UPDATE: POWER GOES AGAIN AS 1,320 HOMES WITHOUT ELECTRICITY

first_imgELECTRICITY supply in parts of Donegal have been cut for a third time tonight.ESB Networks says 1,320 homes had power cut again around 10pm; and they will have power restored by 1.30am.It is the latest in a series of outages which have affected homes in the north and west of the county. Some of the power cuts lasted a few seconds, with other homes cut off for more than an hour.The latest power cuts are affection people in Milford, Kilmacrennan, Glenswilly and parts of Letterkenny. UPDATE: POWER GOES AGAIN AS 1,320 HOMES WITHOUT ELECTRICITY was last modified: October 19th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal power cutsESB Networkslast_img read more

Seacom: new era for SA internet

first_imgStarting from France and England, the Seacom cable runs across the Mediterranean and Red Sea, around the Horn of Africa, and then down the African east coast to make its final landfall at Mtunzini in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Along the way it connects to land stations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. (Image: Seacom)Wilma den Hartigh After years of anticipation, broadband internet connectivity in Africa is set to boom as the 15 000km Seacom undersea fibre-optic cable connecting the continent to Europe, the Middle East and Asia has finally come onstream.The cable, which went live on 23 July, is now the second of its kind linking South Africa to the world, and a boon for the country’s information technology infrastructure, benefiting consumers and business, and stimulating economic growth. Laid at a reported total cost of R5-billion (US$ 637-million), the Seacom cable is also the first of its kind to connect East Africa to the internet.Starting from France and England it runs across the Mediterranean and Red Sea, around the Horn of Africa, and then down the African east coast to make its final landfall at Mtunzini in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Along the way it connects to land stations in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique. At the Horn of Africa, on the coast of Somalia, the cable also branches off to head for Mumbai in India. In April and May this year Somali pirate activity disrupted Seacom operations, delaying the launch by about a month. The cable will not only speed up internet access for South African users, it will also cut costs. Stephen Davies, chief technology officer of telecommunications service provider Connection Telecom, said this cost-saving will apply to both fixed-line and mobile internet users.“As more broadband becomes available more applications will become accessible, making the digital highway a reality,” he said. Rob Gilmour, managing director of RSA Web, agreed that these benefits would change the way South Africans interact with the internet. “Seacom is incredibly exciting for the South African internet landscape. Bandwidth prices have been monopolised in South Africa and, with only one undersea cable at present, consumers are being held by a stranglehold.” Gilmour said South Africans won’t experience real savings immediately, but consumers won’t have to wait too long before they can cheaply access media-rich applications such as audio and video. “Consumers will change from limited web browsing and checking email to enjoying more internet content,” he said. “They will spend more time on the internet and not have to be so cautious about what they do.” Money on the net Matthew Tagg, managing director of internet service provider Web Africa, predicts that the higher bandwidth provided by Seacom will encourage the increased commercialisation of the South African internet. He said a report released at the recent Internet Governance Forum indicates that South Africa has fallen way behind its African counterparts in terms of “internet adoption rates”. In 2000, the country had 2.4-million subscribers, representing 53% of internet users across the continent. In 2009, South Africa made up only 9% of Africa’s total internet subscriber base, with 5.1-million users. Tagg said South Africa would be able to reverse this trend in a deregulated market with an excess of cheap international bandwidth. Provided that the licensing costs currently under discussion are not too high, this development could radically increase internet penetration rates. “The internet will start to become a utility just like any other,” he said. According to Tagg, the market’s current complexity of product and service offers will disappear. And consumers will be able to participate in online gaming, check email or download videos more easily. “They will not need to check if their connection supports this functionality, or go through the hassle of switching to another product,” he said. “They will be automatically connected to any and all services the Internet has to offer.” Business benefits According to Gilmour, South African business would also benefit. The international community already viewed South Africa as the hub of Africa in many areas, he said, and improved internet infrastructure could only enhance the country’s status. “For a country at the bottom tip of Africa this is great news and will allow us to compete globally like never before. South Africa is more and more becoming the IT hub of Africa and cables and initiatives like this further enhance this reality.” Davies agreed that the country’s reputation for business would be enhanced. “There is now no reason why African and international businesses should not look to South Africa for business opportunities and investment ventures.” Trade Invest SA has reported that the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector – call centres and the like – had been calling for cheaper telecommunications costs for some time, as the high cost of telecoms is a deterrent to potential investors. Some operators claimed that telecommunications could be as much as 500% more expensive in South Africa than in other emerging countries in the BPO sector, making the country far less attractive. In a media report, Ajay Pandey, managing director of Neotel, the country’s second national operator, said the launch of Seacom – as well as other cables such as WACS and EASSy – could start a “new wave” of growth in the IT and BPO industries. EASSy is the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System, linking East and Southern Africa to the rest of the world. WACS, the West African Cable System, is reported to be the biggest of all the cable systems in development, and will link Southern and West African countries to Europe. Economic growth Cheaper telecoms costs will have a profound impact on the South African economy and infrastructure development. Davies pointed out that the major driving force behind global economic growth is new technologies, particularly those that provide innovation and stimulate development. A new World Bank report, Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact, confirms that broadband capacity boosts economic growth. It argues that every 10% increase in high-speed internet connections in developing countries leads to a 1.3% increase in economic growth. The report also claims that access to ICT services is vital for economic and social development of sub-Saharan Africa. The World Bank has already cited that capacity is one of the biggest constraints holding back the region’s development of broadband connectivity. Davies agreed that there is a correlation between broadband growth and economic development. With the new cables, South Africa will be in a position to take advantage of innovation and local production. This will in turn contribute to growth of the country’s GDP, help new businesses establish itself, and stimulate the infrastructure development needed for public and private initiatives. He pointed out that a lot of the continent’s current internet traffic is dependent on expensive satellite connections, due to the lack of fixed-line infrastructure. But with new undersea cables under construction or in the planning process, the continent’s predicament may well change. “Between African governments and private companies wanting to invest in the continent, billions of rands have been allocated to the various undersea cable projects to get the continent’s broadband up to par,” Davies said. There is even market speculation that once these projects are complete, Africa will have an excess of bandwidth capacity – a positive boost for business, infrastructure and ultimately the economy. But he warned that these benefits were also dependent on the regulatory environment. “The undersea cables will provide the necessary means for increased bandwidth. The deciding factor, however, will be the way in which these cables are managed and regulated.” Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at marya@mediaclubsouthafrica.comRelated articlesSouth Africa onlineBroadband boom brings freer speechSA web users to double by 2014Better broadband for AfricaBroadband centre launches in SAUseful linksSeacomEASSy – Eastern Africa Submarine Cable SystemConnection TelecomRSA WebWeb AfricaNeotelInternet Governance ForumWorld Bank: Information and Communications for Development 2009last_img read more

Keeping hay in the rotation

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The challenges of making good hay are many.It requires season-long hour-by-hour weather watching, extensive time management skills, the equivalent of a PhD in engineering required to make even routine in-field repairs, and the patience under pressure of the most skilled surgeons when making said repairs with a rain cloud looming. Those making hay also need to know a good bit about chemistry, biology, agronomy, physics, and have the people skills of a top waiter at a white tablecloth restaurant to deal with an often fickle customer base trying to feed livestock worth more than most homes.At any rate, it ain’t easy making hay, but somebody has to do it. One of those somebodys is Mike Lutmer from Warren County. Mike and his brother Chris have been working with hay since they were young.“Currently, we have around 200 acres of hay. We also do some custom work. A majority of our hay customers have been with us for over 15 years. Warren County has over 6,000 horses, so we keep hay in the rotation due to the high demand. Also, not every field is suitable for row crops, so the demand for hay works to our advantage,” Mike Lutmer said. “We learned to bale hay from our grandfather when we were little kids. One of my fondest memories is tumbling the hay bales down the hay stack in Grandpa’s barn. Sometimes we tumbled with the bales.”The number of hay acres on the farm are subject to changes in the farm economy and the general economy.“When the housing market declined, the demand for straw decreased significantly. With the economic downturn, many horse owners also felt the same pain. Some of those individuals were no longer able to afford good quality hay,” he said. “People weren’t buying houses and they weren’t buying horses.”Most of the hay grown on the farm is a blend of alfalfa and orchardgrass, with timothy mixed in some fields.“We have about 50 acres that are mixed grass — fescue, orchardgrass, timothy and red clover that is used to make cow feed. There is nothing too hot, but it has a good protein and feed value,” Lutmer said. “The rotation depends — usually it will be corn-beans for several years and then we’ll put wheat in. When we take off the wheat, we’ll let it sit fallow for a few weeks. Then we will prepare to begin for our fall seeding of hay. This happens mid-August through the first week of September, weather permitting. Depending on what we want, we’ll do a 65% 35% alfalfa-orchardgrass mix. We will also grow straight timothy and a timothy alfalfa mix, depending on what our customers are requesting. Fifteen years ago, the timothy alfalfa mix was a hot commodity. Since then, the alfalfa-orchard grass mix has gotten more popular. Typically, we leave the stand in rotation for five years, but we have gone seven or eight years in the past. If it is getting thin at the four-year mark and we are getting weed pressure, we will take the first cutting and no-till soybeans in.“We no longer make round bales because a cow deserves a square meal. We run a New Holland big square baler that produces three-by-three-by-eight bales, and we also run a couple New Holland 575 small square balers with accumulators behind them. For our mower conditioner, we run a center pivot MacDon disc mower. We have two different rakes. We run a Krone twin rotor rake and a H&S wheel rake, depending on the conditions.”Maintaining a consistently high quality product is vitally important. Pests are not often a major issue with quality hay production.“We really don’t have many issues. If we do, we spray Warrior for leaf hopper,” Lutmer said. “You have to catch leaf hopper in the larvae stage and spray it, otherwise they will eat it and be gone. Since we have the mixed forage, we do not have a big issue with that or alfalfa weevil. When scouting fields, if we happen to see an issue we will make that field a priority. It will be cut first to try and control the pests.”Soil fertility and hay moisture levels are much more important for quality.“Every few years we will pull soil samples and add lime, N, P or K, depending on what the soil sample shows. We’ll add it after the first cutting, weather permitting,” Lutmer said. “We make sure the hay is baled at the best moisture to avoid problems with mold, that is one of the most important things for quality. We also try to keep good, clean fields. Especially around the outside, we’ll spot spray or mow if we have something like a bad patch of thistles. We have looked into it, but we have not used any Roundup Ready alfalfa yet. Then, depending on the moisture levels on our big squares, we’ll use CropSaver Hay Preservative from New Holland if it is anything over 18%. We use that as little a possible, but if the rain is coming and the hay is borderline, it will be applied to help keep it greener and keep it from molding. It also helps the palatability.”If quality suffers, so do customer relationships. Lutmer goes to great lengths to address any problems.“Dealing with horses is quite different than dealing with cattle. Horses do not have the ability to process moldy hay like a cow does. Therefore, horse owners have different concerns when it comes to the hay for their horses. We do everything we can to provide a high quality product and keep an open line of communication to know what they are looking for,” he said. “In the fall, we ask our customers how many bales they will need. That way, we can plan to have enough bales to take care of our current clients.”Most of the hay is then delivered.“We deliver over 90% of our hay. Sometimes it is a delicate balancing act, juggling all the things we have going on,” he said. “We are fortunate to have long term customers who work with us on delivery scheduling.”Hay remains an important part of the Lutmer Farms business, along with row-crop production and custom trucking. The hay certainly offers plenty of work and numerous challenges, but it also helps diversify income sources and provide many benefits to the other parts of the operation.“There is a yield benefit with the hay in rotation. Some years it is more beneficial than others. On average, we have seen a 10% yield bump with beans after first cutting hay. After years of being in alfalfa, the corn uptakes the nitrogen helping increase the yield,” Lutmer said. “Water quality and erosion are very important aspects of our farm. Hay production in certain fields enables us to keep our waterways clean and viable. The more soil health you have the better off you are.”Hay production often requires near super-human abilities, but people like Lutmer welcome the challenge, at least some days.“Some days, baling hay can be extremely rewarding. Then there are days when baling hay can test your resilience,” he said. “It may not be for everyone, but it’s something we thoroughly enjoy. The best scent of summer is a trailer load of freshly baled hay. Knowing that this trailer load of good quality hay is going to a satisfied customer, makes all the long hours worthwhile. We are always looking for that perfect bale.”last_img read more

Feeding Farmers Week #3 – Niese Farms

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The crew of the Ohio Ag Net traveled to north central Ohio to have lunch with the Niese Family for the third installment of the 2017 Feeding Farmers campaign, courtesy of AgriGold. The unique history of the operation goes back to Jerry Niese and his ability to pull through the rough farming times of the 1980s. The determination, spirit, and family ties are on full display in this video interview with Jerry, as well as grandson Alex Fike. Family looks to continue running the operation for years to come with Jerry’s son, Rick, and his son, Casey, involved heavily with day-to-day work.last_img

Wet fields and dampened prices heading into planting

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Doug Tenney, Leist MercantileMarch 29 was not a good day for producers as corn closed 17 cents lower. It came as a result of the USDA Quarterly Grain Stocks Report. Corn stocks were 335 million bushels higher than trade expectations. Corn fed to U.S. livestock was considerably below that seen in the previous year. Several analysts pointed out they were most surprised with corn demand in the second quarter much less than expected. This will be closely monitored in the months ahead as similar low corn usage numbers have taken place with the March Grain Stocks Report.There was also a Prospective Plantings Report the same day. U.S. corn acres of 92.8 million acres for 2019 were higher than trade expectations by 1.5 million acres. Soybean acres were estimated to be 84.6 million acres and lower than expected. In 2018 U.S. corn acres were 89.129 million acres with soybean acres at 89.196 million acres. This year marks a significant decline in soybean acres, reversing the increase seen for many years. It also points out the unique reality in expected producer income this year. For several years producers were enjoying the ability to plant soybeans with less input costs, yet receive comparable income to planting corn. This year in numerous producer budgets, corn provides more income per acre, with input costs still higher compared to soybeans.U.S. wheat acres were estimated to be 45.8 million acres, an all time low. Ohio producers report many wheat acres don’t look great as they came out of hibernation. My drives as well as cycling trips through central Ohio have yielded a simple conclusion. Either wheat acres look really good or really poor. The latter seems to be common throughout much of Ohio. Don’t be surprised if numerous wheat fields will be sacrificed in hopes of producing much better yields with spring planted corn or soybeans in the weeks ahead. With the huge price drop wheat has seen since last August into the end of March of $1.50, there may even be some great looking wheat which is torn up in favor of corn and soybeans. Numerous acres were topdressed during freezing temperatures the first half of March. Others did not apply nitrogen as they wanted to combine the application with herbicides. Conditions were not even close to ideal for those herbicides to be a significant weed killing factor had that combined application with nitrogen taken place.Much of Ohio and the Midwest are saturated at the end of March with many areas receiving nearly five inches of rain during the month. Producers remain extremely frustrated with the amount of field work which remains to be completed before corn and soybeans can be planted. Late March weather forecasts call for cold, wet conditions for April. Flooding conditions are not going away anytime soon as the wet trend from last year and last fall’s harvest continues to be a dominant factor.Not wishing to overstate the obvious, but I continue to be surprised at the gargantuan amount of soil erosion that has taken place during the winter months. The devastating erosion will take years to repair. Producers are now seeing long established waterways with huge cuts of soil missing at the edges. In addition, erosion has even taken place on nearly perfectly flat fields as a result of those numerous heavy winter rainfalls. This soil erosion has come at exactly the worst possible time when producers are hoping to cut costs as they continue to operate in survival mode, looking for better times around the corner. Yet, what they see today does not lead to that conclusion.The early March flooding in Nebraska and Iowa was not factored into the USDA acres report. We will soon know if that becomes an even bigger deal in the weeks ahead.last_img read more

Final phase of U.P. civic body polls begin

first_imgPolling for the third and final phase of civic body polls began on Wednesday amid tight security in Uttar Pradesh.It covers 233 urban bodies spread across 26 districts, including five municipal corporations of Bareilly, Saharanpur, Jhansi, Firozabad and Moradabad, an official said.Voting for 76 Nagar Palika Parishads and 152 urban panchayats is also underway. The final phase is of major importance for the seven-month-old Yogi Adityanath government as 12 Cabinet Ministers and ten state Ministers hail from these areas where polling is taking place on Wednesday. The Chief Minister has himself led the high-decibel campaign of the Bharatiya Janata Party, along with state unit chief Mahendra Nath Pandey.The BJP has enjoyed a majority in most of these urban bodies and this time, the elections are being seen as the first litmus test of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government after its massive victory in state assembly polls held earlier in 2017.Of the urban body polls held in 2012, BJP had a mayor in 12 of the 14 municipal corporations. Only Allahabad and Rampur had mayors from the opposition camp.In 2012, Uttar Pradesh was under a Samajwadi Party (SP) rule and the feat was a major one for the BJP as it had not been in power for more than a decade then.Thereafter, the BJP has been making impressive electoral gains and won 73 out of the 80 parliamentary seats in the watershed 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It then romped home with a decisive majority of 325 seats of the 403 assembly seats in the 2017 state assembly polls.It is for the first time that all the other major parties — Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party and Congress are contesting the urban body polls on their party symbols. The SP, which was ousted by the BJP in the assembly polls is giving the ruling party a run for its money in many districts like Mahoba, Mainpuri, Jhansi, Etawah, Chandauli, Jaunpur, Kushinagar, Bareilly, Etah and Kannauj.last_img read more

Japanese rivalry: Isuzu RU30 vs Toyota Innova

first_imgIsuzu SUV in IndiaJapanese automaker Isuzu Motors India plans to launch a new seven-seater Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) to compete against Toyota Innova in roughly two years time.  This would lead to extension of  Isuzu’s Asian rivalry with its fellow country manufacturer. The premium MPV,  named RU30, will attempt to grab a pie from the growing MPV market in India and for this, it has committed an investment of  Rs 3,000 crore into a local manufacturing facility in Sri City (Tada), Andhra Pradesh.Production of RU 30 is expected to start in October 2016. The launch is likely to take place in the subsequent festive season. Reportedly, Isuzu Motors India is planning to produce 40,000 units of the RU30 per year and 20,000 of the D-MAX pickup.Commenting on this development, Isuzu Motors India President and Managing Director Takashi Kikuchi said, “Isuzu has two products for the Indian market – the MU-7 in the SUV category and the D-MAX in the pickup segment. We have not yet finalised our detailed future product plan.” In addition, it also plans to localise its bestselling pickup truck D-MAX from Thailand in India.Isuzu RU30  is likely to join the league of new MPVs that are expected to hit the Indian roads at around the same time. While Toyota will be ready with its new generation Innova based on a global 640 A platform, Mahindra’s all new Xylo-U421 will be in the final stages of development. Apart from these, a few other compact MPVs from Hyundai Motor India and Mahindra are also expected.advertisementKikuchi says the company plans to step up localisation to 80% in the next two years and is currently selecting the best Indian suppliers. In addition, It is also gradually building its dealership network that is expected to grow to 60 dealers in the country. For this, Isuzu has hired the services of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which will help to identify quality suppliers by the time these new products are launched.last_img read more

a month ago​Cleverley delighted with straightforward Watford boss Sanchez Flores

first_img​Cleverley delighted with straightforward Watford boss Sanchez Floresby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveTom Cleverley only has positive words for his new manager Quique Sanchez Flores.The Spaniard took over from Javi Gracia, who was sacked after a miserable start to the season.Flores has managed at the club before, and got off to a decent start with a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.”He’s not bombarded us with information,” said Cleverley to reporters. “He’s just got his ideas across, very black and white about the basics of how he wants to set up and play. It has been a good, positive week.”The most pleasing thing was how solid we were defensively in the second half.”It has been a problem of ours this season and we were really solid at the back in the second half, from a good shape and that helps us get numbers forward.”We need to be consistent with performances like that now and if we do that we won’t be long where we are now [in the table]. About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

a month agoBerlusconi hits out at AC Milan after defeat to Inter

first_imgBerlusconi hits out at AC Milan after defeat to Interby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has hit out at his old team after defeat to Inter Milan.The Monza owner has questioned the hiring of Marco Giampaolo.”We didn’t advise anyone, Milan chose him and he had seemed to everyone to be a good Coach. I’ve never met him, so I cannot pass judgment.“Suso is a great champion, but he needs to play as a support striker or behind two strikers. He needs to be put in the right condition to receive the ball, which so far hasn’t happened.”Berlusconi had particularly snide remarks for current Milan directors Zvonimir Boban and Paolo Maldini.“Next question… Let’s just say that I cheered them on when they were players.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img