1080 myths dispelled

January 24, 2014

Wilderness magazine says it’s time to end the 1080 debate once and for all:

Opponents to the aerial use of 1080 should stop scaremongering and start thinking of better alternatives, say leading independent experts.

The experts, interviewed in the February issue of Wilderness magazine, have categorically dispelled many of the myths surrounding use of the poison. These myths include the idea that it kills kiwi, gets into our water supplies, threatens native bird populations and is no more effective than trapping and hunting.

Editor of Wilderness Alistair Hall believes it’s vital to stamp out rumours especially at a time when beech mast threatens many of the country’s rarest species. DOC’s preparing to launch a 1080 attack on rats, mice and stoats after predictions a bumper summer of beech flowering will lead to a huge increase of the predators later in the year.

“It’s time to get a few things straight,” said Hall. “1080 has never killed a kiwi, it has never been found in a drinking water supply and only one person has ever been killed by the poison – and that was in the 1960s.

“It’s not us who are saying this, it’s every expert we’ve spoken to. We made sure we picked people who are independent, rather than those who represent one side of the argument. The experts were unanimous in saying there’s currently no viable alternative when it comes to controlling pests on a large scale and that, without 1080, many of our native species would only exist on off-shore islands and intensively protected pockets on the mainland.”

Wilderness spoke to Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr James Ross, senior lecturer in wildlife management at Lincoln University, and Penny Fisher from Landcare Research.

Each expert was presented with 10 commonly held beliefs and asked to state whether they’re true or not based on what is currently known about the toxin.
“It’s fascinating to read what they have to say,” said Hall. “I often hear the argument that there hasn’t been enough research conducted on 1080 to determine whether it’s safe or not. In actual fact, there’s been continuous research since the 1950s.

“It’s so important to get this message across. As a tramping community we want to hear and see native birds and plants when we head into the backcountry. It’s clear to us, having spoken to those in the know, that using 1080 is the only way to ensure we can continue to do this.”

Full interviews with the experts are in the February issue of Wilderness magazine, available in shops from today and online here.

Animals targeted by 1080 endanger native flora and fauna they also carry TB which is a risk to animal and human health.

Where alternatives to 1080 can be used they are. But in many areas, including those of dense bush, there is no viable alternative to it.


Rural round-up

September 22, 2013

Rural sector key for many of Otago’s SMEs – Dene Mackenzie:

More than half of Otago small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receive business income from the rural sector.Kiwibank group manager business markets Mark Stephen said with New Zealand’s agricultural sector economic growth lagging in the three months ended in June, the drought had squeezed the sector.

Even those small enterprises which did not directly deal with the rural sector were found to be supplying customers who did deal directly with farmers. . .

Hunter Downs project gathering momentum – Sally Brooker:

An irrigation project taking Waitaki River water further into South Canterbury is gathering momentum.

The Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme has been awarded $640,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund. It will help pay for engineering design, an investigation into demand from landowners, and a fundraising prospectus.

”This part of South Canterbury has regular droughts,” Irrigation Acceleration Fund manager Kevin Steel said.

”The HDI Scheme is a large-scale infrastructure initiative that hopes to significantly address this problem.

”Where agriculture is New Zealand’s largest export earner, irrigation infrastructure contributes significantly to supporting the country’s ongoing economic growth.” . . .

“Logistical nightmare’ sorting out mess – Ruth Grundy:

Immigration New Zealand is to work with Canterbury-based irrigation companies to get more specialist workers into the country to fix storm- damaged irrigators.

Last week, Irrigation New Zealand said the wind storms which ravaged the region had caused ”unprecedented” damage to more than 800 irrigators.

Irrigation NZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said machinery from South to North Canterbury had been damaged by high winds but the bulk of the damage was to machinery around Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

”It’s very, very serious,” Mr Curtis said. . .

Tagging technology tackles possums:

Kiwi ingenuity combined with forensic science techniques has produced a method of identifying individual possums that has the potential to also be used in the fields of environmental and human science.

Dr James Ross  from the Centre of Wildlife Management and Conservation at Lincoln University is using a locally-developed, activity interference device (WaxTag®) baited with attractant substances to identify individual brushtail possums biting the tags.

In the absence of an efficient and cost-effective alternative to estimating the abundance of possums after control methods have been applied, the residual trap-catch index (RTCI) remains the monitoring standard at present. However, RTCI is not sensitive in locating survivors when the population is at very low densities and it is costly because traps need to be checked daily. . .

New scholarship helps students and industry alike:

Lincoln University PhD students Laura Buckthought and Travis Ryan-Salter have been awarded $10,000 each as the first recipients of the new Alexanders Agribusiness Scholarship.

The generous scholarship is exclusive to Lincoln University and awarded on behalf of Alexanders Chartered Accountants who created the scholarship with the aim of helping committed, high calibre postgraduate students undertaking research in the primary sector.

The company Directors did consider opening the scholarship up to students from other universities, but chose to make it exclusive to Lincoln on account of the University’s focus on the land-based industries relative to New Zealand’s key commercial interests. . .

Video sensation Peterson Farm Brothers at the Farm Science Review – we’re just Kansas farm kids – Susan Crowell:

LONDON, Ohio — They’re just typical farm kids.

They’d rather run the combine than the truck during wheat harvest, and they love to run their six-row Kemper chopper they call the Beast Machine. Their first chore was throwing flakes of hay bales to the cattle on their feedlot, and they remember when their dad let them drive the tractor in first gear, inching down the feedbunk while he tossed feed to the cows — “I know it was before I was even in school!”. Their idea of dressing up is something other than an old T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. They hate going out in freezing weather to break up the ice on the waterers for the cows, or cleaning up the outdoor feed bunk after it rains. They post pictures of newly cut alfalfa or eartags on Facebook. . .


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