'Because there's more to New Zealand than sheep.'
Largest Local Industries
The New Zealand economy relies heavily on the export income from pastoral farming. Farming is an integral part of the landscape, accounting for around half of New Zealand's total land area.
We have 14.7 million hectares of farmland in our country. 42% of this is used for sheep and beef farming and 22% is used for dairy production.
Agriculture (sheep, beef, wine, horticulture etc.) accounts for 53% of all NZ export worth, around 21 Billion NZD.
91% of everything farmers produce is exported.
We export 1,8 million tones of dairy products presenting nearly 22% of the world trade (second only to the European Union and beating out the United States).
The main farmed species are sheep (30 million), cattle (6.2 million), deer (1.9 million), and goats (0.19 million). In recent years, and in keeping with New Zealand's history of innovation in agriculture, small populations of non-traditional farming species have been introduced. These include llama, alpaca, and water buffalo. The nation's meat processors annually produce 660,000 tonnes of beef and veal, 600,000 tonnes of lamb.
With its temperate climate, ample rainfall in most areas, and an abundance of land suitable for pastoral farming, New Zealand cattle are raised on their natural diet of fresh pasture in wide open spaces without the need to provide a grain diet with nutrient supplements.
The technical competency of New Zealand beef farmers is extremely high, and this is recognised internationally. They know what is needed to consistently produce top quality animals - the grass types, the farm management techniques, the technology of genetics - and they use this knowledge to best advantage.
New Zealand is a world leader in farming and does this without the assistance of government support. The economy derives much of its income from meat exports but it faces quota restrictions and other trade barriers in 95% of all its beef markets. In response, New Zealand farmers and meat producers have become the most efficient in the world, providing top quality products and excellent service.
Deer farming originated in New Zealand, and this country remains the world's largest and most advanced in this specialized agricultural pursuit. There are more than 4,000 deer farms in New Zealand, ranging in size from small hobby farms to extensive commercial operations. These farms account for approximately 1.8 million deer or half of the world's farmed deer population. This figure includes an estimated 1.2 million female deer (hinds or cows) and 600,000 stags and bulls.
Fonterra Co-operative Group is the world’s largest exporter of dairy ingredients covering 140 countries and territories around the world. The dairy sector exports over 370,000 tonnes of butter, 290,000 tonnes of cheese and 140,000 tonnes of casein products.
Merino wool is the fibre grown in New Zealand by farmers dedicated to producing one of the world's most noble fibres. New Zealand Merino is whiter, stronger, and longer than Merino from anywhere else on the planet - resulting in superior natural attributes for use in luxury suiting, active outdoor wear, sports, and fashion clothing, as well as many other home furnishing and apparel products.
Around 650,000 tonnes of seafood are harvested from New Zealand's coastal waters and Exclusive Economic Zone each year. Almost 63 percent of this harvest is mid and deep-water fish, 12 percent is pelagics, 10 percent is inshore species, and 15 percent is from aquaculture. The New Zealand King Salmon Company annual Harvest of 5,200 mt, equates to 40% of the world production of farmed King Salmon.
With over 5,000 km of indented coastline, New Zealand has the ideal environment for the farming of New Zealand Greenshell mussels. The New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussel industry adhere to a strict Environmental Management System, ensuring that these mussels are only cultivated to the highest possible standard of quality.
The agriculture and forestry sector is one of the largest sectors in the New Zealand economy. Together with its support and processing components it regularly contributes more than $21 billion per year or about 20 percent of Gross Domestic Product. The forestry industry produces the equivalent of 23 million cubic metres of wood and exports the roundwood equivalent of 16 million cubic metres, of which 9 million is unprocessed logs and chips.
New Zealand produces an exciting variety of fruit and vegetables. The country’s primary exports include kiwifruit, apples, pears, summer fruit, cherries, berry fruits, avocados, onions, asparagus, sweetcorn, garlic, speciality mushrooms, and even the exotic black truffle. Kiwifruit is the country’s largest horticultural export and comes in two main varieties – Zespri Green and Zespri Gold. New Zealand berry fruits are regarded as some of the most perfect in the world and there are a number of exciting speciality fruits emerging from New Zealand – aromatic feijoas, unique tamarillos, sweet melons, luscious passionfruit – and baby kiwifruit, fondly known as kiwi berries. The horticulture industry produces and exports about 65 million trays of kiwifruit and 17 million cartons of apples each year.
The success of the horticulture industry is based on the country’s pristine environment, counter seasonality (which allows New Zealand to offer the Northern Hemisphere fresh produce year round), exporters who are committed to growing top quality produce, and a diverse geography and climate.