Week in Review

[21 May 2021]

This week Trade & Export stories dominate domestic and international headlines in a trend that has gained momentum and will no doubt continue into the foreseeable future. With countries around the world deciding when and how to open themselves back up to global markets, severe constraints in world-wide logistics, and Covid-19 continuing to disrupt – we see related price fluctuations, labour shortages, and geopolitical influences continue to hit headlines each week.

This week Genevieve Steven, KPMG Farm enterprise consultant and Voice Leader of ‘Farmers & Producers’ of Agribusiness Agenda 2020 hosts a Vodcast interview with Caroline Letham, KPMG farmer and grower voice contributor of Agribusiness Agenda 2020 and company owner at Tahuna Farming Company.

Spotlight Stories

Agritech Spotlight


Agritech startup Vence raises $16m to deliver virtual fencing to US, Australia [18 May, Stuff]

A New Zealand-founded agritech start-up Vence, has raised NZ$16 million to ramp up the international roll-out of their hi-tech ear tags used to create virtual fences. Their ear tags work similarly to a dog collar where animals are conditioned to avoid certain areas using low voltage electric shocks or uncomfortable sounds. Vence has received interest from nearly 5000 livestock farmers and will deliver the first commercial version of its product to farms across the US and Australia later this year.

Tag: Agritech, Farming Systems

Food Marketing Spotlight

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Are Overseas Customers Truly Willing To Pay More For 'Sustainable' Food? [4 May, Our Land and Water]

Research from the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge suggests that consumers are willing to pay significantly more for certified organic products (31% price premium for red meat, 29% for dairy products). Evidence gathered by four research programmes shows that food shoppers in New Zealand’s key export markets place value on many attributes resulting from responsible farming such as meeting high standards for animal welfare and food safety, hormone/antibiotic-free, grass-based etc. Additionally, new research suggests that changing practices on farms to meet new water and climate regulations could be a marketing advantage in New Zealand’s food export markets.

Tag: Food Marketing, Environment & Emissions, Research & Development

This Week's Headlines

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The China Challenge: Chinese food and beverage brands could soon muscle in on NZ's premium exports [18 May, Stuff]

Chinese brands are increasing in quality and are rising in New Zealand’s main export category of food and beverage as China’s Fortune-500 companies increased from 9 to 124 in the last 21 years. The major difference from Chinese businesses and Western businesses is the speed at which Chinese businesses adapt relative to other businesses. This agility is much like the lean start-ups of the Silicon Valley, however, it spans to almost every industry in China.  Additionally, Chinese businesses are often more concerned about revenue than profit, focusing on growth and market share, as well as quickly adopting digital trends.

Tag: International, Trade & Exports

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Steady as she goes for final GDT auction of the season [19 May, NZ Herald]

Prices have remained steady in the final Global Dairy Trade auction for the season, with only a 0.2% drop from the previous event. The prices of whole milk powder, skim milk powder, anhydrous milk and butter all increased by 0.2%, 0.7%, 0.1% and 2.2% respectively, whilst cheddar and lactose milk decreased by 0.1% and 1.6% respectively. A total of 21,140/MT of product was sold to 169 successful bidders.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports


European co-op claims lowest carbon footprint [12 May, Rural News Group]

A total of 7,986 farms across seven European countries have done a “Climate Check” using Arla’s new standardised tool for identifying carbon footprint. Data shows that Arla are among the most climate efficient dairy farms in the world and revealed five universal levels to lower carbon footprint for dairy on all types of Arlan farms including; better feed efficiency, precision feeding, healthy and long life for a cow, precise fertiliser management and better land-use management.

Tag: Dairy, International, Environment & Emissions, Food Marketing

Top stories

Hemp needs more support [13 May, Farmers Weekly]

Greenlab director of research Parmjit Randhawa highlighted New Zealand's opportunity to become an international player in the hemp agriculture industry and play a key role in sustainability and climate change. An export-driven hemp industry is forecast to be worth NZ$2 billion and create 20,000 regional jobs by 2030, but Randhawa says “there are challenges of reliability and consistent supply; it is baby steps now, getting the crop into farming rotations.” Benefits of growing hemp include its ability to produce fibre, the sequestering of carbon is fast, the whole plant can be used, and much more.

Tag: Arable, Farming Systems

Making the most of mohair [13 May, Farmers Weekly]

According to Mohair NZ marketing company representative John Woodward and Angora farmer David Brown, a global shortage of mohair is creating an opportunity for New Zealand to increase its mohair fibre production. Currently, international supply sits under three million kilograms a year whereas at its peak in 1989, the international production of mohair reached 24 million kilograms. In April 2021, the average 30-micron range market price was NZ$36-$43/kg and Woodward said “the high demand for the fibre is creating an opening for anyone wishing to enter the industry.”

Tag: Farming Systems, Wool

O’Connor to travel to UK, EU to progress FTAs [13 May, Farmers Weekly]

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to the United Kingdom and European Union next month to make progress on New Zealand’s respective free trade agreement after many constructive calls and virtual engagements. O’Connor says the free trade agreements will level the playing field for New Zealand exporters and build a more resilient export profile. O’Conner adds “securing high-quality, comprehensive and inclusive free trade agreements with the EU and the UK will expand our market opportunities.”

Tag: Trade & Exports, Policy and Regulations

Nominations for rural business awards open [13 May, Rural News Group]

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) and insurance company NZI have launched the NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards for 2021. They are encouraging women living in rural NZ (including small towns) who own and/or operate rural businesses to enter the awards this year so they can give them support and recognition. RWNZ national president Gill Naylor says the awards are an opportunity to showcase the creativity and innovation of rural women entrepreneurs and the support they provide rural communities.

Tag: Honours & Awards

Nationwide vet shortage pushing staff to breaking point [13 May, NZ Herald]

According to Veterinary Association (NZVA) chief officer Helen Beattie, New Zealand has a shortage of between 50-100 veterinarians which could compromise animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety, especially with a dry winter forecast. Geraldine veterinarian Hilary McCullough claims that to prepare for their peak spring season, border rules need to ease slightly to allow in overseas veterinarians as well as put effort into retaining those thinking of leaving the industry.

Tag: Animal Welfare, Rural Communities

DairyNZ: MIQ decision will put farmers under pressure [12 May, NZ Herald]

According to DairyNZ, farmers are under pressure heading into the next dairy season due to the Government decision disapproving 500 skilled dairy workers to enter New Zealand because of the lack of space in MIQs. A recent survey showed that 49% of respondents said they are currently short-staffed and 58% are experiencing heightened stress levels. The dairy industry is already suffering a labour shortage due to Covid-19 restrictions, and now migrant workers are reportedly moving to Canada and Australia instead.

Tag: Dairy, Policy and Regulation, Covid-19

Tomato price doubles in last month [14 May, NZ Herald]

Latest Stats NZ figures show that tomato prices doubled last month due to unreliable export options leading to an oversupply in the domestic market, as well as regular seasonal change and tomatoes coming off their summer low prices. The average price was NZ$6.34 per kilogram, up from just under NZ$3 per kilo in March 2021. Cucumbers also jumped in price, up by 50% to NZ$12.41 per kilo. The high prices were offset by lower prices for kiwifruit which led to an overall food price index of just 1.1%.

Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Export 

Retired veterinarian's desire to keep learning earns him PhD at age 82 [14 May, Stuff]

A retired veterinarian Selwyn Dobbinson earned a PhD at 82 in animal welfare, which aims to raise important questions about livestock transportation and welfare improvement. Dobbinson hopes to work with the minister of agriculture and continue his involvement in the livestock industry. He says more retirees should be encouraged to take up further study. People often associated older people with illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, but many are “totally capable” with their age not necessarily being a problem, Dobbinson said.

Tag: Agribusiness Education

Dairy prices likely to stay stronger for longer as supply is constrained [15 May, Stuff]

According to analysts, dairy prices are likely to remain stronger for longer as farmers face constraints in ramping up supply to meet strong demand (largely attributed to China). On Friday, BNZ raised its forecasted price for Fonterra's milk next season to $7.80 per kilogram of milk solids (MS) from $7 per kgMh, which is higher than BNZ’s forecast for this season of $7.70 per kgMS. Additionally, the global dairy trade price index increased by 44% from the same time last year and 29% higher than its five-year average.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports

Hawke's Bay sheep numbers drop 346,000 in year amid climate change concern [15 May, NZ Herald]

According to farming leaders, Hawke’s Bay’s sheep population has fallen to 346,000 in 2020 which gives a glimpse of the potential future as Niwa climate forecasts predict an increase in the risk of severe drought. Other contributing factors include the conversion of hill-country land into forestry and the low wool price. While the total value of sheep-meat exports was around NZ$4 billion, for the year ended June 2020, the export value of wool has almost halved from NZ$880 million to NZ$460 million in recent years.

Tag: Red Meat, Farmers & Producers, Farming Systems

Mānuka honey battle: New Zealand, Britain, Australia in trademark fight [16 May, NZ Herald]

The British honey manufacturer Rowse has instructed lawyers to fight an application by New Zealand Mānuka Honey Appellation Society to trademark the "mānuka honey" which would only allow honey from New Zealand to carry the title. While the mānuka tree grows uncultivated in New Zealand and Australia, it has also been grown in the UK for mānuka honey production. Rowse believes “the certification trademark would have a negative impact on competition, restrict global supply and result in significant price increases, for UK consumers."

Tag: Honey, International, Food Marketing 

Gisborne district council 'hamstrung' on legislation when rating forestry blocks [17 May, NZ Herald]

Gisborne District Council wants the Valuer General to address "growing disparities" between the rating valuation of forestry land and other land uses. As farms rapidly turn to forests, Gisborne district councillors say "very low land valuations" of forestry properties result in other ratepayers unfairly carrying the rates burden. The Eastland Wood Council said councillors should be calling on the Valuer General to look at mechanisms that ensure "fairness, transparency and stability" for all landowners, irrespective of industry.

Tag: Farming Systems, Policy and Regulation

Broken election promise on carbon farming will hurt rural communities - Federated Farmers [17 May, Voxy]

Federated Farmers have been disappointed by the lack of fulfilment of the Government’s promise to protect productive farmland. Labour pledged, if re-elected, they would take less than six months to protect productive farmland from the rampant spread of large-scale exotic tree planting across the country.  The Government is also yet to initiate a long-expected review of the special forestry test for overseas investment. Federated Farmers said, "short term thinking by the Government is creating permanent damage to rural communities and the national economy.”

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Forestry, Farming Systems

Purposeful lives [17 May, Farmers Weekly]

The introduction of a Sexed Semen/Wagyu breeding programme has seen a Cambridge dairy farm reduce the number of bobby calves born, increase profitability, and minimise their carbon footprint. “One outcome our community wished to see was an increased number of purposeful lives – or fewer bobby calves – so we incorporated that into the farm’s breeding strategy as an overarching goal,” demonstration manager Jo Sheridan says. The team reviewed the 2019-20 year and found an increase in profit by NZ$4240 and reduced bobby calf numbers by 31% as a result of the Sexed Semen/Wagyu mating plan.

Tag: Animal Welfare, Farming Systems, Farmers & Producers, Dairy

Massey trio finalists in top tech competition [17 May, Farmers Weekly]

A smart livestock ear tag developed by three Massey University engineering PhD students as an agritech start-up is a finalist for Microsoft’s global competition the Imagine Cup.  The tag is an activity tracker and applies detailed machine learning to movement data in order to extract behavioural information. Farmers can use these insights to take preventative health measures. The competition brings together student innovators to tackle social issues with technology and the winners will receive US$75,000 in prize money and a mentoring session with Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella.

Tag: Agritech, Honour & Award

Brazilian Agribusiness: We’re Not the Enemy in the Amazon [12 May, Americas Quarterly]

According to the president of the Brazilian Rural Society Teresa Vendramini, law-abiding farmers strongly oppose illegal deforestation, which is a major challenge confronting the Brazilian Government. Putting a stop to forest destruction is important for rural producers because it protects their collective image and helps to combat climate change. It is essential to highlight the economic value of keeping the forest standing, the need to develop a clear carbon credit scheme and the framework for the new national policy of payment for environmental services.

Tag: International, Environment & Emissions, Agribusiness

Kerry plans to establish a food innovation hub in Qld [17 May, Food Processing]

Kerry Group plans to develop a purpose-built food technology and innovation centre in Queensland. The centre aims to reduce time to market for new product development and increase food innovation in the region. Kerry Group General Manager Christine Giuliano adds, the facility will bring local food and beverage producers the benefits of its global technologies and the “global insights, market knowledge, and culinary and applications expertise to customise solutions that ultimately deliver exciting products that resonate with the local market.”

Tag: International, Food Innovation

New Innovations To Fuel The Future Of NZ’s Food, Fibre And Agritech Sector [12 May, Scoop Business]

The Food, Fibre and Agritech Supernode Challenge sparks new innovations and ideas to help fuel the agricultural sector through the participating start-ups. Their ideas include a tool to measure lamb product quality, technology using facial recognition on livestock, environmentally friendly battery technology, and many more. Judge Alexandra Stuthridge Commercialisation Manager at KiwiNet said the quality of entrants and proposed innovation was incredibly high, making it difficult to select the finalists let alone the overall winners.

Tag: Food Innovation, Research & Development, Honours & Awards

Meat industry's logistical nightmare [19 May, Rural News Group]

New Zealand’s meat exporters are caught in the global problem around the availability of shipping containers and disrupted shipping schedules. Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said that MIA is talking to the Ministry for Primary Industries about seeking approval for additional storage space since “there are containers, but they are not in the right place at the right time.” Karapeeva also adds, while there has been no talk within the industry about leasing cool storage space in key overseas markets, she wouldn’t be surprised if individual companies were going down this track.

Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Collaboration key to meat assurance programmes [13 May, Farmers Weekly]

According to Beef + Lamb NZ general manager Nick Beeby, the key to development and refinement for New Zealand’s assurance programmes is collaboration as the programmes take a wide and integrated approach across environmental domains (looking across soils, water, greenhouse gases, biodiversity, biosecurity etc). “We looked at overseas examples during the refinement of these programmes and are confident the newNZFAP (NZ Farm Assurance Programme) and NZFAP Plus programmes being rolled outby processing companies are a leading innovation,” Beeby said.

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Farmers & Producers, Farming Systems, Red Meat

Get in touch

Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
04 816 4845
Agri-Food – Auckland
Jack Keeys

09 363 3502
Private Enterprise – Hamilton
Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

09 367 5969
Consultant – South Island
Genevieve Steven

03 307 0761

Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871

Field Notes Administrator
Angelo Marundan
+64 9363 3624