Irrigation technology takes root
Australian-listed Israeli agricultural technology company, Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies, has been busy signing up distribution deals in China and locally.
Roots has developed a two-in-one root zone heating and cooling technology, which increases crop yields significantly with low energy consumption.
The Australian agreement involves two-installation pilot projects including a proof of concept trial on apricot trees with Adam Water Solutions, one of Western Australia’s leading irrigation and Ag-tech integrators.
The pilot project commences in April, north of Perth, demonstrating the technology’s capacity to influence yield, quality, maturity time and extreme weather ameliorating effects in open field conditions.
Roots co-founder, Dr Sharon Devir, said the pilot was a key part of the company’s global expansion plan, building on similar agreements in additional markets in southern Europe and the Middle East.
In China the company has inked a distribution deal with ag-tech integrator Dagan Agricultural Automation which has the rights to sell the patented root zone temperature optimisation technology for up to five years, where it has a sales target of $24 million in that period.
Roots is attracted by the opportunities in China’s 53 per cent share of global vegetable production, or nearly 550m tonnes a year.
Euro co-op eyes dairy growth
Danish-based dairy processor and retail giant, Arla Foods, is to boost in its annual investment spend to $834 million largely to grow its position in key dairy categories and global markets where it is not already a major player.
The co-operative wants to take advantage of accelerating world demand for dairy products occurring outside its European home turf.
About half its investment activity in 2018 will be aimed at growing sales outside Europe.
Arla’s fastest growing strategic growth markets are in the Middle East and North Africa, China and South East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the US.
Projects aimed at servicing foreign markets include more milk powder and long life milk production in Germany.
Arla markets into about 120 countries.
Aussie Made social network
The green and gold Australian Made kangaroo logo celebrated a special Australia Day this year, welcoming its 300,000th follower on Facebook.
The milestone will help it maintain its position among the top 10 not-for-profit bodies in Australia on the social network platform.
The logo’s Facebook following has grown by 1000 per cent over the past five years.
Australian Made Campaign chief executive, Ian Harrison, said momentum was building along with demand for authentic Australian products.
“Shoppers are increasingly realising the high level of quality Australian producers offer and are actively seeking out locally made and grown options,” he said.
The logo also has 22,000 consumers following its Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts and 33,000 are members of the “Aussie Made Club” receiving a free monthly e-newsletter.
New pork research era
The new Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL) is making its first call for research proposals to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the industry.
APRIL, which replaces the Co-operative Research Centre for High Integrity Australian Pork (Pork CRC), is fully member based and funded with an initial $3 million investment for 2018-2019.
The new research body is actively seeking new science and creative new ideas by February 16.
It’s three programs cover resilience, cost and return on assets.
APRIL’s strategic plan for research focuses on making the industry more resilient and sustainable by cutting production costs through enhanced productivity and differentiation in specific areas.
The current cost of production, with feed priced at $370 a tonne, is between $2.60 and $2.80 a kilogram (carcass weight), but APRIL is targeting a cost of production (COP) of $2.22/kg.
Pork CRC and APRIL chairman, Dennis Mutton, is encouraging “fresh, game changing ideas” from incumbent and new researchers.
Chile cherry power summit
After years of exceptional growth buoyed by aggressive planting, improved post-harvest practices and Chinese consumer demand, Chile’s cherry industry is likely to export about 150,000 tonnes of fruit in 2017-18.
This makes Chile by far the world’s leading export player in the cherry market.
Its production output now has far-reaching impacts on winter markets in the northern hemisphere, especially as a competitor to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.
Not so surprisingly, Chile has been chosen as the ideal setting for an inaugural Global Cherry Summit on April 25 outside the capital Santiago.
The event will look at the cherry trade, e-commerce, new varieties, logistics, crop management and post-harvest techniques, as well as provide networking opportunities
Winery export cash help
Wine businesses exporting to China, Hong Kong, Macau and the USA can now apply for up to $25,000 in federal government funding to support specific export promotion activities.
The Wine Export Grants program is part of the government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, which aims to drive demand for wine exports and showcase Australia’s wine tourism.
The grant program offers $1m in funding for eligible small and medium wine businesses to claim up to 50 per cent reimbursement for specific export promotion expenses incurred on or after January 1.
Eligible claims include reimbursement of travel expenses for a single promotional visit to these markets, the cost of providing free samples of wines promoted for export, participation in trade fairs and in-store promotions, as well as marketing and advertising.
- Application details and guidelines are available at erwsp.wineaustralia.com.