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Agritech News: On tour with the ITP

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

Kia Ora,

We are half-way through the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) Connect Tour and it’s been fantastic to meet so many of you in person. It’s events like this that remind me how much we all missed out on during the lockdown years and I’m thankful to be back on the road and engaging in discussion with similar, but different, clusters around the country.

It is our Membership that enables us to draw in the Government focus on programs like the Agritech ITP and other activities, thereby advancing the sector for everyone. We encourage anyone that is involved in technology, science, research or other services applied to the agriculture sector to get in touch and join us as we accelerate the agritech industry. 

If you missed out on attending our in-person sessions we will be running a webinar on Wednesday 5 April. Register here.

Brendan O’Connell
Chief Executive, AgriTechNZ

Welcome to our new Members

At AgriTechNZ we have a wide and growing Membership base that spans the entire ecosystem. We’d like to send a warm welcome to the latest members to join our community.

Well Balanced – Well Balanced are a team of New Zealand investors focused on growth in domestic and international markets for agribusiness, necessary technology, property, building and construction and energy. 

Tnue – Tnue customises fertiliser delivery solutions to achieve optimal Nutrient Use Efficiency (NUE) through the manufacture of Control Release Membrane (CRM) and the application of the CRM to the fertiliser granule.

Air Vision NZ Ltd – Air Vision NZ is a small family-owned business located in Levin specialising in drone services including mapping, surveying and inspections.

Volly Solutions – Volly Solutions are a small family-owned business based in Morrinsville, Hamilton offering  farm mapping, aerial imagery and other drone-based services as well as digital farm solutions.

Join the Agritech ecosystem and become a member

For latest news and events read the full newsletter here: Agritech News: On tour with the ITP

Posted in Newsletter, AgriTechNZ News

Agritech News: Racing into 2023

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Kia Ora,

With January already behind us it’s hard to remember the holiday period. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by the floods across Tairāwhiti Gisborne, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and other areas.  We know events like this result in a range of emotions, practical needs, financial consequences,  ongoing challenges and we wish you well in your recovery. In the wake of the extreme weather, the Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) is offering free mental health support for all small businesses (owners, employees and families) in the affected regions.

We’re already moving at pace with a full calendar of agritech activities scheduled for the first half of 2023, so get ready for a collective push to advance the industry in 2023.

We’ll do our part by connecting people and ideas, promoting projects and problems worth solving and advancing the growth of our industry. This year, we begin with the Agritech Connect Tour 2023 on the road during March.

With the support of our Members and community, we’re looking forward to a powerful 2023.

Brendan O’Connell
Chief Executive, AgriTechNZ

Welcome to our new Members

At AgriTechNZ we have a wide and growing Membership base that spans the entire ecosystem. We’d like to send a warm welcome to the latest members to join our community.

Bovonic – Bovonic is revolutionising how dairy farmers control and defeat disease through their platform QuadSense. 

Halter – Halter connects the gap between human and animal understanding with smart innovation featuring their registered Cowgorithm. 

OmniEye New Zealand – OmniEye is an automated on-farm camera-based livestock scoring and monitoring system for the dairy industry.  Helping farmers keep an “intelligent eye” over their herd.

Onside – Onside puts risk management in the hands of everyone, allowing anyone checked in to report hazards via the app.

For latest news and events read the full newsletter here: Agritech News: Racing into 2023

Posted in Newsletter

AgriTechNZ News: Meri Kirihimete

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

During 2022 there has been hard-won growth in our industry. Our members and sector partners continue to inspire us with their drive to grow and improve. 

Despite difficult trade conditions, we’ve seen impressive organic growth, acquisitions by our mature businesses, capability and knowledge growth across our research groups, and the emergence of many more startup businesses.

Perhaps even more impressively, we have noticed increasing ecosystem citizenship behaviour through collaborative approaches, collective action and social exchanges. For example, indirect actions include  supporting the development of others in our community and paying it forward. In a country that has a small, vibrant agritech market, these behaviours will help create even greater prosperity and impact from the agritech industry.

We remain committed to passionately advocating on behalf of our community and fostering collaborative practice wherever we can. During the year we hosted eight Member Connect Events, a Parliamentary Dinner and three International Virtual Summits. We also championed the continued Government partnership approach to our sector andmade two Government Submissions. This year we launched the 
Baseline of Digital Adoption in Primary Industries, participated in the inaugural Fieldays Digital Futures Hub, multiple Advisory Groups and commented frequently on the important topics.

Special thanks to the hardworking AgriTechNZ and NZTech teams, our wise and generous Executive Council, our awesome Members, plus our collaborative industry and Government partners. I wish you all a regenerative holiday season!

On the road again

We’re back on the road from early February! Our Agritech Connect Tour will share updates and gather your valuable input on the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan and more. You’ll learn more about  our tools, resources and 2023 plans. Our tour is the ideal opportunity to connect, learn and influence.  Stay tuned for more information, but until then, please save these dates: 2 February in Christchurch, 8 February in Hamilton, 10 February in Tauranga, 14 February in Auckland, 2 March in Wellington, 7 March in Nelon, 9 March in Dunedin and 15 March in Palmerston North. Further dates and locations to be announced.

Coming soon… even more agritech news!

In 2023, we’re launching a new channel with Farmers Weekly, curating agritech industry news. Keep updated on agritech solutions in our industry that contributes $1.6 billion towards New Zealand’s economy with potential growth of $10 billion over the next decade.

Preview here

How fabulous was Fieldays?

Fieldays was certainly a success for AgriTechNZ with plenty of authentic opportunities to connect with the industry. Our sold out events received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The Women in Agriculture session hosted in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was especially popular and we intend to repeat it. The opportunity to meet and discuss sector interests had some unexpected consequences. For example, our position in the Pavilion at the inaugural Fieldays Digital Futures Hub meant we were able to guide visitors to  specific exhibitors of  interest. Planning is well underway for Fieldays 2023, 14-17 June. The Fieldays Innovation Awards were also a great success, and applications are now open for next year.

Read more

Join our first 2023 webinar: Global Insights – How can New Zealand respond to overseas trends?

Meet 2022 Nuffield scholar Lucie Douma, who shares key agritech insights following her international study tour exploring environmental and farming contexts. This year, Lucie spent four months visiting farmers, growers and support organisations across Europe, North America and Australia. Join us to hear Lucie’s key agritech insights including water challenges in North America, labour shortages, corporatising farm trends, food security, soil understanding and knowledge, plus the corn belt and the role of genetically modified organisms (GMO).  She will also discuss the impact of production and growth trends for New Zealand and how we position ourselves on the global stage.

Register here

Evocative EvokeAg

AgriFutures Australia are hosting the next agrifood tech event in Adelaide, 20-21 February. We’ll be there to connect  the ecosystem of farmers, innovators, researchers, companies and investors. We highly recommend you join us and strengthen our Trans-Tasman representation. Once you’ve secured your tickets please register for Callaghan Innovation’s Australian Market Immersion to ensure you gain the most from your visit.

Register here

Blue economy interests

As part of the Agritech ITP, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and AgriTechNZ are gauging levels of interest and commitment to aquatech developments. Do you know any local companies who have innovative solutions in aquaculture or in an adjacent technology/sector and would benefit from a top quality market entry accelerator? There is potential for a New Zealand cohort to participate in an international aquaculture market entry accelerator. We are currently seeking recommendations from our networks for prospective cohort participants. The accelerator will be delivered by global aquaculture specialists Hatch in partnership with NZTE.

Join the Q&A zoom session on Tuesday 20 December at 3.30pm.

Please email with your recommendations by 22 December.  

Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia!

Chief Executive, on behalf of the Executive Council of AgriTech New Zealand

PS: Please don’t forget! We love to share your Member news and events. If you’re doing something cool, please let us know!

Read more: AgriTechNZ News: Meri Kirihimete

Posted in Newsletter, AgriTechNZ News

Fonterra and Nestlé partner on ambition to create New Zealand’s first net zero carbon emissions dairy farm

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

Fonterra and Nestlé today announced a new partnership designed to help reduce New Zealand’s on-farm emissions, including a New Zealand first – a drive to develop a commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm.

Over the five year project the farm, run with co-partner Dairy Trust Taranaki, will examine all aspects of farm operations to reduce carbon with the aim of cutting emissions by 30% by mid 2027, and a 10 year ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions.

The demonstration farm at the centre of the project is a 290 hectare property surrounding Fonterra’s Whareroa site.

Dairy Trust Taranaki will work with Fonterra and industry partners to reduce total emissions on the farm, including methane, with successful solutions also being good for the farmer, good for the cow and good for the milk. 

Lessons learned and activities will be shared through open days with farmers, who can then adopt the techniques and technologies most appropriate for their own farms. The practices must be economically viable and practical for farmers to adopt.

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell says the collaboration will help both Fonterra and Nestlé accelerate progress towards their greenhouse gas emission goals. 

“New Zealand already provides some of the most sustainable nutrition in the world through its pasture-based dairy system. This new partnership will look at ways to further reduce emissions, increasing the country’s low-emissions advantage over the rest of the world.”

“Part of our strategy is to lead in sustainability and we aspire to be net zero by 2050. We know we will make bigger gains, for both the Co-op and country, by partnering with others. Working with partners such as Nestlé is our best opportunity to create innovative solutions to local and global industry challenges.

“As well as our own goals, it’s important we help our customers achieve theirs. Nestlé has ambitious plans and we look forward to working together to discover systems that could help our farmer owners to continue to build on the already good base they have.”

Nestlé New Zealand CEO Jennifer Chappell said the Taranaki farm would build on Nestlé’s work around the world to help transform the dairy industry.

“Dairy is our single biggest ingredient, and our vision is that the future for dairy can be net zero,” Ms Chappell said.

“To reduce our Scope 3 emissions, it’s critical we work with dairy farmers and their communities. For this reason, we have over 100 pilot projects with partners around the world, including in New Zealand, and 20 farms already striving towards the ambition of net zero emissions,” Ms Chappell said.

“Working towards a net zero farm means looking at all aspects of the farm, from cow nutrition to sequestering carbon. We will share what we learn on the journey across the dairy industry, with the goal of ultimately mainstreaming on-farm practices that will reduce the climate impact of the dairy industry.”

“This will contribute to Nestlé meeting our goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, including reducing our emissions by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030,” Ms Chappell said.

The partnership between Fonterra and Nestlé also encompasses the launch of a greenhouse gas farmer support pilot programme. This multi-year project will see enrolled Fonterra supplying farms get additional support to implement changes aimed at lowering their on-farm emissions, which could include solutions such as improved management of feed and pasture and enhanced milk production efficiency. 

The opt-in pilot will start with around 50 farms and then be scaled up over the next three years.

Read more: Fonterra and Nestlé partner on ambition to create New Zealand’s first net zero carbon emissions dairy farm

Posted in Media Release

AgriTechNZ News: Fieldays Special Edition

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

Kia Ora,

During this time of the year, many of us are planning how to bring our families together for Christmas and the summer holidays. This year we also have a special opportunity to reconnect with our wider community at Fieldays 2022.  Next week, we’re ditching gumboots and beanies for sunhats and jandals! Traditionally held in the month of June, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event was postponed due to pandemic restrictions. Now, just ahead of the festive season, we’re looking forward to the industry celebrations, connections and conversations.

FIELDAYS: Where to find us!

We’re looking forward to connecting in person and you can find us at Fieldays® Digital Futures Hub in the main pavilion. Please come along and say hello. In particular we’d love to hear how you would like the Fieldays® Digital Futures Hub to evolve next June and beyond.

Learn more

FIELDAYS: Celebrating women in agriculture

We’re excited to host a special event at Fieldays to celebrate inspirational women in our industry in partnership with New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Unfortunately tickets have sold out, but please email us if you would like to be involved in future initiatives like this.

Contact us 

FIELDAYS: Innovation Awards Finalists announced

A highlight for us, the Fieldays Innovation Awards deliver a global platform for creative problem solvers to showcase their innovation to the primary industries and the opportunity to be recognised. We wish all finalists the best of luck and will celebrate the winners as they are announced next week.

Read more 

FIELDAYS: Lunch & Learn – Solutions for Successful Digital Adoption

We are excited to be hosting the Lunch & Learn session Solutions for Successful Digital Adoption event on Thursday 1 December, followed by a networking lunch sponsored by the United Kingdom (UK) Department of International Trade. Unfortunately space is limited and tickets have now sold out. We’ll keep you updated on social media and please let us know if you are keen to connect with the UK mission.

Contact us

FIELDAYS: All the agritech events in one place!

Check out all the agritech events being hosted during Fieldays including an online tools seminar, airborne agritech seminar and tour, NZ-UK Free Trade Agreement Event and ecosystem networking. 

Read more

FIELDAYS: Exhibiting? Come and say hi

Over 30 of our AgriTechNZ Members are exhibiting at Fieldays this year and if that’s you, please come and visit us at the Fieldays® Digital Futures Hub in the Main Pavilion. Kylie and I will also be out and about visiting as many of you as possible. This may include posing for a few selfies to share on social media to help promote your attendance, so please be prepared to say ‘cheese’! 

FIELDAYS: Prioritising health and wellbeing 

Due to increased demand the Hauora Taiwhenua Health and Wellbeing Hub has tripled in size for this year’s Fieldays! The one-stop shop for health checks includes blood pressure, blood sugar levels, hepatitis C, skin cancer and more.

Read more 

Ngā manaakitanga me kei runga noa atu 
Go well and onwards and upwards

Chief Executive, on behalf of the Executive Council of AgriTech New Zealand

PS: Join our next Connect Event: Going green without getting in the red on 5 December in Christchurch to discuss agritech innovations and the transition to low emissions agriculture. We will have speakers from both the UK and New Zealand. This must attend event is sponsored by the UK Department of International Trade and co-hosted by Lincoln Agritech.  Space is limited, so please register now.

Read more: AgriTechNZ News: Fieldays Special Edition

Posted in Newsletter

Robotics Plus unveils autonomous modular vehicle to alleviate agriculture labour shortages

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

Multi-use, modular platform Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) automates tree and vine crop tasks, starting with intelligent spraying

FRESNO, Calif., and TAURANGA, NZ Robotics Plus, a New Zealand-based agritech company, today launched its autonomous multi-use, modular vehicle platform for agriculture designed to carry out a variety of orchard and vineyard machine tasks – to alleviate ongoing labor shortages and transform the industry.

The multi-purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) can be supervised in a fleet of vehicles by a single human operator. The vehicle uses a combination of vision systems and other technologies to sense the environment – to optimize tasks and allow intelligent and targeted application of inputs such as sprays. Growers will be able to rotate multiple tools on the highly adaptable and configurable agriculture platform, depending on the day’s work – for jobs such as spraying, weed control, mulching, mowing and crop analysis.

Robotics Plus, a specialist in the design and build of robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous machines, unveiled its demonstration vehicle at FIRA USA 2022, a California-based event dedicated to autonomous agriculture and agricultural robotics solutions for the North American market.

Steve Saunders, Co-founder and CEO of Robotics Plus, says its world-class team worked alongside growers, researchers and best-in-class technology suppliers to deliver the unique modular architecture for its multi-purpose UGV, which can operate in a range of environments.

Caption (L): Steve Saunders Co-founder and CEO of Robotics Plus
Caption (R): Dr Alistair Scarfe, Co-founder and CTO of Robotics Plus

“We’ve created a flexible agricultural platform with the power to adapt to different crop types with tools for various applications, providing year-round automation benefits and maximizing machine utilization.

“To adapt and thrive in a changing world and create a sustainable and competitive future in the agricultural and speciality tree crop sector – growers and orchardists need automation that solves real-world problems, reduces reliance on increasingly costly and hard-to-find machine operators and provides data-driven insights for informed decision-making.”

Saunders says that for automation to be adopted, it must also provide a good return on investment.

“Our multi-purpose vehicle replaces tractors and other tools. But, it does much more than just replacing labor – it’s loaded with intelligence to improve efficiencies,” he says.

The first application for the technology is intelligent spraying. The system intelligently varies the flow rate to ensure spray efficacy whilst reducing inputs. Spray rates and airspeed is controlled in zones and responds as the sprayer moves along orchard or vineyard rows.

The highly manoeuvrable UGV has a small footprint and unique steering configuration, incorporating electric steering and independent motors, which increases productivity – allowing significantly more ground to be covered than machines which turn on every second row or greater, depending on row configuration. The UGV can be deployed in a range of applications in various crop types with a minimum row spacing of 1.8M/6ft.

Dr Alistair Scarfe, Co-founder and CTO of Robotics Plus, says its hybrid electric diesel UGV delivers outstanding performance in the field.

“Electric drive motors give superior torque and control, whilst a Tier 4 diesel generator means the vehicle can operate for extended periods. Fuel consumption is minimized by electrically driving all systems, including tools. Regenerative braking and high-capacity batteries also extend efficiency and range.

“In addition, the vehicle’s lightweight design and intelligent all-wheel-drive system, with independent wheel motors to ensure grip and control – while significantly reducing ground compaction to protect the soil,” he says.

The vehicle has been designed from the ground up to be modular and easy to service. With no hydraulic, gearbox or differential fluids to be managed, operators can easily keep their vehicles running if a part fails by simply swapping out modules when needed. All of this is designed to reduce downtime and complexity for growers.

Robotics Plus has partnered with best-in-class technology suppliers, including Yamaha Motor Company, Autonomous Solutions Inc., and Croplands, to significantly increase the robustness and support for the product in a demanding environment such as agriculture.

Caption: Robotics Plus’ multi-use, modular platform Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)
automates tree and vine crop tasks for orchards and vineyards

Saunders says by taking a partnership approach, Robotics Plus has created a best-in-class platform for the agriculture industry.

“We’ve benefited from our partner’s deep knowledge and access to high-quality technology components. In addition, growers can deploy Quantum sprayers with configurations adaptable to various crop types, growing formats, and heights.”

Robotics Plus has developed multiple autonomous systems for use in agriculture and automation for intelligent fruit-packing to address significant industry issues, including global labor shortages, rising costs, and yield security. In addition, its robotic automatic log scaling machines are transforming port logistics with improved safety and productivity.

Robotics Plus’ fast-growing team developed the modular platform UGV at its Tauranga base, with extensive testing in New Zealand and the US in various environments and applications. Robotics Plus investors include Yamaha Motor Company and New Zealand’s ACC Impact Fund.

Robotics Plus’ new autonomous modular vehicle is available for pre-order.
For more information, see

Posted in Media Release, General

AgriTechNZ News: the age of agritech!

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

Spring growth echoes industry growth 

As spring growth continues, it’s great to also see signs of growth for our industry too. New product launches, industry recognition and the ability to get out into the world are all very welcome growth dynamics. We’re looking forward to next month’s Springtime Fieldays! Many of our stakeholders will be onsite and planning shared activities for next year. We’ll also be hosting and presenting several activities and hope to see you there.

Decade of disruption and the age of agritech

My first international adventure since the pandemic has shown me that while we’ve been working on agritech growth strategies, so has the rest of the world!


Robotics Plus unveils it’s autonomous platform

Industry leader and AgriTechNZ member Robotics Plus were in the news recently when they launched their multi-use modular autonomous vehicle at FIRA USA 2022. We celebrate their ‘global from day one’ approach and look forward to further growth of the company and New Zealand agritech’s global impact.


NZ International Business Awards

Congratulations to AgriTechNZ members Agrisea and UBCO for being chosen as finalists in the International Business Awards.

Read more >

Common language in farming data

We are working with Rezare Systems and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on a project to align the way we describe and identify data elements. This will help our ecosystem participate in a range of industry initiatives without ‘reinventing the wheel’ each time.


Emissions pricing submission

We are preparing a submission to the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and the MPI on the Government’s proposal to price agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in Aotearoa New Zealand from 2025. We believe the good use of digital tools and the inclusion of agritech service providers and their partners can address many of the issues raised by stakeholders in these discussions. If you’d like to express an opinion or join the conversation, please get in touch.

Contact Us > 

Join us at Fieldays 2022

Join us for our Solutions for Successful Digital Adoption event on Thursday 1 December beside the Pavillion. Following our panel discussion, during lunch, you’ll be able to meet the international community attending Fieldays, generously sponsored by the UK Department of International Trade.

Register Now >

Can we drop in and say hi?

If you’re a Member and exhibiting at Fieldays, please let us know! We’d love to visit and promote your presence through our social channels. Please update us on where you’ll be and we’ll swing by to say hello.

Get in Touch > 

Ngā manaakitanga me kei runga noa atu 
Go well and onwards and upwards

Chief Executive on behalf of the Executive Council of AgriTech New Zealand

PS: We love to share member news and events. If you’re doing something cool, please let us know!

Posted in Newsletter

Leveraging data for environmental initiatives

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

AgriTechNZ and Rezare Systems are working with the Ministry for Primary Industries on a project that aims to align the way we describe and identify data elements, so that farmers and their ecosystem can participate in a range of industry initiatives without reinventing the wheel for each initiative.

Why are we doing this?

You will be aware of the central and regional government and industry initiatives around farm systems, integrated farm planning, freshwater farm planning, and emissions reporting.

Each of these initiatives leverages data about farms and catchments, and each initiative rightfully has its own data requirements and data dictionary that align with regulatory or supply chain requirements.

AgriTech New Zealand, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Data Interoperability Working Group recognise that there are benefits in aligning the data definitions in these initiatives. Alignment will reduce the confusion that could otherwise about “similar but different” terms. Alignment will also allow farmers and their organisations and advisors to re-use data more effectively.

What are we doing?

This is not a huge project. Most initiatives and programmes already have existing glossaries or data dictionaries that could be aligned. Organisations also have their own data schemas and experts who know how data elements should be interpreted. The opportunity is to bring these together.

AgriTech New Zealand and MPI have retained Rezare Systems (who previously worked on the NZ Farm Data Standards) to engage with data stewards (service providers and software companies), and obtain existing glossaries or data dictionaries, to analyse where they can be aligned. The outcome will be an updated set of definitions, made available as open source, and planned to be integrated into other evolving initiatives such as Integrated Farm Planning and LINK Aotearoa (previously called LINK 2025).

The timeline looks like this:

  • October 2022 – briefing workshops, engagement with the appropriate experts in your team
  • November 2022 – analysis work to align the existing glossaries and produce a cohesive cross-initiative glossary
  • December 2022 – publish the resulting data dictionary or glossary for feedback

Could you be involved?

We are looking for people with informed opinions on the definition and interpretation of data fields used to support environmental initiatives. These definitions include spatial, livestock, crop, water, or fertiliser activities.

We are particularly interested in talking to people in organisations with their own definitions, glossaries, or database schemas. If this could be you or someone in your organisation, please get in contact at

Posted in General, AgriTechNZ News

Decade of disruption and the age of agritech

Sunday, October 2nd, 2022

My first international visit since the pandemic has been an insightful reminder that while we’ve been working on agritech growth strategies, so has the rest of the world!

Most of my time has been spent touring the United Kingdom’s (UK) agritech centres of excellence. This highlighted the level of local investment in agritech in addition to the upheaval and opportunities present.

In 2015, the UK was one of the first countries to have a national agritech strategy. Since then, it has been funded by Innovate UK with significant investment in four agritech centres, each with their own speciality:  

  • Agri-EPI Centre concentrates on engineering and precision agriculture, 
  • Agrimetrics develops data capabilities
  • CHAP focuses on crop health and protection 
  • CIEL is the centre for innovation excellence in livestock. 

These centres for agricultural innovation are a collaborative model between industry and government.  The aim is to help the UK commericalise innovation, encourage inward investment and improve farming practice.

During the last fortnight,  I’ve met with key people from each of these groups and continue to deepen our network of networks for agritech innovators. Many New Zealand companies are already establishing a  position in the UK and benefiting from access to the significant resources of these groups.

What I have found most interesting in the UK, is the relatively high level of technology capability, but low level of domestic technology adoption.  Within that dynamic lies great opportunity for collaboration between the UK and New Zealand agritech innovators both of whom work in different domestic environments and have shared global aspirations.

During my visit, local commentators described the factors contributing towards  a ‘decade of disruption’. In addition to the global challenge of food production in a climate crisis and the food system impacts from the war in Ukraine, UK farmers are also facing the phase out of a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).  Until recently, this has subsidised their operations based on the area they farm. This is being replaced with supports for three areas of policy impact (productivity, environmental outcomes and landscape/air/water quality) but at lower levels than the BPS.

Interestingly, the devolution of agricultural policy to each country in the UK will see a divergence in how support is applied;.

  • England will focus on public good – improving landscape, air and water quality improvements
  • Scotland will focus on reduced emissions from agriculture
  • Wales will focus on public good, with an agriculture focus
  • Northern Ireland focus on sustainable productivity improvements

This is a notable period of change in the UK. Approximately 40 percent of farmers have only been profitable with the BPS and a further 15 percent who are not profitable even with the BPS. Farmers will require significant adjustments to their practices. Like many other countries, they will be searching for the optimal sweet spot combining  productivity and environmental improvements. Both will  require a new suite of tools and capabilities.

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (AITP) supported an Agritech Story campaign in the Farmers Guardian. I was delighted to receive positive feedback during several meetings in the UK and Ireland about how it  struck a chord in the market.  Later this year, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and the AITP team will collaborate again on another campaign.  Yes, the primary audience is UK farmers, but it’s worth noting the whole ecosystem pays attention and the potential for technology collaborations is significant.

Certainly, local details may differ, but the common challenges of farming in a climate crisis are shared. This is truly the age of agritech as farmers and growers seek innovations necessary to navigate disruption. It’s also true that neither the UK nor New Zealand can justify substantial investments in agritech developments without taking those solutions to international markets. 

The connections strengthened on this visit will continue to be nurtured when the UK Department of International Trade (UK DIT) visit New Zealand with a cohort of UK agritech innovators for Fieldays 2022..

We look forward to continuing to develop and collaborate on successful projects  with all our UK partners.

And for our Members, we will continue to provide opportunities to connect, promote and advance our ecosystem. This type of engagement is just one example supporting our goal to connect our Members and participate in opportunities for economic growth.

Brendan O’Connell

Posted in AgriTechNZ News

AgriTechNZ News: Digital Boost for Ag

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

Globally, we are at one of the most important, exciting and challenging times in the history of agriculture. Strengthening the foundations of a smart agritech ecosystem in New Zealand will assure the role the world needs of us. As a small market we are limited in what we can achieve on our own, but as a smart ecosystem we can have a disproportionate impact on global food systems and climate action. 

During the last month we have made excellent progress promoting and advancing the agritech sector in and from New Zealand. We’ve published our 
Baseline of Digital Adoption research report and participated in the development of the Digital Boost for Ag series of videos.

A smart ecosystem thrives on collaboration across interconnected interests, effectively functioning as a unit. In New Zealand, our innovators, agribusinesses, researchers, investors, regulators, farmers and growers are easily connected. Less easy, but vital if we are to realise our global impact, is to find common ground on shared problems. For example, equitable food production in a climate crisis. We need to develop our collaborative fitness and shine our light out in the world.

This starts with strengthening our core and improving our use of innovative solutions locally. It includes building our international connections and promoting our capabilities globally. This month we’re highlighting the progress and opportunities for digital agriculture in New Zealand and connecting with global agritech interests at the World Agritech Innovation Summit.

2022 Baseline of Digital Adoption in Primary Industries

This new research report helps us understand the realities of digital adoption across New Zealand. It provides powerful insights to on-farm utilisation of digital agricultural practices and the strategies to enable increased benefit from the technologies. In case you missed it, the report is available to download for free.  On 19 October, we will also host a members-only webinar to explore the meaning and implications of this research. We will also be seeking input on next steps for this work.

Register Now

Digital Boost for agriculture

Backed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Digital Boost is an online platform designed to digitally upskill businesses across New Zealand, for free. Recognising that agriculture is at the heart of New Zealand’s economy, AgriTechNZ collaborated in the creation of  Digital Boost for Ag, a series of videos directly related to on-farm technology solutions. The series highlights farmers and growers from Auckland to Southland to help their peers get the best advice on digital tools and what farmers should think about when making technology decisions.  Watch my intro video on the importance of agritech here.

Learn More

World Agritech connections

Next week I’m travelling to London to fly the flag and deepen connections with the world’s agritech community. With over 800 top level agri-food professionals in attendance over two days, we’ll be meeting existing partners and developing valuable new connections. We’ll keep you updated!

Read More

Creating regional impact for a global crisis: Oceania 2025

We’re just one month away from the 2035 Oceania Summit in Auckland. If you haven’t already secured your ticket, now is the time. If you’re an AgriTechNZ member, please contact us for your discount code.

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Agrifoodtech mission to Israel

AgriTechNZ member AgSorted is leading the Israel New Zealand Strategic Partnerships Project for Early Stage Agri Food Tech businesses  mission to Israel. The project is designed to help NZ agri food tech businesses accelerate their international growth through strategic partnerships with well-matched Israeli partners. The mission is scheduled before and after  Israel’s AgriFoods Week in Tel Aviv 6-10 November, to optimise its success.

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Fieldays Innovation Awards

The final entry date for our sector’s premier innovation awards is 6 October. There is no better platform to celebrate innovation in our sector, with all the participants in our primary industries watching. If an innovation launches but no one sees it, did it really happen? Make sure your innovation is celebrated and enter the awards today.

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KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards

We’ll be joining KiwiNet to honour Aotearoa’s research commercialisation heroes and their entrepreneurial spirit on 6 October. There are still some tickets left if you would like to join.

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AgTech Breakthrough Awards

Congratulations to Hectre – Orchard Management Software who was named best Overall Post Harvest Company of the Year at the AgTech Breakthrough Awards. The award recognises the best companies, products and services in the agritech sector and it’s the second time they have won this award which is a wonderful achievement.

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Ngā manaakitanga me kei runga noa atu 
Go well and onwards and upwards

Chief Executive
on behalf of he Executive Council of AgriTech New Zealand

Posted in Newsletter

NZ agriculture at a critical point

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

September 7, 2022

Widespread digital changes in New Zealand agriculture are occurring at a critical point with increasing global food demand, economic and environmental sustainability, and the response to the climate crisis, AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says.

These issues are inextricably linked and technology solutions are the vital answer for improved food and fibre production.

The adoption of technology on farms and orchards is just one dynamic in an overall scheme of extensive changes in agricultural practice.

O’Connell was reacting to the release of a new AgriTechNZ report just out on technology growing faster throughout the primary industries.

“The utilisation of tech by New Zealand growers and producers is strong compared to many other farming countries,” he says.

“This is largely due to the close affinity, developed over many decades, between innovators and  their farming customers in New Zealand.

However, the general observation that adoption of technologies in agriculture occurs at a slower rate than in other industries is also true in New Zealand.

“Technology innovation is the enabler of profitable, sustainable, and inclusive production systems. It is also a much-needed source of high value jobs and global impact, beyond food and fibre exports.

“The adoption of technologies in agriculture also needs to be considered in the context of practice change and not just the acquisition of new tools.”

The report says this represents a paradigm shift in the approach to farm operations and is a key factor in the adoption of  technology.

Farming practices are continually evolving. One of New Zealand agriculture’s distinctive features is its ability to adapt.

Farmers build on their experience to refine their livestock and crop management. They are also responding to continual changes in natural conditions and resource availability.

“Inherently, New Zealand producers and growers are pragmatic and capable of change where the right  value and conditions exist.

“This report is just the start. In time, we will carry out an economic and sustainability impact study on future agricultural changes.”

AgriTechNZ chair Bridgit Hawkins says the agritech sector has two important roles as a contributor to growing the New Zealand economy.

Growing and globalising in its own right, and, by having stronger and more innovative companies, supporting New Zealand’s pastoral, arable and horticultural sectors to grow by taking on the amazing technologies being developed, she says.

“The research in the report has opened up many insights, much more nuanced than those easy stereotypes about the adoption of technology.

“There are many reasons why  a farmer or grower will seek out a technology to solve a problem they have identified, or why a farmer or grower will actively not adopt a technology that could make a task easier.

“If we believe our technologies are part of solving  problems for individual farmers or for the greater NZ Inc benefit, then we owe it to our farmers and growers to understand their reasons and start the conversation there.

For further information contact Brendan O’Connell on 021 369740 or NZTech’s media specialist, Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Posted in Media Release

Digital agriculture a significant opportunity to NZ’s primary industries

Monday, September 5th, 2022

Digital agriculture is creating a significant opportunity to enhance New Zealand’s primary industries, including economic, environmental, and social outcomes.

The latest AgritechNZ report just released today creates a baseline of digital adoption across the primary sector to better understand the motivations, pressures and barriers faced by farmers and growers in adopting new tools, AgritechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says.

The research was designed to provide actionable insight for agritech businesses, industry groups and public agencies who seek to unleash the potential of digital agriculture and develop strategies to support farmers and growers.

“There is a deep richness in the findings and attitudes to digital adoption. A total of 59 percent of the surveyed population lean towards the adoption of digital technologies,” O’Connell says.

“But this is for very different reasons and with different pathways to participation depending on the mix of motivations, pressures, and barriers.

“A total of 41 percent of respondents sided with not seeing much value in using digital technology to run their business.

“This is a high proportion, though not unexpected considering knowledge levels are low, and the value of data sharing is still to be unlocked.

“While there is a healthy population of trailblazers across all sub-sectors and age groups, on the whole, the willingness to adopt early is lower than outside the primary sector.

“Proudly traditionalist farmers and growers are reluctant to change what has worked for their land for many years.

“They may accept technology in the office or will tap into the expertise of contractors for specific jobs, the key though is that someone else is doing it.

“With regards to data sharing, 64 percent of farmers and growers have confidence in the custodians of their data and 77 percent are happy to share data where the data provides direct benefits to them.

“This is a seemingly positive result but is balanced by data that shows only half of farmers and growers are data sharing.”

The biggest barriers to data sharing revealed by the survey included that farmers and growers did not believe their data would have value to anyone else.

There is a low recognition of the value in the data held on farm and a difficulty in unlocking the value of shared data. There is also a lack of clarity around who would want the information and why.

This is what can lead to confusion, mistrust and fear. Confidence comes from knowing who is using it and for what,” O’Connell says.

“Adoption on use of digital technology is highest in farm business management, such as accounts, payroll and health and safety solutions.

“This may be the entry point for digital technology on farms, with many tools having been around for a long time.

“Across the primary sector, the lower adoption areas are water, irrigation management, plant and crop management and effluent management.

“However, those with a higher need for precision in these areas are showing higher adoption rates. Operational areas with lower current adoption levels are also the areas with lower intended investment levels over the next two years.

“Tracking data over future survey points will provide valuable insights into how technology spend plans change with land use changes, policy changes and as the agritech market develops.”

The report was created as part of a study by AgriTechNZ and insights partner Research First, supported by Zespri, DairyNZ, FAR, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.

For further information contact Brendan O’Connell on 021 369740 or NZTech’s media specialist, Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

Photo: Brendan O’Connell

Posted in Media Release