Feeding the world’s growing population
New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food producer is growing.
The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand promotes and encourages responsible and scientifically-based nutrient management.
Fertilisers support the replenishment of nutrients, making them available for productive plant growth and maintaining soil fertility. This must be managed carefully, to ensure good yields while minimising any environmental impacts. Good farming practice includes creating and maintaining a nutrient budget and testing the soil regularly.
A nutrient budget tells you about the balance between nutrient inputs and outputs.
It compares inputs such as:
with outputs such as:
A nutrient budget helps to determine what is required to maintain soil fertility and use nutrients efficiently. It enables you to generate a nutrient plan to optimise production while minimising losses to the environment.
Soil testing gives information on the nutrient status and the chemical/physical status of soil. It can be used to inform farm management decisions. By testing soil, farmers know which nutrients – and how much – to apply. If too little is added, crops will not produce as expected. If too much is applied or is applied incorrectly, for example, at the wrong time or in the wrong manner, excess nutrients may run off the fields and pollute streams and groundwater. So, while fertilisers serve an important purpose, farmers must be careful to use the right product and the right amount, at the right rate and right time (the 4R approach).
Well managed nutrient applications can achieve increased production and increased farmer profitability, while maintaining environmental protection and improved sustainability.
This means following the 4R Nutrient approach: