Stand at Dawn at dawn

20/04/2020

Anzac Day dawn will give us another opportunity to unite, separately:

People are encouraged to join virtual commemorations on ANZAC day as Covid-19 lockdown continues in the country.

Initiated by the New Zealand Defence Force and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association, the Stand At Dawn campaign calls for New Zealanders worldwide to take a moment to remember fallen servicemen.

People can join at 6am on 25 April by standing at their letterbox, front door, lounge rooms or other places while staying within their bubble.

They can tune into RNZ National, listen live on the internet for the official dawn service broadcast commencing at 6am.

Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said Anzac Day was an important day of commemoration for many New Zealanders, particularly for serving and ex-serving personnel and their families.

“Anzac Day is a day for remembering service and sacrifice in conflict, and the strength that comes from working together to overcome adversity,” he said.

“This year, more than ever, we need to draw on the many qualities that the enduring Anzac spirit has taught us; mateship, endurance, good humour, ingenuity and courage.”

He encouraged veterans, service personnel, families and the wider public to engage with the Stand at Dawn campaign. . .

I support the idea but point out that dawn dawns at different times as we move from north to south.

The suns isn’t even thinking about rising at 6am in North Otago and in the normal course of events Dawn Services are held at 7am because of that.


Rural round-up

22/11/2016

Environment group goes to court to protect Mackenzie Country:

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has filed court proceedings to try to stop land conversions in the Mackenzie Country.

The group is arguing at the Environment Court that conversion from arid grassland to irrigated pasture is happening without the proper approval from the Mackenzie District Council, and the authority is not doing anything about it.

It is also worried at the level of water consents for pivot irrigators being issued by the regional council, Environment Canterbury.

EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said tens of thousands of hectares of the Mackenzie Basin was being destroyed and transformed by irrigation at a very rapid rate. . . 

Offers of Help and Cash Flow In For Quake Hit Farmers:

 

A week out from the 7.8 earthquake, offers of help logged with the Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING line have topped 300.

The Feds have also had teams on the ground and in the air reaching out to farms at the end of long and winding roads all over North Canterbury and Marlborough, checking how they fared and what they need.

The national farming organisation’s Adverse Events Trust Fund was reactivated mid-week and more than $21,000 has been received. One $10,000 donation came from a farmer keen to help South Island counterparts with emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials. . . 

30,000 Bees Among Those Rescued by the NZDF:

If calamity struck and you had to flee your home, what would you take?

One of the estimated 900 Kaikoura residents rescued by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) from the quake-damaged seaside town carried his most valuable possession: about 30,000 bees.

“Many people took what they could fit into a suitcase or two – the things closest to their hearts. One of the evacuees just could not leave his bees behind,” Commander (CDR) Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, said.

“The ship does a meticulous count of everything we bring on board as a matter of course. Last Saturday, we evacuated 192 people together with 2.3 tonnes of baggage, one cat, 14 dogs and about 30,000 bees – they were one thing we didn’t count exactly. . . 

Temporary fishery closures around Kaikoura:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced a temporary closure of shellfish and seaweed harvesting along the earthquake-affected east coast of the South Island, and a $2 million package to investigate the impact of the earthquakes on these fisheries.

“There will be an initial one month closure of the crayfish fishery and three months for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species,” says Mr Guy.

“The earthquakes have had a devastating impact on the coastline, raising it by up to four metres in places in an area nearly 100 kilometres long. There has been major mortality for paua and some crayfish in this area and there are concerns about the loss of habitat and what that might mean for breeding. . . 

Fruit fly stopped at the border:

Ministry for Primary Industries staff have intercepted four Queensland fruit fly larvae at Wellington airport, stopping the dangerous pest from making a home in New Zealand.

The larvae were found earlier this month in an undeclared mandarin carried by an Australian passenger arriving from Melbourne. They have since been confirmed as Queensland fruit fly – regarded as one of the worst horticultural pests in the world. . . .

Warm, wet and worrying for facial eczema:

With NIWA’s seasonal weather outlook through to December signalling warm, wet conditions across the North Island, farmers are being encouraged to include preventive measures against facial eczema in their summer farm management plans.

Above average temperatures and rainfall are ideal conditions for the fungus which causes facial eczema to thrive. Spore production occurs when soil temperatures exceed 12 degrees for three consecutive nights and soil moisture is favourable or air conditions are humid.

“After reduced milk production through the spring, the last thing farmers need is another potential brake on it as summer progresses. Prevention is the best approach and starting early with zinc supplementation is a good tactic to get the best protection,” says SealesWinslow Science Extension Officer, Natalie Hughes. . . 

Farm-gate milk prices lift producer prices:

Business Price Indexes: September 2016 quarter

In the September 2016 quarter, producer output prices rose 1 percent, and producer input prices rose 1.5 percent.

The prices received by dairy cattle farmers (up 28 percent) and paid by dairy product manufacturers (up 22 percent) were key influences to the increase

“Higher farm-gate milk prices contributed to the September 2016 quarter rises,’’ business prices manager Sarah Williams said. . . 

Church Road Winery’s Chris Scott named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year

Church Road Winery’s winemaker Chris Scott has been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Winestate Magazine for the second time in four years, having also taken out this sought-after title in 2013.

A trophy duo was awarded to Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2014 with the Syrah/Shiraz of the Year Trophy and New Zealand Wine of the Year Trophy for this stunning wine.

Chris has been crafting award-winning wines for sixteen years at Church Road Winery in Hawke’s Bay with the support of an outstanding viticulture and winemaking team, and he has a passion for Chardonnay and red blend winemaking, a dedication to his craft and a commitment to quality wine-making. . . 


Rural round-up

26/07/2016

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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