Week in Review

[25 March 2021]

This week we hear of further challenges in the export of our horticultural produce, as the impact of labour shortages and delayed or missing shipping containers make their hit on apples and onions.

Industries such as milk and hops demonstrate strong demand and producers begin locking in prices as Fonterra supply contracts and hop harvests begin.

We also get an insight into New Zealand’s economic performance in comparison to come of our international counterparts, while UK food and drink exports show a significant drop. 

Democratisation of Data

This week Thomas Park, a Director in KPMG’s Lighthouse team shares an article on his insights from the data and analytics world, and how these insights can lead to opportunities in farming systems.

Read the full blog article here.

Spotlight Stories

Technology Spotlight


Fishing's never been like this [22 March, NZ Herald]

Scientists at the Crown Research Institute Plant & Food Research are looking at new ways to increase fish production through open ocean aquaculture. Researchers are leading the development of mobile fish farms which can travel to optimum ocean locations through the year, reducing fish exposure to the temperature extremes of a single environment. A sustainable approach is being taken to try “work with the environment, rather than against it” says Open Ocean Aquaculture Direction leader, Suzy Black.

Tag: Aquaculture, Fisheries 

Farming Systems Spotlight

spotlight 2

Couple prepare to harvest New Zealand's first commercial pineapple crop [20 March, NZ Herald]

A Northland based family are preparing to harvest New Zealand’s first commercial pineapple crop as well as other tropical fruit like bananas, papayas, passionfruit, sugarcane, dragon fruit and coffee. Tropical Fruit Growers of NZ chairman, Hugh Rose, said planting pineapples in the north would be great use of land as there is plenty of volcanic soil and sunshine hours. They are expecting to harvest over 5,000 pineapples this year and plant between 50,000 and 60,000 pineapples over the next couple of years.

Tag: Farming Systems, Farmers & Producers

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Data shows collapse of UK food and drink exports post-Brexit [22 March, The Guardian]

New figures from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs show that whisky, cheese and chocolate producers have suffered the biggest post-Brexit export loss in the food and drink sector. This is a result of both Brexit and weaker demand in Europe due to Covid-19. In January, cheese exports decreased from GBP£45 million to £7 million, whisky from £105 million to £40 million and chocolate from £41.4 million to £13 million.

Tag: International, Trade & Exports, Covid-19

headline 2

The Detail: How China is causing a surge in the price of milk [22 March, Stuff]

The greater demand for New Zealand’s powdered milk is believed to be supported by the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens being encouraged to drink more milk by their government, to ward off Covid-19. This contributes to China’s total imports of 40% of NZ’s NZD$20 billion dairy industry. Fonterra Co-operative Group’s normalised profit, which excluded one-off items, increased by 43% to NZD$418 million. As a result of the recent price increases, NZD$11.5 billion will be injected into the economy making it the highest milk pay-out in seven years.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports


NZ economy better than most [18 March, Farmers Weekly]

New Zealand’s economy is doing considerably well compared to other countries as NZ’s GDP only decreased by 1%, compared with the December quarter 2019. According to the OECD, Australia’s economy decreased by 1.1%, the US by 2.4% and Britain by 7.8% in the same December quarter. “Globally, there have been a variety of experiences and responses to the pandemic and these need to be taken into consideration when comparing the recent GDP results for different countries,” StatsNZ national accounts manager Paul Pascoe said.

Tag: Trade & Exports, Agribusiness, Covid-19

Top stories

Central District Field Days kicks off with a roar video  [18 March, Stuff]

The first day of the Central Districts Field Days was a success with full entry gates in the morning and an expected amount of 27,000 visitors over the two days. It attracted many visitors with farming apps, new products and technology - focusing on making life on the farm more efficient and safe. The field days aim to attract exhibitors that would appeal to the whole family, while farmers checked out the latest heavy machinery and gadgets.

Tag: Agribusiness, Farmers & Producers 

Onions miss the boat as horticulture exports struggle with shipping issues [March 18, Stuff]

Over 50 containers full of onions, worth approximately NZD$600,000, were not exported due to ships trying to catch up on their schedules - skipping ports or cutting their visits short. Apples and kiwifruit are also reaching their peak harvest time so it was a “very stressful time” for exporters, according to Onions New Zealand chief executive, James Kuperus. The ship to Europe from Port of Tauranga was missed last week and exporters are trying to export to Spain and Germany right now as it hits busy season.

Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Export

A platform for red meat’s story [18 March, Farmers Weekly]

The new Making Meat Better website is launching in a few weeks and will tell the red meat’s sector story while reinforcing the merits of it. It will provide data and statistics about the red meat sector, sell the virtues of being grass-raised and its nutritional attributes, while also extolling the environmental stewardship of farmers. The website is an initiative of the Beef + Lamb NZ and the Meat Industry Association.

Tag: Red Meat, Food Marketing

Lincoln University domestic enrolments up 35% [18 March, Farmers Weekly]

Lincoln University’s number of domestic students has increased by 35%, to 894 equivalent full-time students. Acting vice-chancellor Professor, Bruce McKenzie, said, “Lincoln introduced tuition fee waivers in mid-2020 on a number of our postgraduate programmes, including taught Master’s degrees, to encourage people to gain the knowledge and skills to contribute to a more productive and sustainable future.” The University has their highest total number of Maori students, with 161 students. Additionally, females students outnumber male students with 53% females and 46% males.

Tag: Education

NZ apple exports set to take $100m hit due to labour shortage [19 March, NZ Herald]

The New Zealand apple and pear industry is expecting a NZD$95-100 million drop in export earnings due to labour shortages – a decrease of 3 million cartons and 14% below 2020. "Labour availability on orchards and in our post-harvest operations is well short of numbers needed by the industry despite doing all we can to attract New Zealanders into work” NZAPI chief executive, Alan Pollard, said. Despite the decrease in quantity, the apples remain top-quality and are well coloured.

Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports

Hort picking off meat workers [23 March, Rural News]

Orchardist in Hawkes Bay are suffering from a shortage of workers and are resorting to pay meat workers more than they already do at their processing plants to pick fruit. Meat Industry Association chief executive, Sirma Karapeeva, said “the borders are closed and we can’t find extra workers, despite the idea that there are many New Zealanders who don’t have work due to Covid. We just can’t seem to attract them in the regions and into the industry.”

Tag: Horticulture, Red Meat, Labour

Kiwis flock to Open Farms [23 March, Farmers Weekly]

Many farm types including dairy farms, permaculture growers, mushroom makers, bee keepers and more participated in New Zealand’s second national Open Farms initiative. The open farms hosted about 2500 kiwis in 37 different farms from across the country. The project’s mission is to reconnect Kiwis with our land, food and farmers. “Getting people back out on-farm changes the way they think about their role in the food system. There is no urban-rural divide, there’s just us” Open Farms founder, Daniel Eb, said.

Tag: Farmers & Producers, Rural Communities

Global solution to human, planet and species health [23 March, Farmers Weekly]

A leading biosecurity academic, Professor Philip Hulme, is pushing for an international biosecurity organisation established to help identify biosecurity risks before they spread. The organisation would prove far more effective than the current “ambulance” approach according to Hulme. He said, “NZ has a globally leading reputation in biosecurity, both through government and industry-led initiatives; we should certainly be at the top table when developing an international approach.”

Tag: Biosecurity

Investing in consumers’ trust [23 March, Farmers Weekly]

Demand from environmentally-conscious food customers is increasing and needs to be focused on by Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ). These customers have been influenced by digital channels that focus on natural foods and they tend to choose meat products that are better tasting, nutritious and satisfy environmental concerns. “Consumers are saying they want products that will not leave the climate, soil or water any worse off.” B+LNZ market development manager, Nick Beeby, said.

Tag: Food Marketing, Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Push for better rural connectivity [22 March, Farmers Weekly]

A 10-year plan is being pushed to improve rural broadband connectivity to match urban access. Without continual investment and expansion in broadband beyond existing initiatives, there is threat of outdated and slow wireless technology. As part of the TUANZ’s 10-year plan chief executive Craig Young is proposing a change to funding models that will help rural customers pick up on new wireless technology available. This could include free instalments of customer premises equipment (CPE) such as modems and routers on farms and homes.

Tag: Rural Communities, Farmers & Producers, Agribusiness

Rural market consolidates [22 March, Rural News]

According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, there were 129 more farm sales for the three months ended February 2021 than the three months ended February 2020. Brian Peacocke, REINZ rural spokesman, says “sales figures for the three-month period ending February 2021 confirm the rural market is in good shape with dairy farm sales holding well followed closely by those in the finishing and grazing sectors.” The median price per hectare decreased 0.8% compared to January 2021.

Tag: Farming systems, Farmers & Producers

WayBeyond creates five global partnerships [24 March, Voxy]

New Zealand Agritech company WayBeyond has announced their first five international partnerships in their pursuit of AgTech collaborations and global distribution. The five partners include: Cultivatd (headquartered in Canada), Novefa (headquartered in Denmark), Better Grow Hydro (headquartered in U.S.), UpGrown Farming (headquartered in Singapore) and New Zealand’s Autogrow.

Tag: Agritechnology, Agribusiness

Food waste strategy needed [24 March, Farmers Weekly]

At the inaugural Food Waste Summit in Auckland, calls have been made by academic and industry for New Zealand to develop a nationwide food waste reduction strategy. In 2016 it was estimated that 571,000 tonnes of food enters landfills in New Zealand, and there are calls to cut the country’s food waste by 50% by 2030. 

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Policy and Regulation

Fresh hops snapped up as brewers get hold of green harvest bounty [22 March, Stuff]

Hinetai Hops’ harvest for fresh green hops, near Tapawera, is growing significantly as they expect to improve this year’s yield compared to last year. A rapid process is in place to ensure brewers receive their fresh product to lift the aroma of their craft beer varieties. NZ Hops sales manager, George Tunstall, said while a limit has been placed on orders, demand for the Nectaron fresh hops had sold out in about four hours.

Tag: Horticulture, Farmers & Producers

Buzz over manuka opportunities  [19 March, Farmers Weekly]

Birch Hill’s partnership project plans to plant two steep central North Island properties with manuka trees, developing the land with leading manuka honey producer Comvita. “if we have a property on the east coast and a property on the west coast, we get a nice balance – a bit of a diversification of our risks,” chief executive, Andrew Watters, said. Northland has a good track record of producing honey with the highest UMF concentrations, however, honey yield can vary due to the region’s climate.

Tag: Apiculture, Farming Systems

Farmers jostle to lock in high milk prices [19 March, Farmers Weekly]

485 Fonterra Co-operative Group farmers locked in NZD$7.43/kg net for small portions of their 2021-22 milk production in the first of the processor’s Fixed Milk Price (FMP) offers for next season. Fonterra offered 10 million kilograms at that price, helping to lock in longer-term contracts with customers for dairy products - benefiting all co-operative shareholders. “These fixed price options are important to customers and a key reason why they prefer Fonterra as a supplier,” the director of central portfolio management, Bruce Turner, said.

Tag: Dairy, Farmers & Producers

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