To help understand land use options, six irrigated land uses on three Wairarapa dryland farming operations are initially being assessed - arable/seeds, dairy, apples, sheep dairy, livestock finishing and a mixed use of livestock/arable/market gardening.
Based on actual market conditions for farm produce, each case study assesses financial viability under irrigation, on-farm nutrient impacts, and the management and lifestyle implications of changing from current un-irrigated land uses.
Field days to discuss the results of the studies and what they mean for changing to irrigated land use will be held on the three Wairarapa farms involved in the study on 12, 14 and 20 April. Details follow next month.
The field days lead up to an independent survey of farmers and growers in May to gain a broad understanding of their collective demand for water and interest in investing in irrigation. The survey results will help determine scheme feasibility and possible ownership/operating structures.