pavarotti who was born on this day in 1937.


Saturday’s smiles

October 6, 2018

That cheese may be Gouda, but this one is Feta.

I’m doing grate, but I could be cheddar.

I used to work as a cheesemonger, but I camembert it any longer

When cheese gets its picture taken what does it say?

A Mexican, an Englishman, and an Americarn were in a bar having drinks.

A gorgeous young woman came up to them and said, “Whoever can use the words ‘liver’ and ‘cheese’ in a creative sentence can date me for tonight.”

The Englishman said, “I love liver and cheese! “

The woman’s said, “That’s not good enough!”

The American said,  “I hate liver and cheese!”

The woman sighed,  “That’s not creative.”

The Mexican said,  “Liver alone, cheese mine!”


DW: Too Much Milk

October 5, 2018

The madness of political interference in milk markets.

The Inquiring Mind

A DW documentary looking at the impact of EU dairy policy, there’s relevance to NZ here as well

View original post


Celebrating winners

October 3, 2018

My farmer spotted these signs in Sydney a couple of months ago:

They were part of a campaign to raise money to help drought-stricken farmers.

”Would we get that sort of support in cities here?” my farmer asked.

When relatively few people now come little closer to farms than a glance out a window as they drive down a main road, and the anti-farming lobby is so vocal the answer could well be no.

But this gives me hope:  the ODT opines that the All Blacks are not our only winners: 

. . . Rugby experts suggest New Zealand’s winning formula is not as dark an art as our black jerseys suggest. Instead, they say, it is a result of hard work and good management, of understanding what the fundamental parts of rugby are, and ensuring players from a very young age learn those basics. In other words, cleverness and hard work.

So can we not dominate a global industry with our cleverness and hard work the way we dominate rugby? Imagine the benefit to New Zealand, to our economy, to our employment rate, to our tax take. The answer of course is obvious: we do. In farming
.

I’m a fan of Fred Dagg and Wal Footrot but sad that those images are close to reality for too many people who don’t know farmers and understand farming.

Our farmers are the All Blacks of international agriculture. Our livestock herds roam farms of natural grass, grass fed by little more than rainwater and manure. The resulting products are the envy of the world, yet our farmers compete on price with factory farmers from other nations, despite receiving none of the tariffs and subsidies many of our competitors do.

Our world-renowned horticulture industry employs thousands, sending prime produce across the globe despite the genuine tyranny of distance implicit in an industry where fresh is considered best
.

I wonder if there is still a lingering snobbery about people who get their hands dirty that means at least some urban people don’t recognise the many skills food producers need and excel at?

The irony is when the All Blacks win their innovation, hard work and brilliance is celebrated. When our farmers win, day after day, year after year, it seems a growing portion of New Zealanders feel nothing but resentment that farming is not just swaying grass and wildflowers. Instead they see a dark industrial evil, polluting rivers, producing emissions and ruining landscapes. Clearly there is an image problem needing fixing.

Mistakes have been made in the past which will take time to repair; and some by accident or deliberately, are still not using best practice.

But those are the minority. Most farmers take their responsibility to look after their stock, their land, waterways and the wider environment, and to treat their staff well, seriously.

Of course, animal welfare, land-use and pollution are serious issues; that is not up for debate. But it is hard to imagine another economically equitable industry without its own unwanted by-products.

Farming requires the landscape to remain covered in photosynthesising plant life. It is spread around the country, ensuring the ongoing existence of hundreds of small communities. In New Zealand, farming is cleaner, kinder and more efficient than virtually anywhere else on earth. It provides healthy, active, well-paid outdoor employment for thousands of Kiwis, and pays for the employment of many thousands more in support roles, including this country’s world-leading agricultural-science industry.

Thankfully many New Zealanders do still value what farming offers New Zealand. They know we are, as a country, world champion farmers and we are immeasurably better off because of that. It is right and natural to celebrate the exploits of our rugby players as they continue to do us proud on the international stage. But let us not forget that it is not the only international stage we excel on. Our farmers are proof of that.

This is high praise.

It is heartening to know that the hard work of farmers, their staff and the many people who service and supply them is recognised and celebrated.

 

 


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