Agri-technology

Yamaha puts $12 million into Tauranga’s Robotics Plus

[15 November/NZ Herald] Tauranga ag-tech startup Robotics Plus, a maker of automation systems in horticulture and forestry, has revealed an USD8m ($12m) investment from Yamaha. The Japanese giant has now put in a total of USD10m, including an earlier investment in May, giving it a 15% holding in the company with the balance of the...

Robots to train vineyard and orchard workers to do a better job

[11 October/Stuff] Robots could be used to prune in vineyards and orchards across New Zealand. University of Auckland researchers were granted $16.8 million to develop a robotic automation system to upskill human workers, and do manual tasks. University Professor, Bruce MacDonald, said robots would not take jobs, but rather plug the existing labour shortage and...

Time to embrace gene editing technology, scientists say

[4 October/Stuff] According to a paper by The Royal Society Te Aparangi, removing allergens from milk and making manuka disease resistant could be potential uses of gene editing. It looked at several possible uses for New Zealand’s primary industries. Professor of Molecular Genetics at Massey University, Barry Scott, said gene editing techniques would allow more...

Rural areas can keep banks – if govt willing to pay for them

[3 September/Stuff] Regional Development Minister, Shane Jones, was told that if he wanted banks to continue to offer branches is rural areas, the Government may need to contribute. He criticised banks for closing branches in provincial towns, and suggested they should be obliged to service rural areas. New Zealand banks made cumulative profit of $5.19...

NZ Agritech is officially recognised by globally connected venture capital

[3 September/Agritech] New Zealand has become Farm2050’s first country partners when a Partnership Agreement was signed on Friday the 31st of August. Farm2050 is a collective of major global venture firms and agribusinesses dedicated to supporting Agtech innovations, being established by Google Chair, Eric Schmidt, in 2014. Agritech New Zealand would drive the partnership. They...

Gumboot maker Skellerup invests $1m in US rubber company

[11 July/Stuff] Skellerup is investing $1 million into a liquid silicone rubber company, Sim Lim Technic, to help grow its overseas market. It has obtained a 35 percent stake in the company. Skellerup Chief Financial Officer, Graham Leaming, said the U.S. was the company’s biggest and fastest growth market. The move would harness its capability...

Van der Heyden backs Fonterra chairman John Wilson after Shane Jones calls for resignation

[14 June/NZ Herald] Former Fonterra Chairman, Sir Henry van der Heyden, has given his backing to the current chairman of the co-op, John Wilson. He said no New Zealand farmer would argue with the current milk price forecast in response to comments from Regional Development Minister, Shane Jones, who said the company should stop being...

Halter announces $8 Million Series A capital raise from Silicon Valley investors

[14 June/Halter Press Release] Halter has raised $8 million in Series A funding to guide and manage livestock using artificial intelligence, sustainably increasing production at New Zealand dairy farms while saving billions in labour costs, improving environmental compliance and animal welfare. It announced it would commercialise its patented technologies that shift and manage livestock, starting...

Callaghan Innovation & Agritech New Zealand announce 2018 Silicon Valley Agritech Immersion Program & Conference

 [13 June/Agritech New Zealand Press Release] Agritech New Zealand was excited to work with Callaghan Innovation to support kiwi agritech businesses wanting to attend the Silicon Valley Agritech Immersion Program and Conference. It would be the third year New Zealand will be taking a major delegation to learn more about Silicon Valley’s rapidly expanding agritech...

Funding boost for key farm management tool

[17 May/Rural News] A controversial farm management tool, Overseer, will get $5 million state funding for an upgrade according to the recent budget. Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, said the Government and the primary sector would work together to boost the science behind the tool. Overseer is a tool that helps measure nutrient use and greenhouse...

Shortage-stricken growers to reap fruits of new tech

[11 May/Radio NZ] Labour shortages in orchards could be a thing of the past with robotic machines picking up the work. The robotic apple packers will be released commercially later in the month. Robotic Plus Chief Technology Officer, Alistair Scarfe, said there was no reason robotics could not be developed for horticulture such as kiwifruit....

Electric fence maker Tru-Test carves off large portion to sell to Swiss company

[7 May/NZ Farmer] Tru-Test has entered into an agreement with a Swedish company, Datamars SA, to sell most of its business. The deal involved the Tru-Test brand, its milk meters business and the functions of their retail solutions division which included its electric fence arm. The two divisions accounted for around 85 percent of its...

Revenue at Waikato Innovation Park soars 28% to $546m

[3 May/NZ Herald] Survey results from the Waikato Innovation Park reinforced the region’s title as New Zealand’s fastest growing tech region with 28 percent growth in the revenue of park tenants. Tenant numbers lifted to 60 from 44 in the previous year. Full-time equivalents working outside the park for its tenants had doubled on the...

Farmlands CEO urges New Zealand to farm smarter, not harder

[4 April] Farmlands Co-operative Chief Executive, Peter Reidie, challenged rural New Zealand to meet demands of a changing consumer base. He said that the model used to drive New Zealand’s farming success in the past wasn’t going to drive success in the future. He added that NZ could not win on scale and low cost...

Progressive Engineering – Refrigeration added to package

[6 April/Rural Life] Progressive Engineering continued to diversify its business by adding refrigeration and home heating services. Managing Director, Chris Hughes, said clients had asked about on-farm refrigeration services, so they delivered. Mr Hughes added that they were backed by the people in the electrical division and that is started with qualified refrigeration engineer Ben...

Intensive beef operation producing more than just good returns

[10 April/NZ Farmer] According to Fritha Tagg, a Far North beef farmer was not afraid to use the latest technology to good advantage. Six generations had farmed the O’Callaghan farm. Technology has turned the marginal land into a first-class beef-producing farm. Rachelle O’Callaghan, who is the sixth generation on the land, said she never thought...

LIC launches Space, the final frontier for livestock improvement

[11 January/ The Country] Livestock Improvement Corporation has announced a giant leap forward for pasture management, a satellite technology called SPACE or Satellite Pasture and Cover Evaluation.  SPACE uses satellite images to measure pasture cover and sends detailed reports to farmers by email, saving farmer’s significant time in checking pasture cover each week.  Such technology...

Farmlands invests in FarmIQ Systems

[6 December/ NZ Herald] Farmlands has taken a stake in farm software company FarmIQ Systems as part of a capital raising round. FarmIQ Systems joined Landcorp Farming, Silver Fern Farms Joint Ventures, and Veterinary Enterprises Group as shareholders in the company that developed and marketed software for farming and agribusiness. FarmIQ Chairman, John Quirk said...

Local tech in $19m ‘win-win’

[9 December/ Otago Daily Times] Research from Sainsbury’s has shown the use of technology developed by Techion Group in Otago could save farmers in its supply chain about $19 million annually. Techion Founder, Greg Mirams said the involvement of the United Kingdom’s second largest supermarket would put his animal parasite diagnostics company on the map....

New app to bring in water-allowance sharing

[24 November/ Radio New Zealand] Farmers and growers in Marlborough would soon have use of an online tool that told them how much water they could use on a given day. The council has been looking at solutions for an increasing strain on water supplies, as demand continues to increase. Marlborough District Council Environment Committee...

Rotorua agri-tech event focuses on digital technologies

[24 November/ NZ Herald] MobileTECH 2018 is one of New Zealand’s largest agri-tech events and would invite technology leaders from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors to discuss themes including artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart data. MobileTECH Programme Manager, Ken Wilson said the event would continue to be a platform for change and...

Mapping the shift to digital farming

[10 November/Rural News] AgResearch is starting a programme investigating the new era of digital agriculture. The goal of the programme is to develop a technology roadmap to support the industry as it transitions to digital agriculture, as well as identify barriers to technology uptake. AgResearch Research Director Greg Murison believed there was a huge potential...

Shaping the future of what we eat and grow through daring innovation

[17 October/Lincoln Hub Media Release] Lincoln Hub is teaming up with the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), AGMARDT, Callaghan Innovation, Lincoln University and Creative HQ to bring a plant-based innovation hackathon to Christchurch in early December. The event, titled Feed the World 2030: Power of Plants Hackathon, will allow agritech food innovators, scientists, industry experts...

DNA feat could boost star forestry species

[18 October/New Zealand Herald] Crown research institute Scion have completed a draft assembly of the radiata pine’s genetic makeup, or genome, opening the door to a new era of precision forestry for the critically important species. The genome assembly began in 2013 and was completed last month, using the Rotorua-based institute’s newly acquired high-capacity computer...