A long-established trend towards intensified pastoralism has been associated with irrigation. Since 1917 water has been supplied to the eastern and western fringes of Ida Valley and it has been applied by a system of wild flooding. In contrast to most other parts of the district, the stock consists of Romney-cross ewes pastured for the production of fat lambs and wool. Owner surplus averaged 85s. per acre – the farms falling into 250–500 acre or the 500–1,000 acre range – and the surplus tended to rise as the proportion of the land irrigated increased.
The most intensive use of irrigation has been made, despite long hauls to market, in the fruitgrowing localities along the Clutha at Clyde, Alexandra, and Coal Creek, Roxburgh. By 1894 an estimated 119 acres were under orchards. The area increased rapidly during a period of speculation previous to the First World War and, at the present time, 1,568 acres of orchard are recorded for Vincent County and 1,423 acres in Tuapeka County. Stone fruit (apricots, nectarines, and cherries) is the principal product with 92 per cent of the Dominion's apricot output accounted for. Apples, peaches, and plums are also grown, the produce being freighted by rail or by air.