Rural round-up

October 27, 2018

Power prices heading north for the summer – Richard Rennie:

 Farmers looking to renew electricity contracts are being cautioned to expect a shock from new prices as the power industry faces tightening supply conditions amid strong demand from South Island irrigators for electricity.

Ruralco Energy general manager Tracey Gordon is dealing almost daily with co-operative farmer shareholders seeking advice as their electricity contracts come to an end and new ones are being set.

While electricity companies are renegotiating contracts with existing customers, those seeking new supply arrangements might find it more difficult to get on board. . .

Large-scale Canterbury irrigation project in new hands:

 An irrigation company has bought the resource consents for the large-scale Hurunui Water Project.

Shareholders on the Hurunui Water Project have voted unanimously to sell the council consents to Amuri Irrigation Company.

Amuri Irrigation chairperson David Croft said the company was aware of a strong desire for irrigation to be delivered to farmers south of the Hurunui River in north Canterbury. . . 

Agritourism witha  touch of southern hospitality – Tess Brunton:

Southland farmers have started looking for greener pasture – and tourist dollars – by welcoming visitors onto their working properties.

 It’s a niche market now, but there are hopes the region could become a mecca for agritourism.

Venture Southland has been running agritourism information workshops across the region this week, attracting more than one hundred people over four sessions.

Velvet prospects sound:

The velvet market during the 2018-19 season is expected to be reasonably stable, with consumption in Asia increasing in line with production growth in New Zealand.

Apart from a brief downward dip in prices two years ago, driven by uncertainty about regulatory changes in China, NZ velvet production and prices have increased for eight years. . .


Meat companies only have themselves to blame if meat prices are too high – Allan Barber:

 Seven years ago, the last time lamb prices were as high as they have been for the last 12 months, overseas customers suddenly decided enough was enough and turned off the tap, causing a sharp drop in price which reached its low point of less than $4.50 per kilo more than a year later. The difference this time appears to be a more gradual climb and a longer peak with no sign yet of a repeat collapse.

The other significant difference is the emergence of China as a key market, whereas in 2012 the traditional markets of UK, EU and USA had to bear the impact of selling to their consumers a product which had effectively priced itself off the market. Today the spread of market demand means more of the lamb carcase can be sold at a higher price; although this doesn’t mean there isn’t some risk of another collapse, there are greater signs of sustainability. . .

Why cows are getting a bad rap in lab-grown meat debate – Alison Van Eenennaam:

A battle royal is brewing over what to call animal cells grown in cell culture for food. Should it be in-vitro meat, cellular meat, cultured meat or fermented meat? What about animal-free meat, slaughter-free meat, artificial meat, synthetic meat, zombie meat, lab-grown meat, non-meat or artificial muscle proteins?

Then there is the polarizing “fake” versus “clean” meat framing that boils this complex topic down to a simple good versus bad dichotomy. The opposite of fake is of course the ambiguous but desirous “natural.” And modeled after “clean” energy, “clean” meat is by inference superior to its alternative, which must logically be “dirty” meat.

See the whole picture here.


Rural round-up

November 26, 2017

New Zealand’s most improved river is in irrigation territory – Gerard Hutching:

North Canterbury’s Pahau River, situated in one of the most intensively irrigated catchments in the country, has been awarded the supreme prize for most improved river at the annual River Awards.

The top prize was based on the Hurunui river showing the most declining levels of the bacteria E coli over the last 10 years, achieving reductions of 15.6 per cent a year.

Pahau Enhancement Group chairman and dairy farmer David Croft said the result came as no surprise.

“The farming community has been aware of problems with the Pahau for more than 10 years and that’s why the enhancement group was originally set up – because of poor water quality. We had a choice to deal with it or ECan (Environment Canterbury) would take the initiative,” Croft said. . . 

Former biodiesel plant now makes cooking oil – Heather Chalmers:

South Canterbury paddocks covered in bright yellow flowers in spring are the first step of an expanding home-grown South Island business, turning oilseed rape – regarded as a commodity crop overseas – into a high-value liquid gold.

Producing this liquid gold is Canterbury-owned Pure Oil New Zealand, which operates a large commercial oilseed crush plant at Rolleston, south of Christchurch, turning the small black seed into high-quality food-grade oil. Since starting in 2012, production has tripled from 5000 to 6000 tonnes of seed, up to 15,000t now.

Imported rapeseed oil, also known as canola, is a familiar staple on supermarket shelves where it is sold as a cheap salad and cooking oil, with millions of tonnes of seed grown world-wide. Big overseas export growers are Canada and Australia, with the term canola a contraction of Canada and ola, for “oil low acid”. . . 

Efficiency ups processing at Westland Milk – Janna Sherman:

Improved plant efficiencies have contributed to an increase in processed milk through the Hokitika dairy factory, Westland Milk Products says.

Peak milk for the new season was achieved on November 2 with 3,564,935 litres received.

Chief executive Toni Brendish said that was just one tanker load short of the previous season’s peak milk of 3,593,905 litres.

Peak processed milk through the factory was 4,110,673 litres, on October 25.

“This includes bought-in milk and is 150,000 litres more than the previous season – 3,955,907 litres; an increase largely made possible by improved plant efficiency,” Ms Brendish said.  . . 

$1000 cadetship for Briar – Alexia Johnston:

Briar Swanson has landed a cadetship, giving her farming career a welcome boost.

The St Kevin’s College leaver has been accepted for a two-year cadetship at the Coleridge Downs Training Farm, a role she will take up in January.

The training farm is part of a group of farms in the Rakaia Gorge in central Canterbury which cover 10,000ha and run 42,000 stock units.

Briar’s career received an extra boost earlier this month when the South Canterbury North Otago (SCNO) Deer Farmers Trust announced it would provide her with financial assistance, to help her get what she needed for the cadetship, including wet-weather gear, boots and a heading pup. . . 

Would you eat ‘clean’ meat?  – Chase Purdy:

There’s no shortage of buzz among food-tech companies about how, once perfected, cell-cultured meats will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, use less land and water, and save billions of animals each year from slaughter. But as these high-tech meats edge closer to grocery stores and restaurants, the people creating them are wrestling with a crucial question: What do you call them?

It’s a good but vexing problem. The need to find a name indicates how close the technology is to jumping from lab to market. But translating terminology from scientific jargon to consumer-friendly lingo is nettlesome. Forces within the nascent cell-cultured meat industry are working to get everyone to coalesce around one name: clean meat.

Not everyone agrees with the choice. For starters, the term “clean meat” doesn’t translate into all non-English languages easily. In Dutch, for instance, it carries unappealing connotations about how the meat might be processed. Also, some have complained the term implies conventional meat—the only kind people currently can access—is inherently dirty. That could risk putting people on the defensive from the get-go. . . 


Jimmy Perry 9.9.23 – 23.10.16

October 24, 2016

We know the shows and the actors, but the names of the people who write the scripts are often less familiar.

One of these whose work entertained millions, Jimmy Perry, has died.

Jimmy Perry was best known as the creator of Dad’s Army, one of television’s most popular, and long running sitcoms.

His 25-year partnership with David Croft also produced It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Hi-de-Hi and You Rang M’Lord?

Much of his writing was based on his own varied work experiences which included a spell as a Butlin’s Redcoat.

He also had an encyclopaedic knowledge of music hall, something he used to good effect when he presented the BBC series Turns, which chronicled variety performances from the 1930s and 40s.

Jimmy Perry was born on 20 September 1923 in Barnes, south-west London.

His fascination for the world of showbusiness came at an early age and, while still at school, he had his sights set on becoming a stand up-comedian.

When war broke out in 1939 he was too young for the army so he signed up in his local Home Guard. . . 


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