Overview of Agriculture in New Zealand

Agriculture stands as the largest tradable sector in New Zealand’s economy. The country exported NZ$46.4 billion worth of farm and agriculture products in 2019. The number of sales for the year account for 79.6% of the country’s total exported goods for the year. NZ$12,65 billion of the total number of sales were contributed by the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors.

With the 2019-year end, the agriculture sector employed over 143 000 people which is 5.9% of the country’s total workforce.

The main type of agriculture in the country is seen as the pastoral farming of sheep and cattle. Horticulture is also a very common farming activity.

Pastoral Farming

Pastoral Farming - Overview of Agriculture in New Zealand

In Northland, Beef cattle is seen as the largest form of pastoral farming. Dairy cattle predominate Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, and the West Coast regions. Sheep farming is the major rural activity throughout the rest of New Zealand. Beef Cattle farming is also a large factor in the industry mainly existing in the hills and high country with dairy farming in Canterbury, Otago, and Southland.

The dairy farming industry employs over 39 000 people each year which makes up about 1.6% of the countries workforce and is the countries 10th largest employment industry. In New Zealand, dairy cattle primarily feed on grass, supplemented by silage, hay and other crops, especially during winter times with slow pasture growth.

Sheep farming is also seen as one of the largest agriculture industries in the country with over 19.11 million lambs processed during 2020. Around 95% of sheep meat and 90% of wool production is exported by the country making it one of the largest export industries as well.

Agriculture in New Zealand stands as one of the most important factors contributing to the country’s economy and provides work to a substantial amount of the workforce. Besides pastoral farming, many other farming industries are providing to the economy including Arable Crops, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Beekeeping.

The statistics around agriculture in New Zealand proves just how lucrative a career in the field can be.