The convergence of water use consent renewals and dairy shed renewals may be a catalyst for land use change in mid-Canterbury around the early 2040s.
A report released today found that around 40 percent of all dairy milking sheds in the district were built between 2007 and 2015, according to resource consents. Using the IRD calculation of a 33.3-year economic life for a dairy shed, those 230 sheds will reach the end of their economic life between 2040 and 2048. This means nearly half of all dairy sheds are likely to need replacing during that period.
The report authors note that replacing an aging dairy shed is a significant capital investment. Their research found that any farmer making that kind of decision is going to look at climate suitability, regulations and the prevailing economics of dairying compared to other land uses.
The researchers also found that between 2030 and 2040, 78 percent of all water use consents in the district will expire. The area of land involved in this process will, however, be even greater, as the water consents of all three irrigation companies in the district also fall due in this period.
Rural Professionals Fund final report, October 2022