Rural round-up

July 27, 2016

New rules for bobby calves confirmed:

New regulations to strengthen the law around the treatment of bobby calves have been officially gazetted today and most will be in place for the 1 August Spring calving season, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“As signalled earlier this year, these regulations have now been confirmed by Cabinet. They are an important step in protecting animals and New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible producer,” says Mr Guy.

“They set clear standards and include a wider set of compliance tools including the ability to issue infringement notices for lower level offending, and broader prosecutable offences. . . 

Ministry for Primary Industries's photo.

Time of the gentle greys is coming – Andrea Fox:

Pulling up to Paradise Valley Murray Grey Stud is a shot in the arm for jaded winter farming spirits and perhaps, the breed’s future, writes Andrea Fox.

It’s the middle of winter in the misty, chill hills on the way to Kawhia but you’d never know it looking at Micheal Phillips’ murray greys.

They’re looking a million bucks. Seal fat and well-content – from autumn calves up to the strapping big sire bulls. A sight for sore eyes compared to some livestock doing harder time in this western corner of the Waikato.

Shirt-clad Phillips, like his cattle apparently impervious to winter, farms a registered murray grey stud herd and a commercial herd on 250 hectares in the Honikiwi district, along with 150 non-murray grey heifers bought as weaners and destined for the prime meat and store markets, and 600 romney and coopworth ewes. . . 

Ewe pregnancies back as facial eczema takes its toll – Jill Galloway:

Manawatu and Rangitikei farmers are facing fewer lambs than expected as facial eczema takes its toll on ewes.

Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei Meat & Fibre chairman, Richard Morrison said scanning was back about 10 per cent and ewes were carrying fewer lambs.

“And dry rates [ewes not in lamb] varied a lot across the regions.  We had 2 per cent, but some people were probably as high as 20 per cent.” . . 

Biosecurity 2025 discussion document released:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has launched the Biosecurity 2025 discussion document today, seeking public feedback on a long term direction for the biosecurity system.

“New Zealand has a world leading biosecurity system, but the challenges and opportunities we face are changing rapidly. The time is right to identify the changes and improvements that will be needed to maintain a resilient biosecurity system over the next 10 years,” says Mr Guy.

“The primary sector is a significant part of New Zealand’s economy, making up around half of all our exports. We need to protect our producers from unwanted pests and diseases, which is why biosecurity has always been my number one priority as Minister. . . 

Ministry for Primary Industries's photo.

Local dairy farms struggle to find staff, blame pot – Will Houston:

Several Humboldt County dairy farmers say they are facing a widespread shortage of employees due to restrictive immigration control as well as being outcompeted by the cannabis cultivation industry.

As result, some dairy farms may have to sell some of their cows or even close down their farms as their daily workload mounts, according to Western United Dairymen trade association’s Melissa Lema. Others say they will just have to grit their teeth and try to make up for the extra work as best they can.

“I’ve had a dairy producer tell me that it was the worst three months he has had than he has had in 45 years in the business,” said Lema, who is the trade association’s North Coast representative and represents 63 dairy farms in Humboldt County. . . 

Morning Frosts a Change From Tropical Conditions for Fonterra Visitors:

Getting up early on a foggy frosty Waikato morning for calving is quite a change for the nine Indonesian farmers in New Zealand this winter with Fonterra’s Dairy Development programme.

These farmers who would normally work in hot and humid 31 degree temperatures, are now rugged up to spend four weeks in New Zealand as part of their 12 week scholarship programme with Fonterra.

Fonterra’s Dairy Development programme teaches farmers in developing countries animal care best practice, and other key skills to improve on-farm efficiencies that produce higher volumes of better quality milk.

Joining the farmers in the programme are three Indonesian Government dairy extension officers and two Fonterra Sri Lankan supplier relationship officers. . . 


Conserving NZ sq metre by sq metre

July 27, 2016

Making New Zealand Predator Free by 2050 is an audacious goal and it will be expensive but we could adopt a cunning plan used in Scotland to help pay for it.

Highland Titles is conserving Scotland one square foot at a time by selling plots of land from 1 square foot to 1,000 square feet in Glencoe Wood and Mountainview Bumblebee Haven.

Buyers get  a personal right to a plot of land, complete with a precise Ordnance Survey grid reference, a certificate, plot ID card,  landowner’s handbook and the right to  call themselves Lady, Lord or Laird of Glencoe.

Highland Titles Limited remains the registered owner of the land which it manages as a nature reserve.

Highland Titles is owned by a charitable trust which ensures that the land can only ever be used for conservation purposes.

The idea of private funding of public conservation land could be controversial but the Highland Titles model would ensure that while owners got personal rights to the land, its ownership was retained by the state.

The campaign to buy Awaroa Beach and gift it to the state shows the New Zealanders are prepared to put their money into public land.

It wouldn’t be hard to sell locals and tourists the idea of conserving New Zealand square metre by square metre and put the money raised towards making the country predator free.

I’d be up for at least one plot in Aspiring National Park.

New Zealand National Party's photo.


Quote of the day

July 27, 2016

Every major question in history is a religious question. It has more effect in molding life than nationalism or a common language. Hilaire Belloc who was born on this day in 1870.


July 27 in history

July 27, 2016

1054  Siward, Earl of Northumbria invaded Scotland to support Malcolm Canmore against Macbeth of Scotland, who usurped the Scottish throne from Malcolm’s father, King Duncan. Macbeth was defeated at Dunsinane.

1214 Battle of Bouvines: Philip II of France defeated John of England.

1302  Battle of Bapheus: Decisive Ottoman victory over the Byzantines, opened up Bithynia for Turkish conquest.

1549 Jesuit priest Francis Xavier’s ship reached Japan.

1663 The English Parliament passed the second Navigation Act requiring that all goods bound for the American colonies had to be sent in English ships from English ports.

1689  Glorious Revolution: Battle of Killiecrankie ended.

1694  A Royal Charter was granted to the Bank of England.

1720  The second important victory of the Russian Navy – the Battle of Grengam.

1768 Charlotte Corday, French aristocrat who killed Jean-Paul Marat, was born (d. 1793).

1778  American Revolution: First Battle of Ushant – British and French fleets fought to a standoff.

1794  Maximilien Robespierre was arrested after encouraging the execution of more than 17,000 “enemies of the Revolution”.

1824 Alexandre Dumas, fils, French author, was born (d. 1895).

1862 The SS Golden Gate caught fire and sank off Manzanillo, Mexico, killing 231.

1866  The Atlantic Cable was  completed, allowing transatlantic telegraph communication for the first time.

1870 Hilaire Belloc, English writer, was born (d. 1953).

1880  Second Anglo-Afghan War: Battle of Maiwand – Afghan forces led by Ayub Khan defeated the British Army.

1882  Geoffrey de Havilland, British aircraft designer, was born (d. 1965).

1914  Felix Manalo registered the Iglesia ni Cristo with the Philippine government.

1916  Elizabeth Hardwick, American literary critic and novelist, was born (d. 2007).

1919  The Chicago Race Riot erupted after a racial incident on a South Side beach, leading to 38 fatalities and 537 injuries over a five-day period.

1917 The Allies reached the Yser Canal at the Battle of Passchendaele.

1921  Researchers at the University of Toronto led by biochemist Frederick Banting announced the discovery of the hormone insulin.

1928  Tich Freeman became the only bowler ever to take 200 first-class wickets before the end of July.

1929 Jack Higgins, British novelist, was born.

1940 The animated short A Wild Hare was released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny.

1941  Japanese troops occupied French Indo-China.

1944 Bobbie Gentry, American singer and songwriter, was born.

1949 – Maureen McGovern,  American singer, was born.

1949 – Robert Rankin, English novelist, was born.

1949  Initial flight of the de Havilland Comet, the first jet-powered airliner.

1953  Korean War endeed: The United States,  China, and North Korea, signed an armistice agreement. Syngman Rhee, president of South Korea, refused to sign but pledged to observe the armistice.

1955  The Allied occupation of Austria stemming from World War II, ended.

1958 Christopher Dean, English figure skater, was born.

1963 Pioneeer aviator George Bolt died.

Pioneer aviator George Bolt dies

1964 Vietnam War: 5,000 more American military advisers were sent to South Vietnam bringing the total number of United States forces in Vietnam to 21,000.

1968 Cliff Curtis, New Zealand actor, was born.

1969 Jonty Rhodes, South African cricketer, was born.

1974  Watergate Scandal: The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Richard Nixon.

1976  Former Japanese prime minister Kakuei Tanaka was arrested on suspicion of violating foreign exchange and foreign trade laws in connection with the Lockheed bribery scandals.

1981  On Coronation Street, Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton.

1983  Black July: 18 Tamil political prisoners at the Welikada high security prison in Colombo were massacred by the Sinhalese prisoners, the second such massacre in two days.

1987 RMS Titanic, Inc. began the first expedited salvaging of wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

1990  The Supreme Soviet of the Belarusian Soviet Republic declared independence of Belarus from the Soviet Union.

1990 – The Jamaat al Muslimeen staged a coup d’état attempt in Trinidad and Tobago, occupying Parliament and the studios of Trinidad and Tobago Television, holding Prime Minister A. N. R. Robinson, most of his Cabinet, and the staff at the television station hostage for 6 days.

1995  The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C..

1996  Centennial Olympic Park bombing: In Atlanta, Georgia, a pipe bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Alice Hawthorne was killed, and a cameraman had a heart attack fleeing the scene. 111 were injured.

1997  Si Zerrouk massacre in Algeria; about 50 people killed.

2002  Ukraine airshow disaster: A Sukhoi Su-27 fighter crashed during an air show at Lviv, killing 85 and injuring more than 100 others, the largest air show disaster in history.

2006  The Federal Republic of Germany was deemed guilty in the loss of Bashkirian 2937 and DHL Flight 611, because it was illegal to outsource flight surveillance.

2007  Phoenix News Helicopter Collision: News helicopters from television stations KNXV and KTVK collided over Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix while covering a police chase; there were no survivors.

2012 – The opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics take place at the Olympic Stadium in London.

2014  – Centennial anniversary celebration of Iglesia ni Cristo in Philippine Arena, the largest arena in the world at Ciudad de Victoria complex which was built by the church itself.

2015 – At least seven people were killed and many injured after gunmen attacked an Indian police station in Punjab..

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


366 days of gratitude

July 26, 2016

It’s a first world problem – finding somewhere to plug in computers and chargers when you’re away from home.

If you’re travelling with someone else and both have phones and lap tops or tablets you might need at least four.

Some places have enough in accessible places, some don’t. In one hotel room, the only plugs I could find were behind furniture and in use for the TV and fridge.

When we altered our house a few years ago the electrician asked us how many three-pin plugs we wanted and where we wanted them.

We asked for lots and to have them where they were easy to access.

That’s what we’ve got and as I plugged in both an iPad and mobile phone this evening without having to move from my desk I was reminded that I’m grateful for them.


Word of the day

July 26, 2016

Poon  – a simple,  foolish or ineffectual person; any of several trees (genus Calophyllum) of the East Indies and the Pacific islands; the hard light wood of poon used especially for masts and spars; to put something under the leg of a table to stop it rocking; to dress in such a way as to attract attention, typically with sexual success in view.


Rural round-up

July 26, 2016

Kiwifruit exports reach record levels:

In June 2016, kiwifruit exports rose $105 million (47 percent) from June 2015 to reach $331 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Overall, goods exports rose $109 million (2.6 percent) in June 2016 (to $4.3 billion).

The June 2016 rise was across all our top kiwifruit export destinations, but particularly Japan (up $55 million) and China (up $39 million). The quantities of kiwifruit exported also rose (up 32 percent), with gold kiwifruit up 49 percent, and green kiwifruit up 21 percent. . . .

New researchers should focus on primary industry:

Federated Farmers wants a plan to attract the world’s top scientists to New Zealand to concentrate on those who will work on primary sector initiatives and the environment.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says it makes sense for the government’s $35 million ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’ programme to build knowledge in areas which are key to New Zealand’s economic and environmental needs.

The four year programme, announced by Minister Steven Joyce on Wednesday, aims to encourage the world’s leading researchers to bring their teams to work in New Zealand.

“This programme will help New Zealand keep up with the scientific developments already going on around the globe. . . 

Feds congratulates government on ambitious pest eradication project:

Federated Farmers fully backs the target to completely eradicate introduced predators from New Zealand by 2050 announced by the government today and agrees with the government that emerging technologies is now making such an ambitious target possible.

This project is going to require a team effort from scientists, farmers, government, politicians and rural communities.

“Our farmers live and work in our natural environment every day and in that sense are stewards of a significant part of New Zealand’s land, says Federated Farmers spokesperson for pest management Chris Allen.

“Farmers already spend a substantial amount of money on pest management. They also pay levies to OSPRI, to control vectors of tuberculosis, such as stoats and possums. . . 

Beekeepers stung by swarm of hive thefts –  Wilhelmina Shrimpton:

Beekeepers are seeking an urgent meeting with police as an increasing number of sticky-fingered thieves make off with beehives across the country.

The most recent incident was in Northland, where around $500,000-worth of hives were stolen from Topuni Forest more than a week ago. 

Some call the honey liquid gold – and for very good reason.

“If you’re getting high-grade manuka honey, the beekeepers can expect to get about $60 a kilogram,” Apiculture New Zealand’s Daniel Paul said. . . 

Profit warning makes Silver Fern Farms’ deal more critical – Allan Barber:

Last week’s profit warning from SFF chairman Rob Hewitt confirmed what industry observers suspected – this season has been affected by a combination of factors which has made achievement of the budgeted profit more remote than ever. At the half year Hewett had already warned the year end result would be materially different from budget without specifying numbers. The latest warning indicates break even at best.

The current season has suffered from reduced livestock volumes, regular rain and grass growth in most parts of the country which even out supply patterns, and an obstinately strong NZ dollar. Processors have been squeezed at both ends, paying too much for livestock and not earning enough from the market. . .

Nervous times at Silver Fern Farms – Keith Woodford:

Silver Fern Farms announced last week to its farmer suppliers that it now expects no more than a breakeven return for the year ending 30 September 2016.  This should focus the minds of its farmer shareholders, who vote on 12 August as to whether or not Silver Fern Farms should proceed with the partial takeover by Shanghai Maling. 

The disappointing projected financial outcome – which could yet get worse – reinforces the notion that Silver Fern Farms lacks the necessary financial resilience to go it alone. There is increasing risk that without completion of the Shanghai Maling buy-in, that Silver Fern Farms will lose the support of its bankers and be placed in receivership. That is not an attractive option, for what has in recent years been New Zealand’s largest meat processor. . . 

UK milk production drops 10% in a year – Alexa Cook:

Many British dairy farmers are getting out of the industry due to plummeting milk prices and production, says a UK dairy analyst.

Farmers are being paid from 10 to 30 pence a litre at a time when most farms need 25 to 30 pence a litre to meet the cost of production.

The UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – the British equivalent of DairyNZ – has reported more than 1000 farms have closed since June 2013, leaving about 9500 in operation.

The board’s senior dairy analyst Luke Crossman said milk production had fallen off sharply. . . 

Pea growers work with MPI to rid Wairarapa of weevil pest:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and local pea growers, are planning urgent action to eradicate a small Wairarapa population of a newly discovered weevil that damages pea crops.

The pea weevil (Bruchus pisorum) has been found in pea seeds grown on 8 different Wairarapa properties. It has also been found in 3 seed storage facilities in the region.

The weevil larvae feed on growing pea pods, damaging crops. Its discovery in the Wairarapa has long-term implications for pea production in New Zealand and the pea growing industry is strongly supportive of moves to attempt to get rid of it. . . 

NZDF-Led Projects Boost Drought Resilience of Tongan Communities:

Community projects undertaken by a multi-national task group led by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) are expected to reduce the vulnerability of remote communities to the impact of drought, Tongan officlals say.

The projects, designed to improve water storage in two main islands in Tonga’s Ha’apai island group, were undertaken as part of Exercise Tropic Twilight 2016 and have been formally handed over today to the Tongan Government.

“Tropic Twilight conducted a vast range of activities that will directly improve the resilience of communities in Ha’apai in addressing some water security issues and safety equipment shortages. It was also an opportune time to collaborate with partners to address health issues,” said Tongan Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni. . . 

Punakaiki Fund Invests in Agtract:

Taranaki rural job management software Agtract has closed a funding round with high-growth investorPunakaiki Fund.

The Agtract software drastically reduces the time it takes for rural contractors to do management tasks and create invoices, saving them up to a week’s work each month.

“Agtract does the administrative grunt work so rural contractors can do what they do best: helping farmers,” says CEO Chris West, who co-founded Agtract with his brother James after feeling the pain first hand of having to do admin work for a rural contractor.

“I was an employee of a contractor in Taranaki and had to fill in job sheet after job sheet. So much of what I did was repetitive, and even more of what the contractor did could’ve been automated. I created an early software solution, saw that it saved time and money, and realised I was onto a winner. Agtract is the result.” . . .


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