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Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Celebration of the Cow















Today we learn that there are now over 6 million cows in New Zealand. If you've ever stood, as I did yesterday, behind a cow as it's evacuating it's bowels and bladder, you'll be feeling rather anxious at the news that cow numbers have reach those dizzying heights and will feel worse when you consider the dairy industry's plan to rack up those numbers considerably in pursuit of more production.
Jordan Wyatt at Coexisting with Nonhuman Animals too, is considering the lot of cows with this post in which he examines the celebrations of his local supermarket. I've taken, unbidden, his photo to illustrate this indicative post and he'll doubtless notify me if he thinks I've transgressed on his intellectual property.

129 comments:

JayWontdart said...

You're most welcome Robert :-)

Seeing these "wintering barns" is rather horrifying

http://robertguyton.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/wintering-barns.html

- this *is* our future, like everywhere else in the world, the increase of "factory farming". I'm reminded of 3 News covering these "robot milking machines" in nearby Winton

http://www.3news.co.nz/Robot-milks-cows-for-all-theyre-worth/tabid/311/articleID/182477/Default.aspx

Look at them and weep, thats however many human workers out of a job, making the cows "work" for, as the title puts it, "all they're worth" to us.

"Cow" being female ("Bull" for male), we know that *she* was evacuating *her* bowels and bladder - although all those constantly pregnant mammal mothers certainly are referred to as "stock" property often here in the glorious south! :-)

We missed your room brightening presence at our last potluck, you missed out on those terrifically complicated "Pita Pepper Pizzas", and Dans terrific Chocolate Coconut cheesecake! When you have chocolate, coconut and "anzac biscuit base" available to you, why not leave the calf food to the cows! :-)

http://www.coexistingwithnonhumananimals.co.nz/2012/05/may-2012-invsoc-potluck.html

P.S will your room brightening presence be involved with these events? I'm planning to go to Mondays gathering (with baking of course), you could make it a Guyton-ering! :-)


"Hi Transition Town Folks
Transition Town will be having another gathering on Monday 28 May at 7pm at The Book Stop/Invercargill Environment Centre at 67 Glengarry Cres.
The last gathering was a discussion about what resilience is and this month we will be talking about the psychology of change. This is an open meeting ie anyone can come along.

Also the next Green Drinks is Thursday 31 May at 5.30pm at Zookeepers on Tay St."

robertguyton said...

Hi Jordan, it's delightful to hear from you and to receive your 'you're welcome'.
Yesterday was a thought-provoking day, sure enough. The abiding impression was one of concrete. That said, we met an 'out of the box' dairy farmer, a Swiss man who's philosophy trumped all others we met, with his real concerns for animal health, pasture health, soil health and the health, physical and 'spiritual' of his family. He was voluntarily restricting his cow numbers to what is regarded as a very low number. He provided hay, made from a plethora of herbs and grasses, for the cows to eat, rejected the use of brassica winter crops, palm kernel expeller and grains, treated the animals with homeopathic remedies, wouldn't seclude a cow from the herd when she was unwell and a whole lot of other enlightened things about which he spoke to us all. It was all about stress-free (for all concerned) animal husbandry (I suspect you'll have something to say about that term, though I know not what :-)
I had intended to come to your latest pot-luck, but my timetable prevented me from making it - dang-a-lang! I'd not have darkened your table with calf-food, believe you me! I've learned something at least, from reading your blog :-)
Thursday's Green drinks is a possibility for me, though my week's chokka and very interesting. I'm judging things, attending a Blue breakfast and spending time on the marae, amongst my usual Councilly business. Lots of garden-writing to be done as well. Buzy as a bee, me.
I saw the robot-farm near Winton as we drove home. There were cows a'chewin' their cud out on the sward. Others wandered toward the robotic-milkers and it all looked very bucolic. I'd like to have a closer look and expect I will, sooner or later.

JayWontdart said...

Well whenever you're in Invercargill and feel like discussing Hen Friends and flowers, I'd love to help fill up your schedule :-)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaywontdart/6222879006/sizes/l/in/set-72157627830589146/

Hope to see you at a future Green Drinks event,

Jordan

Anonymous said...

This set-up looks most impressive. I've not see one in NZ, but visited a state-of-the-art set-up in Scotland last year. All that I saw appeared good for animals, people, and farming. The animals all looked very contented. A critical exception is the concern for animals standing on hard surfaces for extended periods. That is very hard on joints, but not insurmountable, in fact easily resolved. That aside, I see these facilities as mostly advantageous, particularly in the South Island.

Anonymous said...

Jordan, these barns you are worried about.... It seems the council might like them?
Google 'new focus sought for Waituna'.

robertguyton said...

They range in quality. One had 'sleeping pads' where the cow could lie/sit comfortably. Some were well scraped clean of shit, others not. Some fed hay, others silage and brassicas. Some had a view of the farm, others were screened for wind protection. Presently, I'm favouring the simplest of them; a wood-chipped pad in the lee of a tall hedge, with access to silage. It hasn't the enormous 'production footprint' the concrete and steel ones had. All have the advantage that they get hooves off wet Southland soil in the winter time. Feeding cows on brassica crops on sloping ground or that underwhich there are field tiles over a wet winter can be disastrous for soils and waterways.

Anonymous said...

So Robert, usually the grass for these sheds comes from off the dairy platform. How sustainable is it to harvest grass over and over? How do dairy farmers afford these sheds? Milk longer or increase stocking rate? In a year when there is little surplus grass in Southland where does the surplus feed come from? Hmm perhaps it is imported and PKE Is cheap? Jordan it seems the council could be your biggest enemy not dairy farmers.

robertguyton said...

So, Anonymous, trying to divide and conquer, eh!
"Jordan it seems the council could be your biggest enemy not dairy farmers."
Classic Tory strategy :-)
I'll have a go at answering each of your questions:

"So Robert, usually the grass for these sheds comes from off the dairy platform. How sustainable is it to harvest grass over and over?

That depends, Anon, on your management. You might adopt a sebatical system where you rest a 7th of your farm each year. You might change your pasture mix to a ley that has a range of root-types/depths. You might moderate your stock numbers so as not to pressure your farm too much. You might adopt a biological system that increases worm and soil organism numbers up to a point where everything you do is more effective. The reason for my promoting a hay-based winter-feed system, is that they exist and work beautifully, according to the farmer we met last week. His farm looked excellent.


How do dairy farmers afford these sheds? Milk longer or increase stocking rate?
Which sheds? Some of those we saw seemed completely unaffordable. One was constructed by the farmer himself and was paid for quite quickly and caused no financial damage. Another, massive in scale, had the owner very worried, especially in light of falling prices for milk solids.Your two choices; milk longer or increase stocking rate, are not the only choices at all, in fact, both are counter-productive and result in further enslavement for the farmer. Cranking up production is not the answer. Efficiency and changed expectations for the farmer, is.
In a year when there is little surplus grass in Southland where does the surplus feed come from?
No surplus grass? Te dry wasn't a problem for those who adapted their pasture species and management to the possibility of drought. Conventional pasture selection and management puts the modern farmer at great risk. I think it's the wrong path to go down and the season showed that to be the case. I think the same about brassicas.
Hmm perhaps it is imported and PKE Is cheap?
Hmmm, I don't understand what this sentence means.

Jordan it seems the council could be your biggest enemy not dairy farmers.Yeah, Jordan, Anonymous is not far wrong. There are factions in the Council that are responsible for many things that you and I wouldn't be happy with. The situation has improved lately though but we need to be watchful, as foolishness never sleeps.

Anonymous said...

Robert, I simply found it interesting that you are supporting each other but have the opposite views. I couldn't but think how bizarre. You are supporting Jordan's anti- factory farming stance and you are for factory farming. Pardon the labels but I assume Jordan considers any winter shed as factory farming? So far he has not made a distinction.
What are these grass types with better roots? Cocksfoot requires a high supply of N to retain quality and tall fescue has failed to establish well in Southland. What are the others? Chicory and plantain prove themselves to fail in persistence.
Sebatical? How on earth are you going to pay for increased costs (shed) if you are reducing the grazing area?
Farmers already run biological systems. There is plenty of research to prove microorganisms reach peak with peak pasture production and soil fertility.
The biggest saviour of dairy stock (cows, bulls, calves and heifer, so not to upset the sensitive) this year was PKE. Thank goodness it was there. Many of those that didn't have it had light cows for most of the season. Or perhaps we prefer systems with skinny cows?
Systems that run with low stocking rates work fine in low growth years like the last 3 but in good growth years pasture quality is a problem and consequently animal health suffers. Is this what you are supporting?
Question. Did you consider the EBITR for the farm with the shed/ hay system. How does this compare?
The things in the council that you are not happy with...Are they simply points of disagreement or foolishness?

Anonymous said...

The facility I saw in Scotland was of the enormous 'production footprint' of concrete and steel, and was the hub of "factory farming" as detractors are wont to describe such set-ups. In concept it was similar to the building in your earlier post but had a 50 bale rotary milking platform in the middle with loafing capacity for 250 cows on each side. It also housed 4 massive silage clamps. The outlay was an eye-watering NZ$10 million, but given the climatic conditions of Scotland, probably affordable compared with the negatives of not having the extras involved in the facility.

From your 10:44 comment:

"You might adopt a sebatical system where you rest a 7th of your farm each year. You might change your pasture mix to a ley that has a range of root-types/depths. You might moderate your stock numbers so as not to pressure your farm too much. You might adopt a biological system that increases worm and soil organism numbers up to a point where everything you do is more effective. The reason for my promoting a hay-based winter-feed system, is that they exist and work beautifully, according to the farmer we met last week. His farm looked excellent."

All of these things are possible in the "factory farming" scenario because you do not have the constraints of animals requiring access to the pasture all of the time. The old saying about being "too busy making a living to make a fortune" applies equally to the mechanics of farm improvement. Most farmers simply do not want to be bothered. By the time they can afford to make the changes, they are wanting to slow down.

Really good information about the advances in soil are readily available to farmers, and those involved in physically making those changes are generous in sharing their knowledge.
The quickest way that these advances are made are with owner operators who wish to be at the cutting edge of development, and/or investment syndicates that appeal to people who want to be part of such development but are themselves beyond the physical involvement.
"Green field" development is optimal because all the advances can be made at once. "Drip feed" development tends to minimise the effects of individual advances and the impetus for change is lost, and achieving the overall goal too slow.

There are any number of very clued-up people who can advise on the various aspects of optimum soil and pasture development, animal husbandry "best practice", and design technology for the harvesting of milk. Dairying has the potential to be exciting for can-do people who get satisfaction from a pioneering attitude. It also allows people with "partial focus" to contribute to a wider goal.

It is also much more satisfying to be involved on the inside with positive, progressive development than trying to convince others from the outside that there is a better way.

Anonymous said...

The facility I saw in Scotland was of the enormous 'production footprint' of concrete and steel, and was the hub of "factory farming" as detractors are wont to describe such set-ups. In concept it was similar to the building in your earlier post but had a 50 bale rotary milking platform in the middle with loafing capacity for 250 cows on each side. It also housed 4 massive silage clamps. The outlay was an eye-watering NZ$10 million, but given the climatic conditions of Scotland, probably affordable compared with the negatives of not having the extras involved in the facility.

From your 10:44 comment:

"You might adopt a sebatical system where you rest a 7th of your farm each year. You might change your pasture mix to a ley that has a range of root-types/depths. You might moderate your stock numbers so as not to pressure your farm too much. You might adopt a biological system that increases worm and soil organism numbers up to a point where everything you do is more effective. The reason for my promoting a hay-based winter-feed system, is that they exist and work beautifully, according to the farmer we met last week. His farm looked excellent."

All of these things are possible in the "factory farming" scenario because you do not have the constraints of animals requiring access to the pasture all of the time. The old saying about being "too busy making a living to make a fortune" applies equally to the mechanics of farm improvement. Most farmers simply do not want to be bothered. By the time they can afford to make the changes, they are wanting to slow down.

Really good information about the advances in soil are readily available to farmers, and those involved in physically making those changes are generous in sharing their knowledge.
The quickest way that these advances are made are with owner operators who wish to be at the cutting edge of development, and/or investment syndicates that appeal to people who want to be part of such development but are themselves beyond the physical involvement.
"Green field" development is optimal because all the advances can be made at once. "Drip feed" development tends to minimise the effects of individual advances and the impetus for change is lost, and achieving the overall goal too slow.

There are any number of very clued-up people who can advise on the various aspects of optimum soil and pasture development, animal husbandry "best practice", and design technology for the harvesting of milk. Dairying has the potential to be exciting for can-do people who get satisfaction from a pioneering attitude. It also allows people with "partial focus" to contribute to a wider goal.

It is also much more satisfying to be involved on the inside with positive, progressive development than trying to convince others from the outside that there is a better way.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Apologies for double-up

anonymous (8:38 and 1:41)

Anonymous said...

Bizarre. This post started as an anti dairy, anti factory farming post by a Councillor that is pro factory farming. And now it has strangely turned into a Dairy advert. Blogging is such a great way of communicating.

robertguyton said...

Anonymous said...
Robert, I simply found it interesting that you are supporting each other but have the opposite views. I couldn't but think how bizarre. You are supporting Jordan's anti- factory farming stance and you are for factory farming.
Anon - I'm not 'for' factory farming. I was reporting back on what I'd seen. I recognise that there are some advantages in terms of sol and water protection from having cows off pasture during the winter, but also that there are issues with the amount of concrete being used, land lost to the barns, and the hardness of the surfaces etc. Jordan's view is no doubt a lot wide than he has indicated here.



Pardon the labels but I assume Jordan considers any winter shed as factory farming? So far he has not made a distinction.
WE'll have to ask him. I suspect Jordan may consider all stock farming to be 'factory'.

What are these grass types with better roots? Cocksfoot requires a high supply of N to retain quality and tall fescue has failed to establish well in Southland. What are the others? Chicory and plantain prove themselves to fail in persistence.
There are lots of other plants that consist a 'herbal ley, Anonymous and while some may seem not to perform under conventional pasture management, they can do much better in combination with other plants and different systems of rotation and degrees of pressure.
Sebatical? How on earth are you going to pay for increased costs (shed) if you are reducing the grazing area?
Ah! Therein lies your learning, Anon! There are now, sebatical systems operating that do not result in loss of productivity, or if they do, make up for that in other aspects of farm management - animal health for example, which can be significantly improved through the use of more diverse feed crops, rotations that break the intestinal worm cycle and so on.
Farmers already run biological systems.
That's a semantic trick right there, Anon. I'm referring to "Biological Farming" as a recognised approach that differs from "Conventional farming" Its distinguishes itself through the use of quite distinct approaches to most farming activities.
There is plenty of research to prove microorganisms reach peak with peak pasture production and soil fertility.
What?
The biggest saviour of dairy stock (cows, bulls, calves and heifer, so not to upset the sensitive) this year was PKE. Thank goodness it was there. Many of those that didn't have it had light cows for most of the season. Or perhaps we prefer systems with skinny cows?
You are right, Anon - PKE was invaluable - to the conventional farmer, but was completely unneeded by those who farm more carefully and using some of the methods I'm alluding to here. PKE has serious ramifications outside of NZ, and most farmers seem to turn a blind eye to that, claiming 'we need it'. I disagree strongly.
Systems that run with low stocking rates work fine in low growth years like the last 3 but in good growth years pasture quality is a problem and consequently animal health suffers. Is this what you are supporting? Trick question eh! Am I supporting poor pasture quality and animal health, no. Am I supporting reduced stock numbers, yes. You have not made a case to show that what you believe is true, you've just stated that one makes the other worse. I challenge that statement.
Question. Did you consider the EBITR for the farm with the shed/ hay system. How does this compare?
YEs. Very well indeed. (see above)
The things in the council that you are not happy with...Are they simply points of disagreement or foolishness?
In my view, ideological blindness and naivety.

Anonymous said...

Robert, so are you for or against wintering barns. Let's split them in half so we don't get another political statement. Large concrete sheds. Y/N. Smaller non stall types. Say herd homes . Y/N.
You didn't specify the species you were referring to. I have been involved with testing heaps of species on a Biogro certified research farm system. Including, lotus, Sulla, Lucerne, plantain, chicory, prairie grass, ryegrass, clovers and others. I am yet to be impressed by anything but ryegrass and white clover. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
I have an interest in organic systems and have researched them in Southland. I won't go into detail. I will say that if I am to learn about sebatical systems in conjunction with high financial returns you might have to teach me how to pull a rabbit from a hat too. Or perhaps how to leverage subsidises from governments.
Plenty of farmers will tell you too much grass is more of a problem than not enough. Canterbury is a great example this year. Many Canterbury farmers are worried about the problems they face. Particularly dryland farmers. Plenty of current evidence to highlight your errors in assumption.
Ideological blindness and naivety. That is bad news. Still those characteristics show potential. Perhaps some education on the specific issues and some philosophical debates and bang problem solved. Why were the Councillors visiting sheds again?

robertguyton said...

Anonymous said...
Robert, so are you for or against wintering barns.
Too simplistic a question, Anon. Are you for or against wars?

Let's split them in half so we don't get another political statement. Large concrete sheds. Y/N. Smaller non stall types. Say herd homes . Y/N.
You haven't included all of the systems we saw on the day in your breakdown. Nonetheless, I found the enormous concrete and steel wintering barn to be impressive, though the financial investment somewhat frightening. If the industry founders even a little, will the farmer be able to pay the banks for the money loaned? The animals will certainly be protected from the weather, but the feed needed will be huge and growing grain for cattle feed a double edged sword. Farmers claim 'we must feed the world' but instead, are feeding cows. The effluent system there is impressive, technologically, but still primitive in it's use of water as a medium for movement. The 'herd homes' I was less impressed with, though their scale was more reasonable - that is, they didn't cover a hectare with concrete. The animals weren't very stable on the concrete grates and that will affect their wellbeing. It was a very 'shitty' environment. Their feed, brassicas and silage, seems to me, not sufficient. Their movements were sloppy. I liked, as I said before, the woodchip option, though it's open to the sky. On the day we were there it was warm and sunny, but in midwinter, in the hail, they had no shelter at all, other than trees 20 metres away. As I mentioned, the farm-constructed wintering barn of the biological farmer, while of itself not spectacularly different, was my choice for best, when combined with the other on-farm innovations I described earlier. So there you have it, not 'y' or 'n' just a range of observations.

You didn't specify the species you were referring to. I have been involved with testing heaps of species on a Biogro certified research farm system. Including, lotus, Sulla, Lucerne, plantain, chicory, prairie grass, ryegrass, clovers and others. I am yet to be impressed by anything but ryegrass and white clover. Perhaps you can enlighten me.
What over-arching system did that research farm operate, Anon? Was it lightly stocked, mix-stocked, did it have enough space to grow hay for cutting not grazing etc... You don't seem enthusiastic about the growth of the plants you mention, but I have heard quite the opposite reports from farmers who are using them on their dairy farms. For example, plantain was the plant of choice for a dairy farmer I spoke to recently - for his calves, who coveted it and thrived on it. Did you trial animals on your pastures, or was your assessment just dry-matter tested? Did you look at earthworm populations as a measure of your pasture-type success? Animal health? Or was it all growth rates in your plants? Did you use modern cultivars or older, less-bred-up varieties? Did you allow for reseeding? Did you test for insect populations and regard the positive effects of increased biodiversity on your farm? Did you interview the land-owner and his/her family regarding their sense of satisfaction from being on the farm and their likelihood of remaining in farming for a long period and their health in comparison with other conventional farmers. As you can see, mine is a whole-farm view.

(Had to split my answer into two parts. Part 2 follows.)

robertguyton said...

(Part 2.)

I have an interest in organic systems and have researched them in Southland. I won't go into detail. I will say that if I am to learn about sebatical systems in conjunction with high financial returns you might have to teach me how to pull a rabbit from a hat too. Perhaps your 'high financial returns' is where your abbit becomes elusive. Have you considered 'sufficient' rather than 'high'? A re-calibration of farmer expectation can result in a balanced, sustainable farming experience that outlasts andout-performs the conventional approach. or perhaps how to leverage subsidises from governments.
Plenty of farmers will tell you too much grass is more of a problem than not enough. Canterbury is a great example this year. Many Canterbury farmers are worried about the problems they face. Particularly dryland farmers.
Too much grass can be a problem, Anon, but I'm talking about pasture that is not just grass and some white clover (hows that varroa thing going, btw? Are you concerned that the loss of our wild hives will knock clover out of Southland's pastures for a few critical years?), I'm talking a vast increase in the diversity of pasture species.
Plenty of current evidence to highlight your errors in assumption.
Ideological blindness and naivety. That is bad news. Still those characteristics show potential.
What potential, might I ask, does 'ideological blindness' present? I've found such ideologues intractable. perhaps you know of some un-ravelling methods that might loosen-up, for example, those who believe that greater productivity is the Golden Rule. Perhaps some education on the specific issues and some philosophical debates and bang problem solved. I'm up for them, Anon, but you'll note that no other Councillor has a blog or interacts so freely with the public as I do. Have you a suggestion? Public debates? Bring it on!
Why were the Councillors visiting sheds again?
We weren't visiting them again. It was the first time for us :-)

robertguyton said...

Anon @1:41
Thank you for that information and opinion, it's very interesting indeed. I liked your ultimate comment:
"It is also much more satisfying to be involved on the inside with positive, progressive development than trying to convince others from the outside that there is a better way."
While I heartily agree with that, I'm cautious about that approach in an industry that is expanding so fast that it can't be matched by innovation in implementation of better systems. Sometimes the machine just keeps churning up the mud, no matter how finely you tine the carburetor!

robertguyton said...

Tune

Anonymous said...

Robert,
Perhaps I do have a mentality of excellence. The private sector requires that. But rest assured sustainability is part of that excellence.
Financial performance (as it is tied to a biological system) tends to fit a normal distribution. If you drag that system down 'high performance' becomes 'enough' but the risk is the majority that were 'enough' move to 'not enough'. At that point you have an industry in disaster. Simplistic but a reality of your suggestion.
Pasture species. We tested animal performance with suggested organic alternatives of systems. Eg do tannin containing plants work? Do mixed herbal leys work? What parasite remedies work eg cider vinegar etc, Integrated species. Etc etc. All replicated trials. Ps plantain was the worst for parasite problems. It seems the canopy structure provided a nice water gradient for larval migration. Ryegrass was bad too. Lucerne was good.
Most of the testing was based against animal performance/ health. Biodiversity. We were good at growing worms. Parasite worms.
It is fair to say none of the people involved looked at that farm with pride. We learned a lot but most of it was in proving theories wrong. The null hypothesis really was null. Great way to waste some money though.
Varroa does not worry me. There is plenty of clover seed in the soil and if we do need more seed in the soil it can be broadcast on for nearly nothing.
I would go as far as to say I dislike grass mixes. They are hard to manage. Particularly quality and persistence.
I was suggesting that blindness and naivety can be cured and that is an opportunity. But perhaps my high performance mentality will only work in the private sector.
I don't blame councillors for not blogging. In my opinion it is a highly inappropriate form of communication for a councillor.

JayWontdart said...

1

My goodness, theres been a few comments I havnt caught up with! :-)

"Anonymous"

I do not campaign against "factory farming", or for or against "animal welfare" measures of any sort.

I have an "Animal Rights" position, that we are animals, mammals to drill down a further level, and that Other Animals generally deserve the same respect as you or I, such as a right to live their own lives, to not be considered "stock", a thing, property.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_rights

I like the work of Tom Regan, a former "butcher" turned Animal Rights philosopher

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Regan

My main inspiration is the English sociologist Dr Roger Yates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Yates

He no longer has anything to do with any direct, violent groups, and has spent the past decades promoting nonviolent, creative vegan education by local groups in their own areas, which I think is the right way to go.

To keep my comment as short as possible (ha!), I wouldnt be thrilled about *any* development in our nations "dairy" industry - or any other aspect of "animal agriculture". I do not believe that any meaningful change towards Animal Rights will come through law ie no laws about "thou shalt not kill pigs and chickens and cattle* and ducks....", certainly not until we have a vast majority of the population who would agree with the position! :-)

Politics follows social movements, it does not create them, and it would certainly be unwise for any politician in a position of power (sounds like a poem, or a bad Bob Dylan song) to advocate for something at the time hugely different than what the electorate believe. There are a few Green party MP's who are Vegan, but the Green Party wont explicitly state "we have Veganism as a core part of our party" for a long time still, I would think. The Greens have attended our Animal Rights conferences, handing out pamphlets that they do in fact hold to such a position, which I found very interesting indeed, as presumably most of the Greens are not as of yet Vegan :-)

Heres a quick photo of information given to me by the Green Party table at NARC2011 (National Animal Rights Conference 2011) held in Auckland

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaywontdart/7279035496/in/photostream

Both Dr Yates and myself agree with Franciones overall position on Other Animals, it was quite refreshing to see Francione mentioned by a New Zealand Political party!


Our Animal Rights activism is grassroots, talking to interested people about respecting others, we do not try to force others who disagree into any sort of legal challenge, although we obviously disagree! :-)

JayWontdart said...

2

On our Invercargill Vegan Society website, we have information about Southlands past History of "Animal Agriculture", including things that we would now commonly look upon as awful, such as the killing of whales and seals, as you will both know was very important to our economy at the time. Visiting the museum, its rather chilling to see those "cast iron spa pools", and know they were for boiling and bubbling goodness only knows what.....gross! :-)

http://www.invsoc.org.nz/southlandshistory/

As the numbers of Vegans continues to grow, change will gradually come due to less consumers for the large animal agriculture industries, a change in society and culture, ie less people wanting to shoot birds to death for fun, less circuses that still use nonhuman animals, less slaughterhouses because of less demand for less flesh, less mega "dairy" factories due to less demand for cows milk etc etc etc.

I have great hopes for our local oat milk production capabilities, its good to be *for* something, rather than against, and this is an interesting industry - although truth be told I've always preferred soymilk, I'd be glad to support a local plantmilk being made, you better believe it! :-)

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/6875651/Oats-may-overtake-hydrogen

Tomorrow I'm going to attend a Transition Towns meeting about how to bring change in the world, I'm bringing baking, which goes well with a smile in being a positive example of change, having nice Vegan food available for people to try, "what, these banana chocolate chip muffins have NO birds egg in them at all? But how on earth could you make Banana Chocolate chip muffins without birds eggs? Why, I thought birds eggs and horse toenail clippings made up some 80 odd percent of Banana Chocolate chip muffins!" :-)

Today, since it *started* off nice weather here in Invercargill, I made more "Pepper Pita Pizzas", taking photos of each stage. Unfortunately it Rained On My Parade just as I put the tray of pita pizzas into my oven, resulting in duller end product photographs, such is life :-)

http://www.invsoc.org.nz/pepper-pita-pizzas/

I'm not terribly excited about robot "stockfeed spillage cleaner-uppers" and concrete floors - the inevitable keeping all "agricultural property" indoors for reasons of efficiency.

Friendly local Vegans talking about Veganism with interested people seems a safer bet in my book, a gradual lessening of demand for animal harm and death, to the greatest extent possible (ie there will always be liars, cheaters and animals -human and nonhuman alike - being killed in this world)

Interestingly enough, the Transition Towns meeting has been moved at the last minute (or 24 hour period, whichever is largest) to my former principals house, Sister Judith of St Josephs school, it will be nice to say hello to see her again :-)

Take care Robert and "Anonymous", whoever you may be :-)

Jordan Wyatt

*"cattle" itself meaning chattel, property, things, stock, items, as someone once told Robert ad nauseam

robertguyton said...

Anonymous:

"Financial performance (as it is tied to a biological system) tends to fit a normal distribution. If you drag that system down 'high performance' becomes 'enough' but the risk is the majority that were 'enough' move to 'not enough'. At that point you have an industry in disaster. Simplistic but a reality of your suggestion."

Ah, ideology, eh! I can see now where you are coming from - a position of fear. Your 'drag down' is my 'consciously re-jig'. My 'high risk to environment and farmer welbeing' is your 'high performance'. Your 'industry in disaster' is my 'rationalized and sustainable industry'. You then claim that your assessment is the 'reality' of my suggestion. Perhaps we are thinking of different things altogether.


You add: "I don't blame councillors for not blogging. In my opinion it is a highly inappropriate form of communication for a councillor."


I don't 'blame' them either. I was simply noting that they don't blog. I do think that they owe the public greater feedback than they provide at present. I also think their own criticism of my blogging is largely based on fear, which is not a position I respect. Many politicians blog, facebook, twit and otherwise share their thoughts with the public, as I do. Are you critical also of John Key, Eric Roy and the host of politicians at national and local level who do give the public an opportunity to learn what they are thinking,outside of the local newspaper reports? AS you sound so dismissive of my habit, I'm naturally keen to learn the details behind your comment.

Anonymous said...

Jordan, I used to live with a vegan. I can definitely respect your choice to be vegan but I can reassure you your voice is wasted on me. You won't convert me.
Robert, I can't agree that high financial performance can be considered as high sustainability risk. I would say the correlation is very low. Absolutely I think there are some farmers that have adopted unsustainable practices that could provide good returns. But I don't expect them to be high performance farms.
My belief is that there are a few farmers with bad practices that are causing problems. But I am talking about a minority and they have very little to do with high financial performance. In my opinion you are barking up the wrong tree.
With regard to blogging. You are right. Blogging for a councillor is fine. I will rephrase. In my opinion the way you blog is inappropriate. Public attacks on the Feds, marginalising dairy farmers, public attacks on your Chairperson, suggesting problems within the council. In my opinion none of this is appropriate for a councillor blog unless of course it is sanctioned by your chairperson as official council position. The fact that councillors have issues with your blogging in the past suggest I am not the only person to hold this view.

robertguyton said...

Anonymous - thank you for your candour. Naturally enough, I want to challenge you on your views around 'councillor blogging' and I hope you'll find my reasoning valid. You said:

You are right. Blogging for a councillor is fine.
Very good then.
I will rephrase. In my opinion the way you blog is inappropriate. Public attacks on the Feds,
Here we differ. Why on earth shouldn't I be critical of members of the federation, or any agency for that matter? Critical thinking is a vital tool that ought to be carried by every councillor, don't you think? perhaps you'd prefer that councillors criticised their constituents behind closed doors only, but I'm more transparent than that and believe open windows provide the best fresh air. On top of that, my negative criticisms of the federation have often been in response to federation members publicly criticising the Council and some councillors. David Rose's articles in the Fiordland Advocate being but one example. I don't mean playing tit-for-tat, but when a forum like that is used to snipe at councillors, I've no reluctance to use my own blog in reply, nor do I shrink from using the letters to the editor column of the Southland Times.
marginalising dairy farmers,
I've no idea what you mean by that. public attacks on your Chairperson,
I'd describe any mention I've made of Ms Timms as 'gentle ribbing', rather than 'attacks', but you are welcome to cite/cut and paste, examples for me to learn from.
suggesting problems within the council.
There are always 'problems' within the council, any council at all, I would suggest, and with Governments at all levels. I call them 'creative tensions'. Are you not aware of such things? Should they be kept secret, in your view? I'm not a secretive guy.
In my opinion none of this is appropriate for a councillor blog unless of course it is sanctioned by your chairperson as official council position.
have you read the header at the top of my blog? It says, The opinions of an opinionated Southlander. I've gone out of my way to emphasise that these are not the views of the Council, they are my personal views. i have also checked with lawyers and Council staff on this matter, discussed it with my fellow Councillors in the boardroom and with the chair in person and before the Council. It's a bona fide forum for expression, I'm sure now. The fact that councillors have issues with your blogging in the past suggest I am not the only person to hold this view.
You are right about that. Some of the Councillors hold the antediluvian view that blogging is the tool of the devil and that all hell will break loose if I go public with the details of what happens in the ES boardroom. Seems it doesn't happen though. There's been no scandal, no outrage, no expose. The only time my blogging has made it to the 'front page' was when those same timorous councillors tried to censure me for writing this blog. The media found that pretty funny, as did I.
As for a 'council-sanctioned blog - what a bore that would be! I don't know if you've ever read Eric Roy's blog, but if you did, you'd get some idea of how deadly dull such a vehicle is. Having Ms Timms vet my posts before putting them up would kill them stone dead. As it is, I am monitored by the Council's media people and they alert me to any over-stepping. So far, the phone-line's remained un-hot

I'd be interested to read any reactions from you.

Anonymous said...

Robert, Does saying you are opinionated give you the right to say what ever you like? Is it an appropriate excuse?
I say "inappropriate" because I beleive many of your posts are counter productive to environmental gains. Being a teacher you will know that if you want someone to change the most successful strategy is to work with those people... Not against. Many of you posts are in attack of those who you should be working with. You keep saying you dont attack but that is a matter of perception and in my opinion you do.
To clarify my point on marginalising dairy farmers. Many of your posts identify what you label an unsustainable Dairy industry or practices(the above included). Infact I would say an overwhelming number. When considered as a sum it is obviously an attack. Does it put the debate on the table? Yes. Does the debate happen? No. Because one side is regularly absent. Why? Because you are attacking them. The model does not work Robert. Even the Feds walk out of meetings.
Tit for tat, arguing back, there are reasons why this is suitable for Chairperson. Because a mud fight is counter productive.
Why am I here? Because I dont fit any of the groups you attack and feel there needs to be balance. Some would argue I am simply satisfying your need to argue. And I regulary have internal debates around this point.

Anonymous said...

robertguyton @9:39PM
"While I heartily agree with that, I'm cautious about that approach in an industry that is expanding so fast that it can't be matched by innovation in implementation of better systems. Sometimes the machine just keeps churning up the mud, no matter how finely you tine the carburetor!"

I'm sorry, but I don't understand quite what you mean by that.

(anon @1:41)

robertguyton said...

Making it clear that these are my opinions, does, according to journalistic rules, exempt me from being branded an ES spokesperson, etc. Most bloggers make it clear that they are expressing their opinions for that very reason. I had hoped you might give me credit for blogging under my own name, as most others are anonymous. It's a measure of my belief in transparency.
I appreciate your presence here. I'm not arguing for the sake of argument. I have real and pressing desires to improve the world in which I live and say so, quite loudly, especially where someone is threatening what little is left of the kind of world I want to live in, both environmentally and socially.
I don't hold, btw, that making change is most effectively done from inside of the tent. In many cases that is true, but I believe there is a place for an agitator, and so don't feel as though I'm not contributing to the environmental cause. Whether what I do is 'attacking' is, as you say, a matter of opinion. I say 'agitating'. Some people thank me for it. Others, like yourself, do not.
You say that I don't do 'positive posts' on the dairy industry. Quite true. That's the job of the industry and their advocates. I'm not an advocate of dairying, though I have a great interest in it. I milked for a season, btw, and know something of the business.
Tit-for-tat, I have to say, is part of my modus operandi. I like to read the opinions of others, be they representatives of industry, like Rose, or politicians, like English, and when I see their anti-environment messages, I feel morally obliged to counter them. If not me, then who?
You say no dairymenorwomen engage in debate with me because of my attacks. I regularly debate on sites that attack environmentalism, the Greens, people like me, policies I

robertguyton said...

Oops! My last post went wonky, due to the fact that I'm talking to a couple from the Czech Republic about Biodynamic farming! Cna't multi-task, me.
""While I heartily agree with that, I'm cautious about that approach in an industry that is expanding so fast that it can't be matched by innovation in implementation of better systems. Sometimes the machine just keeps churning up the mud, no matter how finely you tine the carburetor!""

I mean the best of intentions from the dairy industry, the speed of innovation and the self-setting of rules might not be enough to rein in the rate of harm done to the environment. Wintering barns make things better, but not as quickly perhaps, as things worsen in other areas. The rate of intensification might not be bmatched by the rate of degradation. Industry would have us believe that it will improve faster than the negative effects of what's already here are felt, but there's no modelling that I have seen that supports that claim. You may be able to provide some for me. No one else has. Also, lets not forget that in many cases the standards for water quality in Southland have already been breached the accepted guidelines for nitrates, for example, so intensifying seems to be pushing something that's already over-pushed, to some people.
I've a question for you, Anonymous. Do you really want to debate these things or are you just provoking discussion in the hope that I'll say something damning that could be used against me later :-)

Anonymous said...

When you list yourself as an "agitator" how does this fit into the ES code of conduct that states:

"3. Relationship with public
Members will conduct their dealings with the public recognising that effective Council decision making depends on productive relationships between elected members and the community at large.
A Members must act in a manner that encourages and values community
involvement in local democracy."
Your "agitation" or anti dairy campaign (my opinion) fits that nicely.
Now that you have identified Mr Rose again how does that fit:
"When dealing with members of public, members must:
E be honest, fair and equitable;
F behave in a courteous and sensitive manner and not discriminate against any
person;"
When you were publically labelling Feds members as "digraceful" that seems sensitive and courteous!
When you were referring to Council members as having "ideological blindness and naivety" how does that fit the code of conduct clause:
2. Relationships with other members...
Members will establish a working relationship with fellow members that achieves the best possible outcomes for the community, by:
E demonstrating courtesy and respect to their fellow Members of Council;
F respecting the diversity of opinion that may exist and the right of different
points of view to be heard;"

In my opinion well within the law but well outside your 'ES code of conduct'. How on earth your chairperson continues to allow this confuses me.
I dont like pointing this out Robert, but I did try a friendly approach earlier.

Anonymous said...

robertguyton@3:19.
You are addressing the anon of 1:36pm (and earlier comments at 8:38 and 1:41, the Scottish connection), my only comments. Perhaps your final sentence belongs with your previous comment at 2.40PM

anon, now SC

robertguyton said...

(Part One)
Playing hardball, Anonymous! Seems you have an agenda after all. Or are you simply acting as an 'older brother', for my own good. Let's see then...

Anonymous said...
When you list yourself as an "agitator" how does this fit into the ES code of conduct that states:

"3. Relationship with public
Members will conduct their dealings with the public recognising that effective Council decision making depends on productive relationships between elected members and the community at large.
A Members must act in a manner that encourages and values community
involvement in local democracy."
I suppose it depends, Anon, on your definition of 'the public at large'. The group you are identifying most strongly with, Anon, seems to be the dairy farmers. They are a small percentage of the 'public at large. Favour them if you will, but there's no requirement for me to do so. I look wider than just one sector and my 'public' often expresses its support for a little agitation of the conventional model. I do my best to satisfy those who voted for me. I made no secret of my intentions prior to the election and make none now. Are you a fan of the John Key 'I've got the mandate' claims? I'm guessing you are.


Your "agitation" or anti dairy campaign (my opinion) fits that nicely.
Your opinion needs to be rather more factual if you are going to complain that I'm in breach of Council's code of conduct, Anon. You are, in my opinion, wrong about that.
Now that you have identified Mr Rose again how does that fit:
"When dealing with members of public, members must:
E be honest, fair and equitable;
F behave in a courteous and sensitive manner and not discriminate against any
person;"
You'll have to more specific with your accusations, Anon. What, exactly, have I said of Mr Rose, that is contrary to those stipulations? I would own to not being particularly 'sensitive' to Mr Rose, but if he's hurt by my words, he's not said anything. Is it your opinion that he's suffering a terrible slight? Please show me/us what specifically you are concerned about. Your claims are not backed by anything that I /we can see in order to decide whether you are being mischievous or serious.

robertguyton said...

When you were publically labelling Feds members as "digraceful" that seems sensitive and courteous!
I don't believe I did that, Anon. Again, paste in the quote to back your accusation.It's good manners to do so.
When you were referring to Council members as having "ideological blindness and naivety" how does that fit the code of conduct clause:
2. Relationships with other members...
Members will establish a working relationship with fellow members that achieves the best possible outcomes for the community, by:
E demonstrating courtesy and respect to their fellow Members of Council;
F respecting the diversity of opinion that may exist and the right of different
points of view to be heard;"
Well, Anon, I do respect the range of opinions and knowledge of the councillors and am often repeating my support for the breadth of experience in the Council. Of course there is naivety amongst us, ideological blindness too, just as there is among the general public, from where we were drawn. Do you think we magically change when we get elected. I'm being honest and straightforward. Perhaps I should have named someone, so that you could get truly righteous about it. Aren't you being a little precious, Anon? You don't like me poking the borax at my own peers? You are very Politically Correct about all this. Does my perceived lack of adherence to what you regard as the rules worry you?

In my opinion well within the law
well that's a blessing. I imagine you considered calling in the Terrorism Squad over this. but well outside your 'ES code of conduct'. How on earth your chairperson continues to allow this confuses me.
Perhaps she's just not noticed, Anon. You could drop her a line. She'd be delighted to take up your cudgel.
I dont like pointing this out Robert, but I did try a friendly approach earlier.
I can see that you're not enjoying it, Anon, but someone has to do it. This can't go on! You'll forgive me for teasing a little. You seem overly intent on exposing a terrible wrong in the Council, and it looks like you think that's me :-)

robertguyton said...

Thanks, SC. You can perhaps understand how it's confusing from this end. I'll look out for your comments under the SC lable.

Anonymous said...

I have said this before Robert. You and I share some common goals. Just absolute differences on how to get there.

Here is the link you asked for:
http://robertguyton.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/disgraceful.html

Interesting I suggest you may be breaching your code of conduct, and you suggest I am being precious. That must be your courteous manner cranking into gear. See above for courteous phrase in Code of Conduct.

I have nothing against the council, its members or you. I am simply questioning your actions in blogs.

You asked "Why on earth shouldn't I be critical of members of the federation, or any agency for that matter?" and "AS you sound so dismissive of my habit, I'm naturally keen to learn the details behind your comment" I would like to think that I have delivered on those points succinctly.

As far as contacting Ali. The code says "B The members themselves shall monitor compliance with this Code" Perhaps you or one of your colleagues should print off this blog and post it to her. Perhaps the other blogs that fit outside you code of conduct too. That is going to be quite some reading for poor Ali.

robertguyton said...

Anon - thanks for the link. It's as I suspected, you are wrong. I didn't call the Federation 'disgraceful' at all. It was the behaviour of some of them I was referring to. Thats whay I mean by 'precious'. I imagine that the other transgressions you mention are similarly misconstrued by you, but keep them coming. I'm more than happy to look at them. As I teacher, I learned looooooong ago, not to call people anything, but their behaviours are fair game. In a similar vein, I'd direct you to check as to whethjer i listed myself as an agitator, as you claim. Careful reading there might illustrate my point.
As to 'poor Ali', Poor Ali indeed! She reads my blog, you'll be surprised to hear, and by all accounts, thoroughly enjoys it. She's oly ever once looked askance at me and that was over the use of an image she didn't consider very flattering. I thought it a lovely shot. My Councillor friends do pass on material from this blog to Ali, Anonymous. I don't think she loses any sleep over it.

Anonymous said...

No two farmers run their enterprises in quite the same way. Many are resistant to change, and many more are simply not interested in change. What works for one farmer, may not work for another.

Owner-operators farm as they choose. e.g.:
Some like to feed supplements for increased production, some don't.
Some like per cow production, others prefer per hectare production
Some like fat cows, some like lean and mean.
Some leave higher grass residuals, some like pasture cleaned out.
Some like Friesians, some Jerseys, some crossbreds, others minority breeds.
Some like electric fencing, others coventional.
Some like rotary cowsheds, some herringbones, some walk-through.
Some like to make hay, most don't.
Some make stack silage (clamp), some prefer wrapped bales.
Some clean up residuals with " topping", others don't.
Most milk twice a day, a few once a day, some even milk three times a day in the flush, some milk three times over two days in the Autumn.
Most use AB mating, some prefer natural mating..
Some like to grow crops, most don't (except perhaps as a tool in pasture renovation).
Some like full cultivation, others prefer undersowing, and some prefer natural reseeding.
Some like machinery, some don't.
Some like flat farms, some like the variety of contour.
Almost all dislike milking cows.

These are just a few of the differences. All are able to defend their preferences.

Some like to be cutting edge, some like to be fast followers, most just want to do what they have always done.

In instances where managerial staff are employed, including those on a "shares" arrangement, there is often disagreement as to direction of the farm enterprise. Totally harmonious relationships are rare, and even then not completely "in sync". If there is either more work or more cost involved to either party in a new approach then it is unlikely to succeed. Skilled professional Farm Advisors are a worth while investment, not only for their their valuable knowledge, but also as an intermediary in discussions.

The indoor enterprise I visited in Scotland was the first that I have seen that convinced me of the merits of such farming. I have seen feedlot dairying (outdoor) in the USA that was shameful. NZ pasture farming covers a wide range of acceptable (or not) practice. I believe that where the well-being of the animal is paramount then long term profitability follows. "Look after your farm and it will look after you". This of course includes animals in the term "farm".

If a farm enterprise is striving for excellence, then most of your "wish list" is worthy of consideration. Innovative dairying will always have a place, but few have the courage of their convictions, or perhaps the backing to give their vision legs.

Success in any given field is not from doing as others tell you, but from wanting to do what it takes.

SC

robertguyton said...

Thank you for that, SC. You've a tremendous grasp of what's happening out there and now mine own grasp is better than it was.

Anonymous said...

So Robert you are suggesting that because you can get away with it in a class room you can get away with it in a blog as a councillor? Is that correct?
I hope you are right about such transference. I have the monopoly rule book in hand and 'get out of jail' card ......
I am sure you have teaching rules. That is teaching. Are you acting within your councillor rules?

Let me ask you: Does writing a blog about the Feds "disgraceful" 'behaviour' fit within this term: "Members will conduct their dealings with the public recognising that effective
Council decision making depends on productive relationships between elected members and the community at large."?
So I dont want to misconstrue, your peers "pass on material from this blog" becaue they too are concerned about your blogs? Is that correct?
I wonder how long that happens before she is overwhelmed? I wonder how long she can ignore it before a vote of no confidence?

robertguyton said...

Anonymous said...
So Robert you are suggesting that because you can get away with it in a class room you can get away with it in a blog as a councillor? Is that correct?
Anon. You are misconstruing my genuine comment. Criticising behaviour is acceptable anywhere. Making it personal is not. I'm not 'getting away with it', I'm taking a reasonable and acceptable line of commentary. You seem to be 'gunning' for me, looking to fault my behaviour :-)
I hope you are right about such transference. I have the monopoly rule book in hand and 'get out of jail' card ......
I am sure you have teaching rules. That is teaching. Are you acting within your councillor rules?
Yes, Anon, I am. If you really want to challenge me on this, you'll have to cite an actual instance you feel shows I'm not. I'm happy for you to do so.

Let me ask you: Does writing a blog about the Feds "disgraceful" 'behaviour' fit within this term: "Members will conduct their dealings with the public recognising that effective
Council decision making depends on productive relationships between elected members and the community at large."?
Yes. I'm not obliged to love every behaviour of every one in Southland. If, for example, members of a criminal gang came into the Council boardroom and spat on the floor, thhen I describe that behaviour as 'disgusting', would you take offence? That gang is part of 'the community at large'.
So I dont want to misconstrue, your peers "pass on material from this blog" becaue they too are concerned about your blogs? Is that correct?
You really are digging deep, Anon. There have been times when I've passed on paper copies of my posts to the chair, myself. That's because, like you, some councillors have misunderstood what I've written, got all over-heated and made incautious claims. I've cleared that up by presenting the post in total and been willing to discus their concerns. I could give you an example that would make you cringe, and will, if need be.
I wonder how long that happens before she is overwhelmed? I wonder how long she can ignore it before a vote of no confidence? I've got no idea what you mean and I've got no idea why you are extrapolating so wildly. I'm happy to listen to your explanation though.

Anonymous said...

Robert, my arguement is that criticising behaviour is not acceptable everywhere. In particular in a blog form where the objective might be "agitating" the party in question. Hence the reference to the rule that you are subject to.
We all have to form judgements and have to decide how we react to those judgements. The question becomes how we react to those judgements. If you spat back at the gang member and said "hey its ok I was just judging his/her behaviour" is that ok? Writing blogs that agitate is a metaphorical spit back (sometimes). In my opinion there are plenty of blogs that are not retaliatory but there are some that in my opinion are.
Also you are misconstueing my behavior. I am not gunning for you. You asked for a debate around blogging. I am delivering it. I am not overheated, and in my opinion I have not made incautious claims.
You are a voted in member of a council. I fully respect what you represent and your position on the council. I simply dont agree with some of your blogging behaviour. And I have done my best to deliver my reasoning behind that opinion at your request. I would like to think I am helping:)

robertguyton said...

Indeed you are, Anon. Thanks for making the effort to draw the issue to my attention. I'll try to improve, but I am weak ... :-)

Armchair Critic said...

Like anon, I will try to help too.
I've observed your blogging on and off since before you were elected to ES, and regularly since early 2011. It is my belief that none of your posts have transgressed upon the restrictions imposed by a reasonable code of ethics for councillors, and from what anon has shown of the ES code, it is not unreasonable.
Your blog is a breath of fresh air in an important aspect of public life, and an aspect that is known for its dullness, conformity and exclusive nature. To change your style to fit what other perceive as "appropriate for a councillor" would, in its own little way, subvert the very nature of democracy. That is to say, please keep going as you see fit.

JayWontdart said...

well said AC :-)

I saw Terry today at Transition Towns, and your fantastic family is just one more facet you should be proud of :-)

Roger Yates. said...

Owner-operators farm as they choose. e.g.:
Some like to feed supplements for increased production, some don't.
Some like per cow production, others prefer per hectare production
Some like fat cows, some like lean and mean.
Some leave higher grass residuals, some like pasture cleaned out.
Some like Friesians, some Jerseys, some crossbreds, others minority breeds.
Some like electric fencing, others coventional.
Some like rotary cowsheds, some herringbones, some walk-through.
Some like to make hay, most don't.
Some make stack silage (clamp), some prefer wrapped bales.
Some clean up residuals with " topping", others don't.
Most milk twice a day, a few once a day, some even milk three times a day in the flush, some milk three times over two days in the Autumn.
Most use AB mating, some prefer natural mating..
Some like to grow crops, most don't (except perhaps as a tool in pasture renovation).
Some like full cultivation, others prefer undersowing, and some prefer natural reseeding.
Some like machinery, some don't.
Some like flat farms, some like the variety of contour.
Almost all dislike milking cows.



Reads like a litany of exploitation and rights violations. "AB mating" means artificial insemination I believe.

RY

robertguyton said...

That's very kind of you, Armchair Critic, and encouraging to boot. Here was me, on the verge of going all grey...

robertguyton said...

And I thank you also, Jordan. You are right about my family. They do me proud. Mind you, you've not met Wee Timmy, our 'other' child...

robertguyton said...

Roger - hello to you. That's a very interesting blog you have there - I'm going to spend some time there today. I glanced at the 'Starsuckers' clip (I've not heard of it) and want to watch that through. Thanks for the link.

robertguyton said...

SC - one item on your list puzzled me:

"Almost all dislike milking cows."

Seriously???

Why?

Anonymous said...

Milking cows, as in the physical repetition of removing "cups" from one cow and placing them on another, is generally regarded as a tedious necessity, as is setting up the shed before milking, and plant and suface cleaning afterwards. Usually an hour and a half to two and a half hours per milking, twice a day, for 280 to 300 days a year, or every day for what was know as "town supply" (for the fresh milk local market). There is very little to alter the the routine except when things go wrong. By about Christmas the tedium of the repetition starts to take its toll, and farmers dream about the time when they can "hang up the apron" permanently.

SC

Anonymous said...

@Roger Yates

Personhood seems to throw up these softer terms for acceptability. Artificial breeding (AB) instead of artificial insemination (AI), as it used to be referred to (this may be in NZ only). A bit like gay instead of homosexual. It creates less turbulence apparently.

SC

robertguyton said...

I see, SC.
I was thinking of the blowzy milk-maid, head lain against the warm flank of doe-eyed Buttercup, dreamily squeezing the teats as the sun warmed her back and that of the cow, the cat and her mewling kittens waiting for their creamy squirt of milk...no?

Cows have become production units and milking a process. Too many cows, too little thought for the qualities that farmers used to think valuable. That's why, I suppose, the farmers I've met who have reined-in their cow numbers, are far happier with the lifestyle. The cows look better for it as well.

Anonymous said...

Robert,
Those farmers that have reined in numbers, are they hand milking with the sun on their backs? Even if dairy farmers halve their numbers they aint going to be hand milking cows. If you halved cow numbers to 1.5 cows/ha you still have to milk in a shed. Milking is a repetitive job which is not high in brain stimulation. You should know this.
Regardless of milking 50 or 500 cows, it is tedius. Infact if I was to draw links to cow numbers and personal satisfaction I would say more cows improves milking satisfaction. More cows tends to mean improved milking facilities.eg Herringbone to rotary sheds. More staff which means more human interaction, and often more satisfaction. Note I said often. Sometimes staff can be difficult.
You seem to desperately seek reasons to justify your concept of reducing cow intensity. Those reasons don't ring true to me.

JayWontdart said...

If you think it's a horrible "job" Anonymous, imagine if it were inflicted upon *you*! :-)

I'd think each Ms Cow would prefer her female reproductive system was left the h-e-double-hockey-sticks alone, with none of this "human interaction"! :-)

http://vegetarier-sind-moerder.de/abgestillt/?page=english

Anonymous said...

"I was thinking of the blowzy milk-maid..."
That probably hasn't changed. (the thinking of, that is)

"Cows have become production units and milking a process."
In general terms that is true.

"Too many cows,"
That is true also.

"..too little thought for the qualities that farmers used to think valuable."
Mostly true also, sadly. The farmer does have plenty of quality aspects to enjoy and value. Milking cows, as you described, was a laborious process which was hard on backs, as were most of the chores about the farm. Farming has become physically less demanding overall, and particularly in the milking shed where there is no stooping to apply cups.

"That's why, I suppose, the farmers I've met who have reined-in their cow numbers, are far happier with the lifestyle."
Certainly likely to be true. The per-cow production model. This system probably requires more mechanical harvesting to maintain pasture quality. The farmer always has enough feed for his cows removing the stress on both farmer and cow.

"The cows look better for it as well."
Not only look better, but are better. Healthier, more likely to get in calf early, likely to milk for the full season. A longer lactation as more Autumn grass permits, and in better wintering condition. Still in the herd for the new season. Lower turnover of cows enabling higher genetic selection for replacements.

People enter dairy farming for a wide range of reasons. Many are unsuited to farming, but maybe had fewer alternative options. It is an easy industry to get employment in. Those that are suited to it would earn your respect, I am sure. A number of years ago, all the finalists in the Waikato Sharemilker of the Year ( eight or so) came to dairying in their middle years, mid to late 30's, from urban business backgrounds - electricians, plumbers, etc. They changed careers to escape the rat-race of city living, particularly the curse of being paid late, and sometimes not at all. They had business skills and the ability to examine "best-practice" already in the industry. They also had not learnt the bad habits and shortcuts, as youngsters, that plague the dairying industry. They had maturity on their side, and, most of all, they wanted to suceed in their change of lifestyle.

SC

robertguyton said...

"You seem to desperately seek reasons to justify your concept of reducing cow intensity. Those reasons don't ring true to me."
Hey, Anon, my 'sleepy milkmaid' comment was a spoof. I stand by my 'fewer is better' claim though. That's from talking to farmers who express views that seem to me, more realistic, thoughtful and grounded than those who talk 'bigger is better'. It's a matter of scale and most now seem to be getting that scale wrong.

robertguyton said...

Again, SC, with the reasoned comments.
I milked, as I mentioned earler, for a season, so know a little of the experience. I hand-milked too, years before that, in the manner of the milkmaid I described :-) Pleasant on a good day, not so much in the wind and ran.
I found this statement of your hugely interesting:
" They also had not learnt the bad habits and shortcuts, as youngsters, that plague the dairying industry"
I'm reminded of the claim that most of dairying's problems are spawned at the agricultural colleges.

Anonymous said...

Incidently came across this today in 'Fertiliser use on New Zealand Dairy farms, 2009'.
No fertiliser =1.9million earthworms/ha
Super phosphate = 5.1million earthworms/ha
Superphosphate+grazing animals =6.5 million earthworms/ha.

Helping!!!???

robertguyton said...

Have you got any figures, Anon, for land that has urea applications? Or land that has organic manure where the cows are grazed on mixed-ley pastures? Only I've seen the quality and consistency of conventionally grazed animals on a dairy platform. Talk about 'green streams'!
There's no doubt increasing effluent to soil increases earthworm populations.

Anonymous said...

"I'm reminded of the claim that most of dairying's problems are spawned at the agricultural colleges."
That was certainly a widespread claim in earlier times. Less so now, but still widely held by "practical" farmers, some tongue in cheek but plenty not.
Almost all farming problems are man-made. Eliminating the potential for problems is what sets the better farmers apart from the not so good. Prevention is better than cure, and usually a lot easier.

SC

robertguyton said...

"Almost all farming problems are man-made."
Given that farming is a human construct, I'd say, 'all'!

Eliminating the potential for problems is what sets the better farmers apart from the not so good. Prevention is better than cure, and usually a lot easier.

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

RG - are you aware that in the interests of a better result Fisher & Paykel have removed the agitator from their washing machines? ;-)

Paranormal

robertguyton said...

Dirty laundry, paranormal. I'm attracted to it like a moth to a flame.

Anonymous said...

"Given that farming is a human construct, I'd say, 'all'!

I had written all, then allowed some wriggle room by adding almost, although I cannot think of any (except perhaps for the arrival of the primary-strike Australia fly 30 odd years ago which "possibly" arrived by being sucked into the jetstream.

SC

robertguyton said...

Even the fruit fly might not have been a problem, had we not those lovely human constructs, orchards.

Anonymous said...

I am aware of some very old research by John Brock. Along the lines of worm species varying on pasture species but no change in total numbers. Some variations with grazing management and cattle presence. My general understanding has been grow more grass get more worms. Plus compaction has an effect. I don't like generalising but it is a blog.

Anonymous said...

Oh and my experience with information on earthworms and urea. More urea more worms. Based on the assumptions that other pH stays optimum and other anti factors don't creap in.

Anonymous said...

Recall a couple of European papers were powdered urea killed free living larvae and parasite larvae. But in one paper the N level was high enough to kill grass. Similar to people on my street who have killed grass with ammonium sulphate. I see it every year.

robertguyton said...

My understanding is that urea application, in itself, is conterproductive to earthworm populations, because of its ph.That factor is probaly mitigated by the increased grass growth, which impacts positively on earthworm numbers. Also, animals grazing on urea-fed pasture will deposit their desirable-to-earthworm dung. Counter to that would be the compaction from hooves. Urine patches can't help earthworm suitability (they don't like it).
Difficult to get your head around, using earthworms as a measure then. How about greenhouse gas production? That'd be easier to quantify :-)

Anonymous said...

There is no problem with the pH of urea but when it becomes nitrate it releases H+ ions which acidify the soil. You would need a massive dose of urea to take the soil pH out of optimum range. A short term acidify occurs but most is mopped up by carbonate in the soil. And the acidity is immediate to the granule itself. Not widely distributed. To offset it with lime costs about 5% of the cost of urea. Easy fix which most farmers know. So no urea would only harm worms in extreme conditions and any insignificant issue is easily offset. Overall result it is good for worms.
Have you measured greenhouse gases. I have it is one of the wildest sciences I have come across. By that I mean animal gases. And I mean the variability of measurement is so high that it is hard to prove anything. When reading claims from livestock (yes Jordan I can't list all animal types) make sure you seek statistical variability results. Otherwise treat with scepticism.
Wow that all came out of my idiotic student days. You better ignore it. I would hate for you to make some bad decisions on it. Stupid facts. Stupid science. What was I thinking. Let's go back to just making up what suits. Robert you start.

robertguyton said...

Don't you go shakin' that sci-ence trickery at me now, Anon! You know I prefer to live in the murky half-light of ignorance and superstition.

You say the science of measuring animal gaseous emissions is so variable, nothing can be proved from it. I guess that's livestock farming off the hook then! If you can't rely on science, what can you rely on?

Anonymous said...

You say the science of measuring animal gaseous emissions is so variable, nothing can be proved from it.

Is that what I said? Interesting how you twisted that to fit your arguement. I most definitely was not trying to excuse any animal emissions. I was saying all people need to ensure when they are reviewing claims about gaseous emissions from animals that there are sound statistics behind the claims. I did not make any claim about specific information that supports or opposes livestock (sorry Jordan) farming.

robertguyton said...

Do you know of sound statistics around gaseous emissions from ruminant animals? They would be useful to have when thinking about greenhouse gas emission responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

You are going to have to be more specific. There are hundreds if not thousands of papers on emissions from animals. eg. Are you after papers relating to diet, grass types, animal types, supplements? You could always try a Library. Or heaven forbid go back to University. I recommend Lincoln or Massey. They are good Agricultural colleges.

robertguyton said...

Is there a bad agricultural college?
I'm wondering if you think ruminant animals farmed in New Zealand contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emission volumes.

Anonymous said...

I dont have an opinion about other colleges. If you are interested I recommend contacting their Liason staff.
In my opinion it is fair to say that ruminants contribute to green house gases. I cant blame all farmed animals. The term "significantly" is pretty open. But my understanding is about 90% of our methane comes from ruminants and New Zealand produces 8-9 times more methane per capita than the global average.

robertguyton said...

That's a lot, especially per-head and taking into account the rapid increase in the number of dairy cows we are expecting. I take it that dairy cows are the worst offenders/greatest contributors. In terms of the international contract we signed to reduce our emissions, we haven't attended to those issues at all. Do you feel that greenhouse emissions are contributing to climate instability? I do. I also believe that an unstable climate will impact negatively on farming in New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Yes on a per head of capita it is high. On a per hectare basis it is considered at least twice the global average.
Now I have said that here is the stats that I was talking about. Typically these inventory figures are based on the measurements from 20 animals extrapolated to the whole country. Individual animal measures can vary by 400%. If they chose the wrong 20 animals they got it very very wrong.
Again with the agricultural college stuff. I really must stop it. You will be getting dumber by the minute.
Poor old cows picked on again. Cows are bigger and eat more grass therefore put out more Methane. However on a national level they only contribute about 20% ish?
(2002). I cant remember the per unit of product comparison.
Please note we are an exporter. If we stop making food somebody else has to make it. Last time I looked up it gases seemed to be everywhere. Gas here gas there. Gas everywhere.

robertguyton said...

"Yes on a per head of capita it is high. On a per hectare basis it is considered at least twice the global average.
Now I have said that here is the stats that I was talking about. Typically these inventory figures are based on the measurements from 20 animals extrapolated to the whole country. Individual animal measures can vary by 400%. If they chose the wrong 20 animals they got it very very wrong.

Then who was it, bandying these figures about? Surely whatever research was done to determine ghg output was a reputable agency? If not, why were they engaged to do the assessment? Did they not take the variability into account? You imply they didn't but that's just your somewhat cynical take. Do you have details to back up you aspersions?
Again with the agricultural college stuff. I really must stop it. You will be getting dumber by the minute.
You think your flippancy catches me out, has me fooled and makes me dumb? Goodness!
Poor old cows picked on again.
Picked on? Can you expand on your claim? I merely specified them and given that this thread is about dairy cows, I wonder if you're being a little precious about the focus on them? Cows are bigger and eat more grass therefore put out more Methane. However on a national level they only contribute about 20% ish?
20%ish? What % of the toatal livestock numbers do they represent?
(2002). I cant remember the per unit of product comparison.
Please note we are an exporter. If we stop making food somebody else has to make it.
Has someone suggested we 'stop making food? please link to that comment. I'd like to have a piece of them! Last time I looked up it gases seemed to be everywhere. Gas here gas there. Gas everywhere.You can see gases? Extraordinary!Tell me, were they all the same? I understand that it's not comfortable to breathe cyanide gas.

JayWontdart said...

As you'll both be aware, our friend Cyanide is Carbon and Nitrogen - easily made on any New Zealand farm! :-)

Anonymous said...

Read this somewhere else:

To vegetarians:

I eat the cows which produce the methane gas causing global warming, you eat the plants trying to fix global warming so who’s really killing the planet?

From a non-vegetarian.

JayWontdart said...

Sounds like real sound logic...

"keep growing an killing Other Animals at a rate of 56 Billion lives taken each year, causing untold harm (since emissions are apparently unknowable ;-) ), funnelling on the whole beneficial plants through the soon to be deceased....because to solely eat a far smaller total number of plants directly ourselves would be "killing 100% of the good guys!" :-)

On my Facebook page

www.facebook.com/jaywontdart

I shared some photos from a "South Pacific Meats" slaughterhouse worker, you know the place, continually in the news for 18 out of 20 "saw men" testing positive for drugs, huge pollution spills, locking out union members, fingers cut off every other day by the sounds of things, an arm nearly lost.....(not to mention the "heads lost" even when she's runnin' smoothly!).....this bright worker shared photos publicly of him and his mates scrawling homophobic messages in blood on the walls, or posing with the dead....real Abu Ghraib stuff.

A Greek friend commented "it keeps people in a job!", a real sense of tragedy, those Greeks :-)

I'll probably make a blogpost about the images, censoring names since its not about those particular individuals, it happens everywhere. My father tells tales about eating organs placed in the "sterilisers", boiling water for cleaning their white plastic handled knives. When inspectors came by, dumped the stolen guts out onto the no doubt filthy floor, with a warning, they'd pop them back in, to enjoy their fondue later!

Seeing so many of these stories in The Southland Times etc, all from one particular slaughterhouse just 10km or so away from me right now, it makes you think "wouldn't it be so much better if we simply *didnt* do this stuff....."

Anonymous said...

Then who was it, bandying these figures about? Surely whatever research was done to determine ghg output was a reputable agency? If not, why were they engaged to do the assessment? Did they not take the variability into account? You imply they didn't but that's just your somewhat cynical take. Do you have details to back up you aspersions?

Ministry for the Environment collects the data as an inventory of NZ's greenhouse gas emissions. A lecturer first allerted me to the sampling limitations but there is a reasonable comentary in the industry about it to back up this "cynical view".http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/globalchange/summaries/methane_emissions_ag.asp

You think your flippancy catches me out, has me fooled and makes me dumb? Goodness!

Not at all Robert. You described a "claim that most of dairying's problems are spawned at the agricultural colleges." I simply wanted to declare that the beginnings of my understanding in Methane began at an Agricultural college and didn't want anyone to read too much into it for fear of problems in the industry. I thought flippancy was not allowed in these blogs.

Picked on? Can you expand on your claim? I merely specified them and given that this thread is about dairy cows, I wonder if you're being a little precious about the focus on them?

Ummm.... Didnt this blog originate from Jordans distain for the treatment of cows? You called cows "offenders" hence the "picked on" comment. If that came across wrong I apologise.

20%ish? What % of the toatal livestock numbers do they represent?

The full inventory is on the MFE website. Although I think it was last published 2009?

Has someone suggested we 'stop making food? please link to that comment. I'd like to have a piece of them!

Good man. I can rely on you to work on Dairy farmers to increase their production then? If they make more food we may be able reduce the ratio of Methane to milk?

You can see gases? Extraordinary!Tell me, were they all the same? I understand that it's not comfortable to breathe cyanide gas.

In the city of light and water, so often I can see the sky is blue. Which is light scattering from gases in the atmosphere. If there was no blue (on a clear day) there is no gases and big trouble Mr. Try it one day. Wait for a nice day. Lean back and open those observant eyes. If that is flippancy I apologise. I keep forgetting it is illegal in a Councillors blog. Am I being flippent about flippency? Flippen heck!

robertguyton said...

" funnelling on the whole beneficial plants through the soon to be deceased....because to solely eat a far smaller total number of plants directly ourselves would be "killing 100% of the good guys!" :-)"
Killer reply, Jordan. I'm afraid, Anonymous, you've been floored by a vegan!

robertguyton said...

"I thought flippancy was not allowed in these blogs."
New to my blog, are you?


"In the city of light and water, so often I can see the sky is blue."
Very clever, Anonymous, but you're describing the effects, not the source. If you'd talked about some of the visible gases, I'd have been on the back foot, but you chose poorly (he says, flippantly!)
I suppose that when you see a tree bending in a gale, you believe you can see the wind :-)

As to milk being food, that's a stretch! I guess the Masai might agree, but most people look upon milk as a drink, as in, "Drink your milk, Johnny." rather than, "Eat your milk, lad!"
Ne ra?

Anonymous said...

Jordan. Much of what we do makes CARBON dioxide. Luckily there is very little Nitrogen gas around
(78% of atmosphere). Wait a minute... Everyone run for cover and stop breathing!

Anonymous said...

Robert. My understanding is that anything you see is an effect of light. If you see a pink car it has absorbed spectrums of light and what you get to your eye is the effect of that missing spectrum. ie. The colour of something is an effect of light. The source of any colour is light itself. A pink car is an effect. Without light there is no colour on anything. Hard to prove I know.
I am simply saying I can see the presence of gas because I see blue. The blue is an effect of light just like a pink car is the effect of light. There for I can see gas just like you see a pink car.

Crickey we are really getting into an important debate now. We might need to rename Invercargill the city of light effects.

JayWontdart said...

In honour of three people (ok, basically two) reaching 100 comments, perhaps Environment Southland could sponsor a green laser light show projected onto and above the white museum building again? :-)

Anonymous said...

And by the way. Next time you are eating an ice cream make sure you drink it down. And that Biscuit with milk powder. See if you can scull it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jordan, I lift my glass of milk in toast reaching such a high number of posts.Even if the blog has turned odd.
Lets call it a lazer light show. We are not sure if it is green or not as it is simply an effect of light.

JayWontdart said...

well at 532nm, I can assure you its *green* :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_pointer

so far I've been kind enough to leave local pilots alone, its rather fun stargazing with an app called "Star Walker" on the iPad which knows your location through its digital compass, along with star charts built in.

Even on a foggy night, theres much fun to be had

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaywontdart/7044741011/in/photostream

Robert Winter said...

That's a big 'un.

robertguyton said...

Claiming to be able to see a car isn't odd, Anonymous, but saying you can see a colourless gas, is, no matter how cleverly you wrap your explanation.
I think too, your explanation of seeing is wrong as well. It's quite possible to see images in the inky blackness of night, by pressing on your eyeball with your finger. Who'd have thought, light-less seeing!

robertguyton said...

And surely, Anonymous, you're not trying to convince us that icecream is milk, or that milk is a powder? Any school child could straighten out that misconception. You have a liking for bending language to suit your needs, but forgetting that words have meanings attached to them, meanings that can't be shuck-off simply by willing it to be so.
Is cider, apple juice? Yes, I hear you intone, but no.

robertguyton said...

Jay, you've hung me on a tenter hook with your talk of doing the ton! I'm like a cricketer, approaching his century, knowing full well I'll fall a run short - it's the way of cricket and quite possibly the way of the over-eager blogger. Will I lbw at the final delivery? I'm all a'flutter. Making the 100 would be a career highlight and even iof i fall short, I'd like to thank all of those who contributed to the attempt, started without thought of greatness but soon enough pushing the comment ceiling. How, should I be lucky enough to break the barrier, should I celebrate? A bevy of virtual bouquets to those who contributed? Of course, and more - life-time subscription to the blog with special rates for mates? Naturally. Still, I'm
not
there
yet....

JayWontdart said...

I suppose we'd better not cheat, and do empty, useless posts that dont really advance the conversation....right? ;-)

Careful now guys, 100 comments? We might bring down Google with such a strain on their servers!!!

robertguyton said...

Jordan - your lazer show appeals mightily. I used to work under the shelter of the Big Pyramid (2 years in the dodecahedral chamber beneath the observatory, so I'm sure I could swing permission for a light-show. I've played with the 'star app' on a smartphone and that's really something else! Are you planning a Winter Solstice event? We're joining the Steiner mums for a lantern festival and solstice foods - vegetarian but perhaps not vegan, but I'm not sure about that.

Armchair Critic said...

Icecream is not milk, and milk powder is not milk either. Even that bottled of stuff labelled milk that you can buy in the supermarket is not milk. Sure, it was milk when it was sucked out of the cow, but all the processing that goes on means that the stuff on the shelf is quite different.

Armchair Critic said...

Here's the wikipedia page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homogenized_milk

Shunda barunda said...

Wow!! look at all this then!!

You've made it buddy! congratulations!

robertguyton said...

*breathes out

Armchair Critic said...

Woohoo! Well done Robert. What a great post.

Anonymous said...

Robert I think we should yield to ACs point. Ignoring that. My dictionary says "used as food for humans". You eat food dont you?

Think about it Robert. In both cases you are seeing the effects of light. The pink car does not emit a pink glow. Take chlorine gas for example. If is a green gas. But the green you see is an effect of light. Not the actual gas. Turn the lights out and you see no green. Just like seeing chlorine gas you are not actually seeing the gas but the effect of light on the gas.

Suz said...

You're a good mate, Shunda :-)

robertguyton said...

Robert I think we should yield to ACs point. Ignoring that. My dictionary says "used as food for humans". You eat food dont you?

Used as food, Anon. Not is food. Your argument centres around liquids of the viscosity of milk, being regarded as food, where I say they are drink. Do you eat beer? Do you eat water? Is coffee food or drink?

Think about it Robert. In both cases you are seeing the effects of light. The pink car does not emit a pink glow. Take chlorine gas for example. If is a green gas. But the green you see is an effect of light. Not the actual gas. Turn the lights out and you see no green. Just like seeing chlorine gas you are not actually seeing the gas but the effect of light on the gas.

Anon. You are trying to convince me that you can see an invisible gas. Invisible. Not visible.
Good luck with that!

Armchair Critic said...

Coffee is not just a food, it's and entire food group. So says the caffeine addict.
Technically everything is visible, because it emits black-body radiation.

Anonymous said...

Do you use water as food?

Anonymous said...

Is an iceblock food or drink?

robertguyton said...

"Coffee is not just a food, it's and entire food group. So says the caffeine addict."
Yes, but they'd say anything!
*Correction, we'd.
"
Technically everything is visible, because it emits black-body radiation."
Ah! Hair-splitting and using science! Unfair, AC. But, can I see 'everything' with my little eye?

robertguyton said...

"Do you use water as food?"

Nope, I don't. Do you?



"Is an iceblock food or drink?"

Neither. It's a substantial solid, so can't be drunk *warning- choking hazard! and it has no nutrient value to speak of, so can't be food. By the same token, neither is anything at McDonald's :-)

Anonymous said...

Is honey food?

If so, is honey dissolved in water and drunk, no longer food?

JayWontdart said...

There are few who could defeat Tolkien:

"“For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!'

I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.

I liked white better,' I said.

White!' he sneered. 'It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.'

In which case it is no longer white,' said I. 'And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.' - Gandalf”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Some things are like Schrondingers Cat, either or until we make the call, then that is what they stay :-)

Anonymous said...

Should we rename breast feeding breast drinking?

robertguyton said...

Well done, Jordan. You've de-cloaked, dis-mantled and dis-robed our old adversary, Sarumanonymous! Splitting the white indeed!

Sauramanon - "Is honey food?"
The answer is temperature-dependant.

"If so, is honey dissolved in water and drunk, no longer food?""
Ask yourself, then Sauramanon, if milk is mixed with water, is it no longer food? :-)

robertguyton said...

Are you claiming, Sauramanon, that a babe suckling at the breast is not drinking?
Level-headed mothers would think you mad for spouting such nonsense!

Anonymous said...

Are you claiming they are not feeding?

JayWontdart said...

Me? I'm just a "fool of a Took" who can copy and paste :-)

robertguyton said...

Well, Sauramanon, you answer first, then I'll chime in.

robertguyton said...

Jordan, your comment was all it took to reveal the True Name of our identity-shrouded guest.

Anonymous said...

Did Missionaries become intoxicated when travelling amongst cannibals as a protective measure?
If they drank 40% proof liquor were they twice as safe as if they had drunk 20% proof?
Or, if the cannibals liked their meat pickled, was there no longer any proof that the Missonaries had been eaten once the meal was finished?

Anonymous said...

If liquids are not food, how are patients fed intravenously food in hospitals?

robertguyton said...

You didn't answer, Anon - do I take that as an admission that the question floored you? I will.
As to intravenous feeding, don't they call that a 'drip'? Does food drip, or is it liquid that behaves that way. Bring us back onto a logical path with this discussion, Anon, by answering the original question or we'll simply bat around asking but not answering each other disconnected things. That said, we're conflating, 'food', 'drink', 'liquid', 'feeding' 'drinking' dripping' and so on. Hiding behind words to no great gain. We can do it! Straighten up your ideas, young man!

Anonymous said...

Yes Robert you have me beaten. When someone doesn't answer they are beaten. I love these assumption conclusions. They seem quite fashionable around here. Perhaps that can be formed into a new slogan for your blog site?
Nicknames? Really? I thought you learned not to do it as a Teacher.

robertguyton said...

'Nickname", "Anonymous"?
Yes, that would be childish :-)
And I'm sorry you're upset at being beaten. Seems you're more delicate than I first thought.

Anonymous said...

When or if I get beaten I don't get upset. More of those famous assumptions of yours.

Anonymous said...

"oh Robert and Jordan, you have so thoroughly destroyed my every argument, if only I were as good looking and filled with joy as the two of you, alas!"

JayWontdart said...

Wow "Anonymous", thats really nice of you! ;-P

Anonymous said...

Lol. Brilliant Jordan. I like your style.

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