Embargoed until 2.00pm Monday 26 March 2012
Pasture renewal essential to support future growth in New Zealand’s economy
The farm-gate value of dairy, sheep and beef products grew by 58% from $10.2 billion in the 2006/2007 season, to $16.3 billion in the 2010/2011 season – but greater investment in pasture renewal could have boosted growth even further.
"Pasture-based farmers are making a very significant contribution to the economy," says Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust (PRCT) chairman, Murray Willocks. “But if we can increase the quality and management of our pasture crop, pastoral farming can make an even greater contribution to New Zealand's GDP – and deliver higher farm incomes and more jobs.
Mr Willocks was commenting on the release of an economic analysis of the value of pasture by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL). The report was commissioned for the (PRCT). The analysis concluded that sustained investment in pasture renewal has the potential to increase the farm gate value of pastoral products from $16 billion per annum to $19 billion and boost direct and indirect full-time employment associated with pastoral farming by 60,000 full-time jobs from 334,000 jobs to 394,000.
"Pasture is the crop on which our dairy, beef, sheep, and deer sectors rely," "But we're not investing as much as we should to maintain the quality and productivity of our pastures.
"BERL's report confirms that while there has been an increase in the proportion of dairy pasture being renewed in recent years, overall investment in pasture renewal in New Zealand remains low. BERL's $19 billion projection can only be achieved if the proportion of sheep, beef, and deer pasture continuously renewed rises from just 2% per annum at present to 8%, and dairying pasture renewal rises from 6.6% to 12%."
"Quality pastures are the foundation of productive, sustainable farming. We cannot afford to take them for granted if we want pastoral farming to remain a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy for generations to come.
"The goal of encouraging increased investment in pasture renewal and management is to achieve an economically and environmentally sustainable increase in the quantity of product produced per hectare through optimal management of the feedbase."
Note: Total GDP contribution from the pastoral sector is estimated at $24.5 billion – one eighth or 12.2% of GDP - compared with $17.5 billion from the tourism industry (under 9%).
Using a simple ratio, if the tourism industry were to generate the same $24.5 billion a year of GDP as pasture does, short-term overseas visitor numbers would need to rise from around 2.5 million today, to around 3.5 million.
For further information please contact:
Murray Willocks, PRCT Chairman
Mob 021 617 930
Kel Sanderson, Director
Mob: 021 503 753 or 04 931 9212;
PRCT Project Manager
03 4651 278 or 027 232 7578
** Photos of the BERL launch event in Hamilton (Monday 26 March) and Murray Willocks are available on request from Nicola