Land use in the Manawatu : possible impact of a new agricultural processing industry : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Geography at Massey University
The decision of the Canterbury (N.Z.) Malting Company to expand and to locate its second barley processing plant near Marton has meant that considerable land use changes may occur in the surrounding farming area, particularly the Manawatu coastal lowlands and terraces. A mail survey of 600 farmers in the Kairanga, Manawatu, Oroua and part of the Rangitikei counties found that of those responding, 51 farmers had definite intentions of growing barley for processing into malt and 74 possibly would do so. It was difficult to establish how much land would be affected because policy matters, such as returns, had not been established at the time of the survey. The plant requires over 30,000 tonnes or 7,000 hectares of barley annually once maltings are in full operation. Interesting observations were able to be made, however, with respect to characteristics of farmers likely to grow malting barley, how information about the malting barley plant has been diffused, and attitudes of farmers towards growing barley and engaging in contracts. The Manawatu is now an established mixed cropping and fat lamb farming region and the establishment of the malting barley plant should strengthen this position. Land use changes may occur in terms of changing cropping patterns if malting barley replaces other crops, but the impression gained is that most of the malting barley will be grown on land formerly in pasture. The nature of barley as a crop, with a short growing period and the ability of the pasture to be renewed with improved species in winter, means that the increased cropping may be complementary to the existing cropping/fattening pattern and enhance agricultural productivity in the region.