International News & Views

  1. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    May 11, 2016
    [Here is something very special. A blog kindly sent in by TFFer @nev12345 and featuring some ostensibly agricultural machinery working hard in a very different application. See the footnotes to follow Mike Neaverson's progress. He tells me he has further short film footage "if anyone is interested" - as if he has to ask JP1]

    Halley Research Station is one of the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS’s) four permanently manned stations in the Antarctic region. Its situated at 75 degrees south on the Brunt Iceshelf, an enormous expanse of what is effectively a floating glacier. Whilst access by light aircraft is perilously possible during good weather in the three months or so of summer, the majority of people and the vast majority of supplies are brought in on BAS’s own ice-breaking supply ship the RRS Ernest Shackleton from Cape Town or the Falkland Islands - a voyage of between 7 and 14 days each way depending on how much sea ice is present in the area - see time-lapse video.

    There’s no dock or port on the ice shelf - instead the ship finds a site where the ice shelf is low enough to moor alongside and the process of resupplying the station begins - an operation called ‘relief’. From the relief site on the coast, it’s a 50km haul inland across the glacier to the station itself, a journey currently accomplished using two John Deere 7820’s on Soucy track conversions and two PistenBullys, taking around eight hours for a round trip and running in shifts...
  2. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    Apr 2, 2016

    The Burrumbuttock Hay Runners on their last venture to Queensland.

    A TRUCK convoy stretching 160 kilometres will be a sight to behold when drivers with hearts of gold take part in the latest Burrumbuttock Hay Runners adventure.

    The run will again deliver donated bales of hay to drought-striken Illfracombe in Queensland.

    Drivers from across the Leeton region and the rest of the country are donating their time to take part.

    Organiser of the run, Leeton shire resident Brendan Farrell, said the convoy was about “98 per cent” ready to go.

    “We’ve got 280 prime movers and 380 trailers that will stretch about 160 to 170 kilometres on the road,” he said.

    “We’ve hit $450,000 in our fundraising for fuel costs for the drivers.

    “That was always my biggest thing.

    “These blokes are already donating their time, I didn’t want them to have to cover the cost of fuel as well.”

    A similar run was held in January, with Mr Farrell already planning another trip for three months time, as well as a fourth later in the year.

    He said he almost didn’t make it aboard the current convoy.

    “My wife has been pretty sick and I wasn’t going to leave her,” Mr Farrell said.

    “She’s started to get a bit better, so it’s looking like I’ll make it.

    “She basically said to me ‘you’re going’.”

    The hay run has attracted national attention, which helped in recent fundraising efforts to get the trucks on the road.

    “The money has come in from everywhere, whether it’s from groups and clubs in...
  3. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    Apr 1, 2016
    A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the UK Government has been compelled by the EU within the last year to initiate a consultation paper evaluating a change for UK drivers to fall in to line with other EU States and drive on the right.

    In sending the original EU Directive, Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc cited previous success when Sweden changed from left to right traffic.

    No stranger to controversy, the plan had been originally mooted in 2005 by a previous Commissioner.
    Commissioner Barrot was approved by the European Parliament in 2004 and made a Vice-President in the Barroso Commission. However shortly after he began work, UKIP MEP Nigel Farage revealed Barrot had previously been convicted of fraud in 2000. French President Jacques Chirac had granted him presidential amnesty. A fact the Commissioner did not disclose during his hearing to the Parliament. Despite calls from some MEPs for him to be suspended he remained in office.

    A memo uncovered in the current...
  4. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    Nov 13, 2015
    There has been a recent massive outbreak of food chains promoting meat raised without hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Subsequently there has been a recent outbreak on social media of people condemning these chains for a variety of reasons. I’m an ag girl. I was raised on a beef farm, I raise my own beef, I have my own laying hens, I’ve worked within the agriculture sector and seen many things first hand. Many of my friends and acquaintances who are so against these big chains have the same experiences as myself. It just goes to show you how differently each individual see’s everything. I don’t feel overly inclined to protect and defend the big food chains, especially after reading some of their criteria for their recent implementations, very little may actually be changed. However I do feel the need to defend them in one aspect, supply and demand. I also feel a bit of education on their policies may be required by some.

    I have seen, and I’m sure if you have anyone remotely ag on any of your social media outlets you have seen, people attack these food chains for denying animals proper care and for sourcing out products outside of Canada. This last one is mainly in regards to A&W sourcing beef from Australia. Many call for boycotting because Canadian products aren’t supported. I can only shake my head at this. Providing a product for a market is a tough business, you’re always in competition with someone. Without getting into a dispute over labour costs and...
  5. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    Nov 5, 2015
    Somehow it is already November. Somehow October snuck by and Halloween was a vague date on the calendar called a work day. Yet despite this sneaking of the days the weather has decided to be a wake up call. Some years in Canada September can catch you by surprise with nothing prepared for winter. All of a sudden your life is frozen and buried and hindsight is a small consolation to cracked pipes and frozen windshield wipers. This year fall has been a steady and prolonged season. Arriving with rain and slight frosts, just enough to inhibit the end of harvest, and continuing on with chilly mornings and warm days. Now winter is finally beginning to claw.

    Heavy frosts every morning have left the grass crunchy and trees dressed in white crystals. Hoar frost seems to be more of a November thing and this year is no exception. The only difference being the ground is still bare and brown compared to the previous few years. If memory serves the more commercial side of winterization was approached last year. Checking feedlot waterers, getting wind breaks and feed bunks to proper locations, getting the heater running properly for the processing barn, etc. However since this fall finds me in different employment within the ag sector, winterization at work is minimal. Instead I’m left with only personal chores at home. A much smaller scale for sure but easier to avoid and procrastinate as well. Which hasn’t bitten me in the behind yet this year.

    Small scale winterizing in...
  6. Chris F
    Created by Chris F in category International News & Views
    Oct 20, 2015

    I was invited to Expo 2015 by New Holland in September. It was a very interesting experience, so I thought I would share it with all of you and I hope you enjoy the read and the pictures.

    Now for those who don’t know much about the Expo (which included me), I’ll explain a little more.

    The Expo isn’t an Agricultural Show, but it is most definitely about agriculture. It has been running from 1st May and continues on until 31st October. I’d not been to an Expo before so I had no idea what to expect and if I’m honest I was a little dubious about exactly what they are trying to achieve. The Theme is “Feed the Planet, Energy for Life”. Very big statements. But only 10% of the people who visit the show work in Agriculture. 90% are the general public. So you probably get the idea that they are trying to educate. As with all countries, the general public seem to know very little about where food comes from and how it is produced. And a lot of people have been visiting have been visiting this event. Up to 200,000 people a day. The UK stand told me they had had over 5 million visitors already. And they were just one of over 100 stands.

    The Expo itself is made up of pavilions (stands). Countries and organisations can have a pavilion where they can educate the general public about farming and food in their respective countries. I would say it would take you a week at least to visit every Pavilion. To give you an idea of the scale, this is the map. The long walkway...
  7. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    Jul 14, 2015
    TFF blogger @Blaithin writes about Summer's progress in Albertaland:

    There are some times where it becomes glaringly obvious to me how separated rural folks are from their urban counterparts. Usually I take comfort in this fact by thinking when the world ends and trades shut down and food is scarce and all that hullabaloo I’ll stand a much better chance of surviving than my slightly more ignorant when it comes to living, city relatives. Still… there are times when even that isn’t comforting….

    The local area here is in high distress in the middle of a drought. Slightly north of where I am they aren’t too bad, farther south and east they’re in dire straights. I can only imagine what people are willing to trade for a solid day or two of rain right now. Meanwhile, there’s them city folk. The radio stations are in despair if a slight shower goes through the cities, it may interrupt their patio time! There also seems to be a lot of dread about mosquitoes appearing once it rains. Since it’s been so dry there really aren’t any at all this year. I admit that it’s a pleasant thing but I’d still change it for some wet weather. Really, the only immediate inconvenience city dwellers seem to be faced with are only being allowed to water their lawns every other day and having to deal with those pesky air advisories because of all the smoke drifting around from the hundreds of wildfires currently burning (Whole other issue that, but apparently we have Australia fire...
  8. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    May 31, 2015
    In today’s media you can usually find some article or video condemning agriculture. Seems there are many people who feel they are experts on livestock and animal welfare and want the rest of us to know how pious and educated they are. I may not have a BSc in Animal Welfare or volunteer my time for organizations like PETA. I’m not even a little bit vegetarian either but I still feel that myself, along with many people raised and working within the agriculture sector, have the experience and frontline exposure, not to mention a deeper understanding of the industry, to be able to comment more fully on its issues. At least more fully than those undercover volunteers who seem to be all the rage these days.

    The most basic rule that people need to understand about agriculture is that it is an industry and it supports many people with it’s profits. As with any industry, profits need to be made to pay the workers, and in order to make profits the industry has to meet a need. This is that lovely law of supply and demand. This means that if the agriculture industry is making a profit then it is successfully meeting the demand asked of it. Pretty simple so it makes sense that whenever one of those articles or videos appear there’s an outcry for people to become vegetarian or vegan. After all, take away the demand for meat and logically the need to supply it will dry up accordingly. Similar to if you take away the demand for milk (ha ha! I love puns!) Except it seems a bit...
  9. Exfarmer
    Created by Exfarmer in category International News & Views
    Apr 30, 2015
    I am starting this thread as it is only a fortnight before we fly to Japan, to cycle from Tokyo to Hokaido, 700 miles in 7 days. The bike has new wheels, tyres, gears, brakes etc. Training has been stepped up to 250 + miles a week.
    We will be travelling in rural areas, so apart from the language barrier there is one thing I am having to work at

    Those peas are damn tricky :)

    This has been a practice but watch this space.
  10. JP1
    Created by JP1 in category International News & Views
    Mar 29, 2015
    The global balance of power is shifting to Asia…

    Having returned from a two week agribusiness tour of China, Hong Kong and Singapore, I have been left in no doubt whatsoever that the growing affluence of Asia will have a major impact on global agriculture. Not a revelation, I know, but I’ve now seen it for myself.

    What hits you in the face when you travel around China is the sheer scale of development occurring in the major cities and the determination of the government to drive large infrastructure projects through. The urbanisation policy of China has seen mass migration from rural areas to the cities and now the country boasts over 180 cities with a population of over 3 million.

    When you see the volume of high rise buildings being built, you can’t help but think whether this vast expansion and construction boom will lead to a potential property bubble? However, there’s no sign of that yet and China continues to be one of the fastest growing economies pushing hard to overtake the USA as the world’s largest.

    There is a growing disparity between the urban areas and the rural hinterland, but the continued urbanisation flow has seen a growth in the Chinese middle class, estimated to be in the region of 300 million which is equivalent to almost a quarter of the...