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.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
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Source: New Zealand Official Yearbook, 1903-2005.
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