This page explains the farm class system we use to categorise farm types in our economic reports – and how understanding your farm class can help you to benchmark your farm.
What is "all classes"?
The all classes distributions are weighted averages of individual farm class data to correctly portray a whole region or the New Zealand lambing percentage distribution.
They help you to evaluate where your lambing percentage sits nationally, within your region and within a particular farm class. If there aren’t enough observations within a class and region you’ll need to compare your farm with its whole farm class or your all classes region distribution.
Estimated number of commercial sheep and beef farms in each class:
|Sheep and beef farm survey 2017-18 farm class||Estimated farms|
|1||South Island High country||200|
|2||South Island Hill country||620|
|3||North Island Hard hill country||920|
|4||North Island Hill country||3,055|
|5||North Island finishing||1,045|
|6||South Island Finishing breeding||1,820|
|7||South Island finishing||1,040|
|8||South Island Mixed finishing||465|
|Total all classes||9,165|
The eight farm classes
South Island high country
Extensive run country at high altitude carrying fine wool sheep, with wool as the main source of revenue. Located mainly in Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago.
South Island hill country
Mainly mid-micron wool sheep mostly carrying between two and seven stock units per hectare. Three quarters of the stock units wintered are sheep and one quarter beef cattle.
North Island hard hill country
Steep hill country or low fertility soils with most farms carrying six to 10 stock units per hectare. While some stock are finished a significant proportion are sold in store condition.
North Island hill country
Easier hill country or higher fertility soils than Class 3. Mostly carrying between seven and 13 stock units per hectare. A high proportion of sale stock sold is in forward store or prime condition.
North Island finishing farms
Easy contour farmland with the potential for high production. Mostly carrying between eight and 15 stock units per hectare. A high proportion of stock is sent to slaughter and replacements are often bought in.
South Island finishing-breeding farms
A more extensive type of finishing farm, also encompassing some irrigation units and frequently with some cash cropping. Carrying capacity ranges from six to 11 stock units per hectare on dryland farms and over 12 stock units per hectare on irrigated units. Mainly in Canterbury and Otago. This is the dominant farm class in the South Island.
South Island finishing farms
High producing grassland farms carrying about 10 to 14 stock units per hectare, with some cash crop. Located mainly in Southland, South and West Otago.
South Island mixed cropping and finishing farms
Located mainly on the Canterbury Plains. A high proportion of their revenue is derived from grain and small seed production as well as stock finishing.