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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Soil Science and Land Use

The rapid increase in knowledge of the soils of New Zealand has brought about a change in approach to land use. In the early thirties the use of land was still guided by the art of judging its capabilities from its appearance and from a general experience of farming and local conditions. This method had its successes, but in places failed badly. In parts of the country, for example, healthy pastures could not be maintained and farm land was abandoned or planted in exotic forests.

The use of land is now guided for the most part by the capabilities of the soil type as revealed by investigation. The reliability of predictions made in this way has stimulated the rapid conversion of large areas of “problem” land into good farms and has raised land use to a new pitch of efficiency, which reflects the modern swing from farming as a traditional art to farming as an up-to-date science.