Farms And Farming Regions in NZ

As the largest industry in the country, accounting for two-thirds of exported goods, agriculture in New Zealand attracts interest from both investors and workers looking for a change of lifestyle and pace. There’s no one sector that the country is popular for in particular either – nearly every type of farming has its place, something that not every country can proudly boast.

Maybe farming is just one of the opportunities you’re interested in exploring or maybe you’re already looking at farms for sale in NZ and you want to know what is available and what each region can offer you. Get a better idea of what will suit and take a look at these popular farming types and regions.

Dairy Farming

Dairy farming has grown from humble roots to become one of the most important aspects of our modern economy. Each year milk products account for over 8 billion NZD in exports; New Zealand may be a small country, but they are responsible for 2.2% of milk produced worldwide.

The wetter regions tend to be better for this type of farming making Southland, Waikato, Taranaki and Northland some of the most popular places for dairy farms.


More than 50% of the total land area in New Zealand is dedicated to crop and cattle with the majority of this space used for the latter.

Sheep and cattle are the main commodity in New Zealand and the central focus of the livestock sector. While the country is jovially known around the world for its large population of sheep, numbers have fallen from where they sat at their peak in 1982 at nearly 70 million to just over 34 million when last counted in 2009. The change might seem dramatic, but there are still 9 sheep for every one New Zealander. This large population is reflected in the high volume of sheep exports: each year the country sees more than 250 million NZD of mutton exported, 900 million NZD of wool product and over 2 billion NZD of lamb.

The South Island is popular for sheep farming; Canterbury is the leading region with over 7.5 million sheep. Otago and Southland also have substantial numbers with close to 6 million sheep each while both Manawatu and Hawkes Bay in the North Island are also popular.

Beef cattle numbers sit just over 4 million, an impressive figure in its own right when you consider the 1.5 billion NZD in yearly exports of beef and veal. Manawatu and Waikato in the North Island are the most popular regions for beef cattle with Canterbury in the South Island a close third. Northland and Hawkes Bay have high numbers too with over 500,000 beef cattle each.

It’s a big industry, and there’s always room for more farmers in New Zealand, so once you’ve decided on a region and type of farming you’d like to pursue, then the next step will be looking into real estate prices for farmland in your chosen area.