Week in Review

In Aotearoa, after a four year review process, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has ruled that hydrogen cyanamide (Hi-Cane) can continue to be used in kiwifruit orchards to promote the uniform bud break of flowers. The decision comes after the EPA found no evidence of Hi-Cane being a carcinogen. New Zealand’s largest containerised freight manager, Kotahi, has signed another 10-year freight agreement with A.P. Moller - Maersk, a globally integrated logistics company, continuing their partnership in ocean logistics. This agreement's significance is substantial, even on a global scale, as it is estimated to have a value of NZ $160 billion for primary export products, providing exporters a reliable shipping network with services to key export locations. In further export news, data released from Stats NZ shows that milk powder was the largest commodity exported in the 12-month period to April 2024 worth NZ $9.7 billion, with nearly a third of this value exported to China. Since the signing of the 2008 free trade agreement with China, the volume of milk powder exported annually to China has increased approximately tenfold. The honey industry is hosting a seminar next month in Hamilton centred on the national honey strategy and how to address industry challenges. Unprofitable honey returns have caused industry turmoil, with liquidations and bankruptcies, and some beekeepers forced to abandon hives as they’ve struggled to break even.

In international news, Australia has reported their first human case of the bird flu (H5N1) in the state of Victoria; the patient later made a full recovery. A current outbreak in poultry farms in Victoria is not connected according to officials as testing has revealed it is a different strain, likely H7N7. Although health experts confirm the safe consumption of egg and poultry products, the virus remains highly contagious among birds leading to severe symptoms and fatalities in poultry. Swedish biotech start-up, Volta Greentech, has raised SEK 32 million (NZ $4.9 million) to develop and commercialise their emission reduction feed additive, Lome. The company claims that adding Lome into cattle feed reduces enteric methane emissions by up to 90%. Danish food tech company, FÆRM, has received €1.3 million (NZ $2.3 million) to continue developing their patented method of vegan cheesemaking, which closely resembles the traditional dairy methods. In the same way cheese is made with cow’s milk, FÆRM uses soy milk. The founders seek to offer affordable and healthy vegan cheese, recognising its scarcity in the current market. Vietnamese authorities have approved selected United Kingdom pork sites for commercial trade. Pork is the most popular meat in Southeast Asia and demand tends to exceed domestic supply. British pork producers will now have access to the Vietnamese market in this deal valued around £12 million (NZ $24.9 million) over the first five years.

Spotlight Stories

Technology Spotlight:

a person using a tablet

New Digital Tool to Help Apple & Grape Growers Adapt to Climate Change [14 March, Our Land and Water]

A new tool has been launched in New Zealand demonstrating future impacts of climate change on plant diseases for apple and grape growers. The initiative led by HortPlus, and in partnership with Plant & Food Research, NIWA, the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit and Applied Research & Technologies, was created as part of the “Our Land and Water” National Science Challenge. The tool enables growers, or prospective investors to view the plant disease risk profiles for a specified address and translates that risk into the financial implications for different climate change scenarios. The developers hope the tool will also support regional and central government planners to understand plant disease risks and mitigation costs. Original full article here

Tags: climate change adaptation; future scenarios; risk mapping; economic modelling; viticulture; apple sector

Governance Spotlight:

2 people on a scenic board walk with mountains in the background

Spotlight on Governance [16 May, AGMARDT]

The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) have released a report showcasing the distinct governance challenges and opportunities in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector. The report titled, “Pathways to Governance: enhancing food and fibre sector governance for greater impact”, draws on the input of 27 experienced and emerging directors, as well as key stakeholders. It highlights a need for strategic support at all stages of the governance journey and for emerging directors, moving beyond traditional training methods to a more nuanced approach which includes gaining practical experience. AGMARDT says the report is a call to action for stakeholders in the food and fibre sector to collaborate in developing governance talent for more effective decision-making across the sector. Original full article here

Tags: governance; food and fibre; development; effective decision-making


Headline Stories

an image of the ocean shore

Sustainable Seas and Daylight launch Tohorā – a breakthrough tool for protecting NZ’s moana [23 May, Campaign Brief]

Aotearoa’s first AI-powered search tool in the science sector, Tohorā, hopes to transform the management of the marine environment. The tool is built on the results of over 100 research projects of the “Sustainable Seas” National Science Challenge. Tohorā is a free resource that condenses key findings from the wide body of work into easily understandable summaries, with the aim of ensuring the decade worth of extensive research remains accessible. Its purpose is to influence policy and management decisions, guide sustainable business strategies, design educational curricula, and empower community organisations to take impactful real-world initiatives. Original full article here

Tags: science; AI; research; marine; environment; technology

A man taking notes in his notepad on a field

Farmers win $600k payout under Australian consumer law after canola seeds died before harvest [24 May, ABC Rural]

Several West Australian (WA) canola growers have received over AU $600,000 (NZ $649,320) in refunds from a seed company due to product failure which led to pre-harvest crop deaths. WA’s Department of Consumer Protection played a pivotal role in facilitating the settlement; of note, the state of WA is the only one where Australian consumer law applies to farmers and farm businesses. Canola is generally an expensive crop to grow due to fertiliser and pesticide costs, with herbicide-tolerant canola seed priced at around AU $50 per kilogram (NZ $54 per kg). In this particular case, farmers reported that as much as 21% of the canola crop died after the first application of glyphosate, despite being marketed as herbicide-tolerant. In the wake of this settlement, growers are encouraged to keep a sample of seed and batch details to assist in proving germination or survival concerns. Original full article here

Tags: canola, seeds, consumer rights; settlement

an image of a paddock

DairyNZ looks at the science of on-farm injuries [27 May, Farmers Weekly]

A three-year project saw scientists and farmers collaborate together to address common injuries during the busy spring season on New Zealand dairy farms. About 40% of dairy farm injuries are sprain and strain-related and resulted in 1,500 annual ACC claims and $5-6 million of payouts in 2022 and 2023. The Reducing Sprains and Strains project, funded by ACC with co-investment from DairyNZ, aimed to identify injury causes, and to develop practical solutions that enhanced productivity, saved time, and supported farmers' wellbeing during calving. Throughout the project, DairyNZ collaborated with farmers, safety professionals, engineers, and other specialists to develop tailored risk mitigation solutions focused on farming. Successful workshop concepts were built into physical prototypes with manufacturers, and underwent refinement through farmer feedback and testing, some of these prototypes are now available for purchase such as the Easy-Entry Calf Trailer Gate and the Easy-Access Calf Pen Gate. Original full article here

Tags: dairy farming; injury prevention; wellbeing; sprains and strains

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