New programme to brew unique hops and craft beer from New Zealand

A new joint craft beer and hop breeding programme launched today aims to develop unique super-premium hops for exceptional craft brewers and uniquely New Zealand craft beer for top-tier markets.

Hāpi Research Ltd has partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries to deliver Hāpi – Brewing Success, a $13.25 million, seven-year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme.

Hāpi Research Ltd is a joint venture between Garage Project, a leading Wellington craft brewer, and Freestyle Farms, a leading Nelson hop farm. While the programme was initiated by Garage Project and Freestyle Farms, it will grow as more like-minded businesses and research partners join the industrywide efforts.

“Our programme will pursue research to enhance and differentiate super-premium hop and craft beer markets and boost the growth of both industries,” says Freestyle Farms director David Dunbar.  “By collaborating across industries we’ll accelerate development of unique Kiwi hops, promote uniquely New Zealand craft beer, and open up new areas to hop growing.”

Hop growing will be supported by research on new precision agriculture practices and processing methods, and licensing for the hops will be limited to New Zealand growers.

Tom Greally, chief executive officer for Garage Project, says the programme intends to support entry into new markets for New Zealand craft brewers and enable new grower and brewer business models.

“We want to create a sustainable point of difference for New Zealand grown hops and craft beer,” says Mr Greally.  “Through the programme, we want to understand the unique chemical compounds of our hops that produce New Zealand flavours, and how to best accentuate them in finished beer.”

Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell says the aim is to develop the resources and tools for domestic and export success along the lines of the wine industry’s achievements – elevating New Zealand craft beer to a sustainable global brand that commands premium pricing across all markets.

The ministry’s director-general, Martyn Dunne, says the Hāpi – Brewing Success PGP programme will create a cross-industry research and development programme that’s commercially viable, sustainable in the long-term, with strong commercialisation pathways driven by the market.

“The collaborative efforts will strongly support development of high-value, premium products from regional businesses.”

The programme would help growers and brewers to explore new possibilities for our hop growing and craft beer industries.

Hāpi Research Ltd is contributing $7.95 million (60%) and the ministry is contributing $5.3 million (40%) over the term of the Primary Growth Partnership programme.

If successful, the programme expects hop revenue to grow to $132 million a year by 2027, which is $89 million higher than the revenue forecasted without the programme.  In addition, the programme expects craft beer revenue to grow to $98.5 million a year by 2027, which is $82 million higher than the revenue forecast without the programme.

The growth in both hop and craft beer would be driven by exports.

The co-investors expect 835 new jobs to be created across the hop growing and craft brewing industries if the economic goals are achieved.  A key aspect of the programme is that the intellectual property and expertise it develops will be retained in New Zealand.

The programme has five inter-related projects:

  • Project 1: Hop Breeding.  This project is a mixture of classical breeding methods combined with new molecular techniques to improve the speed and efficiency of the programme.  The primary goal is to commercialise 3 new premium varietals and support the release of 3 royalty-free varietals.
  • Project 2: Precision Farming and Hop Processing.  Research on optimal growing, harvesting and processing strategies to deliver unique flavours and aromas from the field to the glass.  This workstream will also explore the impacts of regional terroir on flavour and aromas.
  • Project 3: Hop Varietal Market Development. Creation of new licensing models for premium hop varietals with new and existing growers, combined with developing quality standards for hop processing to deliver quality and consistency into markets that supports premium pricing.
  • Project 4: Uniquely New Zealand Craft Beer. This project aims to create a unique, category-defining New Zealand craft beer by understanding and maximizing the unique New Zealand flavours achievable through New Zealand grown hops.
  • Project 5: Combined Hop and Craft Beer Industry Growth.  Creating opportunities to enhance and connect the New Zealand industry participants to markets.  Market development efforts including events connecting New Zealand craft brewers to international distributors and New Zealand growers to international craft brewers.

Hāpi – Brewing Success was one of nine business cases for new PGP programmes in the pipeline prior to the announcement of the Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures Programme.

Find out more about  Hāpi – Brewing Success HERE,

Source:  Ministry for Primary Industries

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Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures launched in move from volume to value

Growing New Zealand’s food and fibre sectors sustainably and supporting a thriving economy are the hallmarks of a new investment programme announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The best of two Ministry for Primary Industries investment programmes – the Sustainable Farming Fund and the Primary Growth Partnership – have been taken to create Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures, or SFF Futures, Mr O’Connor said.

“We are moving from volume to value. New Zealand’s commodity growth drive has come at the expense of the vital natural resources we need for our primary sector – our soil, water and social license to operate,” he said.

With a budget of $40 million a year, SFF Futures will provide a single gateway for farmers and growers to apply for investment in a greater range of projects that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits that flow through to all Kiwis.

“The food and fibre industries are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, delivering more than $42 billion in export revenue last year, and the Coalition Government wants to help extract more value from what they already do, in a sustainable way that means our natural resources will be there for future generations,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Targeted funding rounds may include projects focusing on specific outcomes, such as climate change or the environment.”

The announcement was made on a farm in Morrinsville alongside the launch of a project to tap into the high-value, New Zealand goat milk infant formula industry.

“The CAPRINZ programme is the type of SFF Futures programme we are looking for,” Mr O’Connor said.

It has a value chain focus, is expected to  deliver environmental and sustainability benefits, grow an important industry, foster collaboration, build capability and retain the benefits in New Zealand.

Source:  Minister of Agriculture

Ravensdown PGP gets new funding boost

Ravensdown’s Primary Growth Partnership programme has been extended to cover more geographic areas with the aim that the research outputs will be valid for 90% of hill country in New Zealand.

The research involves aerial scanning of hill country farms combined with actual soil tests so a predictive model of soil fertility can be calibrated across the varied terrain. New additional funding has been made available by Ravensdown and the Ministry for Primary Industries on a 60:40 basis so that the North Canterbury and Southland regions can be modelled and tested.

The farmer-owned co-operative has committed to invest $564,000 to complete this additional work, with MPI investing $376,200.

This PGP programme, called Pioneering to Precision, and an aligned Ravensdown-funded programme, which is investigating improved aerial spreading precision, is at the three-quarter mark on its seven-year journey. The special aerial camera used by the programme scans 1,000 hectares an hour. These ‘AirScans’ can be turned into a soil fertility map that directs a GPS-enabled topdressing aircraft with computer-controlled doors to deliver fertiliser where it’s needed, instead of where it’s not.

Of the farms using the aerial spreading precision service so far, the system ensured fertiliser was avoided for 14% of land either because it was ineffective, culturally sensitive or environmentally vulnerable. The technology also makes it safer for pilots and can be better for productivity and the environment.

“When it comes to the aerial scanning of hill country, there will be some climate and soil differences which means you can’t necessarily take results from one part of the country and apply it to another,” said Mike Manning, Ravensdown’s General Manager Innovation and Strategy.

“We’ve done a fair amount of calibrating actual soil results with modelled results across the east coast and central parts of the North Island, South Canterbury and Otago. While we wouldn’t expect the differences to be huge across many of these regions, it’s important to check.”

Ravensdown is looking for farms in the newly added areas who want to test their farm using the AirScan service.

Source:  Ravensdown

Massey graduate’s journey from ‘townie’ to a doctorate in agritech

When Dr Sue Chok left high school she had her sights set on becoming a doctor, but back then she had a medical specialisation in mind and the self-confessed “townie” wouldn not even have known what precision agriculture was.

Last week she accepted her doctoral degree in precision agriculture as part of graduation celebrations in Palmerston North, joining over 1000 other graduates.

“I thought I wanted to be a medical doctor, but it turns out I didn’t like biology that much. My interests were actually in other areas like physics and chemistry,” Dr Chok says.

“I was also passionate about the environment.”

After assessing her options, Dr Chok decided to complete a Bachelor of Engineering majoring in environmental technology, and then a doctorate with one of the country’s leading agritech minds, Professor Ian Yule.

“I didn’t have a farming background. It was a completely new topic and I was looking for a new challenge. There was a summer internship with Ian and Miles Grafton that a friend suggested I apply for. It was in assessing fertiliser quality in New Zealand”

An internship working on this project, led to Dr Chok’s PhD working with Ravensdown. The PhD project looked at improving aerial topdressing (applying granular fertiliser from aircraft) on hill country farms in New Zealand.

“Fertiliser is applied on New Zealand hill country using fixed wing agricultural aircraft. This has been occurring in New Zealand since the 1940s. There has been very little change in the aerial topdressing industry till recently.

“This technology will allow different application rates to be applied over a farm rather than the conventional blanket rate. Studies have shown that pasture and nutrient needs can vary significantly over a farm. Therefore the variable rate system will help to optimise pasture production and reduce cost by applying fertiliser where it is required.

“My particular part was to validate a model that enables the prediction of fertiliser distribution in the field and to assess the performance of a new variable rate application technology system that Ravensdown is implementing in their fixed wing aircraft fleet.”

Her research involved field work, lab work and programming.

“I really enjoyed the diversity I had as I wasn’t just doing one thing the whole time.

“The field work involved setting out a total of around 200 collectors over five experiments where aircraft would be applying fertiliser. The samples would then be collected and weighed in a lab, where the results were used to make conclusions about the system and see if the model can reproduce it.

“It’s a cool feeling as my work had real world applications where the solutions from my project is implemented by the aerial spreaders so that farmers can benefit immediately.”

Dr Chok will take up a role in the University’s new AgriTech Partnership as a junior research officer working with  the innovative Fenix hyper spectral imaging system, a tool used in precision agriculture, which was first developed for military reconnaissance and space exploration.

The project is part of the Primary Growth Partnership between Ravensdown and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Source: Massey University

PGP review may result in greater focus on soil and water issues

The Primary Growth Partnership may continue under the Labour-led Government but with a greater focus on soil and water issues.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor told AgScience:

“I have indicated there will be a review of PGP.  Millions have been invested across different sectors and of course there is good that will have come from it. But identifying that is not so easy.

“So we’ve got to make sure that wherever taxpayers are spending money across the rural and agricultural sectors, they are getting good value for that money because just as farmers expect to use their money wisely, so does government.

“And we’ve got to make sure that we don’t drop the ball.”

O’Connor said there was a need for a greater understanding of the value of soil and all aspects of its protection and development.

Similarly, with water science “there’s a  hell of a lot for us still  to learn”.

Not enough investment had been put into those areas.

On the role of state grants for research and development, O’Connor said the Government hadn’t committed to any approach, other than to boost the Sustainable Farming Fund, “which we think has been a very successful approach – we like small smart initiatives.”

With the PGP, large amounts of money often had been invested for business-as-usual projects

“We are going to balance those,” O’Connor said.

“Firstly, we will have a review and look at the system .

“I know PGP has improved over time in terms of oversight and accountability, but the question still remains what is the best way to spend taxpayers money for the future of agriculture.”

Without a vision and strategic plan “we’re not quite sure if we are spending that money in the right direction”.

 

Approval of PGP programme gives a boost to the sheep milk industry

New Zealand’s fledgling sheep milk industry has been given a significant boost today with approval of the business case for a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries and Spring Sheep Milk Co.  The new ‘Sheep – Horizon Three’ PGP programme aims to develop a market driven, end-to-end value chain generating annual revenues of between $200 million and $700 million by 2030.

The ministry invests in cutting-edge innovation programmes through the PGP in partnership with industry.

It will be investing $12.56 million (40 per cent) into the new programme; Spring Sheep Milk Co will invest $18.83m, representing a total investment of $31.39m over its six-year life.

Spring Sheep Milk Co is a 50/50 partnership between Landcorp and a number of New Zealand investors through SLC Ventures LP.

Its co chief executive Scottie Chapman says with PGP support, sheep milk represents a unique opportunity for New Zealand to build a high-value sheep milk industry.

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New PGP programme to boost wool industry

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new Primary Growth Partnership programme aimed at lifting the profitability and sustainability of New Zealand strong wool.

‘Wool Unleashed’, or W3, is a new seven-year $22.1 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and The New Zealand Merino Company.

The programme is expected to contribute an estimated $335 million towards New Zealand’s economy by 2025.

“The wool industry was once one of New Zealand’s highest earners, with strong wool making up the majority of this, but it has been in decline since the 1990s,” says Mr Guy.

“The W3 PGP programme aims to reverse this trend by delivering higher premiums for New Zealand’s strong wool sector.

“This will be achieved through connecting strong wool farmers with markets, increasing on-shore processing, developing new and niche products and sharing best practice information across the wool industry.”

The programme will build on the success to date from another PGP programme—the New Zealand Sheep Industry Transformation Project—also led by The New Zealand Merino Company, which is focused on fine and mid-micron wool.

Mr Guy said:

“PGP programmes must be aspirational and transformational in nature. They must look beyond business as usual which The New Zealand Merino Company has demonstrated with its leadership in the merino industry and helping to establish the Te Hono Movement – a collaboration of primary sector leaders.

“Wool has lost its competitive edge as a fibre globally. We have the opportunity to make New Zealand strong wool and strong wool products relevant to select end users globally.  The W3 PGP programme will be a key contributor towards this, and will set the stage for a sustainable wool industry well into the future.”

MPI and The New Zealand Merino Company have signed a contract so W3 can formally begin.

The PGP aims to boost the value, productivity and profitability of our primary sector through investment between government and industry. It provides an essential springboard to enable New Zealand to stay at the forefront of primary sector innovation.

Government and industry are co-investing $746 million over time into 21 PGP programmes (two completed and 19 under way).

Decisions on whether to approve a programme are made by the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries, under recommendation from the independent Investment Advisory Panel.

More information is available at: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/primary-growth-partnership/