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IN THE KNOW: AgTech News July 2017

NZ: COWS BRED FOR LOW NITROGEN LEACHING PRODUCE HIGHER MILK PROTEIN  

In a world first, and a win for customers and the environment, research shows cows bred to produce less nitrogen in their urine are diverting this nutrient into the production of milk protein. The discovery by CRV Ambreed scientists is thought to be a world first and has shown that breeding this trait in cows not only makes the animal more environmentally friendly, but boosts its milk production efficiency. Read more >>

 

NZ: BIG GROWTH FOR KIWIFRUIT INDUSTRY PREDICTED

The kiwifruit industry will generate 29,000 new jobs and add an annual $3.5 billion to New Zealand’s gross domestic product by 2030, with much of the growth driven by new cultivars such as Gold 3, according to a Waikato University report for Zespri International. The report found that the forecast growth is almost entirely based on gold kiwifruit, with exports jumping to $1.3b from $524m, while exports of green fruit actually fall by 2021 to $810m from $917m. Read more >>

 

NZ/EUROPE: EUROPEAN LAW COULD MAKE MANUKA HONEY KIWI-AS

European policies protecting branding of home-grown products like Champagne could be a winner for Manuka honey and other Kiwi products, trade and international law academic Christian Riffel says. The European Union was likely to include the right to geographical indications in any free-trade agreement with New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told a public meeting last month. Famous GIs include Champagne wine, Feta cheese and Parma ham. Read more >>

 

NZ: KIWIFRUIT TURNING RED

A red, raspberry flavoured kiwifruit could be the ‘next big thing’ for growers in New Zealand. A joint breeding programme run by Zespri and Plant & Food, has been developing the still unnamed fruit, which has a tentative title of Zespri Red, and is expected to  rival the success of SunGold in the export market, although it is still at least two years away from being released to growers. The kiwifruit breeding programme is the biggest and longest running of its type in the world, and its goal is to keep developing new cultivars for the industry that allowed it to stay ahead of international competitors. Read more >>

 

U.S: URBAN GLEANING HELPING TO PREVENT FOOD WASTE IN THE U.S

America’s 42 million home and community gardeners grow an estimated 11 billion pounds more food than they can use. Meanwhile, 87 percent of Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The good news is the movement of people who harvest that excess home-grown food, known as urban gleaning, has matured over the past decade or so from a weekend hobby for locavores to a growing sector of the food economy. In recent years, dozens of private and public groups around the U.S. have gotten organized around getting this extra food on to people’s tables.  Read more >>

 

NZ: 2017 STEAK OF ORIGIN WINNER REVEALS SECRETS

Stress-free cattle, fresh grass and fat-marbling makes the perfect piece of meat, the producer of the country’s best steak says. The Steak of Origin championship was won by Otorohanga angus breeders Tim and Kelly Brittain with their angus steak entry, beating over 300 submissions across New Zealand. Tim said stress can kill the flavour of the meat.  “[Stress] tends to raise the pH level in the meat and that makes it darker coloured and potentially not as tender.”  Rather than use dogs to move the steers, a staff member shifts a small mob to fresh grass every day, keeping them happy and relaxed.  Read more >>

 

BELGIUM: VERTICAL FARMING REINVENTING THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY

Instead of growing crops in sunny fields or greenhouses, some companies are stacking them and growing the crops in old, dark warehouses with UV lights — saving water and harvesting produce faster. Vertical farming, as it’s known, has  sprung up over the last 10 years or so, filling old warehouses and disused factories with structures that grow vegetables and herbs in cramped, artificially lit quarters out of the warm glow of the sun.  Read more >>

 

NZ: BUTTER IS BACK AS PRICES RISE AT GLOBAL DAIRY TRADE AUCTION

Butter prices rose above $US6000/tonne in the latest Global Dairy Trade auction, having more than doubled during the past year. According to ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny, high butter and milk fat prices were here to stay. “Demand has fundamentally shifted higher as consumers now accept that butter is no longer bad for you.”  Read more >>

 

NZ: AVOCADO ORCHARDS REPLACING DAIRY FARMS

Dairy farms are being converted to avocado orchards in the Auckland and Northland regions as the industry gears up for major expansion. Avocados achieved new records for volume and value in the 2016-17 season, and investors keen to capitalise on the trend for avocados are planning large scale plantings. Dutch company Levarht was recently granted approval to invest in a joint venture to buy a former dairy farm near Kaipara Harbour and plant 100,000 trees by 2020-21. Read more >>