The Cockayne plots of Central Otago
- Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre, Hamilton
The Cockayne plots were sown in 1920 near Cromwell, Central Otago, on depleted country in a IS-inch rainfall zone. The initial growth of the sown species in the 13 enclosures showed that productive herbage species could be established, if not grazed. Pine and eucalypt species were also successfully grown.
The plots were opened to grazing in the 1930s, following which there was a change in plant composition from palatable to unpalatable species.
Since the control of the rabbit in the early 1950s and the closing of the plots to grazing there has been a marked regeneration from the original trees.
These changes are discussed in relation to the agricultural development of the region and the Central Otago landscape.