Week in Review
[24 June 2021]
This week we release a video from the KPMG 2021 Agribusiness Agenda Co-authors, sharing the key insights and actions from the report. We also look at the round-up of KPMG’s 2021 Agribusiness Agenda in the media and other updates from a Mystery Creek Fieldays with record attendance.
Internationally we see several stories across the topics of food security, trade and aquaculture.
To read previous editions of Field Notes please click here.
Food Security Spotlight
New Zealanders discard food worth about $2.4b in a year [21 June, NZ Herald]
The Rabobank-Kiwi Harvest Food Waste Research surveyed over 1500 people about their food habits and has found that New Zealanders are throwing out NZ$2.4 billion worth of food a year. Rabobank head of sustainable business development Blake Holgate said two-thirds of total wastage was fruit and vegetables, with bread making up over a quarter and meat about 6%. “Older Kiwis were found to be much more likely than younger generations to be practicing household food behaviours that reduce food waste” he said.
Tag: Food Security, Environment & Emissions
Food Innovation Spotlight
Pasture crops could be new food for humans [21 June, NZ Herald]
Plant & Food Research, the Crown Research Institute are exploring new ways to use plants for protein which will impact the US$50 billion market if successful. Plant & Food Research is looking at plants that suit the environment and growing systems, and whether there are potential markets for tasty plant-based beverages to diversify New Zealand’s offering. "The challenge in being so far from our major markets is that our export products need to be of high value, compared to alternatives” says Dr Jocelyn Eason, GM Science Food Innovation.
Tag: Research & Development, Alternative Proteins
This Week's Headlines
108Labs creating first cell cultured human milk factory [22 June, Food Navigator]
After creating the world’s first cell cultured human milk 18 months ago, 108Labs is now focused on accelerating the field from lab to factory by building and programming the world’s first autonomous Cellufacturing facility and artificial intelligence platform for production of cell cultured human milk in Hillsborough, North Carolina. With front-to-end Cellufacturing automation, it is reported that the factory will reduce production costs beyond 99% per ounce compared to lab grown milk. This will accelerate the field from lab to factory by achieving cost parity and production scale comparable to animal-derived milk.
Tag: International, Alternative Proteins
Gallagher shifts from electric fencing [22 June, Farmers Weekly]
An animal management company 'Gallagher' best known for its electric fences has moved into a new frontier of virtual fencing after purchasing virtual fence company Agersens, which aligns the company’s strategy for future farms. “The eShepherd product provides us with a critical component of this future farm platform, which adds animal monitoring and also automated pasture management,” said Gallagher chief executive Kahl Betham. Farmers can create virtual fences from either their tablet or computer using GPS coordinates on a digital map of their property.
Tag: Agritech, Agribusiness
According to OECD’s Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2021 report, agricultural support has continued to grow worldwide in recent years but is often failing to meet its stated aims of improving food security, livelihoods and environmental sustainability. “Only one in six dollars of budgetary support to agriculture globally is spent in ways that are effective in promoting sustainable productivity growth and agricultural resilience,” said OECD Director for Trade and Agriculture Marion Jansen.
Tag: International, Farming Systems, Policy and regulation
KPMG global head of agribusiness Ian Proudfoot says that staff morale had slumped over the past year, with industry leaders struggling under pressure. He said, “we could sense anger during our conversations, particularly in relation to the labour shortages the sector faces.”
Fieldays 2021: Attendance numbers a great morale booster [17 June, NZ Herald]
With over 29,000 attendees (an increase of 10% from day one of 2019) on the first day of Fieldays this year, the morale for the NZ primary sector was boosted as many exhibitors and leaders attended to address important issues in agriculture.
Outstanding in their field [20 June, Otago Daily Times]
It was reported that KPMG’s annual Agribusiness Agenda launched at Fieldays was the most difficult to write in the report’s 12-year history due to fatigue from Covid-19 impacts (including labour shortages and shipping challenges) and increased regulatory change.
KPMG agribusiness report exposes 'fundamental morale' issue in sector [17 June, Newstalk ZB]
According to KPMG's Agribusiness Agenda report, morale in the food and fibre sector has fallen significantly since last year due to industry challenges such as freight costs, labour supply, and the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy.
KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda report suggests morale in the agribusiness sector is dangerously low, while concerns that the national Fieldays may not be quite the money-spinner it normally is are also arising due to limited Waikato accommodation.
Asparagus harvester leads robotic revolution at Fieldays [17 June, Stuff]
Dr Shen Hin Lin, senior lecturer in mechatronics and mechanical engineering at the University of Waikato, claims his robotic asparagus harvester could be a game changer for growers, although commercialisation is still a few years away. Dr Lin said the robot uses cameras from an Xbox Kinect console to scan and select asparagus spears for picking, then a robotic arm cuts the spear as the machine passes over. ”We’ve tested on farm twice and had it going at twice the speed of human pickers and it still worked” he added.
Green dollar boost [17 June, Farmers Weekly]
ASB has provided NZ$100 million of funding through its rural sustainability loan programme to farmers for on-farm improvements that can span a wide range of suitable “green” projects. ASB head of business banking Tim Deane says “already our farming customers have invested more than $120 million to plant native trees, install environmentally-friendly effluent systems and fence off waterways – and we know many want to do more." The loans are on offer at a discounted interest rate of 2.25% per year as a variable rate and are available for up to five years after the customer makes the first draw down on funds.
Tag: Farmers & Producers, Agribusiness
Govt backs food, fibres sectors [16 June, Rural News Group]
According to Forestry Minister Stuart Nash, the Government plans to back the food and fibres sector to lead New Zealand’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 downturn with co-investments in industry projects. Nash says the Fit for a Better World roadmap has focused on identifying creative and new ideas for lifting returns and improving sustainability. He also said the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund has committed more than NZ$111 million in funding to new projects, worth almost NZ$250 million.
Tag: Policy and Regulation, Farmers
Farming exports are forecast to hit a record $49.1 billion next year [17 June, Stuff]
According to the Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report, farming exports are forecast to hit a record NZ$49.1 billion (increase of 3.4%) over the next year and NZ$53.1 billion by 2025. The rise was driven by larger crop and export volumes of kiwifruit and avocados, as well as continued overseas demand for fresh fruit and wine. Additionally, Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said forestry revenue is expected to reach NZ$6.3billion (increase of 13%) and increase its volume of logs by 21.4%.
Tag: Trade & Exports
Everything looks like going up! [17 June, Rural News Group]
Oceania origin commodity prices have been mostly flat in the first quarter of 2021, although there are expected upward trends moving forward. Reportedly, the expected softening of Chinese import demand should be enough to trigger a price correction in the dairy complex which is likely to occur in the later stages of 2021. Additionally, RaboResearch expects farmgate prices to lift over June with reduced competition from Australia and a hot US market will help to lift the pricing floor.
Tag: Agribusiness, Dairy
Changing look for NZ lamb? [17 June, Rural News Group]
A new optical meat quality monitoring system developed by AgResearch will enable New Zealand meat producers to change their breeding priorities to take full advantage of it. The ‘Clarospec’ system is designed to analyse meat cuts in real time as they go through a meat processing plant, using hyperspectral imaging to provide objective measures of meat quality. "This technology will support a shift from volume to value and allow lamb producers to tailor production to meet the needs of global consumers," said project leader Dr Cameron Craigie.
Tag: Farmers & Producers, Red Meat
Fish efficiency research building block for '$3 billion industry' [20 June, Stuff]
Industry leaders and aquaculture scientists are winding down five years of research into how to get more salmon for less, with hopes to help grow the aquaculture industry into a NZ$3 billion money-maker by 2035. The Cawthron’s finfish research centre’s co-leader Dr Jane Symonds said improving the “feed conversion efficiency” is one of the key priorities for the industry and that genetics plays a big role “so you can breed for efficiency.”
Tag: Fisheries, Research & Development
Supply chain drag on US beef bonanza [18 June, Farmers Weekly]
According to ANZCO Foods general manager of sales and marketing Rick Walker, imported beef prices in the United States have steadily risen since the beginning of the year but haven’t affected New Zealand due to the relative increase in the conversion value of the NZ dollar. Among the reasons for the price increase are the opening of foodservice outlets, greater freedoms for consumers and limited supply, especially from Australia. The US market is paying US$2.90 a pound for imported 95CL bull beef (NZ$8.95/kg cif) compared with US$2.66 this time last year.
Tag: Red Meat, Trade & Exports
China boosts Zespri’s online sales [18 June, Farmers Weekly]
According to Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson, Zespri’s online sales in China increased from 17% to 25% (from 2019 to 2020), and this year it is on track to be almost a third of Chinese sales. “There has been this real acceleration of consumers buying trusted brands online, and returning to buy them regularly,” Mathieson said. He expects that by 2030, online sales in China will account for 50% of total sales in a market that is highly tech savvy, and with rapidly improving supply chain infrastructure that can deliver perishable products.
Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports
McCain embraces regen ag [18 June, Farmers Weekly]
Global food company McCain is reimagining the potato growing process to one that is beneficial to the planet and will use only regeneratively farmed potatoes by 2030. They plan to implement regenerative agriculture practices across 100% of its 150,000ha of potato growing worldwide. Additionally, the transition will restore and protect soil health and quality and look to natural processes to control pests, prevent plant disease and strengthen crops against severe weather events. Chief executive Max Koeune “if we don’t transform the way we grow food, the whole system is at risk of suffering irreparable damage.”
Tag: Farming Systems, International, Environment & Emissions
Cocuus: Alt meat and fish start-up develops ‘disruptive’ 3D printing tech [22 June, Food Navigator]
A Spanish start-up, Zaratiegui, is analysing the morphological structure of foods to reconstruct meat and fish from plants and cells and ultimately feed more people with fewer resources. Its Cocuus technology transforms purées into dishes resembling real food to target nursing homes and hospitals, and is currently developing its own bio-printing tech to ‘morphological’ shape meat and fish products. From the analyses they “develop mathematical models that allow us to not only reconstruct them, but to do so in a scalable way” Zaratiegui said.
Tag: International, Alternative Proteins
Kim Jong-un admits North Korea facing a 'tense' food shortage [18 June, BBC News]
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has formally acknowledged that his country is facing food shortages. He said the agricultural sector had failed to meet its grain targets due to the typhoons last year causing flooding and there are reports which show the spike in food prices - a kilogram of bananas costing US$45. Additionally, North Korea is struggling under international sanctions imposed because of its nuclear programmes.
Tag: International, Food Security
Meet the 2021 Fieldays Innovation Awards winners [21 June, NZ Herald]
Springarm Products Limited won the Prototype Award by inventing a ballcock arm which flexes when put under pressure instead of snapping, saving farmers water, time, money, and stress. Cropsy Technologies took home the Early Stage and the Young Innovator's Award with its machine learning technology which detects diseases, missing or dying vines etc. The Growth and Scale Award went to IGS Limited for their vertical farm-in-a-box which was Internet of Things enabled and powered by a 3-tier intelligent system to deliver Total Control Environment Agriculture.
Tag: Honours & Awards, Agribusiness
The official opening of Wood Engineering Technology’s (WET) plant in Gisborne is the centre of a potential NZ$200 million "revolution" in wood processing and New Zealand house-building. The plant produces WET’s product Optimised Engineered Lumber, which is one of only seven engineered lumber products ever commercialised. WET said that its laminated engineered wood planks are 40% stronger than equivalent standard structural timber and will revolutionise building practices. It is reported that it could potentially be worth millions of dollars due to earnings from global licences and contracts to build state-of-the-art plants overseas.
Tag: Forestry, Rural Communities
Mycoplasma bovis: University of Otago study slams Government's response [22 June, NZ Herald]
More than 171,000 cattle have been culled as part of the government's attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma and a University of Otago study has found that this has left farmers with lasting trauma and feelings of isolation and powerlessness. Study lead Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble said the main theme of the research was the ‘intrusive, impractical and inhumane nature’ of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ eradication programme in which local knowledge, expertise and pragmatism were ignored in favour of inefficient bureaucratic processes.
Tag: Biosecurity, Research & Development, Rural Communities, Farmers & Producers
Rabobank is getting rid of customers who aren't taking out loans [17 June, Stuff]
Agribusiness specialist Rabobank is discarding New Zealand customers who have transaction accounts with no associated rural lending. This allows the banks to focus on food and agribusiness lending customers and online savings customers. Massey University banking specialist Professor David Tripe said banks don’t actually make money from transaction accounts, but was a service they provided in hopes of acquiring more business.
New Zealand Has Real Opportunity To Be A World Leader In Agritech [17 June, Scoop Business]
Technology Investment Network (TIN) has released its second annual NZ Agritech Insights Report and provides a closer look into NZ’s agricultural technology sector. Key statistics on the agritech sector include: 11% of TIN200 companies are agritech firms and together they generated NZ$1.4B in revenue in 2020 and 10.8% of the total TIN200 revenue from total agritech exports totalled to $790.4m (57.5% of total export revenue). Brendan O’Connell, chief executive of AgriTech NZ says “agritech business have the potential to inject billions of dollars’ worth of productivity gains into New Zealand’s primary industry sector.”
Australia: taking China to WTO over wine tariffs enables negotiations [20 June, Reuters]
According to Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne, Australia’s complaint to the World Trade Organisation over China’s anti-dumping duties on wine exports should enable bilateral negotiations. "We've seen duties of over 200% applied to Australian wine. We don't believe that that is consistent with China's obligations under the WTO. So that part of the process enables us to have that direct conversation” says Payne.
Tag: International, Trade & Exports
Alternatives to fossil-fuelled plastic big opportunity [23 June, Otago Daily Times]
According to the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, the bioproducts wave could add NZ$30 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP with the help of New Zealand initiatives. The following three companies have potential to contribute to this impact. First is NZ Bio Forestry who aim to convert raw forestry material, starting with forestry waste, into bio-packaging, bio-plastics, bio-energy, bio-fuels and bio-adhesives. Second, Young entrepreneur Logan Williams is working with NZ Merino to examine wool as an alternative for plastic products, by turning wool into a pelletised base product. Lastly, Lanaco is a company making Nasa-approved air filters from wool.
Tag: Environment & Emissions, Research & Development, Agribusiness
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