Week in Review
In Aotearoa the Regulations Review Select Committee has made a recommendation to government to modify labelling regulations so that consumers are not misled on the origin of food – specifically products labelled as “made in New Zealand”, but containing imported meat. The recommendation comes after a complaint by NZ Pork against regulations within the Origin of Food legislation. According to NZ Pork, almost two-thirds of pork consumed in New Zealand is imported from other countries, some of which use practices that are illegal in New Zealand. AgResearch has rejected claims by GE Free NZ that its genetically modified ryegrass is underperforming and tainting milk. Richard Scott, science team leader from AgResearch, states that the High Metabolisable Energy ryegrass has significant potential to improve animal nutrition, reduce emissions, and lower nitrate leaching. However, lactating cow trials are required to determine the extent of any changes to milk composition, as different forages and feed compositions can influence and alter milk composition. The University of Otago has launched a food waste reduction programme in the aged care sector receiving $230,000 in government funding. The project seeks to reduce waste by 10% over three years through sector engagement, audits, interviews, and testing of various approaches. Project outcomes are expected to be relevant to similar settings, such as hospitals, hospices, and colleges.
In international news the European Commission has a new proposal to reduce food waste as part of a package of measures promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and increasing the resilience of EU food systems. The plan aims to halve per capita food waste, cut food waste by 10% in processing and manufacturing and by 30% in retail and consumption by 2030. In the United Kingdom, a three-year research project aimed at providing precision slug control solutions for arable farmers is about to launch. The project, funded by Defra's Farming Innovation Programme and delivered by Innovate UK, aims to reduce slug pellet usage and develop alternative biological control methods following the ban on metaldehyde pellets in April 2022. In a new report, WineGB have forecast the UK’s wine-making industry will double in size over the next decade due to the popularity of homegrown wine. Currently there are 943 winemaking sites covering almost four thousand hectares of land, the area is expected to double in the next ten years.
Farmers & Producers Spotlight
The primary sector has launched a new farm health and safety strategy called "Farm Without Harm" to help reduce injuries and fatalities on farms, launching a campaign calling for those in the industry to sign a pledge of support, committing to playing a part in reducing the human toll in producing food and fibre. The initiative has been developed by the agricultural leaders' health and safety action group Safer Farms and aims to address the concerning and persistent rates of harm on farms. The Farm Without Harm strategy was co-designed with farmers and industry bodies to deliver tangible impact. It has identified four high-harm areas that need urgent focus: mental health, working with vehicles and machinery, handling livestock, and exposure to agricultural chemicals and airborne risks. Safer Farms have numerous free resources which can be used on farm to plan, communicate, monitor work, and manage risks.
Tags: Farmers & Producers
Environment & Emissions Spotlight
Methane inhibitor decision expected by September [12 July, Stuff]
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in New Zealand is expected to decide by September on the approval of DSM’s livestock feed additive Bovaer, which reduces methane emissions in livestock. DSM has applied for the approval of the substance containing the active ingredient 3-NOP, and Fonterra Co-operative Group has already begun trials with Bovaer. The compound works by temporarily blocking the enzyme responsible for methane formation. The amount of methane reduced depends on the dosage given to the animal. If approved, New Zealand farmers will be able to add it to livestock feed. Bovaer is currently approved in more than 45 countries
Tags: Environment & Emissions
Young Farmer of the Year: Emma Poole first-ever female to break through ‘grass ceiling' [9 July, The Country]
Emma Poole, a young farmer from Waikato Bay of Plenty, has made history by becoming the first female champion of the annual FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final event. Poole emerged as the winner after three days of challenging contests against six other grand finalists, winning $90,000 in prizes and claiming the coveted title, iconic trophy, and famous Cloak of Knowledge. The competition tested contestants' farming skills and general knowledge. Poole impressed judges with her resilience, diverse set of skills and knowledge, and determination. Chief executive of New Zealand Young Farmers, Lynda Coppersmith, praised the talent of all contestants and the dedication of the hundreds of volunteers who have contributed to the contest.
Tags: Honours & Awards
Zespri to trial new red kiwifruit cultivar [11 July, Stuff]
To meet the high demand for red kiwifruit in export markets, Zespri International Limited plans to conduct pre-commercial growing trials of a new red kiwifruit cultivar this winter, a process that usually takes around five years. The cooperative aims to extend the RubyRed season and provide more value to growers with plans to supply approximately 6.9 million trays of the fruit by 2027/28. The new cultivar is expected to have different seasonal timing from RubyRed making it a complementary variety.
New Zealand signs free trade deal with European Union after years of negotiations [10 July, The Country]
After over a decade of negotiations, New Zealand has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU). The FTA will make 97% of New Zealand's current exports to the EU duty-free, with more than 91% of tariffs removed the day the deal comes into effect and will eventually deliver billions of dollars of export savings. The FTA will provide new quota opportunities for dairy and red meat products, including an eight-fold increase in the amount of beef that can be sold into Europe. The FTA must still be approved by the European Parliament, but EU ambassador to New Zealand, Nina Obermaier, expects little resistance, as individual member states have already given their approval.
Tags: Trade & Export
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