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The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand promotes and encourages responsible and scientifically-based nutrient management.
As the longest fertiliser trial under pasture in New Zealand, the site has been invaluable in helping us to understand the role of phosphate fertiliser on irrigated pastoral systems. The original fertiliser treatments at Winchmore included a control (nil application of phosphate fertiliser), superphosphate applied at 188 kg/ha/yr and superphosphate applied at 376 kg/ ha/yr. More than 30 years ago two additional treatments were included: 250 kg/ha/yr of superphosphate and application of an equivalent rate of phosphorus using reactive rock phosphate.
Winchmore has allowed us to monitor and document the effects of consistent and uniform use of phosphate fertiliser over decades. However, it has delivered far more. Many issues faced by farming were not envisaged when the trial was initiated, such as soil carbon sequestration, impacts on earthworms and soil biota, accumulation of contaminants are a few examples where this long-term trial has provided invaluable information above and beyond the pasture responses to phosphate fertiliser. A significant change was introduced in the 2017/18 year, as the site’s irrigation system has moved from a border dyke to a centre pivot system, to reflect the latest technology and comply with best practice and regulatory obligations under resource management.
The consistent management, meticulous record keeping and archiving of regular soil and plant samples have proved a rich source of material for many other studies.
Research findings have also been used to develop and validate several nutrient management models, such as Overseer.
The Fertiliser Association has been funding the annual maintenance and data collection at Winchmore Research Station for many years. In July 2018, we renewed our commitment to the Winchmore Fertiliser Trials. To protect them for the future, we have agreed to lease the trial site with AgResearch for the next 30 years. We want to ensure that Winchmore can continue to act as a testing ground for researchers for many generations to come.
Read more about the Winchmore Fertiliser Trials in a 2012 Special Edition of New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research.