Week in Review

In Aotearoa, there has been an uplift in demand for homekill ­meat across the country. Waikato homekill service company Wally Smith, has stated their business has increased 30% compared to this time last year, the increase is believed to be due to rising food costs. Speaking at the DairyNZ Farmers Forum held last week was foresight practitioner, Melissa Clark-Reynolds, who suggested that precision fermentation technology is going to be a major disrupter to New Zealand’s dairy industry. Clark-Reynolds believes the dairy ingredient market could be affected more significantly rather than the whole milk market; she believes the possible answer is to produce artisan milk at scale. Across the country, 19 community catchment groups will receive funding to test their local waterways. To fund this initiative, the Environmental Protection Authority has partnered with NZ Landcare Trust and Wilderlab to provide tests for environmental DNA (eDNA) which tests for traces of genetic material left behind from living things. The testing will give a clearer picture of what plants and animals are living in waterways, allowing for better local management. 

In international news, urea, the world’s most used fertiliser, is now worth a third of 2022’s record high prices (now below US$300 a tonne from over $1000 last year). This fall in price has been driven by plenty of supply in the market, and the falling international price of natural gas. Lower urea prices should have flow on effects for consumers, with farmers more inclined to buy fertiliser resulting in greater crop yields. In Pakistan, inflation has reached 36.4% in the year to April. This has largely been due to food inflation which reached a record high of 48.1% in both rural and urban Pakistan.

Spotlight Stories

Forestry Spotlight


Māori forestry: Government to co-invest in onshore wood processing [28 April, NZ Herald]

At the Wood Processors and Manufactures Association conference in Rotorua this week, it was announced the New Zealand government plans to co-invest $57 million in onshore wood processing capacity to create high-value wood products like sawn structural timber and engineered wood. The move has potential benefits for Māori, who own 48% of commercially planted forest land and make up around 34% of the forestry workforce. The aim is to support the sector to move to exporting higher value products to increase economic performance and resilience. Investment in processing capability will help to create high-wage jobs in regional economies and can support the country's climate change goals by reducing emissions through the production of biofuels. 

Tags: Forestry

Environment & Emissions Spotlight


Innovation: Rethinking the food waste life cycle [2 May, The London Free Press]

A Canadian startup, Terra Optima Labs is providing an alternative to composting. They use insects to create on-site circular food waste processing systems, to turn food waste into natural fertilisers. They are currently focused on increasing the nutritional content of the food grown with their fertilisers using recent government grant funding, with their technology showing promising results in improving mushroom farming productivity and reducing energy inputs. Using their natural fertiliser, Terra Optima Labs has observed up to a 100% increase in the fruiting mushroom sizes and a 50% decrease in the time it takes to grow them.

Tags: Environment & Emissions, Innovation, Circular Food Systems 

Headline Stories

Alliance expands Pure South into South East Asia [28 April, Rural News]

Alliance Group is launching its award-winning product, Pure South Handpicked Lamb range, in Malaysia and Singapore to capture more value for its farmer-shareholders. In Singapore, their market focus is on the premium food service sector and mainstream consumers with an emphasis on specialty butchery. Their entry into Malaysia will see the lamb launched in two supermarket chains and a selection of high-end restaurants. Handpicked Lamb is a programme open to Alliance Group shareholders supplying 100% of their ovine livestock and is hand-selected in the plants based on a strict set of criteria. 

Tags: Red Meat, Trade & Exports

Zero known M. bovis cases, but the fight to eradicate the disease goes on [28 April, Stuff]

The Ministry for Primary Industries says it is close to eradicating the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis (M.bovis) but warns that it could still be present in the country due to the nature of the disease. The last active confirmed farm had all cattle removed and slaughtered in February, and has nearly completed the 60-day stand down period. The national eradication programme has three distinct phases, with the country currently in the "delimiting phase", in which all known infections are eliminated. Extensive background surveillance will continue for several years to ensure the country is free of M. bovis. Since the decision to eradicate in May 2018, the programme has cost $641 million to March this year. 

Tags: Dairy

Interview: Building a healthy food group driven by innovation [28 April, FoodBev Media]

Chinese dairy producer Yili Group recently won, or received highly commended, for more than 17 of their entries at FoodBev’s World Food Innovation Awards 2023. In an interview with vice president of Yili, Zhanyou Yun, he explained Yili’s innovation system. Yili has established 15 innovation centres worldwide to create a global innovation network. As at December 2022, they had over 3,905 patents granted, with 634 of these being invention patents. The group’s Oceania Innovation Centre is based in New Zealand and has strong partnerships with the New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre, AgResearch and the University of Otago. Their unique business model focuses on empowering local headquarters, while leveraging global collaboration across their network. In addition, Zhanyon Yun said Yili has leveraged unique market insights using digital tools such as big data systems to proactively upgrade and innovate its products to meet the growing demands of their customers. 

Tags: Food Innovation, Dairy

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