Thursday, July 7, 2022

AgResearch heads report improvement

AgResearch says it has smartened up its work on objectives for technology transfer and farm practice change as well as meeting financial targets in the latest year.

Tom Richardson: Work on objectives and finances bearing fruit.

The country’s biggest Crown Research Institute (CRI) will work this year to accelerate innovation in the pastoral sector and work with industry partners to increase private sector investment, chairman Sam Robinson and chief executive Tom Richardson said in the annual report.

An organisational change, creating 60 new leadership positions, was aimed at achieving greater cohesion and bringing the CRI closer to the industry, they said.

One survey showed more than 90% of stakeholders rated AgResearch’s understanding and contribution to their own work as being between good and excellent. Another showed just under 90% had adopted knowledge or technology from AgResearch in the last three years.

AgResearch based its goals on the Ministry for Primary Industries estimates there was a direct economic cost of $2.5 billion in lost diary exports and $500,000 in lost sheepmeat exports because not all farms use the practices of the top performing 25% of farms.

It was working with sector organisations to increase this uptake, Robinson and Richardson said.

AgResearch exceeded its financial targets in the year ended June 30 with a surplus before tax and one-off items of$8.5 million. The budgeted figure had been $6.2m.

After writing down the value of three under-utilised buildings at Invermay by $5m, the CRI was left with an after tax profit of $4.2m, in line with budget.

The report said many strategies had been written for the pastoral sector, but the industry had fallen down through a lack of shared commitment and desire to be collaborative, due to competitive tensions.

There was a lack of funding from the private sector and AgResearch wanted greater collaboration between firms “to raise the pre-competitive bar’’ and increase R&D investment.

As a boost for this, AgResearch had begun a process to significantly invest in new infrastructure and was developing options for the best facilities and locations for staff and co-locations for stronger industry relationships.

This process would be completed in 2013 and be the basis for the group’s scientific work for the next 20 years.

The annual report shows that AgResearch had commercial revenues of $73.3m during the year, up from $71.5m a year earlier. Funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation totalled $64.38m, down from $66.5m.

Total revenue slipped to $157.6m from $158.3m. Operating cash flow at $12.1m was significantly above the budgeted figure of $9.3m, but down on the $17m cash flow in 2011.

AgResearch had total assets of $252m at balance date, compared with $257.5m a year earlier. However, the equity level was up to $201.6m from $195m.

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