Week in Review
In Aotearoa, fertiliser prices, especially phosphate fertilisers, are predicted to decrease further throughout 2023. It is expected that demand for fertiliser may take a while to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Forestry contractors in the Hawkes Bay and Gisborne are facing financial difficulties due to the recent floods. A survey by the Forestry Industry Contractors Association has found that over half of respondents reported a production decrease of 20% or more. Many contractors are closing their businesses or leaving the area to operate elsewhere, with only 26% of survey respondents believing they could survive for a year at 80% production level. Sheep and beef farmers are experiencing the highest level of on-farm inflation in 40 years according to a report from Beef + Lamb New Zealand. The report showed that on-farm inflation was at 16.3% for 2022 to 2023, with the largest contributing factors being higher interest on debt and rising feed and grazing costs. Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited have reported a strong Q3 profit due to high cheese and protein prices. They will be returning $88 million to their farmer shareholders and unitholders in August and remain on track for a strong full-year dividend.
Internationally, Mars Food is trialling recyclable paper packaging for its chocolate bars in the United Kingdom, with 500 Tesco stores set to roll out the new look Mars bars from June 5th. Mars stated it was challenging to find a paper packaging solution with a sufficient level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate. Also in the United Kingdom, cheesemaker Wyke Farms, have released the country's first carbon neutral butter with their Ivy's Reserve Salted Farmhouse Butter. Wyke Farms partnered with the Carbon Trust to undertake a cradle-to-grave footprint analysis, resulting in their butter receiving globally recognised certification as a carbon neutral product.
- Better fert prices on the way: Rabobank
- Forestry contractors 'at breaking point' in flood-hit regions
- Sheep and beef farm inflation highest in 40 years - report
- Cheese, protein guide co-op to bumper profit
- Mars bar plastic wrapper swapped for paper
- Wyke Farms launches ‘UK’s first’ carbon neutral butter
Environment & Emissions Spotlight
Milk kegs saving millions of plastic bottles from landfill [29 May, Stuff]
Cafes in New Zealand are introducing milk kegs to eliminate a significant number of single use plastic bottles. The average cafe could eliminate 7,000 to 10,000 single-use plastic milk bottles per cafe annually by using The Udder Way’s 18 litre milk kegs. These kegs can last up to 8 years before needing to be recycled. Auckland cafe, Daily Bread, is already using the kegs and has found them to be more convenient and less wasteful. The Udder Way is a Tasmanian company established in 2021 and now removes 1.6 million single-use bottles a year in Australia. They anticipate that number to triple by the end of 2023 with more businesses adopting the kegs on both sides of the Tasman.
Tags: Environment & Emissions
Research & Development Spotlight
New Zealand's Centre for Climate Action is investing $2.5 million over the next year to review progress on a methane vaccine and a methane inhibitor as tools for reducing agricultural emissions from cattle, sheep and deer. As agriculture makes up almost half of the country's total emissions, researchers have been working on developing a livestock vaccine since around 2007. While a vaccine could reduce the amount of methane produced by cattle and sheep, producing a vaccine is a complex process. The Centre for Climate Action is a joint venture 50:50 partnership between government and industry to accelerate work to meet the targets to reduce agricultural emissions by 30% by 2030.
Tags: Research & Development
18,000 skilled workers urgently needed [29 May, Rural News]
Research commissioned by Hanga-Aro-Rau (Manufacturing, Engineering and Logistics Workforce Development Council) has found that the freight and logistics sector in New Zealand will need 18,000 workers by 2028. The sector has struggled to attract and retain workers, with many leaving for higher-paying jobs overseas. The report warns that the shortage will first impact the rural sector and food manufacturers. The industry is seeking to attract gamers with the necessary skills to operate the future automation, robotic, and drone technology expected to be adopted. Samantha McNaughton, deputy chief executive of Hanga-Aro-Rau, believes that automation is changing the nature of the sector’s roles and creating opportunities for a more gender and culturally diverse workforce. Solutions to this skill shortage and workforce development challenges will be discussed with stakeholders on June 1st at a summit.
Tags: Farmers & Producers
Craigmore embarks on NZ-first trial [30 May, Rural News]
Craigmore Sustainables, the New Zealand agricultural investments company, is conducting a trial of the EcoPond effluent treatment system on their 400-hectare dairy farm in North Canterbury. EcoPond is designed to remove almost all methane emissions from effluent ponds using an additive commonly used in drinking water treatment. This technology was developed through the collaboration of Ravensdown and Lincoln University. Initial tests conducted on farm in May demonstrated a significant reduction of 95% in methane emissions from the effluent pond after treatment. EcoPond can help mitigate climate change and exceed the targets set by the Climate Change Commission, says Craigmore’s general manager of farming, Stuart Taylor.
Tags: Research & Development
Mapping the conflict between farming and biodiversity [29 May, Phys Org]
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlighting the impact of food production on biodiversity has suggested strategic use of land could balance the needs of farming and conservation. In the same way we are familiar with ‘carbon footprints’ researchers mapped out biodiversity food footprints. They found that about one-third of all farming occurs in high conservation priority areas. Staples, such as beef, rice, and soybeans, had the most significant impact on biodiversity loss for this reason. The study illustrated how different countries have very different biodiversity food footprints for the same products. Senior author, associate professor Keiichiro Kanemoto, said the model suggests there are opportunities to change the biodiversity footprint of food consumption by simply changing our sourcing of food products
Tags: Research & Development
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