New Zealand Monitor Farm Data

This is a technical paper for the project “Barriers to Adoption of ‘No-cost’ Mitigation Options” funded by the New Zealand Government under ‘The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases’ (MPI research project contract #RFP17526)

The New Zealand Monitor Farm Data (NZMFD) is a merged dataset of two sources. The first source, called financial data, contains information on the financial status of farms. These data were collected by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)[1] under the Farm Monitoring Programme, which was designed to provide an annual aggregated overview of a range of farm types throughout New Zealand. The second source documents information about each farm’s physical production inputs alongside their economic and environmental outcomes. As with the financial data, most of the input information was collected by MAF, while the environmental outcomes were calculated using OVERSEER® (Overseer) version 6.2.1, which is an agricultural decision support tool, developed by AgResearch and aimed at assisting farmers in examining the on-farm impact of nutrient flows.[2],[3]For this reason, we call the second source the Overseer data.

Structurally, NZMFD is an unbalanced panel. Every farm in this dataset is uniquely identified by a Farm ID (e.g. CANDY1). In total, the NZMFD includes 407 observations, with data ranging from 2009 to 2012. These include farm data from most regions of the country, subdivided into dairy farms (223 farms), sheep and beef farms (165), and deer farms (19).

In the next section we describe in detail how this merged dataset was constructed and the main characteristics of the data. The dataset is available for research purposes upon request, although the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must be contacted first for initial confidentiality agreements.[4]

[1] MAF was dissolved and became part of the then-newly formed Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2012.

[2] The Overseer model is based on nutrient budgeting. A nutrient budget, like a financial budget, offers information about inputs and outputs within a farm, but in terms of nutrients rather than finances. See Wheeler et al. (2003) for more information.

[3] Overseer is now jointly owned by MPI, AgResearch and the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand.

[4] Please contact Motu if you would like to have access to the database. 


Ministry for Primary Industries