Week in Review

In Aotearoa, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) will soon be launching a state-of-the-art satellite which can map methane over large areas. NIWA are leading New Zealand’s MethaneSAT agricultural emissions science programme, part of a wider global US-led initiative. New Zealand provides the perfect test ground for MethaneSAT’s satellite due to its unusual greenhouse gas profile and quality greenhouse gas measurement and modelling capability. In Tauranga, the controversial hydrogen cyanamide (Hi-Cane) spray will be the topic of discussion in a week-long Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) committee hearing to determine its future use. Hi-Cane is a plant growth regulator widely used across the kiwifruit sector for promoting growth of shoots and bud break in a controlled manner. The EPA has previously given Hi-Cane a 10-year phase out period due to concerns over its impact on the environment and humans. In the seafood industry, the future roll-out of cameras on commercial fishing boats is unclear as top fishing executives and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) senior officials come together to discuss future options and challenges for the programme. The previous Labour government established the programme to improve the under-recorded bycatch of species like seals, penguins and dolphins. Apiculture New Zealand released a new industry strategy, aiming to double exports by 2030 to $1 billion. The strategy involves an export levy, export standards, and establishing an industry body to revive and develop the honey industry.

In international news, the Global Dairy Trade auction, has shown a further upward lift, with the average dairy price now at US $3,664 (NZ $6,079) a tonne, to its highest level in 18 months. Israeli-based animal-free dairy company, Remilk, is the first company to have permission to use and sell their animal-identical proteins in Canada, receiving Health Canada's "Letter of No Objection". Remilk’s animal-free protein will be available for use in various dairy products such as milk, ice cream, yoghurt and more. In Europe, the European Union (EU) parliament has agreed to lowering restrictions of crops grown through new genome techniques. The new techniques mean genetic sequences of organisms can be precisely edited without inserting external species DNA. The vote passed narrowly, and some members of the EU have not agreed on whether the new class of genetically modified organisms should be patentable, with concerns over the potential impact on farmers. In the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Results of the census show a declining trend in farm ownership among most demographics due in part to access to capital, education and the lack of a will being used to legally pass land on to heirs. 

Someone writing in a notebook outdoors


Share your views on Training and Assessment in the New Zealand Food and Fibre Sector

KPMG is pleased to be assisting The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (FFCoVE), Muka Tangata and Te Pūkenga on a project to review and provide recommendations on the delivery and assessment practices in vocational educational training across the New Zealand food and fibre sector.

The project seeks to identify aspects that could be improved in learning delivered through a food and fibre sector qualification and is seeking your views on how learning is conducted at your learning organisation, for your job, or in the industry you work with.

Please use this link to complete the survey which should take approximately 10 minutes. [Link here]

This survey will close at the end of the day on Sunday 3rd March.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this project please contact Jackie Lynch, from The Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence on JLynch@foodandfibrecove.nz  

Spotlight Stories

Innovation Spotlight:

Bales of hay in a paddock

Southlander creates bale net wrap which doubles as cow fodder [14 February, Stuff]

A Southland farmer has developed an eco-friendly bale wrapping net, called Kiwi Econet.  Currently bale net wrap is made of plastic which must be removed from the bale before it can be fed to stock, the plastic net wrap cannot be recycled or digested by stock. Kiwi Econet’s bale net wrap is made from natural fibres which creator Grant Lightfoot claims can be digested by cattle, while enriching their diet with essential nutrients.  The product is currently manufactured overseas, Lightfoot hopes to sell his product directly to farmers or distributors in New Zealand by the end of 2024 with future plans for Australia and other international markets. 

Tags: innovation; waste reduction; natural fibres

Biodiversity Spotlight:

a singular adult penguin in amongst many brown chicks

Landmark UN Report: The world’s migratory species of animals are in decline [12 February, UN Environment Program]

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) has launched the first “State of the World’s Migratory Species” report at the United Nations Wildlife Conservation conference. The report provides a global overview of the conservation status and population trends of migratory animals as well as the latest information on their main threat and the actions required to save them. Migratory species play a critical role in the world’s ecosystem by pollinating plants, transporting key nutrients, controlling pests and helping to store carbon. The report has focused analysis on 1,189 species that the CMS have identified as needing international protection. While some of these species have population growth, 44% are showing signs of population decline, with more than one-in-five of these species threatened with extinction. CMS Executive Secretary, Amy Fraenkel said the report will help underpin much-needed policy actions to ensure that migratory species continue to thrive around the world. 

Tags: conservation; biodiversity; migratory species 

Headline Stories

A pine tree forest

Scion drones take aim at pest control [19 February, Farmers Weekly]

Crown Research Institute, Scion, are exploring the social and practical aspects of using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for pest control. Researchers are hoping that the tool will provide a more efficient biosecurity solution for New Zealand. UAVs are a new biosecurity tool that could make pest control more targeted and less invasive. UAVs are more precise than existing tools as they can come within 2 meters of target pest species, compared to 10 metres with helicopters. Although the findings of the trial are still being finalised, researchers are hopefully the new UAV technology will significantly reduce current operational limitations such as cost, weight, and flight time. In aligned research, Scion is also looking at the social and cultural considerations of using UAV spraying for pest control.

Tags: drones; forestry; pest management; biosecurity

A couple of dairy cows in a paddock

Canada's trade remedy no cure, says DCANZ [16 February, Farmers Weekly]

Last year, the New Zealand dairy industry used the dispute resolution provisions of the Comprehensive and Progressive TransPacfic Partnership Trade Agreement (CPTPP) to successfully challenge Canada’s quota allocations.  It was estimated that New Zealand exporters lost NZ $120 million in potential sales in the first three years of the CPTTPP’s agreement due to the quota allocations, which effectively prevented New Zealand dairy exporters from utilising the CPTPP low tariff provisions. As a result of the dispute resolution panel’s decision, the Canadian government is now circulating a proposal to overhaul their quota allocation system.  However, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is displeased with the proposal. DCANZ Executive Director, Kimberly Crewther, said the proposal fails to bring the Canadians into compliance with CPTPP rules and could be even worse than the original allocation system as it “will continue to put the majority of quota access in the hands of domestic processors who have little interest in importing from CPTPP countries”. 

Tags: dairy; quotas; trade relations

a picture of water with ripples

Trial pumping pure oxygen into Darling River examine whether method could help reduce future fish kills [20 February, ABC News]

In New South Wales, Australia, the state government is trialling pumping pure oxygen into the Darling River to improve conditions for marine life. In March 2023, tens of millions of native fish died from suffocation after oxygen levels in the river fell. The oxygenation technology being trialled is commonly used in the aquaculture industry; however, this trial will assess whether it can be effective over a larger scale. There are concerns that the oxygenated water could also attract larger volumes of fish to smaller areas of the river. The impacts of this potential consequence are unknown but may prove counterproductive to the goal of saving river marine life. The oxygenation trial is part of several strategies the state government is deploying to improve river health. 

Tags: biodiversity; marine life; oxygenation

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