Rural round-up

April 27, 2017

Door-to-door farm visits welcomed as floodwaters recede and costs become clearer:

Teams from the local Rural Support Trust and Red Cross have been documenting destroyed pastures, damaged homes and inundated orchards, as they carry out assessment visits to flood-affected farms and orchards in the Bay of Plenty.

“Our farming and growing families have been very stoic in getting through the flooding, and now our visit is a chance for them to sit down, have a cup of tea, and see what they need to move forwards with recovery,” says Igor Gerritson from the Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust.

“What’s immediately clear is the extra cost associated with the evacuations of about 5000 cows, and the pressing need to buy feed for stock whose grazing is destroyed by floodwaters. The cost of transporting stock out alone is estimated to be $75,000 in the first week of the event.” . . 

Fifty years of Canterbury farming revolution – Keith Woodford,

The ideas for this article were triggered by a recent reunion of former Ministry of Agriculture Canterbury farm advisers. There were about 45 of us who got together to tell tales of former years. Our collective experiences that day went back to 1946 when Austin Ebert joined what was then the Department of Agriculture, followed by Les Bennetts in 1947, and then Lyndsay Galloway and Dave Reynolds a few years later.

I was one of the later recruits, joining as a fresh-faced and very ‘wet behind the ears’ 22-year old at the end of 1969, having just completed a four-year agricultural science degree at Lincoln University. Compared to many, my farm adviser career was short.  I only lasted two years, one year either side of two years back at Lincoln for a Master of Agricultural Science degree, before heading off to South America for mountain-climbing and other adventures. But those two years as a farm adviser were enough to create many memories, and also to learn many lessons, both from colleagues and some very experienced farmers.  . . 

Wet autumn weather a ‘big shake-up’ for crop farmers:

Cropping farmers throughout New Zealand are feeling the impact of a wet autumn, with two cyclones this month leaving many crops underwater or too wet to get machinery in to harvest it.

New Zealand has been drenched in recent weeks, with the remnants of Cyclones Cook and Debbie causing widespread flooding.

Federated Farmers spokesperson Katie Milne said farmers across the country had been hit in different ways by the storms and while some areas had plenty of feed, others were struggling. . . 

Pumped Dry – Central Otago farmers’ fight for water – Ian Telfer:

Alarm is growing in the farms and orchards in the country’s driest region as irrigation rights granted during the Otago Gold Rush expire, and new environmentally sustainable allocations loom.  

More than 400 so-called deemed permits, which underpin Central Otago’s economy, have to be replaced with modern water permits within five years, and large cracks are appearing in the process.

The Carrick Water Race has run for 140 years, and survived, but its users might now have to dig deep to save it.

The historical hand-dug water channel has snaked its way downhill since the gold rush days, carrying water from Coal Creek high up in the mountains to the water-short land of Bannockburn. . . 

A2 Milk posts third-quarter sales that beat its projection, lifts annual guidance – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co’s third-quarter sales beat expectations as Chinese and Australian demand outstripped the milk marketer’s projections and the company sees annual revenue jumping by almost 49 percent.

The Auckland-based, Sydney-headquartered company forecasts revenue of $525 million in the year ending June 30, up from $352.8 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. A2 generated sales of $388.1 million in the nine months ended March 31, with the third quarter infant formula sales exceeding expectations.  . . 

Canadian Milkroad trilogy – Eric Crampton:

Three great reads on the insanity of Canada’s dairy supply management system:

Trevor Tombe explains the consequences of supply management:

According to recent estimates from the OECD, the artificially high agricultural prices in Canada transfer $3.5 billion from consumers to producers annually — nearly $3 billion from milk alone. Spread over the 8 billion litres of annual production, it’s effectively a hidden milk tax of 37 cents per litre.

For producers, this is a big deal. At the end of 2015, there were just under 11,500 dairy farms in Canada. The $3 billion that supply management allows them to extract each year is equivalent to $260,000 per farm. Much of this is capitalized into the value of the quotas they are required to hold. A single one in BC and Alberta, for example, is currently worth roughly $40,000; in Ontario and Quebec, they go for $24,000. With nearly one million dairy cows in Canada, quotas are collectively worth tens of billions of dollars, an important cause of our country’s higher production costs. . . 

Earth Day isn’t relevant here – Uptown Farms:

The last few days social media has been blowing up with Earth Day celebrations. Earth Day was born in 1970 by protestors in response to “the deterioration of the environment,” according to EarthDay.org.

This morning on our farm, we will get up and go to work like we always do.

We will check cows that are grazing our crop fields, currently seeded with turnips, radishes, and cereal rye. We refer to that mixture as cover crops, which we’ve been using on the farm for the last eight years or so, and they provide immeasurable environmental benefit. They reduce our chemical usage, runoff and erosion while increasing our soil organic matter and soil microbes. That means healthier fields and healthier environment surrounding our fields. . . 

Canterbury’s leading agritech companies showcase their solutions to increase productivity and profitability in agriculture:

Canterbury’s leading agritech companies, who contribute to the country’s $3 billion agtech sector, will be showcasing their solutions to increase productivity and profitability in agriculture, at a TechWeek event on 10 May 2017.

Robotics, software, pasture mapping and management are some of the solutions being integrated into on-farm practices across New Zealand, and will be exhibited at Lincoln Hub’s ‘Showcasing Agtech’ event in Lincoln.

For the first time in Tech Week’s history, events are being held outside Auckland, including the showcase, which has been developed to raise the profile of Canterbury Agtech companies, as well as create a conversation around sustainability and growth in the agriculture industry. . . 

NZ’s largest logging industry event planned for June:

The New Zealand forestry industry set a new record last year for the annual forest harvest. There is no denying the fact that the sector is on a high right now. On the back of booming log exports to China, low shipping rates and strong domestic demand, wood harvesting has reached record levels.

This year forestry export revenues are forecast to rise even further. For the year ending June of this year, they’re forecast to increase by 5.8% to NZ$5.4 billion, and climb a further 8.8% to NZ$5.9 billion in the year to June 2018. With the supply of harvestable wood also forecast to rise even higher over the next five years, logging contractors and transport operators from around the country will continue to be extremely busy. . . 


His work her work

June 9, 2011

A father and his son were involved in a serious accident. The father dies and the son was taken to hospital. The doctor looked at him in shock and said, “That’s my son.”

I was asked to explain that about 35 years ago and took a long time to work it out.

I’ll continue after the break in case you want/need time to get the explanation.

Read the rest of this entry »


General donation better than specific

February 23, 2011

When disaster strikes it reflects well on human nature that most of us want to help.

If you’re not close enough, or qualified, to do something practical then donations to organisations helping and supporting those in need are the next best thing.

Relief funds were set up for the people of Canterbury after September’s earthquake and others have already been set up to help people after yesterday’s.

When you give to a charity like Red Cross you’ll have a choice of your money going to a specific project or general purposes.

One of the unexpected consequences of disasters is donations for relief efforts result in a shortage of funds for the good work which is business as normal for charities. Money given to a general fund can, and will, be used to help with a disaster but money given for a specific purpose can’t usually be directed elsewhere.

While a disaster generates generosity it’s often better not to target your donation to relief efforts, but to leave it to the organisation to direct it to where the need is greatest.


October 29 in history

October 29, 2009

On October 29:

1618 English adventurer, writer, and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I of England.

1740  James Boswell, Scottish biographer of Samuel Johnson was born.

1787 Mozart‘s opera Don Giovanni receives its first performance in Prague.

1863 Twenty seven countries meeting in Geneva agreed to form the International Red Cross.

Flag of the ICRC.svg

1886 The first ticker-tape parade takes place in New York City when office workers spontaneously threw ticker tape into the streets as the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.

1891 US singer and comiedienne,  Fanny Brice, was born.

MyMan.jpg 

1894 SS Wiararapa was wrecked on Great Barrier Island.

1897  Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda was born.

1923 Turkey beccame a republic following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

1947 Richard Dreyfuss, American actor, was born.

1956  Suez Crisis began: Israeli forces invaded the Sinai Peninsula and pushed Egyptian forces back toward the Suez Canal.

1964  Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the Republic of Tanzania.

1969 The first-ever computer-to-computer link was established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.

1971 Winona Ryder, American actress, was born.

1995 Forgotten Silver hoax was screened.

2004 In Rome, European heads of state signed the Treaty and Final Act establishing the first European Constitution.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


After the flood

October 2, 2009

New Zealand is giving Samoa and Tonga an initial $1 million for immediate disaster relief.

Acting Prime Minister Bill English says that is only a start.

“We recognise it is just the beginning of a long haul through the immediate emergency and into recovery and rebuilding,” he said last night.

The death toll has risen to around 150 in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, with three New Zealanders among the total. Hundreds are unaccounted for, some washed out to sea. Entire villages were flattened on the south coast of the Samoan main island of Upolu.

When reading large numbers like that, it is difficult to take in the personal impact on the individual people who are left to cope with losing family, friends and homes.

New Zealand is already helping with the immediate needs among which is medical assistance. Health Minister Tony Ryall said the health sector is mobilising to support requests for orthopaedic surgeons, general surgeons, theatre nurses, anaesthetists and post-operative staff.

After the initial response there will be the need for on-going assistance to help these small, not very wealthy countries with the huge task ahead of them in rebuilding villages and the economy.

While our eyes are on our near neighbours, a bit further north and west, the death toll after the earthquake in Indonesia is 777 and expected to rise.

New Zealand aid agencies are accepting donations to help them help. You can donate to Red Cross here.


August 22 in history

August 22, 2009

On August 22:

565 St Columba reported seeing the Loch Ness Monster.

1851 the first America’s Cup was won by the yacht America.

1862 French composer Claude Debussy was born.

1864 12 nations signed the first Geneva Convention and the Red Cross was formed.

1893 US writer Dorothy Parker was born.


1934 Genral “Storman’ ” Norman Schwarzkopf

1969 The first Young Farmer of the Year contest was held. The winner was Gary Frazer.


Florence Nightingale medal for NZ nurse

June 3, 2009

Auckland nurse Joyce Hood has been awarded the Florence Nightingale medal by the International Red Cross.

The Florence Nightingale medal is the highest honour within the nursing profession. It is awarded to people who distinguish themselves in times of peace or war by showing exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or to civilian victims of conflict or disaster.

As a nurse, 66-year-old Ms Hood from Remuera, Auckland has been a New Zealand Red Cross aid worker for the past 11 years and has undertaken 10 missions encompassing 75 months of field service in countries such as Afghanistan, Kenya, Timor Leste and South Ossetia.

The rest of the story is here.


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