Week in Review
In Aotearoa Fonterra Co-operative Group anticipates paying a full-year dividend to shareholders due to strong earnings in 2023. Final figures and dividend amount will be confirmed in their financial year end results in September but will be at the higher end of its projected range of 65-80c/share. This may offer some farmers a little relief from the impact of the low payout forecast for the 2023/24 season reported last week. The Healthy Waterways register, a free online tool, was launched this week to record land management actions by farmers for the country's waterways. It links these actions to water quality outcomes and promotes the sharing of restoration knowledge. Results can be compared across catchments and the tool will be integrated into the LAWA (Land Air Water Aotearoa) platform later this year. Māori Kiwifruit Growers (MKG), in partnership with Zespri, exported their first shipment of kiwifruit to Hawaii - their first shipment since their formation in 2017. Next year MKG plans to increase exports from 77,000 trays to 100,000 trays.
In international news, the Global Dairy Trade auction price index dropped 7.4%, of significant concern for farmers was the fall of 10.9% in whole milk powder to its lowest price in five years. In the Netherlands, Rabobank released their first half of their 2023 interim report, which warns that changes are needed to make the Dutch agriculture sector more sustainable. The Dutch government aims to become a global leader in circular agriculture by 2030. Rabobank is offering €3 billion in loans to support farmers in the transition to more sustainable business practices. Dairy co-operative, Arla, owned by over 8,900 farmers in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands has started paying higher prices to farmers who prioritise sustainability and climate measures. Payments are made in the form of a monthly incentive which rewards farmers for “climate activities and other sustainability efforts” on their farms. The co-operative has set a target of reducing carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from milk by 30% by the end of 2030.
- Strong dividend for Fonterra shareholders
- Database of waterways work launches
- Māori Kiwifruit Growers send first shipment to Hawaii in market takeover
- Dairy prices crash
- Rabobank: agriculture system in Netherlands has reached 'its limits'
- Arla to pay out millions to farmers to reward 'climate initiatives'
Food Innovation spotlight
Packaging made from food waste could save millions of tonnes of produce from landfill [14 August, ABC News]
Researchers at the Federation University Australia have developed a process that uses food waste and specific types of microorganisms to generate nanocellulose (tiny cellulose fibres found in plants) material, which can be used to create cling film and other transparent packaging. The nanocellulose is a strong and flexible material that is ideal for food storage, and can be used with smart labels that change colour to reflect the shelf life of food products, which could eventually replace use-by dates. The newly developed nanocellulose production process is relatively short and can be done at room temperature, by-products from the process can be used as a liquid fertiliser and solid feed for livestock. Researchers hope that this research will contribute to reducing food waste in Australia and promote the use of sustainable packaging materials.
Tags: Food Innovation
California-based precision pollination startup BeeHero has launched a new platform called the Pollination Insights Platform (PIP) that enables farmers to monitor bee activity outside the hive. The PIP aims to bring the same granularity of data found via their SmartHive technology which has in-hive sensors which provides data on bee activity, issues with the queen been and other factors. BeeHero's new PIP technology offers farmers precise information to make necessary changes to improve pollination performance, providing data to make decisions to avoid over- or under-pollination of crops.
US group exerts pressure over NZ lamb exports [11 August, RNZ]
A lobby group representing producers of cattle and sheep in the US, is calling for increased tariffs on New Zealand lamb in a bid to help their local industry. The lobby group, R-CALF USA, says that the US sheep industry has been decimated by an increase of lamb and mutton from Australia and New Zealand, which has pushed down returns for local producers. Bill Bullard, the group's chief executive, says lamb production in the US has declined by 60% in the last 30 years. The group is petitioning for the US trade ambassador to slow imports of lamb and proposing stricter quantity restrictions on imported lamb over a 10-year period to create a more even playing field for the domestic industry to rebuild.
Tags: Red Meat
Maize crops shown to improve wheat yields, by boosting soil microbes [11 August, New Atlas]
A study conducted by the Swiss University of Bern, has published new findings to further quantify the long-known benefits of crop rotations. The study found that planting wheat in fields that previously grew maize can increase yields by 4% and reduce pests due to maize releasing a chemical called benzoxazinoids. The study involved growing maize in test plots, normal maize, and maize altered to not produce benzoxazinoids. After harvesting the maize, three types of winter wheat were planted and grown in the same plots. Over a two-year period, it was found that wheat grown in the benzoxazinoid-boosted soil had a 4% better yield and were less infested by pests. The research could eventually lead to reduced use of fertilisers and pesticides.
Tags: Research & Development
The Future of Sushi? 3D-Printed Vegan Seafood [13 August, The Bright Side]
At the National University of Singapore, researchers have used 3D printing technology to create a vegan calamari ring that is sustainable and nutritionally comparable to its marine counterpart. The researchers’ used microalgae and mung bean proteins, which are high in protein, as well as omega-3 rich plant oils to match the nutritional content of real calamari. The product was air-fried and gathered positive feedback on taste and texture. However, the team is still working on refining the product to match the elasticity and sensory properties of commercial calamari rings. The breakthrough could offer hope for a sustainable and protein-rich future for seafood lovers.
Tags: Food Innovation
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