Christchurch farmland has many qualities which make it perfect for a wide variety of farming. Indeed, agriculture has always been the financial core of Christchurch. New Zealand’s leading agribusiness, PGG Wrightson, is based in Christchurch. Its local roots go back to Pyne Gould Guinness, a stock and station operation on New Zealand’s South Island. Other agribusinesses in Christchurch include malting, seed development and dressing, wool and meat processing, and small biotechnology operations using by-products from meatworks.
Dairy has grown strongly in nearby areas with high world prices for milk products and the use of irrigation to lift grass growth on dry land. With its higher labour use this has helped stop declines in rural population. Many crop and sheep farms have converted to dairy.
Conversions have been by agribusiness companies as well as by farmers, many of whom have moved south from North Island dairy regions such as Taranaki and the Waikato. As this photo shows, Christchurch farmland has an instinct for fast-growing, lush greenery.