Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces Vol. 322
Posted on: February 6th, 2017



This week’s quote comes from AgFunder’s AgTech Investing Report 2016 and provides an insight into where AgTech deals are taking place and the challenges facing AgTech start-ups.

“While there has been an increase in deal reporting from around the globe, deal activity has picked up outside of the US and 51 countries were represented in this year’s data…Accelerators around the globe will give rise to greater geographic diversity. In the past year, start-up resources launched in geographies such as Australia, Argentina/Uruguay, Brazil, and Eastern Europe to help incubate local companies, with many designed to tackle local market challenges. Scaling those companies and providing them with resources will be an obstacle, but not insurmountable…Investment activity remained local: investors tended to fund start-ups in their geographies with fewer investors stretching across borders.”


Despite a stalling world market, analysts are forecasting milk prices for Australian dairy farmers will improve in the next financial year.

Global prices had been recovering in the lead up to Christmas but that growth has since stalled and remained stagnant for the last month.

Jo Bills, from food consultancy firm Fresh Agenda, said despite the slowing recovery, her company expected milk prices would rise for farmers in export regions.

“We’re still projecting a range of farm gate prices for next season of about $5.90 to $6.30 per kilogram of milk solids in the southern region,” she said.

“That’s on an expected closing price for this current season of between $5 and $5.20, so we are looking for an improvement.”

Australia, the European Union and New Zealand have all reported substantial drops in milk production this season.
Analysts say as the global oversupply of milk products – particularly powders and cheese – prices are expected to increase. The forecasts come after a tumultuous year for the Australian dairy industry.


Despite being one of the world’s major milk-producing countries, Pakistan’s average milk yield per cow is far below that of other nations. The founders of Cowlar, a startup based in Pakistan, believe that by increasing the efficiency of each farmer’s herd by even five percent, more than USD 1 billion could be added to the country’s economy. Using Cowlar – a wearable for cows that is designed to help farmers track the health, fertility, location and general activity of their cattle – could help accomplish that increase in productivity.

An easy to fit collar, the Cowlar is waterproof and has a six month battery life. Using motion sensors, the collars wirelessly send data to farmers via a solar powered base and cellular service towers. Depending on their personal preference, farmers can access their herd’s information via text, automatic phone call and through an online dashboard. Interest in the collar has been widespread, and Cowlar says that it will expand globally after doing more local development work. Currently the collar costs USD 69 with a USD 3 monthly subscription fee after the first three months.


This week’s chart shows the improvement in California water availability; The Sierra-Nevada snow pack has had the strongest start in over 10 years and is approaching historical records in some regions. Statewide, the snow pack is currently at levels 177% higher than the normal level for the end of January. This increased water availability is expected to result in lower Californian almond and walnut prices for the coming season.



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