Week in Review

In Aotearoa Fonterra Co-operative Group has cut its 2023-24 season forecast farmgate milk price range to $6.25-$7.75 per kg of milk solids, with a midpoint of $7/kg, following a series of poor Global Dairy Trade auctions. The midpoint forecast has fallen by $1 on the co-op’s previous forecast. The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) has released data showing that the number of farm sales is low this year however REINZ rural spokesman, Shane O’Brien, says the market remains fundamentally strong. With only 1131 farm sales in the year to June 2023, this is 571 less than the previous year. The median sales price per hectare for dairy farms however has increased by 3.1% over the past 12 months. Massey University is undertaking a 2-year research project to understand the financial viability of solar panels on farms for New Zealand farmers. The study aims to provide farmers with accurate information on how much pasture can be grown under the panels and identify the ideal design for mixed solar and pastoral farms for New Zealand conditions. In Rotorua, 7.3km of a 12.5km wallaby-proof fencing has been constructed, with the full fence completion set for mid-September. The project aims to contain dama wallabies pests in the area, limiting their spread. 

In international news, Scott Technology (a New Zealand advanced automation systems company) has signed an NZ$12 million deal with McCain Foods to provide an automated materials handling system for McCain's Alberta, Canada plant. The new automation system is designed to handle frozen french fries at production capacity of 130 cases per minute, and is part of McCain Foods' largest global investment aiming to double the size and workforce of the Alberta processing facility. Kansas State University has updated its weather tool (Kansas Mesonet) to predict cattle comfort levels a week ahead of time due to the deaths of hundreds of cattle in Iowa from extreme heat and humidity in late July. Cattle deaths due to heat have also been reported in Kansas and Nebraska. The losses further reduce the US cattle herd, which is already the smallest it has been in decades. In trade news, China has dropped its 80% tariff on Australian barley, first introduced in May 2020. The trade tensions between China and Australia had hit Australian barley exporters hard, causing prices to plummet by AU$40 a tonne overnight and leading to stress for many growers.

Spotlight Stories

Research & Development spotlight


New drone driven by 'potential game changer' solar tech  [7 August, 1News]

Auckland startup, Aquila has developed a drone that can be charged mid-flight using light-based energy transmission. Aquila has secured AU$3 million (NZ$3.2 million) in funding and is working on developing a network of satellites to send power from where it is generated to where it is needed, an ‘internet of energy’. Eventually they hope to be able to send power to electric planes flying internationally. Co-founder and CEO, William Jeremijenko imagines future applications of the technology exist for agricultural sites with many moving components. 

Tags: Research & Development, Agri-technology

Farmers & Producers spotlight

Person working in field

Morrisons launches trial to cover 100% of growers’ costs [3 August, Agriland]

UK supermarket group, Morrisons has launched a trial scheme that will cover 100% of the costs of growing a crop, including rent and fertiliser costs, for participating farms. The aim is to provide farmers with greater financial security by taking on all the risk associated with crop growth. The £2 million trial will run for one year and involve three potato farms and one carrot farm. If successful, Morrisons will extend the scheme to more farms later next year. Morrisons has previously launched initiatives aimed at minimising food waste and giving farmers alternative routes to market. Their Naturally Wonky initiative buys whole crops from farmers including misshapen or oversized, but still edible, produce and then sells them to customers through the Morrisons Naturally Wonky range. 

Tags: Farmers & Producers

Headline Stories


Melatonin, a sleep aid, is a surprising treatment for food waste [4 August, Anthropocene]

Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, has been found to have a surprising application in reducing food loss during transport from farms to stores. The hormone can reduce "chilling injury" in fresh produce during refrigeration, which is a major cause of food waste. A research paper published in Food Reviews International analysed nearly 100 studies that had investigated the benefits of the hormone for fruit and vegetables and found that melatonin reduced cold injury by between 21% and 42%. The researchers also believe that melatonin is safer to use and consume compared to chemicals currently applied to preserve food. 

Tags: Research & Development, Food Innovation


Nudies: Roadshow promotes sheep that grow hair instead of wool [8 August, The Country]

A Wairarapa hill country sheep and beef farm has developed a breed of sheep called ‘New Zealand Nudies’ that grows hair instead of wool, shedding some fluff during weaning, then remaining covered in hair. The Nudies breed was developed by Wairere farm who sourced genetics from hair sheep in the UK and Ireland in 2019. Their aim was simplifying farming practices and reducing the costs involved in wool production - while wool supported the New Zealand economy for a century, it now costs farmers to produce wool fibre. The meat yield of the Nudies is unknown at this stage due to their scarcity and demand for their use for breeding purposes.

Tags: Farmers & Producers, Wool

Block chain

Venom Foundation Partners with the UAE Government to Launch National Carbon Credit System [9 August, Next Big Future]

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed this week in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to establish a national carbon credit system using blockchain technology. The MoU between UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Industrial Innovation Group and the Venom Foundation aims to create the world’s first, worldwide platform for registering and distributing carbon credits in the UAE. The agreement will use blockchain technology to establish a national system to ensure the safety and efficiency of the documents related to the carbon credit registration system. This MoU aims to contribute to the UAE’s Nationally Determined Contributions of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. 

Tags: 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