Week in Review

In Aotearoa, a team of University of Auckland scientists, along with Callaghan Innovation and medicinal cannabis producer Greenlab, are working to solve a sustainability problem for the fast-growing medicinal cannabis industry – how to deal with the unused waste material. They are developing a process to destroy active cannabinoids from the waste, and then turn the material into solid or liquid fertiliser that can be used to help grow new cannabis plants. Dairy industry body, DairyNZ Incorporated, have released their ‘View from the Cowshed’ survey results for 2023. The results reveal that 75% of dairy farmers experienced cost increases of over 20% over the past year. The increase in costs is impacting business viability, particularly when combined with the reduced milk price. The survey also showed farmers are concerned about government regulations, with impracticality, too much change at once, and the speed of change being the biggest concerns. DairyNZ is calling for an independent regulatory review panel made up of experienced farmers from across the primary sector to review all proposed regulations to ensure they are necessary, practical, cost-effective and will achieve desired outcomes. Fonterra Co-operative Group has announced to shareholders they plan to reduce operating costs by $1 billion by 2030 through a range of projects to streamline the business which will lead to job losses. The co-operative will report to shareholders on two new efficiency metrics - operational expenditure/kgMS and gross profit per kgMS. The New Zealand Merino Company has announced that it will not pay a dividend this year, given current market conditions. The company reported a 13% decrease in total operating revenue, which it attributed to global economic conditions and inflationary pressures.

In international news, Russia has refused to restore the Black Sea grain deal to allow Ukraine to export grain safely through the Black Sea until the West meets Moscow’s demands on its own agricultural exports. The world's largest meatpacking company, JBS SA, is seeking a listing on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the year. However, the move has raised concerns around ESG issues as the company’s carbon footprint is reportedly larger than the nation of Spain. A coalition of NGOs is urging the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate JBS SA's corporate practices before approving the listing. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has released in their latest commodities report, reporting that despite forecasts of drier conditions in Australia, the value of the country's crop, livestock, and fisheries production is expected to remain strong. ABARES has estimated production will be AUD 80 billion, the third highest on record, however, predicts food and fibre exports to fall by 17% due to falling commodity prices, particularly for livestock. In Brazil, meatpacking company Marfrig has sold 16 of its slaughterhouses to its rival Minerva for USD 1.54 billion, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. The strategic move will see Marfrig shift its focus from conventional commodities to processed meat products. The sale accounts for almost 40% of Marfrig's South American sales. 

Spotlight Stories

Environment Spotlight

Recycling symbol made out of clouds in sky

Tesco scraps colored milk caps to recycle an additional 3,900 tons of plastic annually [24 August, Packaging Insights]

UK supermarket retailer, Tesco, is getting rid of the coloured caps on the milk bottles it sells. This move aims to make the plastic caps easier to recycle as coloured plastic currently needs to be processed separately from clear packaging. Tesco sells approximately 245 million milk bottles each year, and the move will mean an extra 3,900 tons of plastic will be recycled. The milk bottle cap change is the latest in their ongoing sustainability strategy for plastic packaging - aiming to remove plastic where they can, reduce where they can’t, reuse more, and recycle what’s left. To date, Tesco says it has removed around 2.2 billion pieces of plastic from its UK business

Tags: Environment; Waste Reduction

Trade Spotlight

two friesian dairy cows in a grass paddock

NZ wins CPTPP trade dispute with Canada over unfair dairy access [6 September, NZ Herald]

The first trade dispute case taken under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has been decided this week, with New Zealand winning a trade dispute with Canada over dairy quota. New Zealand officials estimated that the unorthodox and restrictive way Canada has run its dairy quota has cost New Zealand exporters around $120 million in lost revenue in the past three years. New Zealand argued that Canada was violating both the spirit and rules of the CPTPP, and its dairy quota undermined access and reduced its value to CPTPP parties. This case is the first dispute New Zealand has taken against any partner in a free trade agreement.

Tags: Trade; International; Dairy

Headline Stories

small plant in soil being measured

Northland peanut trials resume after soggy spell [5 September, Farmers Weekly]

Peanut trials in Northland, New Zealand, are set to continue for a third season, following a washout of the crops in 2022. The trials will help assess the opportunity and potential benefits of establishing a commercial peanut-growing industry in Northland, with some of the short-season cultivars evaluated so far producing good yields. A total of 5ha of peanuts will be planted in October and November this year across 5 planting sites. The project has yielded promising results from the first-year of the trial, with the nutritional values of some of the Northland-grown cultivars higher than peanuts imported from overseas, indicating the quality potential of locally grown produce.

Tags: Horticulture; Research & Development

pigs in a shed getting a wash

Mexico unveils first international sustainability standard for pork industry [31 August, The PigSite]

In Mexico, producers from the state of Yucatan and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have unveiled the first international Sustainability Standard for the pork industry. The standard aims to be a benchmark in Mexico and the world, putting compliance with the best environmental practices at the forefront. The International Standard seal complies with the protocols and guides of the International Alliance for Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling. Pork is the most consumed protein globally, and Mexico’s growing industry contributed 1.5% to the global volume of pork in 2021, however there is plenty of potential for growth for their industry with their exports only totalling 224,000 tonnes in 2022 (12% of annual production).

Tags: Pork; Sustainability; Standards

meat on a two pronged fork

QualityNZ bowls its way to high-end India [4 September, Farmers Weekly]

QualityNZ, a New Zealand-based exporting company, has become the largest exporter of sheepmeat to India, thanks to the strong cricketing connections of its founders and brand ambassadors. The company supplies high-quality lamb to hundreds of five-star hotels throughout India, despite the challenges of the Indian market, which includes a 33% tariff on sheepmeat. To overcome these challenges, QualityNZ had to develop its own subsidiary and supply chain, including a logistics system that spans 46 cities and provides temperature control for maintaining product quality. Ex-Black Cap Geoff Allott, managing director and founder of QualityNZ, cautions that building relationships and trust in India takes time to develop.

Tags: Trade; Sheepmeat

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