Crop Types

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Crop Types

Pumpkins in a field.

Land use information has been captured from 1999 in order to assist with assessing the needs of future irrigation for developing areas. Over the period since that date we have groundtruthed (ground observation) different areas, continually adding to our information base.

Lowland Crop Cover Survey

Council has been actively involved with the national Land Cover Database project coordinated by Landcare Research and Ministry for the Environment. However, the satellite imagery that is used to map land cover types cannot precisely distinguish vineyard at this stage. As vineyard expansion has been the dominant land use trend on the Wairau Plain since the late 1980s, staff considered it imperative for Council to understand patterns of crop conversion and the implications for further water demand.

The aim of the project was to precisely map crop types, define trends and ultimately characterise the satellite signature of vineyards. The report, titled Wairau Plain Land Use and Crop Water Use Trends, prepared by horticultural consultant Murray Neal, was presented to Council's Environment Committee in September 2004.

Vineyard Development Areas

Over the last 13 years groundtruthing (ground observation) of land use has provided information about viticulture coverage in Marlborough. Information has been updated for 2013.

As at September 2013 Marlborough’s total vineyard area is approximately 23,769 hectares.

  • Wairau Plains and Valley approximately 16,947 ha
  • Awatere Valley and South approximately 6,822 ha

Due to limited land availability, vineyards have been developed over the lower rolling hills of the smaller southern valleys leading onto the Wairau Plain, along the Awatere Valley up to Aotea and through the Blind River complex. There is also a substantial spread west along the Wairau Valley up to the Wye River.

Many of the vineyards are now being irrigated from purpose-built dams due to the marginal water resources available in some areas.

Viticulture maps

Map name Wairau Plain (ha) Awatere Valley and South (ha) Total vineyard area (ha) Area in survey (ha)
Marlborough vineyards 2015-16 Being reviewed
Marlborough vineyards 2014 24,610
Marlborough vineyards September 2013 16,947 6,822 23,769 N/A
Marlborough vineyards January 2012 16,686 6,542 23,228 N/A
Marlborough vineyards January 2011 (1.4 Mb) 17,082 6,882 23,964 232

Marlborough vineyards January 2010

17,050

6,870

23,921

291

Marlborough vineyards June 2009

16,955

6,854

23,810

391

Marlborough vineyards November 2008

16,945

6,673

23,618

690

Marlborough vineyards April 2008

16,095

6,182

22,277

778

Marlborough vineyards October 2007

15,965

5,235

20,400

876

Marlborough vineyards March 2007

13,705

4,755

18,460

720

Marlborough vineyards November 2006

12,987

4,733

17,720

600

Marlborough vineyards December 2005

12510

4,170

16,680

No Records

Marlborough vineyards November 2004

10,800

2,850

13,650

No Records

Marlborough vineyards July 2003

8,400

1,820

10,220

No Records

Marlborough vineyards July 2002

6,350

No records

6,350

No Records

Marlborough vineyards March 2000

1,850

No records

1,850

No Records

Vineyard data has been captured using a combination of ground observation and aerial photography. The information is intended for use at a regional level not for individual property usage. No liability is accepted by Marlborough District Council for the accuracy of the information, or for any purpose this information is used for. It should be noted that data for October 2007 is different to that published by New Zealand Winegrowers, whose data was collected by a survey of winegrowers.

It is also acknowledged that land use is subject to change and development areas will be checked, data updated and existing data refined periodically to ensure accuracy of information. Vineyard owners are encouraged to verify the information and advise of any inaccuracies.

For further information please contact Jamie Sigmund (GIS Analyst) at Marlborough District Council, phone: 03 520 7400.