Waikato is home to a strong, diverse farming sector that powers both the local and national economy.
Agriculture in the Waikato
Waikato is the dairy production powerhouse of New Zealand, producing more than 25% of New Zealand’s milk supply. Waikato land is highly productive and fertile, and our expertise in pasture-based management systems is world renowned.
Waikato is also home to annual agricultural show Fieldays, the largest agricultural trade and technology event in the southern hemisphere. Held over four days in Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre, the event is a platform for cutting edge technology and innovation, bringing together exhibitors and visitors from all over the globe.
Thoroughbred horse breeding and training, forestry, aquaculture (particularly mussel farming) and other livestock farming also contribute to agriculture in the Waikato. Many of New Zealand’s leading agri-science research facilities are based here, with the electric fence and aerial top dressing two of the many innovations to come from the region.
Waikato has ideal climate conditions that support a variety of agricultural sub-sectors. It also has the advantage of geographical location, with easy access to some of New Zealand’s biggest cities, main transport links and manufacturing and logistics facilities.
Our people have a long history of farming successfully in the region. We’re building on this generational knowledge base every day, with award-winning innovations that make agriculture more efficient and sustainable. The region’s strong manufacturing sector provides a raft of value-add opportunities that further strengthen our food products.
The agriculture industry is a popular pathway for many people in Waikato, and is the region’s fourth largest employer by sector. More than 23,000 people work in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Many of these people have either tertiary qualifications or a farming upbringing that supports their knowledge, productivity and passion.
Te Waka and Agriculture
Te Waka plays an active role in supporting all forms of local agriculture to solve its biggest challenges and capitalise on its greatest opportunities.
We recognise the region’s biggest movers and shakers, support cutting edge innovators, host events and help to enable diversification that expands and enriches New Zealand agriculture as a whole.
Farmers in Waikato are innovative, committed and knowledgeable, with operations that set the global standard for best practice.
For example, Waikato is home to an award-winning collaboration between Scion and AgriSea that’s developed a novel seaweed hydrogel for use in performance bio-composites, cosmetics, wound care and tissue engineering. Find out more here.
Waikato-based Ruminant BioTech is also making exciting advances in reducing New Zealand agriculture’s greenhouse gas footprint. Its methane-inhibiting capsules for livestock have been shown to eliminate more than 70% of methane emissions within six months. Find out more here.
Agriculture and Dairy
The backbone of the Waikato’s agriculture industry is dairy – find out more about its place in our premium producing region below.
Read Agriculture Sector News
Reflections from the Climate Change & Business Conference 2023
Attending for the second year, Te Waka General Manager Economic Development Rosie Spragg shares her key reflections from the conference, with a focus on areas of opportunity for the Waikato:
ŌKU: Nurturing Sustainable Innovation
When ŌKU's story began there was a notable absence of New Zealand native herbs in the natural health products market. Founders Scott Smith and Helen Smith (Tapuika, Ngai Te Rangi) recognised this gap and embarked on producing their own original blends and products.
New Zealand’s National Fieldays is an annual agricultural event that takes place in the Waikato region. The four-day event is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, attracting around 130,000 visitors annually.
Ngāruawāhia studio helps agriculture businesses design better customer experiences
Emma Campbell founded Bo Studio in 2022, working with agri-businesses to create digital and service-based experiences on 120 acres in Ngāruawāhia.
Paeroa-based AgriSea is a family-owned business pioneering the sustainable use of seaweed to make a range of products for the health of soil, animals, and people. Clare and Tane Bradley, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Innovation Officer respectively, are the second generation to run the company which has been in operation for more than 25 years.
Fieldays Innovation Awards winners announced
Guests at last night’s Fieldays Innovation Awards were treated to a celebration of creative problem-solvers when the winners of the 2022 competition were announced in an exclusive awards ceremony, with four well-deserving winners selected by the panel of 15 industry expert judges.
ofi Announces Almond Hull Feed Trial for NZ
New Zealand dairy farmers could benefit from lower cost, sustainable feed
Gallagher takes out International Innovation Award
Inspired by pure frustration, Murray Tones was sick of forever going around his farm looking for water leaks and was told by his wife that he’d talked about it enough and it was time to get on and do it.
LIC looking for improvement
LIC has chosen the 50th Fieldays to launch its new brand theme.