Week in Review

In Aotearoa, Fonterra Co-operative Group have narrowed their forecast farmgate milk price for the 2022/23 season to $8.00 to $8.60/kgMS, reducing the range by $0.20. This reflects all products on the Global Dairy Trade either declining or remaining flat since Fonterra Co-operative Groups last milk price update. Skim milk powder prices in particular have fallen 7% since February, CEO, Miles Hurrell, states this is driven by reduced demand from China and Northern Hemisphere milk production increasing as they head into spring. Meat processor, Silver Fern Farms have reported a record profit of $189.3 million, an 82% increase on the previous year. This improved performance is allowing Silver Fern Farms to take a longer-term outlook beyond current volatility, and to undertake a transformative investment programme. The company plans to invest $250 million over the next 5 years into markets, infrastructure, and organisational capability. Industry leaders from 33 countries came together in Auckland’s Aotea Centre for the 10th World Avocado Congress. International Fresh Produce Association, Chief Executive, Cathy Burns, stated things are looking up despite the challenges of the pandemic, the conference had a significant focus on health and nutrition. The avocado market internationally is forecast to grow to $20.1 billion by 2027.

In international news, Australian wine exporters have been building market presence in new countries, including Germany, Japan, and Fiji, in response to the tariffs China imposed on Australian wine in 2020. The value of wine exports last financial year grew in 71 countries, Over the past year, growth into the South-East Asia market has been strongest, up 16% to AU$305 million annually. In the United Kingdom, the free trade agreement with New Zealand has been passed into legislation and should be implemented mid-2023. Annual tariff savings to New Zealand exporters are estimated to be $38 million, based on current trade volumes, however, are likely to be more as high tariffs have prevented trade in the past. The UK market will see new challenges for meat exporters however, as Australia’s free trade agreement enters into force at the same time as New Zealand’s.

Spotlight Stories

Research & Development Spotlight


RAT tests for FE on the horizon [3 April, Rural News]

The Ministry for Primary Industries' Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund will invest over $35,000 in a project with Tokaora Diagnostics to develop a rapid antigen test for facial eczema (FE) in livestock. Financial losses from FE in New Zealand have been estimated as high as $274 million per year. The trial, which will initially focus on dairy cattle, has the potential to be used on sheep, cattle, and deer. Currently, there is no cheap on-farm diagnostic tool for FE, a disease that often doesn't show physical symptoms until it's too late to save the animal.

Tags: Research & Development, Animal Welfare, Farmers & Producers

Apiculture Spotlight


MPI pours funding into saving cyclone-hit hives [4 April, Farmers Weekly]

The Ministry for Primary Industries has allocated NZ$250,000 in funding to help beekeepers in cyclone-hit areas reduce the biosecurity threat to their hives. At least 5000 hives were destroyed in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti by Cyclone Gabrielle, and up to 8000 more hives are still inaccessible. The money can be used for fuel, equipment hire, and the retrieval of damaged gear and hives. The impact of the cyclone on the industry's financials is unknown, but a honey shortage is unlikely given honey stocks across the country.

Tags: Apiculture, Farmers & Producers 

Headline Stories

Wood petrochemical substitutes one step closer [17 March, Newsroom]

Bio-refinery start-up, Futurity, is launching a $1.5 million commercialisation study, turning wood by-products into high-value chemicals. The study will work to commercialise technology developed in Europe, turning lignin waste from Oji Fibre Solution's pulp and paper mills into replacements for traditionally fossil fuel-based materials used in automotive, electronics and construction. Futurity aims to target three markets: phenolic resins - used as glue in plywood and other engineered wood products, "polyol component" of polyurethane foams, and packaging. The study is funded partly by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Fund.

Tags: Forestry, Research & Development

China's reporting a positive [31 March, Rural News]

China's reopening and evolving consumer behaviour is expected to create business opportunities for beef exporters, according to Rabobank's Q1 Global Beef Quarterly. Despite marginal growth in food and beverage retail, they expect overall household consumption to rebound strongly from 2022. Chinese consumer behaviour is seeing greater focus on spending on products that are perceived to be practical, valuable, and worthy. Particularly to consumer groups of middle to high income families, as well as younger and health-conscious consumers, beef is seen as better than traditional meats in taste, health benefits and eating experience. The report also notes that the export suspension of Brazilian beef due to an atypical form of BSE identified in Brazil is expected to impact beef trade, however it remains to be seen whether New Zealand will benefit. New Zealand beef production declined in 2022, but export earnings rose by 20% YoY.

Tags: International, Red Meat

Halter funds path for accelerated development [4 April, Farmers Weekly]

New Zealand-based smart cow collar company, Halter, has raised $85 million in a Series C funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The funds will be used to further develop its smart collars and concentrate on the domestic dairy farmer market. Previous funding rounds raised $39 million. Halter's collar system allows farmers to save labour time and money through virtual fencing, heat and illness monitoring as well as more precise pasture management, and reduced environmental footprint. Bessemer, one of the largest US ethical venture capitalists was attracted to Halter by their sustainability aspects. Halter leases the collars to dairy farmers and charges a monthly subscription fee based on location, herd size, and required features. Over 100,000 cow collars were deployed in 2022.

Tags: Research & Development, Agri tech

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