A United States-based chemical engineer has rubbished claims that no safe alternative exists for fumigating export timber and logs. New Zealand's Environmental Protection Authority has recently allowed the industry to apply to have a critical deadline extended on the use of methyl bromide.
The Authority said eight years ago that users would need to have new technology in place by 2020 to collect and store the used gas after fumigation, preventing its spread into the atmosphere.
Methyl Bromide is described by the EPA as an "extremely toxic and ozone-depleting substance" and is banned except for use on logs and timber products for export, as part of quarantine requirements.
The group representing logging and timber exporters, and which has been trying to find an alternative, has convinced the authority it cannot meet that deadline.
Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction chair Don Hammond said that when the 2010 decision was made there was an expectation that technology would have been created by now to recapture methyl bromide and, most importantly, destroy the used material.
Two researchers from the University of Canterbury and another from the Helmholtz Institute have developed machine-learning software that can predict how dangerous a particular strain of Salmonella will be, according to a paper published in PLOS Genetics this week [9 May NZ time].
The ban on new offshore gas exploration has made it harder for fertiliser cooperative Ballance Agri-Nutrients to settle on the future for its plant at Kapuni, which is New Zealand's only ammonia-urea facility
HiveTech's products provide the honey industry with pot-to-hive traceability. A Taranaki company that provides "pot-to-hive" honey tracing technology is up against an agri-tech giant in the hunt for a national award. Bell Block-based Hivetech Ltd is a finalist in the NZ Hi-Tech awards, to be held in Christchurch on May 25. The company provides technology solutions to the commercial beekeeping industry and is one of three finalists in Most Innovative Hi-Tech for the Agritech Sector category.
Leading food company Alliance Group has reported promising outcomes from a pilot programme marketing hogget as a premium product as the co-operative seeks to capture more value for farmer shareholders.
Dec 7, 2017 - New Zealand has, over the last couple of years, become a hotbed of activity for both local and international agritech companies and start-ups. The growth in digital technologies and connectivity within the primary sector has enabled grassroots innovators develop revolutionary ideas for the local industry. If we looked at farming alone, 415 apps, software and smart tools are currently listed on Agri One’s national database, which tracks tools designed to help farmers manage rural businesses.
As competition ramps up within the sector, large agritech communities have developed around our traditional centres of Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland. But the focus is not just on the New Zealand market. Local, national and international events continue to showcase the opportunities available to agritech companies throughout the globe.
MobileTECH has been a key international agritech event held in New Zealand every year since 2013. Last year, over 300 technology leaders, developers and early adopters from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors gathered to exchange ideas and discuss new technologies.
For the 2018 event, a large section of the programme is dedicated to improving New Zealand’s agritech ecosystem and designed to encourage industry collaboration. Callaghan Innovation, Sprout (New Zealand) and WNT Ventures are on-hand to highlight how companies and entrepreneurs are developing their products and what support structures are available.
“The critical debate though, will be how the sector can continue to grow through better collaboration. Researchers, developers, innovators, investors and industry operators can all benefit from meeting under the one roof,” said MobileTECH programme manager, Ken Wilson. “The primary sector has always been the backbone to New Zealand’s thriving economy, so it is not surprising to see the opportunities available to our agritech community”.
In addition to the NZ focus, MobileTECH 2018 delegates will also hear from Sam Trethewey, Director of the Australian agritech accelerator, SproutX. Mr Trethewey offers fresh thinking and is a passionate leader for the integration of technology within the sector.
Agriculture is the fastest growing pillar of the Australian economy. Agtech continues to play an increasingly larger role in driving its growth, from inside the farm gate, through the supply chain and into consumer markets. SproutX is leading agtech development in Australia with a large national footprint that covers communities from Perth to Hobart and up to Cairns. SproutX also runs the only early stage agtech venture capital fund in the Asia Pacific and works alongside industry bodies, farmers, government, corporates and entrepreneurs.
Mr Trethewey is excited to be addressing MobileTECH 2018. “New Zealand agriculture leads the world and it’s through events like this that we get to understand who, why and how,” he said.
MobileTECH 2018 will be running on 27-28 March 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.