Week in Review

In Aotearoa lower milk price forecasts have impacted the arable sector, with crop choices changing in response. The July Arable Industry Marketing Initiative survey shows the sown and intended feed wheat and feed barley crops for the coming harvest are down 6% and 15% respectively on last season. Malting barley, used by breweries, is up 77% on the 2022 harvest, however while this is a large percentage increase the hectares involved are relatively small. In other cropping news, arable farmers have shown a positive response to continued investment in their levy-funded organisation, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR). The referendum covered three separate levy orders, with results of 88% support for arable crops, 79% maize, and 69% cereal silage. The updated Situation Outlook for Primary Industries was released last week for the year ending June 2023. The food and fibre sector achieved a record export revenue of $57.4 billion, exceeding the previous forecast by $1.2 billion, and was an 8% increase on the previous year to 30 June 2022.

In international news, India and the UK are close to signing a free trade deal ahead of the G20 summit being held in India next month. Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2022 was estimated around £36 billion ($77 billion). Negotiations are in their final phase, with a focus on goods, services, and investment. In the European Union, milk production has increased by 0.8% in the first half of 2023, with production of all dairy products excluding whole milk powder also increasing by between 1.2-3% year on year. While production has increased, milk prices have fallen. A start-up focused on reducing methane emissions using red seaweed, CH4 Global, has raised US $29 million for the build and validation of a production facility in southern Australia. The facility will be operational in the middle of 2024, and will be able to supply enough supplements for 30,000 cows, larger facilities capable of supplying millions of animals are already in the pipeline. 

Spotlight Stories

Environment & Emissions spotlight

Cows being milked.

Mootral Debuts World First Climate-Friendly Ice Cream [24 August, KnowESG]

Mootral, a British agritech company, has collaborated with Ruby Violet, an ice cream parlour in London, to create the world's first climate-friendly ice cream, MaxiMootral. This innovative ice cream is made using milk sourced from Mootral's farm in Lancashire, where the company's natural feed supplement, Mootral Ruminant, has reduced methane emissions from cows by up to 38%. The supplement contains garlic and citrus compounds that enhance cows' digestion. The partnership aligns with the growing demand among the British public for eco-friendly options, as according to a YouGov survey, 60% of the population favours sustainable brands.

Tags: Environment & Emissions

Research & Development spotlight

Honey bee

Comvita’s Mānuka scientific discoveries shared at Queenstown Research Week [29 August, NZIAHS]

New Zealand’s first Honey Research symposium is being held at the Kai mō Aotearoa (Food Science) Satellite in Queenstown this week as part of the nation’s biggest annual scientific gathering (Queenstown Research Week). The symposium is co-sponsored by Comvita Limited, and the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. At the symposium, Comvita and its research collaborators presented on Comvita LepteridineTM, a drug-like compound found uniquely in Mānuka honey that can inhibit a key enzyme known to be implicated in the formation of gastric ulcers and inflammatory bowel diseases. As a result of this research, Comvita has patented novel formulations of Mānuka honey for the treatment of digestive disorders that are currently undergoing clinical trials, with these results expected in 2024.

Tags: Research & Development

Headline Stories

Fruit stall

The Next Superfoods May Come From Australia  [4 August, Smithsonian Magazine]

The Australian native food industry is ready to explode as tourists and chefs discover the unique flavours of native bush ingredients like the Kakadu peach, pepperberries, paperbark, and quandong. The industry, worth about AUD 81.5 million in 2020, is expected to double in size by 2025. Demand for these nutrient-dense foods is already outstripping supply with only about 18 of the 6,400 known native foods and botanicals currently commercially cultivated. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a long (65,000+ years) history and body of knowledge around the properties, seasonality and unique processing requirements of the plants and food, yet only around 1% of those involved in the industry are Indigenous. The First Nations Bushfood and Botanicals Alliance Australia is in the process of trying to establish Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property over the full supply chain of bush food production, ensuring it’s grown and harvested by Indigenous people according to cultural protocols.

Tags: Food Innovation

Flock of sheep

Schools bag carpet plan [29 August, Rural News Group]

Rural schools in New Zealand are being offered a subsidy of at least 30% on the cost of wool carpet by New Zealand carpet manufacturer Bremworth, as a sustainable alternative to the Ministry of Education's controversial plans to fit almost $8 million worth of nylon carpet in up to 760 small or rural schools across the country. Schools that are due to replace their existing flooring can apply to Bremworth for a product subsidy equivalent to at least 30% of their flooring needs. Bremworth is calling on the government to provide the cash equivalent for the synthetic carpet to put towards wool carpet. The move comes after some rural school principals refused the ministry's offer to install synthetic carpet at no cost to the schools.

Tags: Wool

Fishing net

Govt bans bottom trawling for most of Hauraki Gulf as part of marine park plan [29 August, The Country]

The New Zealand government has announced a ban on bottom trawling in most of the Hauraki Gulf to protect the 1.2 million hectare marine park. The ban will be implemented through the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana Marine Protection Bill, which will triple the total area under protection in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park from just over 6% to about 18%. The government aims to strike the right balance between using the Gulf and ensuring its health for future generations. The Gulf is a vital resource for New Zealand, with an economic value of $100 billion, but it is threatened by sedimentation, nutrient run-off, and climate change. The ban on bottom trawling is one of the government's actions to protect the Gulf, and the bill also includes the establishment of new marine protection areas and a ban on other fishing methods. Public consultation on the trawl corridors begins on September 4th, with four options under proposal that range from banning 74 to 89% of the Gulf to bottom trawling and Danish seine fishing.

Tags: Policy and regulation, Fisheries

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