Rural round-up

November 28, 2018

Sheep burping project given wheels – Sally Rae:

This is a tale of burping sheep.

Among the work AgResearch scientists have been doing to reduce methane emissions from agriculture is a project to breed sheep that naturally produce less methane – the gas released in the burps of ruminant livestock.

Having determined sheep could be bred for lower methane emissions, the project was now being rolled-out to farms, giving breeders the opportunity to measure and select sheep with lowered environmental impacts.

Scientists had been working on the prospect of low methane sheep for quite some time, AgResearch Invermay-based senior scientist Dr Suzanne Rowe said yesterday. . . 

Weather, labour stalls contractors – Ken Muir:

While the weather has meant a testing time for farmers and contractors in the south, labour issues continue to be a major constraint in keeping up with work on farms, Southland agricultural contractor Peter Corcoran says.

‘The weather has undoubtedly been better than last year and the recent variations we’ve had have caused some backlogs,” Mr Corcoran said.

”While this has been annoying, we are undoubtedly in much better shape than we were last year.”

At that stage, he said, contractors were sitting around with nothing to do, but at least this year things were off to an early start. . . 

 

Postharvest scientist honoured by NZIAHS:

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Jeremy Burdon has been awarded a Fellowship of the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science in recognition of his longstanding contributions to postharvest science that supports New Zealand’s fresh fruit industries, particularly kiwifruit and avocado.

Dr Burdon is a leading postharvest scientist well respected by industry and academic peers. Over a career spanning 30 years, he has consistently demonstrated outstanding skills in innovative thinking and scientific excellence in partnering science with business. He is especially noted for the science underpinning the successful commercialisation of new kiwifruit cultivars and his practical advice to packhouse and coolstore operators. . . 

Vertical farming has limits:

Vertical farming – where food is grown indoors in high stacks – will not replace traditional fruit and vegetable growing in New Zealand, but it may supplement it in future if technology makes it economically viable, research released today finds.

As part of her Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme, Horticulture New Zealand environmental policy advisor Rachel McClung has published a report, “Can vertical farming replace New Zealand’s productive land to deliver high quality fruits and vegetables in the future?”

“Growing towns and cities are reducing access to some of New Zealand’s most productive land for growing fruit and vegetables,” McClung says. “There is some complacency about this because of the misconception that fruit and vegetables can be grown ‘somewhere else’. But the combination of the right soils and climate is necessary.  . . 

When good sense takes control of the wheel:

 Today marks a big win for on farm safety and biosecurity, says Federated Farmers dairy chair Chris Lewis. In the Government’s announcement of its Employment Relations Bill today, a change Federated Farmers advocated for appears to be included.

The Bill allows union representatives the right to access worksites where union members are covered by or bargaining for a collective agreement, but requires consent from employers in all other circumstances. . . 

Glyphosate and TIME magazine: writer employed by advocacy group a dubious choice – Grant Jacobs:

TIME magazine has a story on DeWayne ‘Lee’ Johnston who took Monsanto to court claiming RoundUp caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.[1] The story has obvious appeal, but is crying out for balance and it’s provenance is, to be kind, awkward. I’d love to read his account of his experiences since the trial — but from a source I can trust. I’m dubious that a writer employed by an advocacy organisation can be sensibly used as a journalist.

A reply

responded on TIME’s Facebook page, . . 

Tulips from Balfour – Blair Drysdale:

Quite often when farmers share their frustrations about the weather in conversation with others, we’re accused of just being a “whinging farmer”. But for farmers and horticulturalists alike among others, it dictates our day-to-day operations, our state of mind and the bottom line result at the end of the financial year.

And this year just like all before it, has had its perils and is no exception. A dull winter with little sun and few frosts, has continued on well into spring with plenty of precipitation, a combination of a lack of equinox winds and little sunshine to dry the soil out, has made it very frustrating trying to get spring barley in the ground here. . . 

On the farm – what’s happening in rural New Zealand:

What’s happening on farms and orchards around New Zealand? Each week Country Life reporters talk to people in rural areas across the country to find out.

Northland warmed up as the week progressed. It has had a drop or two of rain – 30 to 40mm in the west, less in the east. That has nudged along sluggish grass growth, which has given farmers the confidence to buy cattle. Two-year-old steers have been fetching between $1200 and $1500 and yearlings $650 to $1000. Female cattle have not been doing so well. Prices are down for younger cattle by 8 to12 percent compared with last year. . . 


Rural round-up

April 26, 2015

China’s illegal meat trade hugs – Alan Williams:

As much as 80% of China’s meat imports could be taken in through the so-called Grey Market, dwarfing the level of New Zealand shipments sent in through highly-regulated official channels.

Most of the grey trade is beef and about half of it is from India, shipped in via Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia, international reports indicate.

The illegal trading has come to light again after about US$1 billion of food, including meat, was seized by Chinese authorities and 100 people were arrested.  . .

Kumera are transgenic – Grant Jacobs:

Kumara have a long history in New Zealand, being brought here by early Polynesian settlers and are well-known to Kiwis.[1]

They’re a crop that has been cultivated in South America for about 8,000 years that have been spread to other parts of the world.[1]

Research just published show that they are transgenic plants, plants with genes from other species in them. . .

Farm Prices Steady but Sales Volumes Falling in March Quarter:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 47 fewer farm sales (-10%) for the three months ended March 2015 than for the three months ended March 2014. Overall, there were 425 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2015, compared to 464 farm sales for the three months ended February 2015 (-8.4%) and 472 farm sales for the three months to the end of March 2014. 1,802 farms were sold in the year to February 2015, 2.2% fewer than were sold in the year to March 2014. . .

Mint bull to go down in history on hall of fame:

An elite artificial breeding bull that has delivered a significant contribution to dairy farms nationwide will forever be recognised as one of the very best after being inducted into LIC’s prestigious Hall of Fame last week.

Fairmont Mint-Edition, a Holstein-Friesian sire bred by Barry and Linda Old of Morrinsville, is the 53rd animal to be recognised on the Hall of Fame in more than 50 years of artificial breeding in New Zealand. . .

 

Dairy Awards Finals Judges Clock up the Km’s:

Final judging in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is underway, with judges set to travel thousands of kilometres and the length and breadth of the country to select the winners.

“There’s a lot at stake for the finalists as success in any one of the competitions can open up considerable opportunities and be career and life-changing,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“It’s also a time when both the finalists and judges gain from participating in the awards – through learning about their farm business, defining goals and identifying opportunities to make improvements.” . . .

New general manager appointed at DairyNZ:

DairyNZ has appointed Andrew Reid as its new general manager of extension, the role that leads the industry body’s regional consulting officer teams.

Andrew will start in the position on 4 May.

Andrew was previously general manager of sales with Ballance Agri-Nutrients, leading a field team of 120. . .

 

 

Last Grand Finalist Confirmed in ANZ Young Farmer Contest:

Douglas McGregor is the seventh Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty year old dairy farmer took first place at the Northern Regional Final in Dargaville on Saturday 18 April after a very tense and closely scored competition.

Mr McGregor went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.
This was Douglas’s second attempt at Regional Final level of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Douglas is a very active member of the Bay of Island Young Farmers Club and is the Northern Region Vice-Chairman. Douglas was competing against 26 year old Anna Simpson, who doubles as the winner’s partner. . .

 

Food safety reaches new heights as AsureQuality moves its IT to the cloud

Global food safety and biosecurity services company AsureQuality has completed a successful move to the TechnologyOne Cloud, reducing IT risk and positioning itself for future growth.

New Zealand-based AsureQuality is owned by the New Zealand Government and was already using TechnologyOne’s enterprise software in an on-premise environment.

TechnologyOne Executive Chairman Adrian Di Marco said TechnologyOne’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solution had empowered AsureQuality to prepare for a cloud-first, mobile-first world. AsureQuality is also using TechnologyOne’s new Ci Anywhere platform, which allows the firm’s employees to access their information anywhere, anytime using smart mobile devices. . .

 


Homeopathy Awareness Week

April 17, 2014

It’s World Homeopathy Awareness Week.

Apropos of this Siouxsie Wiles writes:

In case you need reminding what homeopathy is, it is based on Hahnemann’s bizarre doctrine that substances which cause disease symptoms in healthy people will cure similar symptoms in sick people, but only if they have been diluted to such a degree that there is unlikely to be a single molecule of the substance left in the preparation. . . .

There’s a video there if you want a giggle.

Also at Sciblogs, Grant Jacobs asks: how do you approve a course for something known not to work?

So let’s reflect on homeopathy’s contribution to public health:

 

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Rural round-up

February 10, 2014

Staff vital part of dairy farm –  Sally Rae:

At Willowview Pastures in North Otago, staff are considered an integral part of the business.

Owners Geoff and Katrina Taylor run the dairy farm on the lower Waitaki Plains near Waitaki Bridge.

Employees were given responsibility for particular on-farm tasks, described by Mr Taylor as their on-farm ”niche”, but still kept up with what was happening farm-wide. . .

Homeopathy and farming; let’s do better, media – Grant Jacobs:

Today Fairfax NZ News published at Stuff.co.nz an article titled, Homeopathy key for dairy farming couple. Unsurprisingly this has been spread to other sites, including pro-homeopathy sites.

Unlike many (most?) articles at Stuff, no means of commenting on this article are available.

Let’s quickly look at key problems in this story.

We might use as inspiration the TED slogan, “ideas worth sharing”, altering it to fit our purposes “information worth sharing”, considering ‘information’ and ‘news’ to be synonymous.

It carries with it a catch: if the information isn’t sound, it’s not worth sharing – not worthy of a place in a newspaper or news website. . .

Welsh shearers learn by competing in NZ – Helena de Reus:

Competing in New Zealand is a chance for Welsh shearers to learn from the best.

Welsh shearing team manager John Davies is touring the country with shearers Gareth Daniel and Richard Jones to contest the four-test Elders Primary Wool series between New Zealand and Wales. The series reached Balclutha at the weekend.

”New Zealand have the best sheep shearers in the world, so it’s good to learn from them and compete against the best.” . . .

Wool titles go far and wide:

Young shearers and woolhandlers fought for three titles at the Otago Shearing and New Zealand Woolhandling Championships in Balclutha yesterday.

The three winners of yesterday’s competition once again hailed from outside Otago, with Erica Reti (Gore) winning the New Zealand junior woolhandler title, Carlton Aranui (Raupunga, Hawkes Bay) winning the Otago junior shearing, and Dylan McGruddy (Masterton) taking the intermediate shearing title.

Two South Island woolhandling circuit titles were also awarded, with Liv Gardner (Southland) winning the junior section and Juliette Lyon (Alexandra) taking the senior. . .

Hort NZ to lobby on labelling:

The national horticulture body says it will continue to keep a close watch on moves by Australian supermarkets to remove New Zealand food products from their shelves, even though nothing has come from political talks on the issue.

The two big supermarket chains in Australia, Coles and Woolworths, are backing the Buy Australian campaign and as part of that, say they’ll stop stocking New Zealand products in their house brands.

Prime Minister John Key raised the issue at a meeting with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott last week, but was told it was a commercial decision for the supermarkets and did not breach the Closer Economic Relations (CER) free trade agreement between the two countries. . .

Drought roadshow starts:

Farmers in Hawke’s Bay, East Coast and Bay of Plenty – areas still recovering from last year’s drought – will attend a roadshow this week to find out how they can drought-proof their farms.

They’ll hear from Marlborough farmer Doug Avery, who’s been inspiring farmers around the country with the story of how he and his family rescued their farm from collapse after a series of droughts in the 1990s. . .

 


100 greatest inventions

June 3, 2010

The wheel, aeroplane, light bulb, internet, PCs, telephone,  penicillin, iPhone, flush loo and combustion engine are the top 10 inventions of all time according to the results of a survey of 4,000 British people which was conducted by Tesco.

As one whose spelling can be a bit wobbly I understand the inclusion of the spell checker at 86 on the list. But what does it say about Brits that they included hair-straighteners (34), make up (66), push-up bra (77)  mascara (80) and hair dye (84)?

Kitchen appliances feature –  the Fridge (14), Freezer (17), Microwave (26) and Kettle (40). The vaccuum cleaner is there (23) and so is the tumble dryer (51). But I didn’t notice the automatic washing machine and apropos of cleanliness, what about the shower?

A scientist may be able to explain the difference between inventions and discoveries and if that’s relevant to the omission of both fire and electricity.

The full list is:

 1. Wheel 2. Aeroplane 3. Light bulb 4. Internet 5. PCs 6. Telephone 7. Penicillin 8. iPhone 9. Flushing toilet 10. Combustion engine

11. Contraceptive pill 12. Washing machine 13. Central heating 14. Fridge 15. Pain killers 16. Steam engine 17. Freezer 18. Camera 19. Cars 20. Spectacles

21. Mobile phones 22. Toilet paper 23. Hoover 24. Trains 25. Google 26. Microwave 27. Email 28. The pen 29. Hot water 30. Shoe

31. Compass 32. Ibuprofen 33. Toothbrush 34. Hair straighteners 35. Laptops 36. Knife and fork 37. Scissors 38. Paper 39. Space travel 40. Kettle

41. Calculator 42. Bed 43. Remote control 44. Roof 45. Air conditioning 46. SAT NAV 47. Wi-Fi 48. Cats-eyes 49. Matches 50. Power steering

51. Tumble dryer 52. Bicycle 53. Sky+ 54. Tea bags 55. Umbrella 56. iPod 57. Taps 58. Crash helmet 59. Wristwatch 60. eBay

61. DVD player 62. Nappies 63. Ladder 64. Sun tan lotion 65. Lawnmower 66. Make-up 67. Chairs 68. Sunglasses 69. The game of football 70. Sliced bread

71. Sofa 72. Razor blades 73. Screwdriver 74. Motorways 75. Head/ear phones 76. Towels 77. Push-up bra 78. Binoculars 79. WD40 80. Mascara

81. Hair dryer 82. Facebook 83. Escalator 84. Hair dye 85. Wellington boots 86. Spell check 87. Calendars 88. Cheese grater 89. Buses 90. Post-it notes

91. Gloves 92. Satellite discs 93. Pedestrian crossing 94. Baby’s dummy 95. Curtains 96. Bottle opener 97. Food blender 98. Dustpan and brush 99. Desks 100. Clothes peg

Hat Tip: Grant Jacobs at Sciblogs.


Did you see the one about . . .

March 6, 2010

Must have an irony deficiency – Longinius Howard at Born On State Highway One laments the lack of irony.

Thank you for not expressing yourself – Theodore Dalrymple on the civility of silence.

It takes a village but not my one thank you very much – In A Strange Land on train troubles for travelling twins.

The Other Side of The Red Bus Lou Taylor at No Minister

Apropos of that: Labour’s latest taxpayer funded elecitoneering – Liberation reckons Labour hasn’t learned from the reaction to the pledge card rort.

Still on the same topic – Faster than a speeding tax  bus – Keeping Stock couldn’t keep up even when he edged over the speed limit.

The inheritance of face recognition (should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces) Grant Jacobs at Sciblogs – provides an excuse for facial recognition failures.

Graham Sydney in North Dakota – Quote Unquote finds nature imitating art imitating nature.

Celebrating pain relief – Opinionated Mummy on birth battles.

Tim Shadblot lays it bare – Southern Squall has an exclusive interview with Invercargill’s mayor.

What parking fines?! RivettingKateTaylor finds communication can counter fines.

The devil made me do it – Macdoctor’s not impressed by excuses.

Pukeko Bridge – Not PC shows there’s art in engineering.

The light dawns reality bites # 82 – Inquiring Mind on media priorities.

One year anniversary – Offsetting Behaviour celebrates his birthday with links to posts readers liked, and some the writerd did but readers didn’t. Also at Offsetting Behaviour – beer and revenue – how hatred led to better health.


Did you see the one about . . .

November 16, 2009

Oh the things I learn . . . BK Drinkwater disproves the wisdom of crowds.

Florence Nightingale was a statistician Alison Campbell at Sciblogs posts on how the pioneering nurse won her case with numbers.

Also at Sciblogs: Visual illusions, change blindness and autism – Grant Jacobs asks how much of what we see is really there?

Philanthrocapitalism: How giving can save the world Take Part reviews a book that shows money does good.

Kitten demand exceeds supply – The Visible Hand applies economic theory to the pet market.

Incentives Matter: football helmet file – Anti Dismal finds trying to make sport safer may make it more dangerous.

Pies, cutting etc – Progressive Turmoil compares the market performance of comapnies in Australia & New Zealand.

APN chicken out – Cactus Kate reveals media impotency by financial decree.

Gotcha! TRM funding cut – Whaleoil claims another scalp.

And a new (to me) blog: Southern Squall – a gale of views from the south.


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