Land adjacent to the Pacific Ocean has a slightly more benign climate than land further away from the sea, and vegetable crops are harvested from lands just metres away from the beach. North Otago has a very interesting geological history and small volcanic cores of black weathered basalt extruded up through a limestone base and a covering of Loess have contributed to a local friable and rich dark soil that supports intensive cropping of vegetable plants. Further inland where the soils are more alluvial and "normal" but still highly fertile, cropping of grains, brassicas, flowers (for seed)dominated where moisture levels would support these activities. In the dryer, elevated downlands, sheep farming (dryland farming) used to dominate the pastoral activities but with the advent of one or two massive irrigation schemes where water is pumped uphill from the Waitaki River, intensive dairy farming enterprises dominate the landscape.
On the vegetable growing lands crop rotation is continuous and it is unusual to see any of the worked plots lying fallow. There is however, clear evidence, especially when looking down from elevated positions, that the area(s) under intensive vegetable farming are now less than half what would have been the once cultivated.
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Photo taken in Kakanui, New Zealand
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