New Zealand Ag Paper : Clint Jenks

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For my paper on animal agricultural uses, I chose New Zealand due to a few simple main reasons. I find New Zealand very interesting and one day wish to visit this lovely country, and two they have such a wide variety of animal uses such as here in the United States. Being a plant and soil major, I also have a large connection to New Zealand because they have a substantial cropping system they use, that results in adequate rains and nutrients reaching extremely high yields. Their rangeland is another aspect for farming that is often overlooked, but in this environment flourishes heavily.

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For starters, NZ has a large diversity of landscapes including low river bottoms, to high mountains. This country has a population of 4.69 million people which is around the same amount of people living in the state of South Carolina. The culture that mostly influences this country is of western decent which is due to the isolation from most of the world NZ is exposed to. Polynesian Maori culture is the main culture influenced here while in the 1800’s the Europeans began to influx into their lifestyles as they did many other countries bringing Christianity to the people of this country. The three major languages of this country are New Zealand English, as well as Te Reo Maori, and of course a form of sign language. The religion of this country pre-colonial was native Maori and was polytheistic. Once settlers started entering the country Christianity began to flourish, as well as Catholicism, and then finally Protestant roots.

The landscape of this region allows for a wide variety of agricultural aspects to be introduced and implemented throughout. There is a vast set of ranges and valleys that allow for prime crop growth, and grazing for cattle, and sheep in this country. Grazing cattle and sheep is one of the major agricultural practices focused in this area due to the fact that their grass grows rapidly, and has plenty of nutrients to raise the cattle healthily. Next is their flat lands they use to dairy cattle. This country has the ability to make so much milk they can powder the milk and ship it off in a dehydrated state to countries in need of cheap and useful protein. Next, they have very large mountain ranges that can be used for grazing as well and can be used for recreation to bring in money for the country to continue its agriculture practices, and help build cities to house more people. Next, they have very extensive and beautiful beaches which is also a very important aspect for tourism and bringing in money for the country. The last landscape they procure here in NZ is large forests that are a form of agricultural production resulting in cutting trees down and selling them. I will get into further detail of agriculture production at a later portion of the paper. Finally, fishing is another tactic that New Zealand utilizes when fishing season is upon them and is often quite profitable. This is a brief insight into some of the agriculture and cultural practices that are in this country, and I will begin to elaborate on these as I get further in my essay. New Zealand is such a melting pot of practices, and they grow so many different forms of food and vegetation.

For starters, let’s talk about the cattle industry in New Zealand. New Zealand is the world’s 8th largest producer of calcium enriched milk. They produce on average around an astonishing fifteen billion liters of milk annually, and this is done primarily through grass feeding the cattle in efforts to have a more organic based set of products for sale. Most of the dairies in NZ are found in Waikato, Taranaki, Southland, Northland, Horowhenua, Manawatu, and the Westland regions of this country. Most of the dairy cattle breeds found in this culture are holstein-friesian cross, jersey and ayrshire breeds. They have a new breed of cattle that was just recent introduced, and this breed is known as kiwicross. Again, these cattle are mostly grass fed due to the abundant numbers of lush and clean grass found in this country. When you think of NZ, you imagine this green countryside with white specks all over the place, and these white specks are sheep. As you have learned though, NZ supplies a very large quantity of the worlds milk indicating they have very many cattle. The first milking facility was opened in the 1880s here, while the first milking machines were around about 1893 indicating they hand milked for many years before they had automatic milking systems. By the 1920s, there were 600 facilities for milking, and today their largest company Fonterra is a large coop owned by many people which goes to supply around 95 percent of their countries milk. New Zealand has many uses for dairy products and is known for their cream, cheese, butter and butterfat, and buttermilk.

The number of dairy products this country is quite incredible considering it is the size of a smaller state here in the united states. Not only do they have dairy cattle, but they raise beef cattle as well. The first cattle to arrive to this new land was around 1814 when the pioneers of the land could use them for doing intensive tasks, as well as using them for food. These cattle were extremely resilient because they could survive on rough pastures that otherwise couldn’t be used for other agricultural purposes. In this culture, cattle are often farmed with their owner’s sheep as well due to the fact both animals are ruminants and eat the same food, so this makes it much easier for the farmer to thrive while minimizing their inputs they need in order to get their animals fed. The common breeds of beef cattle in New Zealand are hereford, angus, and my personal favorite cattle breed, the shorthorn. This utilization of cattle in multiple forms is very interesting to me, and I would enjoy taking a visit, but as they feed most of their beef on grass only and don’t give them any hormones, I hear the beef tastes very much different as in our beef here. Another interesting fact about ruminants is that NZ is the largest exporter of farmed venison otherwise known as deer. Deer is an extremely lean meat, and makes for a very healthy meat to eat, but due to the gamey taste many individuals won’t even consider eating it. I think if we could encourage more deer farming, we could encourage people to be heathier with their ingested meats. Here in the US, it is known as a wild animal and can only be hunted unless you have the proper licenses which are very costly and not even within reach for the general populations.

Sheep farming is a huge impact in the development of New Zealand economy, and for almost 130 years it was the most influential part of their agricultural industry. When I view pictures in my head of NZ, I picture sheep everywhere on the sides of hills grazing happily, but while they do have sheep, its often mixed with deer and cattle as well. In 1982, the populations of sheep reached around 70 million. Today, the number of sheep in this country is lower, where seven sheep is to one person whereas at the highest numbers they had twenty-two sheep to a single person. Don’t let this fool you though, New Zealand is still the largest producer of lambs for meat and wool. Due to their climate, the wool and meat production is ideal, and around an astonishing 220,000 tonnes of wool is sheared each year. Sheering sheep is a very difficult and hands on task and even with modern improvements, it can still be quite a daunting task to sheer a large amount of sheep. New Zealand also has a shearing competition where they see who can successfully and safely sheer a ship of its wool. There are many different breeds of sheep that are used, and each have a specific purpose for their meat or wool. Merino sheep, are from Spain and typically produce the finer wools. Corriedale sheep are a cross between merino and many other different English breeds. New Zealand Romney sheep is one of the most numerous sheep breeds found here. Drysdale sheep offer coarse wool that is used in the manufacturing of carpets. And finally, Perendale and Coopworth sheep which are both good for meat production and wool production both.

Pig farming is a source of cheap protein for most of the world due to the low amounts of feed and inputs needed for growth. New Zealand isn’t very large in the regards of pigs though and it’s for good reasoning. This country is isolated from most other countries, and while this helps with diseases, the cost to export out of the country is often very expensive, and it tastes just the same as my next-door farmers pork will taste when it’s on the dinner plate in front of me. There are roughly one hundred commercial pig farms in NZ, and the estimated number of sow pigs is 28,000 with around half of them being indoor pigs, and half of them outdoor pigs. While the number of pigs killed annually is 660,000 roughly, this number will probably be seen declining as many people in New Zealand are moving to buy pork from elsewhere as it is cheaper and again tastes just the same as any other pork that is grown there in the country. The crazier part is, they get these prices because imported pork doesn’t have to meet the standards that pork grown in the country does, and this makes imported pork the cheaper and possibly even worse quality meat. While this is beneficial to supporting an open and free trade, it can potentially put its own citizens out of business, and if your production selling, why would you want to grow it and supply a product more expensive that nobody will purchase. The typical per capita consumption of pork in New Zealand is around 24 kilograms, and that is continually growing as a population continues to climb. While pig is being grown, cattle and sheep as recently discussed, are also being grown and puts a continual pressure on pricing and demands for specific meats. Luckily for many sheep farmer, they have allies in the other forms of agriculture, and this could help them have a backing in the system. Hopefully with time, this country can realize the value that pork can bring, and can lower the costs of pork while helping encourage more farmers to continue growing pork.

Poultry farming is one of the larger upcoming meat providers due to the cheap and minimal sources. Chicken farming in New Zealand began in 1959 and to give a sense of idea on the changes, the average farmer raised 4000 birds per run lasting roughly 72 days and only achieving a mere 1.7 kilograms. Farmers could only have a few sets of birds due to the lacking of facilities which drove the price of chicken up and resulted in lower quality chicken in strive for a good product. Today, a typical farmer can raise around 90000 birds a run, and can reach their same weight as before but in just under half the days it took in the beginning of NZ poultry operations. In 1976, there were three processing plants and they were only capable of running 4500 chickens each day. Due to modern advances, they are now seeing a processing goal of 200000 chickens which is incredibly amazing. This change allowed for purposely bred chickens to give more precious meats, and for an all-time low on cost. In the same time that the older chicken settings grew, we saw almost double what they had seen ever before.

Aquaculture here is another very important aspect of living, and can benefit several aspects of life. Before we get started, aquaculture is known as cultivation of any fresh or salt water plants and animals. New Zealand generated 360 million in sales of an area of 7700 hectares, and earned 240 million in earned exports. The species that are general sold and consumed in this field of agriculture in NZ are green lipped mussels, pacific oysters, and my favorite king salmon. This started to begin in the 1980s, and rapidly took off from there resulting in government to offer support in the growing industry that was put before them. This generally occurs in the sea and is often covered by protective bays on the coast. Around 70 percent of NZ aquaculture is around the south island and on the north island the firth of Thames is a productive form of this.

Fishing in New Zealand is a very cultured form of providing food. Many individuals love fishing and trace it back to their heritage. Beginning in 1960s, NZ has been the home to some extensive fishing seeing enormous rises in the last fifty years. Weather in this environment is very unfriends as you could imagine which can make fishing tough, but other countries had figured it out as well so of course NZ did as well. I figured out that most of the fish caught in and around NZ isn’t processed by them due to the rapid use by date that comes with fish. Most is shipped to Thailand and china for processing and consumption by other countries. There quotas they have often drove local fisherman trying to make money to switch to commercial fishing so that they may have their quotas raised and fish more, ultimately resulting in more money. The area in which is fished around NZ is approximately 4.4 million square kilometers, an incredibly large area, which makes it the fourth biggest in the world. The sea life here is incredibly large and this brings along fishermen from all over to get the chance at catching a large multitude of fish species. Luckily, New Zealand has many different ways to procure a form of protein so this is all supplemental to the citizens here and only makes a small fraction of the total end goal and quantity of the meat.

Finally cropland is a major form of protein with plant based products. Not only does this feed humans proteins, but it also feeds their animals they wish to grow. Plant fibers are also used for many different practices, and corn goes to make a variety of products that increase taste in food, and makes our gasoline cheaper by adding ethanol. There are roughly 2700 farmers involved in cropping systems in New Zealand, and profit the country around 1 billion annually. This includes growth of pulses, corn, and specialized plants such as wheat and barley for beer making or legumes to return nitrogen to the soil via the rhizobium bacterium. Without cropping of even grasses, many aspects of agriculture could not proceed here. Cattle and sheep have to eat to thrive and produce to make money. Vegetables are often grown in a much smaller scale such as here in the United States, and are shown as hobbies that many individuals can incorporate into their daily diets.

Through the increase of modern technologies, farmers are able to seed, fertilizer, and harvest larger fields, and do so in a much timelier manner. Another form of cropping is horticulture uses. Although wine has been around for almost two centuries, in the last twenty years they have had a huge desire and influx for wine production. Grapes are a vital portion of wine making, and with their wild environment, they have an ability to produce many different styles of wine with the sauvignon Blanc becoming the most desirable of all the types. Included in production is cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, and chardonnay. Wild enough, NZ can grow many different fruits as well ranging from temperate fruits such as peaches and apples, to subtropical fruits such as citrus fruits and kiwifruit. This country is incredible with the forms of production it can inhabit. In the 80s, they had ran the market on fruit production and sales but as the case with any other location, everyone began growing these specialty items driving the prices down and slowing the production due to the overabundance of a product much like corn. As all of the farming aspects increased, so did the world, and going back to mechanization, this drove the physical needs of growing pushing the populations in farming to slowly die down but at the same time increased productions. The markets for most of their exports generally consist of Latin America, and Africa, while a huge importer of their wines are the United Kingdom, and Australia. Importing is a major way of creating income for the country due to the size. They have to work hard for their income, and I believe their hard work in cropping, and animal production goes to show how hard they are willing to become the top of the food chain in most of these settings.

Continuing on their culture, the Maori were a very hands on people, and their country was originally discovered by the Polynesians between 1200 and 1300 C.E. In 1642, the land was found by a Dutchman that named the new country Staten Island. This was ten changed to a closer variation of the current name which was Nieuw Zeeland after another man by the name of Zeeland Holland. Later England claimed sovereignty, and the exploration of the lands found items such as gold bringing in a large crowd from many different countries. Over the years, individuals perfected their use of the lands ultimately bring the country to what it is known for today. As I delved into my research, I learned that this country is highly capable of many different forms of agricultural background, and I think they culture of the hard working founders of the land influenced this greatly. The Maori were extremely hard working, and worked the land in a safe yet beneficial way. They would build kayaks for fishing purposes, raise crops for food, fiber for their livestock, and fuel for a wide variety of other purposes. The origin of the Maori people is a both interesting and long story with their roots beginning in Eastern Polynesia and then their journey to New Zealand in a number of large voyages in waka otherwise known as canoes, over a rather large portion of time. The defining characteristics of the culture is the art that they have procured of the years, as well as beautiful tribal tattoos, a multitude of performances, and their love for giving hospitality to new comers and their dedication to the community for which they serve. This alone encourages me to visit the lands which they have taken care of for a visit and see it for myself. As they progressed with the world around them, they started a rugby team which has been very successfully and is known as the “All Blacks” and they perform their Ka Mate haka performance at many of their sporting events to show their cultural roots and where they came from.

In conclusion to my paper on the agriculture and cultural aspects of New Zealand, I found a fond connection with all that they partake in. I would love to one day visit this country to see the many different styles of farming and watch and learn how much different it is from here in the United States. While dairy and sheep overwhelm the economy, there are many other aspects which influence grow. Aquaculture is a newer form of growth and they are seeing extreme changes to how that is being encouraged. I believe this could be a serious way to make some money for a country, and it can be a way to move from conventional crop growth and start a more hydroponics based system. We could protect soils and the way of the life of many individuals. As I did my research, I found it interesting that NZ is the largest provider of commercial venison. Deer farming is one of their larger “new” practices. I personally love venison, and I could see the market for deer booming if we can take care of many diseases they are prone to. On to poultry, I imagined that there would be a large poultry desire such as many other places, but to my surprise there isn’t a huge desire. Although they grow many chickens, there isn’t a major need such as in Africa where they need the eggs for protein and meat due to the lack of refrigeration tactics. Another shocking feature was the minimal fishing. They have such a wide variety of species yet the weather limits the times they can partake in the activity, but the regulations are quite extensive in regards to fishing so this is also factor that greatly lowers the desire to fish. Ultimately New Zealand has such a wide variety of Agricultural practices they choose from, and it results in a very successful economy that flourishes in the world we are experiencing today.

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New Zealand Ag Paper : Clint Jenks. (2021, Apr 03). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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