Week in Review

In our last Field Notes newsletter for the year, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for engaging with KPMG and our content for 2023.

On behalf of the KPMG team, we wish you all the best for the festive season and look forward to re-connecting with you all in 2024. We’ll be back with our first issue of Field Notes next year in the third week of January.

It’s a quieter news week in Aotearoa and around the world as we head towards the holiday season.

In Aotearoa, a new fund for veterinary services to support farmers recovering from flooding and cyclone Gabrielle has received $2.6 million of funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries. ‘Vets on Farm’ will help fund local veterinarians to provide on-farm advice and support including farm planning focused on animal health and welfare. Another Canterbury farm has been found to be infected with Mycoplasma bovis. This farm neighbours the property detected in September, the first to be confirmed infected with the disease following several months of no infection in the country. Farmers across the country are being urged to take care on vehicles over the festive season after four quadbike fatalities in the last month. Worksafe is warning that they see a spike in incidents in the lead up to Christmas, a particularly busy time of year for farms and orchards, and urging people to be mindful of the busy period and plan accordingly to avoid doing tasks at speed or feeling rushed. In Southland, Sacha Bond has claimed a world shearing record, becoming the first woman to shear more than 700 sheep in a nine-hour day. The King Country shearer averaged a pace of shearing a lamb every 45 seconds to claim the record.

In international news, the army has been asked to help farmers plant rice in Indonesia. Drought has delayed planting this year in the country, fuelled by the El Niño weather pattern which has reduced rice output in other major producing countries. Earlier this month, Indonesia's agriculture minister and its armed forces chief signed a cooperation agreement which included military personnel helping in farming and utilising idle military land for planting, with seedlings and machinery provided by the farm ministry. The European Union’s agricultural labour productivity in 2023 decreased by 6.6% year-on-year. Despite this decrease in 2023, agricultural labour productivity has increased by 35% on 2015 levels. The last global dairy trade auction of the year saw dairy prices rise for the third time in a row. The average price rose by 2.3%, with wholemilk powder price, a key driver of farmgate payout price, up by 2.9%.

Spotlight Stories

Export Spotlight

tship carrying shipping containers on the ocean

Food, fibre export revenue predicted to drop 5 per cent [19 December, Stuff]

The Ministry of Primary Industries has released its latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report. The key finding of the report is that food and fibre exports are likely to fall by 5% in the current financial year, predicted to drop to $54.3 billion, from the $57.4 billion earned to June 30, 2023. The predicted fall in export earnings is due to a combination of factors which include a weaker New Zealand dollar, and weaker export earnings from the dairy, meat and wool and forestry industries which collectively make up 77% of food and fibre exports. Despite the predicted revenue drop in these larger industries, revenue growth is expected for some seafood, horticulture, and arable products. According to the report, producers are likely to experience high and increasing input costs in 2023/24 which combined with the fall in prices of some outputs will create pressure on profitability. Original full article here

Tags: Food and fibre exports; forecasts

Viticulture Spotlight

photo of a bunch of white grapes hanging on a vine

Can putting solar panels in vineyards help to improve Australian wine? [14 December, ABC Rural]

Scientists in Australia’s University of Adelaide are conducting a study to see how solar panels used in vineyards affect grape quality. While solar panels are in use over sheep grazing systems in Australia, placing them over horticultural crops is relatively new. It is hoped that the technology may both protect the grapevines from extreme weather and cut costs for wineries. The on-campus trial of vitivoltaic technology will study whether the solar panels are able to protect the vine from adverse weather during periods of high heat load, wind and frost, potentially resulting in better quality fruit. Overseas studies have shown benefits including improved soil moisture, and frost protection for horticultural crops. The study will also examine any potential detrimental effects such as shading given grapevines are very dependent on light. 

Tags: Viticulture; solar panels; agrivoltaic

Headline Stories

red meat on wooden chopping board

New opportunities for NZ beef as US cuts herd [15 December, Farmers Weekly]

Drought in the United States is impacting around a third of the lower 48 states, and is causing farmers to destock. By January, the US beef herd is expected to have dropped by 2.7% on the previous year, which will result in lower production for the coming year. New Zealand Meat Industry Association chief executive, Sirma Karapeeva, says this culling of the beef herd could continue for the next 18 months and creates opportunities for New Zealand exporters. New Zealand’s export quota to the US has not been filled for several years now, so this presents exporters with a significant opportunity for exports. Demand for beef in the US is expected to remain steady in the near future, however overall meat consumption per capita is forecast to decrease by 2025 by 2kgs (124kg to 122kgs). 

Tags: Red meat; beef; exports; production

aerial view of a boat driving in circles in the ocean

CSIRO Aquawatch a world-first weather service to bolster seafood industry in Spencer Gulf [15 December, ABC Rural]

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has completed initial tests of a world-first water quality monitoring system in the Spencer Gulf, a region worth AU $238 million a year (NZ $256 million) to the seafood industry. The Aquawatch system will behave similar to a weather service for water quality, using data from water sensors and satellites with modelling and AI to provide real-time water quality forecasts. The data provided by the system could give early warnings of temperature changes and salinity that pose lethal threats, like algal blooms, to fish stocks. Early warning would allow for planning decisions including moving pens out of the way of harmful algae. 

Tags: Seafood; water quality; technology; aquaculture

holstein friesian dairy cows standing in grass paddock

Nestlé offers Fonterra farmers premium for 'greener' milk [14 December, Dairy News]

Global food company Nestlé will pay a small premium to Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited farmers achieving one of the three levels of the dairy co-operative’s ‘The Co-operative Difference’ framework in the 2023/2024 season. The framework promotes efficient farming and business practises across five focus areas including environment, animal welfare, people and community, milk quality, and co-op prosperity. The additional payment to farmers will depend on how many meet these levels, but is expected to be an extra 1-2 cents per kilogram of milksolids. Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited and Nestlé announced a partnership in 2022 to help reduce on-farm emissions. Nestlé New Zealand chief executive Jennifer Chappell says the success of their emissions reduction future target relies on working with farmers, not just processors. 

Tags: Dairy; emissions; farmers and producers

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