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Artificial Intelligence for Agriculture in New Zealand

Ahuwhenua i te Atamai Iahiko

This report examines the New Zealand and international AI industry landscapes for agriculture and investigates AI’s potential impacts for New Zealand’s place in the global food value chain.

The research shows New Zealand urgently needs to increase its focus on the core foundations needed to operate in an AI enabled future, particularly using data throughout the food value chain, not just behind the farmgate.

Agriculture and horticulture play a dominant role in New Zealand’s economy with food exports – dairy products, meat, fruit, wine, fish and seafood – making up around 40% of New Zealand’s $80 billion annual exports.

However, the agriculture sector continues to face significant ongoing challenges including climate change, low productivity growth, labour shortages, increasing regulation and environmental sustainability, the report says.

The report identifies how AI can be used in diverse use cases throughout the food supply chain: yield optimisation, addressing labour shortages, meat alternative research, food quality assurance, isolating disease outbreaks in animals and plants, waste reduction, biosecurity and conversion efficiency. AI technologies can also be applied to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture in New Zealand and supporting more sustainable practices. AI is 21st century agriculture’s “number 8 wire”.