The changing face of southern New Zealand farming: opportunities of land use change


  • R.J. Copland
  • D.R. Stevens



Southern New Zealand has seen major changes in land use in the past 20 years with the rise in dairy cows in milk from 149 000 in 1994 to 682 000 in 2010, while breeding ewe numbers have declined from 11.2 million to 7.3 million over the same period. The development of milking platforms with a significant need for winter dairy grazing has opened up many opportunities for sheep, beef and deer farmers in the region. The need to remain profitable, displacement of sheep to more marginal land, and social influences such as retaining family ownership have encouraged farmers to make the most of potential land-use change opportunities. Three case studies outline the changes made and potential profitability increases in dairy conversion, flexible sheep and beef operations and improved deer production, with cash surplus after expenses being more than doubled in each case. Keywords: land use, profit, dairy, sheep, beef, deer.







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