Yesterday’s discussion on irrigation brought up the topic of wheat.
This is wheat from a North Otago farm, one crop was irrigated, the other wasn’t:
North Otago has an average annual rainfall of around 20 inches but it can be as low as 13 inches in a drought.
Without irrigation, farms had big losses in bad years, caught up in good ones then got hit by another bad one.
That didn’t just have an impact on the farms, it affected businesses which relied on them and the wider community.
Now we’ve got enough critical mass of irrigation farmers know they can grow grass and crops even in the worst years.
The positive benefits from that include more jobs and higher incomes.
The Waiareka Creek which used to be a series of stagnant ponds now flows all year.
North Otago Irrigation Company’s requirement for all shareholders to have independently audited environmental farm plans ensures that soil and water quality are safe guarded.
Last year’s drought affected not only the areas which didn’t have enough rain it impacted the national economy.
There is potential for more irrigation in North Otago and other areas.
The benefits of realising that potential are not just economic, they’re environmental and social too.
#gigatownoamaru appreciates that.