Monday, 10 October 2011


# Big Farming Story of the Week: RWC and FAF.

Most farmers I know are engrossed in the RWC (Rugby World Cup). It’s a wonderful diversion at the end of a long day calving, lambing, planting, pruning or whatever. However, more than just a few are embattled in FAF (Fighting Among Farmers). You may also recognize the latter by its other moniker TAF (Trading Among Farmers). Fonterra has just concluded a record-breaking payout season but there’s still trouble at mill when it comes to capital structure. In principle, TAF seems a damn fine idea but some farmers see fish hooks. I must admit I haven’t examined the proposal with a microscope but I hope it’s sorted soon as it presents a real opportunity for farmers to further invest in the country’s leading company. It’s all been a bit of distraction from the real job at hand (or foot in Richie’s case) of how to win the RWC.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The response to the Bay of Plenty marine disaster.

As if the Psa disease outbreak was not causing enough grief in the beautiful BOP, along comes the greatest environmental disaster in our maritime history. The Bay certainly has plenty on its plate. The kiwifruit crisis is proving a real downer for the local economy. Throw in the nation’s blue-rinse retirement haven being badly hit by the collapse of the finance companies, and you don’t have to be Warren Buffet to figure out the Bay can’t afford to see the collapse of its summer tourist industry. The region is famous for its sun and beaches. Right now there are very few rays of hope for the hitherto pristine coastline.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: First-five number five?

My last year of senior club rugby was in 1991. By that stage I was 31 and getting a bit slow so my coach, former All Black Ash McGregor, moved me from fullback to first five-eighths to mitigate some of my shortcomings. Twenty years on, I wished I’d kept on playing because, who knows, I could’ve been on the receiving end of a phone call from Graham Henry - such is the state of the country’s stocks at first-five. Nick Evans, Luke McAllister and Mike Delaney are out of the country and out of the question. Another untimely groin injury to either Aaron Cruden or Stephen Donald could give renewed hope to all us old-timers with the recall of Tony Brown - making him first-five number five.

# Brickbat: The Plastic Waka:

I was in Auckland for the RWC quarter-finals weekend and did the obligatory touristy things. Visited the Cloud, had a compulsory cappuccino at the Viaduct Basin and gazed nostalgically at the mounted America’s Cup yacht. The only damp squib, other than the English backline, was wandering past the plastic waka. The government, local body authorities and ethic funding authorities have been guilty over the years of some woeful and wicked wasting of money but this national embarrassment takes the cake. The RWC is a seven week tournament - the white (elephant) waka will be open for the last 10 days of it.

# Bouquet: Movember.

Last week on the Farming Show, along with the crew at Allflex, we launched our Movember campaign to support men’s health. We’re encouraging farmers, young and old, to join the fold and grow a moustache to raise funds and awareness for serious issues such as depression and prostate cancer. Since then we’ve been inundated with positive feedback, interestingly, mainly from women wanting to encourage their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

Men, especially hardened rural types, are notoriously negligent when it comes to going to the doctor. The stoic “she’ll be right” attitude might be admirable if you suffer an injury on the rugby paddock but when your health is threatened, it’s a head-in-the-sand approach. No one likes intrusive probing, whether it’s of a body cavity or your state of mind. But no one ever died of embarrassment. Plenty of rural blokes have, however, succumbed to the likes of prostate cancer and depression, a lot of which would’ve been preventable with early detection and intervention. So harden up. Be a real man. Go to your doctor and go to

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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