What is your best land use?
New Zealand has extensive areas of land which is marginal to farm. This land, which was cleared of native vegetation for pastoral farming often under subsidy regimes, will always have limited potential. It may be any combination of steep, erosion-prone, flood-prone, high altitude, and infertile.
Best use of marginal land into the future will depend on a number of factors, for example site-type, distance to markets and owner preferences. Owners are best-advised to review a whole matrix of uses, which could include:
- pastoral farming
- production forestry
- establishment/encouragement of manuka to support a commercial bee-keeping operation
- reversion to native vegetation.
You may not have considered planting in the following areas of your farm:
- Unproductive land (e.g. gullies, bluffs, steep slopes, wet and weedy land)
- Paddock corners with nearby troughs
- Paddocks and stockyards
- Stream, pond and wetland edges
- Forestry plantations
- Fringes of roads and driveways
- Stock laneways and avenues
- Fencelines, shelterbelts and hedgerows
- Flower gardens, orchards, old homesteads
- Leftover native bush
These areas could provide an opportunity for planting tree species for bees (such as manuka), which can include other benefits such as shelter and shade for stock, land stabilisation for protection from erosion, wetland protection, improved farm aesthetics and firewood.
Woodnet has extensive experience in evaluating the potential of marginal land in different parts of New Zealand.
We can advise you on the economic and environmental implications of different options and work with you to develop a combination of uses which meet your long-term objectives.