South Island Farming is Looking GoodMonday, Dec 4, 2000
A journey in the past couple of days through Blenheim, Nelson, West Coast to Dunedin via Arthur’s
Pass confirmed the good season that these parts of the South Island are having. Grass growth was
abundant and the dairy herds appeared in good condition although in some areas were leaving little
cover after the days grazing. Mobs of weaned calves still being fed meal dotted the farms.
Sheep were noticeable for there scarceness on the particular route taken and very little cereal cropping
was also evident in inland Canterbury.
While neither a detailed nor scientific study of the activities and attitudes of farmers the journey
left a clear impression that the South Island farmers are looking forward, planning and managing
their resources with a great deal of success.
It seems they see they have a clear understanding of where they are going and what their expectations
from farming are. Is this so?Is there a difference between the North Island and South Island farmer’s
attitude to the barriers to farming success?
Lower land prices and lower product prices do not seem to have prevented these South Island farmers
from maintaining a positive attitude and using what ever opportunities that are available and they
appear to have husbanded their land well.
Has North Island farming become infected with the desire to make gains from paper transactions such
as the dairy industry consolidation and forgotten that success comes from real production on a day-to-day
basis? Perhaps North Island do have an underlying belief that farming is a sunset industry.
Although generalizations are dangerous maybe Southern farmers have something to teach their Northern
counterparts about getting the best from an exacting economic climate.