Creating a prosperous economy though enabling the production of diverse high quality food

BCI is an important link in a sophisticated value chain producing a wide range of foods for domestic consumption and export to discerning international consumers. There is significant evidence of the positive economic impact of irrigation through increased production, increased quality, and the economic multiplier of increased employment and the downstream processing of food.

The chart below outlines the primary land use of BCI irrigators.

Primary Land Use

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Mid Canterbury has long been the powerhouse of arable food and seed production. High quality soils, climate, technical expertise, processing infrastructure, and water ensure that the food and seed production meets the stringent quality standards of the wide ranging markets.

A traditional double cropping rotation is employed by many farmers in the district, focussing on autumn feed crops for winter fattening of trading lambs and cattle, and the wintering of seasonally milked dairy cows.


From seed potatoes in the higher altitude upper plains, to onions and process potatoes in the lower plains, the district produces significant volumes of high quality produce. These crops are very reliant on reliable irrigation water supplies.


Mid Canterbury is a significant producer of milk which is processed into a multitude of dairy products for exports and domestic use. The district has many large scale intensive dairy farming businesses that rely on irrigation water to produce grass fed dairy products.