Week in Review

This week we get an overview of how various industries across the sector have fared for the end of the year and start of 2022.

Dairy is a winner with yet another jump in their 300th GDT auction, another record price giving further optimism for farmers who are now getting quite dry and dealing with the upwards movement of interest rates. Carbon prices are another winner as they reach over $72 per unit for mid-January.

Horticulture is experiencing ongoing struggles with changeable weather and labour shortages but did manage to increase exports from $4.2 to $4.55b. The forestry index has dropped for another month falling 4.8% and the new export season expected to get underway in late summer with ongoing high freight costs driving supply to local mills.

Internationally, New Zealand researchers are involved in cultivated-meat research breakthrough removing need for animal serum and UK researchers announce their creation of ‘cry-free’ onions.  Brazil achieve a significant export increase of almost 20% and hit a new record over US$120b while Europe agri-foods enlist Bord Bia to lead their next international marketing campaign. 

Opportunity of the Week

Rural leaders trust have launched the ‘Value Chain Innovation Programme’, a five week intensive learning course with a two week immersion trip designed to develop skills in critical analysis and innovation insight.

The course runs from 9th May to 19th June 2022 and further information can be found here

Spotlight Stories

Agritech Spotlight:

John Deere releases autonomous tractor for US market [17 January, Farmers Weekly]

Earlier this month, John Deere unveiled its first entirely autonomous tractor for large-scale use in the US and says it could be available to New Zealand and other countries over the next few years. The tractor is a 410HP John Deere 8 Series model, which is said to be widely used for cropping applications, including tillage, cropping and spraying. The tractor uses six cameras to detect objects and calculate distance, with each pixel classified in 100 milliseconds.

Tag: Agritech, International     

Trade & Export Spotlight:

Call for Canada to open its market [14 January, Farmers Weekly]

NZ exporters remain largely shut out of the Canadian market despite the creation of 16 new low-tariff dairy import quotas as part of the Comprehensive and Progressive TransPacific Partnership (CPTPP) free trade agreement. NZ’s Washington-DC-based trade policy manager Elizabeth Kamber said the pressure was mounting on Canada to live up to its commitments in the CPTPP to open its consumer markets or face further consequences from its trading partners.

Tag: Trade & Exports, Policy and regulation, Dairy

This Week's Headlines

headline 1

Tears of frustration over MIQ [14 January, Rural News Group]

According to Rural Contractors NZ chief executive Andrew Olsen, no single rural contractor has been allocated any MIQ space, despite being told in mid-December they could bring in 200 skilled machinery operators into the country. Reports show that the dairy industry will be short of 1500 farm workers this season, while the meat processing sector is facing similar shortages. Olsen says rural contractors find themselves towards the back of the MIQ queue and are now calling on the Ministers of Immigration and Agriculture and the Prime Minister’s Office to act.

Tag: Policy and regulation, Agribusiness, Farmers & Producers

headline 2

97 per cent of viruses in a NZ river new to science, study says [17 January, Stuff]

Researchers have discovered that 491 viruses out of 504 from water samples across six sites in the Manawatū River​ catchment on the North Island are new to science and have yet to be described. It was found that the urban sites had higher diversity (327 virus species) than the farming (150) and pristine sites (119). “Overall, our study shows that human land-use can impact viral communities in rivers, such that further work is needed to reduce the impact of intensive farming and urbanisation on water systems,” the academics reported.

Tag: Research & Development, Environment & Emissions  


Kerry highlights top flavors for innovation in 2022 Global Taste Charts [17 January, Dairy Reporter]

Taste and nutrition company Kerry has used a range of sources to provide an in-depth analysis of taste trends and said that tastes offering novelty, indulgence, comfort, and targeted health benefits are set to drive consumer preference in 2022. Kerry's global consumer research and insights director said, “the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly impacted consumers’ overall food and beverage preferences, challenging innovators to create new tastes that will drive their new product development and renovation successes.”

Tag: International, Food Marketing    

Top stories

Bostock apples heads south [12 January, Farmers Weekly]

Bostock New Zealand has partnered up with Milford Private Equity to purchase orchards near Timaru, growing a high-value Honeycrisp apple variety for the strong North American demand. Bostock NZ owner John Bostock says that Timaru lends itself well to growing the cold climate apple variety, which brings its own challenges to grow, but commands a premium four times that of a conventional Gala apple and accounts for over 30% and 41% of apple sales in the US and Midwest, respectively.

Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports    

Growers weary as harvest 'crunch time' nears amidst ongoing labour shortage [17 January, Stuff]

According to Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers’ ​Association President Brydon Nisbet, the nation’s labour shortage is taking a toll on the mental health of those in the horticulture and viticulture sector as harvesting is expected to start in March. Nisbet said, “it's really hard because they’re spending money from May to get the crop and this is the crunch. You've got to get the crop off the tree.” The Wairarapa region is said to be relying largely on university students and high school students to make up the shortfall.

Tag: Horticulture, Farming Systems, Policy and regulation

How does Mosa Meat cultivate beef without animal serum? Researchers tell all [17 January, Food Navigator]

Dutch start-up Mosa Meat has revealed how it achieves muscle differentiation without using foetal bovine serum in the interest of “openness” and “transparency.” PhD candidate at Mosa Meat Tobias Messmer and researchers from the University of Auckland leveraged RNA sequences and differential expression understanding to target compound with the “desired effects.” It reportedly enabled them to gain a “deeper understanding” of the molecular changes in cell-surface receptors occurring during myogenic differentiation.

Tag: Alternative Proteins, Research & Development , International

Cry-free onions developed via crossbreeding introduced to UK market [14 January, Food Navigator]

US chemical company BASF has developed a strain of onion with desirable characteristics, such as less pungency and more sweetness, and is set to launch in the UK market after being on the US market for four years. A BASF spokesperson said the new onion called Sunions “becomes sweet and more tearless when stored, unlike other onions where the opposite happens, they become more pungent over time.” They also noted that it is crunchy, making them suitable for salads or in fresh applications as well as in cooked meals such as stuffing.

Tag: International, Research & Development, Horticulture

Brazil’s agribusiness exports hit record and total US$120.6 billion in 2021 [14 January, The Rio Times]

According to Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, the country’s agribusiness exports hit a record high of US$120.59 billion in 2021, up 19.7% from 2020, due to the growth in the price index of products and the reduction in shipping volumes. It highlighted that there was a large increase in the volume of soybeans exported in the period, except for January and February, which experienced low stocks due to delays in the harvest.

Tag: International, Agribusiness, Trade & Exports

Bord Bia spearheads €13.4 million campaign to promote EU agri-food across Asia, Europe and US [17 January, Food Ingredients First]

The Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, has won a contract to promote EU beef, lamb, dairy and horticulture across Asia, Europe and the US in three campaigns valued at EU€13.4 million for the next three years. Chief executive Tara McCarthy said, “a key element in securing this funding is how Bord Bia’s new three-year strategy aligns so closely with the EU’s farm to fork strategy, in that it allows us to focus on linking sustainable production with sustainable nutrition and consumption.”

Tag: International, Food Marketing

Global dairy prices hit 8-year high as supply tightens; farmer milk payments may push higher [19 January, Stuff]

Dairy prices jumped 4.6% overnight at the global auction, hitting an eight-year-high as tight milk supply caused further demand increases. This season, global dairy prices have reportedly been supported by weaker milk production in New Zealand and overseas, hindered by poor weather and higher feed costs. NZX dairy insights manager Stuart Davison noted that buyers from all regions participated in the auction, but North Asian buyers secured well over half of the total volume sold.

Tag: Dairy, Trade & Exports, Farmers & Producers

NZ start-up uses smart tech to take on meal kit giants and ‘dinner fatigue’ with MenuAid [19 January, Stuff]

A young Christchurch couple has created MenuAid to provide recipe inspiration and a shopping list that can be adapted and shopped to a preference for just NZ$4 a week. “We combined my passion for disruptive technology and Elise’s background in nutrition to create a solution to what turned out to be a problem for many people,” says co-founder Toby Skilton. The recipes were said to be developed by MasterChef winner Brett McGregor and food writer Helen Jackson to suit Kiwi families.

Tag: Food Innovation  

Strong carbon prices blow into new year [18 January, Farmers Weekly]

A surge in the 2022 New Zealand carbon values has reportedly caught the market by surprise, with traders anticipating these values may impact the first carbon auction of the year due to be held in mid-March. Values for mid-January are now trading at NZ$72.10 a unit, while the contracted market has April 2023 values trading at $75.20 and April 2026 at $83.40 a unit. Director of carbon trading company Carbon Match Lizzie Chambers says trading now involves a diverse range of buyers and sellers throughout the market, including investors, farmers, and emitters requiring credits to function.

Tag: Environment & Emissions

A mixed bag for the hort sector [19 January, Rural News Group]

Horticulture NZ’s annual report for 2020-2021 highlights growth and adaptiveness in the sector during what was said to be the “most bizarre and interrupted year.” The report noted that New Zealand’s horticulture had a significant overall market value of NZ$6.73 billion, earning $4.55 billion in exports up from $4.2 billion in 2019. However, the industry suffered challenges such as encountering the effects of climate change, having difficulty finding skilled workers, and working with the uncertainty for the upcoming year.

Tag: Horticulture, Trade & Exports, Farmers & Producers

ANZ World Commodity Price Index: Forestry, horticulture returns lag [18 January, NZ Herald]

The ANZ World Commodity Price Index eased 0.2% in December as higher prices for dairy, meat and aluminum were insufficient to offset lower returns from the forestry and horticultural sectors. The horticulture index fell 4.6% as prices fell at the end of the season for the limited kiwifruit exports. Additionally, the forestry index fell 4.9% as the high freight costs reduced the value of export logs, prompting a reduction in felling along with an increase in logs supplied to local mills.

Tag: Forestry

Unilever looks set to continue pursuing £50bn-plus mega-merger [18 January, BBC News]

Consumer goods giant Unilever has signaled it will continue pursuing a blockbuster deal to buy GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) healthcare arm despite its EU£50 billion offer being rejected.  Unilever says it wants a bigger slice of the health and hygiene sectors as GSK owns Sensodyne toothpaste, Panadol and Centrum vitamins. "The acquisition would create scale and a growth platform for the combined portfolio in the US, China and India, with further opportunities in other emerging markets," Unilever said, pointing to synergies in the oral care and vitamin supplements business.

Tag: International, Agribusiness        

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