Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 391
Posted on: August 31st, 2018


The quote of the week for this week is taken from Ben van Delden, KPMG head of markets and AgTech sector leader.   Speaking to Which-50 for their cover story on Australia’s role in potentially leading the world in AgTech, Van Delden stated: “What we’re sitting on is all the right ingredients for Australia to ultimately become a leader in what we refer to as Agri 4.0 — Industry 4.0 application to agriculture — where we’re digitising the way we produce food and the supply chain.”



Europe’s blistering heat wave, which is seeing many areas suffer through temperatures reaching above 45°C, has been welcomed by German wine growers who have launched into their earliest harvest ever.

At a vineyard in Loerzweiler, south of Mainz in southwestern Germany, white grapes were beginning to be picked on Monday.  According to the German Wine Institute, this is the earliest start yet to the country’s grape harvest – breaking the previous record of August 8 in 2007, 2011 and 2014.

The heatwave has not been good news for all farmers though, with grain harvests set to come in well under expectation after a dry spring and summer.  The dry and hot conditions have caused strife for many, and resulted in 1 billion Euros ($1.15 billion) in emergency aid for farmers.  German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner has revealed that she is “very concerned” about the current situation, and stated that “the current heat wave is endangering the harvest”.  She noted that the conditions are varied widely among regions, however.


According to the Irish Times, farmers have welcomed the idea of feeding their cattle seaweed as a small portion of their diet, in order to reduce their methane emissions.  The new concept has come off the back of an Australian study conducted in 2016.  The original study, by a team of researchers from James Cook University in Queensland, found that recorded levels of methane expelled by sheep fell between 50-70 per cent when they consumed seaweed as 2% of their diet.

It was also claimed that for Cows, the seaweed can reduce emissions by up to 99 per cent.  Thomas Cooney, the association’s environment chairman, called on Irish scientists “to immediately investigate the potential for this research in an Irish agriculture context, and in the context of the opportunity that may exist for indigenous seaweed production”.

The Australian study was originally inspired by the experience of a Canadian farmer who noticed that his cattle who ate washed up seaweed were healthier and produced “rip roaring heats”, with longer mating cycles than those that did not.  Reducing methane emitted by cattle is an important step in combatting climate change.  The greenhouse gas, of which a single cow emits between 70 and 120kg a year, is thought to be 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period.

CHART OF THE WEEK This week’s chart of the week comes from the World Research Institute and shows the forecasted growth in the world’s per capita meat and milk consumption.

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