Week in Review
[15 April 2021]
Honey hits headlines this week, with some upcoming challenges which include concerns of myrtle rust’s effect on mānuka seeds and plants, branding conflicts with Australia on the term ‘mānuka’, and insights from national beekeeper data which highlights issues of rising bee colony loss percentages despite outperforming international counterparts.
Showcasing Sector Careers
‘Landed’ is an initiative developed by ASB Mount Albert Grammar School (MAGS) Farm alongside the Ministry for Primary Industries and supported by KPMG.
The 2-day immersion workshop explores the innovative businesses across the food and fibre sector, and the career opportunities available. We invite you to be involved in sharing this opportunity with both rural and urban-based connections.
To read previous editions of Field Notes please click here.
Impossible Foods preparing to go public with $10B valuation, Reuters reports [8 April, Food Dive]
According to Reuters, a plant-based company called Impossible Foods is preparing to go public through a listing that could value the company at more than US$10 billion. Impossible Foods has worked with a financial adviser to help manage discussions with a special purpose acquisition company after receiving offers at high valuations. Interestingly, since the rival plant-based company, Beyond Meat, went public in May 2020, their share value has more than doubled.
Tag: International, Alternative Proteins
Environment & Emissions Spotlight
15,500 submissions on climate change [13 April, Rural News Group]
The Climate Change Commission have received over 15,500 public submissions which will be used to strengthen the commission’s advice to the Government for their emissions reduction plan. Commission chief executive, Jo Hendy, said they have received very positive feedback on their consultation process and exceptional interest and engagement in their work. Through the consultation phase, the commission team held/attended 200 events and talked with around 4,000 people. Additionally, Hendy noted the maintained consistency across New Zealand during the consultations.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Policy and regulation
This Week's Headlines
Milk-free Milo and meatless 'pork': Nestlé and other brands bet big on plant-based food in Asia [April 7, CNN Business]
Nestle’s new plant-based, ready-to-drink Milo will launch this week in Malaysia and is expected to shortly be sold across the Asia region as well. Nestlé's Malaysia and Singapore chief, Juan Aranols, said "We felt that with this growing interest for plant-based products, why not give the Milo taste everybody loves in a solution that is plant-based?" According to Nestlé, plant-based food is already popular in parts of Asia and is growing as customers want to adopt a healthier diet and have concerns about the environment.
Tag: International, Alternative Proteins
According to kiwifruit growers, Zespri’s competitive position in the Chinese kiwifruit market is under threat. With around NZ$1 billion worth of illicit kiwifruit being grown in China, Zespri are attempting to control their largest market and exploring solutions. Growers in New Zealand are upset about Zespri’s potential solution to put their sticker on the counterfeit Chinese fruit in a controlled commercial trial. This solution would allow technology and advice to be given to the Chinese growers who are producing the illicit fruit.
Tag: Horticulture, Policy and Regulation, International
Milk futures surge as traders lock in [9 April, Farmers Weekly]
According to Jarden head of derivatives, Mike McIntyre, demand for milk futures contracts has increased as there was an increase of 73% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year. McIntyre says more dairy farmers are adopting risk management of their milk revenue by using futures contracts. Additionally, it is said that farmers selling these NZX milk price contracts will be the first step in a longer chain of market participants, including dairy processors, traders, speculators and end users.
Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports, Farmers & Producers
Growers 'devastated' as apples rot in Hawke's Bay orchards [7 April, Stuff]
The apple industry is expecting losses of NZ$600 million to provincial economies due to an increase in apple wastage caused by severe labour shortages. The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme usually allows 12,000 RSE workers into the country each year but allowed only 7,000 workers this year due to border closures. New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive, Alan Pollard, said he is aware of leases not being renewed, blocks being pulled out and not being replaced, and new tree orders being cancelled.
Tag: Horticulture, Careers & Labour
Myrtle rust in mānuka concerns researchers [9 April, Farmers Weekly]
Researchers are at the first stage of findings for the invasive myrtle rust disease and its potential effect on mānuka. After the discovery of the disease in manuka seeds, Dr Rob Beresford said, “The more we know, the better we can prepare for myrtle rust. As yet, we don’t know the impact of seed infection on the plant or the production of flowers and pollen, so more research is needed to understand how this finding will impact mānuka.”
Tag: Apiculture, Research & Development, Biosecurity
Carbon price brings opportunity [8 April, Farmers Weekly]
Farmers are urged to think about the opportunities the market’s prospects could offer for their land-use options and succession planning as carbon prices are unlikely to decrease from their market price of NZ$37.02 a unit. In the past year New Zealand Units, the tradable carbon emission denomination, have almost doubled in value from their pre-lockdown low from NZ$22.10. An OECD report identifies that member countries’ carbon pricing reflects their ability to capture carbon losses from energy production over different carbon unit prices.
Tag: Environment & Emissions
We just can't leave it to beaver! [8 April, Rural News]
Adjunct Professor of Lincoln University, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, states there is a need to maximise water storage capacities during periods of excess to allow environmental flow and mitigate climate change. A series of reports from Business Economics and Research Ltd show that New Zealand has about twice the quantity of fresh water (per square kilometre) than United Kingdom and about four times of China and the United States of America. Therefore, innovation in storage of renewable water should be developed, according to Rowarth.
Tag: Water, Policy and Regulation, Farming Systems
Survey provides insights into New Zealand's bees and beekeeping practices [8 April, NZ Herald]
New results for the annual New Zealand Colony Loss Survey show an ongoing increase in winter loss rates of bee colonies in NZ. Chair of Apiculture NZ’s Science and Research Focus Group, Barry Foster, expressed his concern of the increasing loss rate despite being a normal part of beekeeping. NZ beekeepers reported the primary reasons for overwintering losses in 2020 were queen bee problems, suspected varroa infestation, suspected starvation and wasp attacks.
Tag: Apiculture, Farmers & Producers
In February 2021, New Zealand shipped a record number of log vessels of around 2.3 million cubic metres, due to the geopolitical disagreements between China and Australia and subdued supply from Europe. This has caused a higher cut-log stocks, trucks being held up at ports and the railing system being at capacity. Chinese log inventories are currently around 4.3 million cubic metres with a daily offtake from Chinese ports running at 85,000 cubic metres per day.
Tag: Forestry, Trade & Exports
Government to back more initiatives to boost food and fibre workforce [8 April, Rural News]
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced several initiatives to fill critical jobs in the food and fibre sector. These include NZ$240,000 funding for an on-the-job mentoring programme, funding for two horticulture career development managers in Pukekohe and Canterbury, the establishment of a Food and Fibre Youth Network and Innovation Activator workshops with Rural Women New Zealand. O’Connor said the initiatives follow work already done over the past eight months through the Opportunity Grows Here campaign and training initiatives.
Tag: Policy and Regulation, Careers & Labour
Scientists discover new natural blue food colouring from red cabbage [9 April, New Food Magazine]
An international team of researchers has discovered a natural blue colour obtained from red cabbage and have said that it could be used as an alternative to synthetic blue food colourings. According to Professor Justin Siegel at the UC Davis Department of Chemistry and Innovation Institute for Food and Health, having the right blue is important for mixing other colours and if the blue isn’t right, it will produce muddy, brown colours when mixed. The blue colouring is only present in tiny amounts of red cabbage.
Tag: International, Research & Development
Farming and technology: How the rise of lab-grown proteins could impact NZ farmers [11 April, News Hub]
The Government acknowledges that the development of technology will help achieve its economic and environmental goals, but some are predicting that the development of alternative proteins could end up forcing Kiwi farmers out of business. The Government launched its “The Fit for a Better World” plan which aims to boost the primary sector exports by NZ$44 billion over the next decade and David Downs said that “embracing technology is part of a strategy to move up the value chain that we're already part of.”
Tag: Alternative Proteins, Agribusiness, Farming Systems
Cavalier gears up for 'aggressive' push into Australian carpet market [13 April, Stuff]
Cavalier Corporation is exiting the synthetic carpet market and transitioning into producing more sustainable products, such as wool and natural fibres. This move was driven by expected growth in future demand. Chief executive, Paul Alston, said that the company is preparing for an “aggressive” wool marketing campaign through magazines, using influencers and across various social media platforms. They plan to sell their carpet range through an additional 300 retail outlets in Australia, adding to their 700-800 existing retailers.
Tag: Wool, Agribusiness
Milling wheat shake-up has industry on edge [12 April, Farmers Weekly]
Mauri, formerly the Weston Mill, has advised farmers that from 2022 it will be procuring all its South Island wheat requirements from Wilmar Trading (a large scale Australian-based integrated commodity merchandising and supply management company). This has made farmers and the sector nervous as they await the details of the change. Federated Farmers arable chair Colin Hurst says urgent clarification is being sought on the new procurement policy as the decision will significantly change the trading in the industry dynamics
Tag: Arable, Agribusiness, Farmers & Producers
Ag biggest contributor to GHG emissions – report [13 April, Rural News Group]
The Ministry for the Environment’s 2021 Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows that gross emissions of 82.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent were emitted in 2019. The report states that agriculture was New Zealand’s biggest emitting sector, making up 48% of New Zealand’s gross emissions. Additionally, gross emissions increased by 26% from 1990 to 2019, primarily due to increases in methane from dairy cattle digestive systems and carbon dioxide from road transport.
Tag: Environment & Emissions
Organic farmers launch own brand of A3 milk [13 April, Rural News Group]
The Organic Dairy Hub Co-operative has launched its “A3 fresh, full, cream milk, delivered via door-to-door subscription” costing $4.25 per litre. The product, Ours Truly, is trademarked, has A2 Betacasein and is certified under the US Department of Agriculture's National Organic Programme (USDA-NOP) standards. Organic Dairy Hub chief executive, Clay Fulcher, said “The USDA-NOP doesn't allow for any synthetic chemical use or treatments on farm” and "our A3 milk is free from nasties and tastes the way milk should taste."
Dairy, Farmers & Producers, Food Marketing
The federal government of Australia wants Australia and New Zealand beekeepers to hold a “workshop” to end the battle over manuka honey. Kiwi producers are arguing that it is a Māori name inextricably tied to New Zealand like the term champagne is to a region in France. NZ is taking the manner to court this year and Australian beekeepers say that, if successful, it would devastate their industry, cost thousands of jobs and take businesses at least a decade to recover.
Tag: Apiculture, Policy and Regulation, Food Marketing
New Zealand organic sector now a $720 million industry [14 April, Stuff]
According to Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, domestic and global demand for organics increased the sector’s value by 20% from 2017 to 2020, which resulted in the sector being a NZ$720 million industry. Organic dairy products made up the largest part of the sector, with exports worth NZ$153.8 million. Last year organic dairy farmers received a payout of NZ$10.19 per kilogram of milk solids (NZ$7.19 for non-organic), a market record for New Zealand, Organics chief executive, Viv Williams, said.
Tag: Food Marketing
Tech to combat emissions [13 April, Farmers Weekly]
A new report suggests technology could be a big part of cleaning up and reducing emissions on farms. Manure and ruminant emissions from belching are said to be the two main sources of emissions from dairy cattle. Two ways of mitigation were given to combat the emissions: methane digestor technology and feed additives and supplements. According to the report, both ways are evolving and improving are making the right steps towards regulatory approval and scalability.
Tag: Agritech, Environment & Emissions
Partnership to reduce emissions [13 April, Farmers Weekly]
AgResearch scientists and Fonterra Co-operative are developing feed additives for cattle to reduce methane emissions. The product is designed to suppress the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow’s rumen and a trial run demonstrated a methane reduction of more than 30% for up to six hours. The product is also effective with other ruminants such as sheep and deer and it offers a potential tool to help farmers and nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Dairy, Research & Development
Red meat must back claims [13 April, Farmers Weekly]
A panel of experts told farmers at the FarmSmart Conference that they should not fear plants and the emergence of plant-based alternatives but be seen as a competitor to red meat. KPMG agri-food analyst Jack Keeys says alternative proteins have gone through a hype cycle and are now approaching the tip of that cycle and coming back down. Despite large investments in alternative proteins in recent years, it only makes up 2% of global protein and it is predicted to reach 11% by 2035.
Tag: Red Meat, Food Marketing
Hazel Technologies raises $70M for packets to prevent food waste [April 13, Food Dive]
Shelf-life enhancing startup Hazel Technologies are competing well with other food waste tech companies as their sachets offer an easy way to keep produce on the shelf for longer. The sachets can be placed in bulk boxes of produces at the time of harvest to inhibit the release of the ripening agent ethylene. The start-up estimates that by the end of 2021 its sachets will have saved nearly 1 billion pounds of produce from going to waste since its founding in 2015.
Tag: International, Horticulture, Food Innovation, Trade & Exports
Live exports by sea to end within two years [14 April, Rural News Group]
Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, announced that live exports by sea will end within the next two years to uphold New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. The decision will affect some farmers, exporters and importers but a two-year transition period will help the sector to adapt. O’Connor said improvements have been made to the practice over recent years, but despite everyone’s best efforts, the voyage times to our northern hemisphere markets will always pose animal welfare challenges.
Tag: Trade & Exports, Farmers & Producers
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