Story: Arable farming

Grain production, 1905–2005

Grain production, 1905–2005

In the early 20th century oats and wheat were the most important grains produced in New Zealand. A major use of oats was to feed working horses, and so production declined as horses were replaced by tractors. Wheat production declined during and after the First World War, and then progressively increased, with some downturns on the way. Barley production increased rapidly from the 1950s, reached a peak in 1985, and then declined sharply. This was most likely associated with the removal of subsidies at that time, and the sharp drop in sheep numbers and demand for barley stock feed, that followed. Little maize was grown before 1965 but has increased steadily since then as the demand for stock feed, especially for dairying, has increased.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Source: New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1903-2005.

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How to cite this page:

Sue Zydenbos, 'Arable farming - Arable crops today', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 May 2022)

Story by Sue Zydenbos, published 24 Nov 2008