Week in Review

In Aotearoa, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) released their Mid-Season Update 2022-23 report. Findings show farm profit before tax is estimated to be 31% less than the 2021-22 season, below the average for the past five years. B+LNZ Chief Economist, Andrew Burtt says inflationary pressure is causing on farm costs to increase sharply, eroding relatively good farm-gate returns. In positive news for farm costs, NZX’s Grain and Feed Insights report state prices have eased for diammonium phosphate and urea. Mid-February prices show a decline of 68% since the March 2022 peak. Foodprint, a food waste app that connects customers with surplus and imperfect food from eateries is expanding into the South Island. Nelson City Council have awarded a $10,000 grant to launch Foodprint in their region, with around 20 eateries already signed up. Otis oat milk have entered a partnership with Auckland-based beverage manufacturer, Free Flow Manufacturing, to bring their oat processing from Sweden to New Zealand after previously receiving criticism for shipping New Zealand oats to Sweden then back as the finished product. Free Flow Manufacturing’s new plant allows Otis to match the quality and technology of overseas capability and will be able to produce 50 million litres of plant-based milks every year.  

Internationally, food tech company, Shiru, has launched its first ingredient, OleoPro, a plant-based fat that combines plant proteins and unsaturated oils using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The product holds its form at room temperature and when cooked, browns, it also reduces saturated fats in plant-based products by 90%. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, is warning that India could see a major decrease in food production if countries fail to keep warming to 1.5⁰C. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has suggested that rice production in India could decrease from 10% to 30%, and maize production by 25% to 70% assuming temperature increases ranging between 1 to 4⁰C.

Spotlight Stories

Animal Welfare Spotlight


World's first octopus farm proposals alarm scientists [16 March, BBC]

Plans to build the world's first octopus farm in Spain's Canary Islands have raised concerns over the welfare of the intelligent creatures, which have never been intensively farmed before. The farm aims to raise one million octopuses annually for food, but some scientists have called the proposed method of slaughtering them using ice slurries as cruel.  As octopuses have never been commercially farmed, there are no welfare rules in place. The Spanish company behind the plans denies the octopuses will suffer, but campaigners are calling for the project to be blocked.

Tags: Animal Welfare, Aquaculture

Research and Development Spotlight


Discovery of root anatomy gene may lead to breeding more resilient corn crops [17 March, Science Daily]

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have identified a gene that triggers the development of a trait in corn roots which allows them to capture more water and nutrients from dry soil. The discovery of the bHLH121 gene provides a new marker for plant breeders to select varieties with improved soil exploration and therefore, yield, under suboptimal conditions. It could lead to breeding resilient corn crops that are tolerant to both drought and low-nitrogen soil conditions, which could help to ease global food insecurity.

Tags: Research & Development, Arable

Headline Stories

Ireland’s ag minister hails Kiwi-Irish synergies [20 March, Farmers Weekly]

Irish Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, has been on a week-long visit to New Zealand. He sees significant potential for collaboration between both nations in the agricultural sector, particularly in terms of sustainability and reducing emissions. Both countries' pasture-based agricultural models and alternate seasons offer collaborative year-round research opportunities, which could deliver mutual benefit through joint collaboration and investment. McConalogue stresses the importance of reducing the emission footprint of food production, a shared challenge faced by farmers in both countries. He believes it’s important for both countries to be leaders in the sustainability space to maximise value for farmers.

Tags: International

Malaysia turns to smart farming to boost food security [21 March, The Straits Times]

Malaysia aims to boost their nation’s food security by using the Internet of Things (IoT) and precision farming technologies to ramp up domestic production and reduce their import dependency. Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister, Chang Lih Kang, said farms could be equipped with remote-controlled sensors, drones, and robots to monitor, water, and fertilise crops. The government is executing three pilot projects in Perak and Johor, and hopes the use of IoT in agriculture will become more widespread. Installing an IoT system for a 930 sq m farm is expected to cost around NZ$18,000.

Tags: Food Security

PepsiCo to invest in US regenerative agriculture projects [21 March, Just Food]

PepsiCo is investing US$216 million in regenerative agriculture projects covering over three million acres of US farmland as part of its pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. The projects are expected to prevent about three million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. PepsiCo has entered three long-term partnerships with farming organisations aims to support farmers to transition to adopting climate-smart agriculture practices. They aim to make soil healthier, sequester carbon, improve waterway health and biodiversity, and improve farmer livelihoods.

Tags: Farmers & Producers, Environment & Emissions 

Get in touch


Audit – Auckland
Ian Proudfoot
09 367 5882
Agri-Food – Auckland
Andrew Watene

09 367 5969
Management Consulting – Wellington
Justine Fitzmaurice
04 816 4845
Private Enterprise – Hamilton
Hamish McDonald 

07 858 6519
Farm Enterprise – South Island
Brent Love

03 683 1871
Agri-Food - South Island
Paulette Elliott
+64 2788 61744

Field Notes Administrator
Demosson Metu
+64 9365 4073