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

Food Innovation Spotlight


Meet the start-up converting wood into food grade protein: ‘We are expanding the definition of what a food crop is’ [12 May, Food Navigator]

Arbiom is a start-up developing solutions to convert timber by-products into food and feed ingredients and has recently revealed its first protein ingredient, SylPro. According to Business Development Director Emily Glenn, the ingredient offers around 55% protein content in terms of ‘current product targets’. Senior Vice President of Nutrition & Product Development Richardo Ekmay adds, “it’s a highly digestible form of protein and amino acids: 95% crude protein digestibility and all amino acids above 90%.” SlyPro is leveraged as a “natural solution” to expand the definition of what a food crop is.

Tag: International, Food Innovation

Food Safety Spotlight

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Allergen testing with a smartphone: ‘The self-test makes chemical analysis accessible to everyone’ [24 May, Food Navigator]

A self-test has been developed by a researcher at Wageningen University & Research Gina Ross in Netherlands to instantly identify the presence of certain allergens. It works by putting a food sample into the immunoassay test and if allergens are present, a black line will appear on the test strip “within minutes”. Ross believes the tests have the potential to be used by the agri-food sector as two universities developed one test that enabled shellfish producers to measure natural toxins in mussels and another test that measures pesticide residue in fruit and vegetables.

Tag: International, Food Safety, Food Innovation

This Week's Headlines

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NZ-made fences protect elephants, monkeys, bears and camels [24 May, NZ Herald]

New Zealand-made electric fencing is being used in novel ways worldwide as people want safe and reliable animal control to keep exotic animals out as opposed to the traditional containment applications in NZ. Japan keeps wild deer and pigs out of farmers' crops, Saudi Arabia keeps camels contained and monkeys out of homes, Sri Lanka creates hundreds of kilometres of elephant corridors, to provide a safe passage for the migrating herds around villages, and Vietnam separates animal groups and provides a safe route for people to drive through in their vehicles.

Tag: Agribusiness, Agritech

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Unilever defines Regenerative Agriculture Principles: ‘Without consensus it’s difficult to have alignment… it was important to start the work’

Unilever has gone live with new Regenerative Agriculture Principles (RAPs) which is a framework that outlines “five priority areas” the company says are “in most urgent need of action and where we can generate the biggest impact”. These include regenerating soils, protecting water, increasing biodiversity, developing climate solutions and improving farmer livelihoods. The RAPs will be implemented through impact programmes in partnership with its brands, and focus on key crops including dairy, vegetables, grains, palm, oil, soy and coconut.

Tag: International, Environment & Emissions


Budget 2021: Farming groups react to agriculture spend [21 May, NZ Herald]

According to farming groups, there are a few positives in Budget 2021 for the primary sector, but it is overall disappointing. Dairy NZ was disappointed that there was "very little new funding" to help farmers improve the environmental work nor were there new investments into initiatives to help build resilience in rural communities. Additionally, they had hoped to see a substantial Government boost to fund preparedness, capability and cutting-edge technologies. Contrary, they were pleased with the Government's investment in the national farm planning system and training to deliver more skilled farm advisers.

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Farmers & Producers

Top stories

Australian farmers finding novel ways to trap mice to cope with devastating mouse plague [21 May, Stuff]

Farmers across Australia are forced to improvise as cats and dogs are unable to control or mitigate the overwhelming mouse plague. Additionally, Belinda Rakers manager of Bunnings said, supplies of poisons and traps remain strained due to the high demand. A family farm in Central West of New South Wales (NSW) innovatively created 15 mini water traps and placed them around their house, and another in northern NSW used expandable rubber rings as another favourable method of trapping mice. Some farmers are trapping over 300 mice per day.

Tag: International, Biosecurity

UK navigates trade pressure [21 May, Farmers Weekly]

British Media has reported a split over free trade talks in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, where one side is fighting to keep British farmers behind a tariff wall. In the opposite camp is Johnson’s Trade Secretary Liz Truss who wants Britain’s agricultural tariffs gone in the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement. They currently undergo negotiation to signal the UK’s free-trading intent post-Brexit. The pressure escalates as Trade Minister Damien O’Connor prepares to travel to the UK next month to advance talks for free trade deals with the UK and the European Union.

Tag: Trade & Exports, International, Red Meat

PULSE: Strong second half expected for lamb and beef prices [21 May, Farmers Weekly]

AgriHQ's latest Livestock Outlook report shows very strong lamb and beef prices over the next six months, which could extend into the new season and potentially return to the high 2019 levels. Global shipping disruptions are slowing the flow of New Zealand lamb and beef into export markets which drives prices higher. Additionally, since April, growing Chinese demand for NZ lamb has been the catalyst for other key markets to recover - lifting demand for higher-end lamb cuts.

Tag: Trade & Exports, Red Meat, Farmers & Producers

No bull: Food tech company Sunfed launches meat-free mince [21 May, Stuff]

Last week, an Auckland-based business Sunfed Meats launched its Bull Free Beef made from vegetables and cocoa butter. The yellow pea protein creates its meaty texture, while beetroot provides blood-like juiciness, and Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa butter gives the fatty feel. Sunfed Meats founder and chief executive Shama Sukul Lee said they aim to offer consumers greater variety and create a new protein industry for farmers, while simultaneously being kinder to the planet.

Tag: Alternative Proteins, Food Marketing

Feds slam Govt’s immigration plans [21 May, Farmers Weekly]

Federated Farmers are urging farmers with labour shortages to write to the Government to outline the effect their announcement about immigration is having on their businesses. The Government denied an application by Federated Farmers and DairyNZ to bring in 500 skilled dairy farm migrants and announced an “immigration reset” which reduces the number of unskilled migrants coming into New Zealand. Feds employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says they will continue to try and persuade the Government to bring in more migrants whilst looking for ways to get more Kiwis onto farms.

Tag: Policy and Regulation, Red Meat, Farming Systems, Agribusiness

What’s your number? [20 May, Farmers Weekly]

By the end of 2022, all farmers in New Zealand are required to know their greenhouse gas (GHG) numbers, making this the first step towards managing and controlling reduction of on-farm emissions. He Waka Eke Noa: The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership has assessed several calculators and Alltech E-CO2 Dairy EA has been assessed and classified by the organisation as a GHG calculator for dairy farms. Alltech NZ innovation sales manager Nigel Meads said “lowering a farm’s carbon footprint goes hand-in-hand with increasing farm efficiency and therefore profitability, which is a win for everyone.”

Tag: Environment & Emissions, Farming Systems, Policy and Regulation

Meat the Need marks one-year milestone [20 May, Farmers Weekly]

YOLO Farmer Wayne Langford and Siobhan O’Malley of Pukeko Pastures created the Meat the Need charity to help feed Kiwi families in need during the Covid-19 crisis. The charity delivered over 410,000 nutritious red meat meals to foodbanks across New Zealand in the first year of operations and plan to double this by delivering close to one million meals in its second year. Langford says the high level of support from the farming community, alongside the support from meat processor Silver Fern Farms, has been key to the charity’s success.

Tag: Rural Communities, Farmers & Producers, Red Meat

Urgent need for facial eczema research funding [21 May, Rural News Group]

Farmers rate facial eczema (FE) in their top three animal health concerns, yet a lack of funding means no new research is currently being undertaken to combat the problem. AgResearch Immunologist Dr Axel Heiser, is endeavouring to get support for a proposal that would see a range of research projects undertaken to deal with FE - requiring 60% of the money to come from the agriculture sector in order to get the remaining 40% from the Sustainable Fibres and Futures Fund.

Tag: Biosecurity, Animal Welfare, Research & Development

Pollen patties may save bees poisoned by pesticides [21 May, NZ Herald]

Research has found that pollen-inspired microparticles may protect bees from pesticides. The authors explained that by adding the pollen-like microparticles into supplemental feeds for bees, such as dietary syrup or "pollen patties", this bee detoxification strategy may help to reduce the risk of insecticide exposure to managed bee populations. Pollinators are vital to preserving ecosystem function for global food production, and insecticide exposure is one of the key global drivers of declines in pollinators.

Tag: Apiculture, Research & Development

World’s largest oat milk company raises almost $2 billion in first public stock offering

The world’s largest oat milk company Oatly, raised NZ$1.95 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock exchange, capitalising on a global surge in demand for its products. Oat milk US sales increased by 131% over the last year to NZ$422.38 million, as Oatly says more consumers are giving its oat-based drinks a try due to its health and sustainability benefits. According to Oatly CEO Toni Petersson, the IPO proceeds will be used to expand production capacity.

Tag: International, Agribusiness

The hidden reason processed pet foods are so addictive [20 May, BBC]

Big Pet Food is a multi-billion-dollar industry that invests heavily into researching "palatants" – ingredients that make pets want to eat their products. Many animals rely on smell to navigate the world around them, therefore, this sense is often targeted in pet food. Professor Emerity of Nutrition and Public Health at New York University Marion Nestle said, "animals like strong animal odours and pet food manufacturers have a really difficult time because they have to make it disgusting enough so that the animal will eat it, but not so disgusting that the owners won’t buy it."

Tag: International, Research & Development

'Don't kiss or snuggle backyard poultry,' CDC warns in salmonella alert [21 May, NBC Nets]

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that backyard farmers should practice increased hygiene as 163 salmonella cases have been reported in 43 states in the USA. The CDC wrote, "don’t kiss or snuggle backyard poultry, and don’t eat or drink around them… This can spread Salmonella germs to your mouth and make you sick." They added, "the number of illnesses reported in 2020 was higher than the number reported during any of the past years’ outbreaks linked to backyard flocks".

Tag: Poultry, International, Food Safety

Five Countdown stores completely remove eggs produced by chickens in cages [25 May, TVNZ]

Five Countdown supermarkets are no longer selling eggs produced by chickens in cages in an attempt to only stock free range and barn eggs nationwide. General manager for corporate affairs Kiri Hannifin said, “animal welfare is a key concern for our business and our customers, but we’re highly aware that people make purchasing decisions based on a range of factors, including price and what they’re using eggs for." The stores are located in Waiheke Island, Milford, Grey Lynn, and Crofton Downs and Newtown in Wellington.

Tag: Poultry, Food Marketing

Miscanthus offers multiple fuel and farm options [24 May, Farmers Weekly]

Miscanthus NZ founder Peter Brown claims that the all-round super plant miscanthus can offer farmers a new cropping opportunity. Brown says miscanthus is grown across a range of climates from Sweden to Greece in the Northern Hemisphere and is used as a bulk biofuel source for boilers to replace burning coal. It is also capable of being turned into renewable diesel and generating gas for electricity production. For farmers, miscanthus can offer physical and financial benefits as a perennial crop that can be planted once and left growing and harvested for multiple seasons.

Tag: Farming Systems, Research & Development

$8.20/kgMS forecast - a pretty bold move [25 May, Rural News Group]

ASB has lifted its 2021-22 forecasted farmgate milk price by 70c to NZ$8.20/kgMS. According to ASB economist Nat Keall, shipping freight indicators show few signs of easing, and the high prices for dairy price contracts hint buyers are still worried about securing supply further into the future. A rise in global milk prices resulted in farmers ramping up production. However, Keall notes that while their model sees a supply response starting to put downward pressure on prices toward the end of the season, they are still confident demand will outstrip supply.

Tag: Dairy, Farmers & Producers

Fonterra lifts earnings, set to contribute $12 billion to NZ economy [26 May, NZ Herald]

Fonterra Co-operative Group has lifted its earnings for the first nine months of its financial year and has set its opening milk price forecast range for next season at NZ$7.25 - NZ$8.75 per kgMS, with a midpoint of NZ$8 per kgMS. Chief executive Miles Hurrell said the improving global economic environment and strong demand for dairy, relative to supply, were behind the Co-op's NZ$8 midpoint of its 2021/22 milk price forecast and “it would see the Co-op contributing more than NZ$12 billion to the New Zealand economy next season.”

Tag: Dairy, Farmers & Producers

Exporters welcome shipping relief [25 May, Farmers Weekly]

New Zealand’s exporters received some welcome relief from congested shipping services this week, with a record 5326 containers loaded aboard on a vessel at the Port of Tauranga. Usually, the service collects 2000-2500 containers from Tauranga, but Maersk allocated more space to New Zealand exporters. On Monday, Maersk Shams loaded 2826 extra (20-foot equivalent) containers, of which 1914 were refrigerated. Relief is also on its way for South Island exporters and ports, with two extra services calling next month to reduce port congestion.

Tag: Trade & Exports

Northland Inc: Kaipara peanut crop trials promising; other sites in region next step [26 May, NZ Herald]

New peanut crop trials completed in Kaipara show promising yields in Northland’s soils and climate. Northland Inc Project Manager Greg Hall said "we're getting crop yields in the order of six to seven tonnes per hectare which would make peanuts more profitable than maize. That is 4500 jars of peanut butter per hectare, which is looking really good.” The trial is expected to extend to additional locations across Northland over the next few months.

Tag: Research & Development, Horticulture

Coca-Cola faces competition probe as retailers call foul over unfair trading practices

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Coca-Cola over potential violations of competition rules. The Commission is determining whether Coca-Cola’s condition system imposed on food retailers is impairing competition in the market for non-alcoholic drinks. Additionally, they are investigating the bargaining power that Coca-Cola can exert over retailers concerning allegations of so-called tying/bundling, where retailers can only get suppliers of a “must-have” product if they stock other parts of the range.

Tag: International, Policy and Regulation, Food Marketing

FoodStarter competition reveals latest Kiwi food trends [26 May, Stuff]

This year’s FoodStarter competition had 217 entries and the judges identified three significant food trends amongst the talent: purpose-led, plant-based and functional or unique beverages. LILO Desserts and Kaitahi As One are the two FoodStarter winners for 2021. LILO Desserts are committed to combating food waste by using excess or ‘ugly’ fruit in their plant-based cheesecakes' and Kaitahi As One were motivated by a desire to find ways for iwi to use their land and existing plant nursery to create more employment opportunities.

Tag: Food Innovation

Get in touch

Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
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Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
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Jack Keeys

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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