Feeding the world’s growing population

New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food producer is growing.

Optimising food production

Over the next 50 years farmers around the world will need to produce more food than has been grown over the past 10,000 years.

Best use from a limited resource

Fertiliser helps farmers produce food efficiently by replenishing the soil. But fertiliser needs to be used responsibly.

Responsible and sustainable nutrient management

The Fertiliser Association invests in research and tools to ensure farm profitability while minimising nutrient losses to the environment.

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand promotes and encourages responsible and scientifically-based nutrient management.

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Protecting our waterways

Clean water we can swim in. Rivers and lakes we can fish from. The New Zealand fertiliser industry wants what all New Zealanders want. But there are challenges we need to tackle together.

Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen can cause excessive growth of aquatic plants and slime if they are carried into our waterways. This can impact on animals like fish and mayfly. Excess nitrogen leaching into the ground water raises concerns for the quality of our drinking water.

The Fertiliser Association promotes responsible nutrient management for the whole farm system, using a Nutrient Management Plan, because fertiliser represents just one source of essential nutrients in the nutrient cycle.

Good management practice specifically for fertiliser use includes:

  • spreading fertiliser away from waterways
  • not fertilising shortly before heavy rainfall
  • not fertilising in windy conditions
  • not using excess fertiliser.

These examples can be summed up as right product, at the right rate, at the right time with the right placement. 

The New Zealand fertiliser industry is keen to play its part in ensuring water quality, through supporting scientific research and innovation. Finding the best tools and measures to enable better management of nutrients will contribute to better outcomes for farmers and the environment – a win-win for all.

Industry approach

The New Zealand fertiliser industry addresses the protection of our waterways in multiple ways.

  • Together with Dairy NZ, the Fertiliser Association supports the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme. This Programme aims to ensure farmers get nutrient management advice of the highest standard. Advisers come from companies, professional service firms, regional councils and consultancies.
  • The fertiliser industry invests in research on nutrient efficiency, precision farming and use of new fertiliser products, including the use of inhibitors to prevent nutrient loss.
  • The Fertiliser Association and industry representatives actively participate in council planning processes to ensure good outcomes for farmers and the environment.
  • Fertiliser co-operatives have more than 200 farm advisers nationwide who can provide advice on nutrient management. There are also consultants available to help deliver farm environment plans.
  • The fertiliser industry has invested in the development of Overseer. This nutrient budgeting tool examines nutrient use and movements within a farm. The computer model calculates and estimates the nutrient flows in the farming system, including run-off, leaching and greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding losses allows us to identify potential for environmental risks.

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and Dairy NZ funded development of the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme (NMACP). This industry-wide certification aims to ensure that advisers have the learning, experience and capability to give sound nutrient advice.

Find out more

6 July 2022

The British Society of Soil Science has published a research article in the Soil Use and Management Journal detailing the latest analysed data from the long-running Winchmore Fertiliser Trial in Canterbury.

The paper was written by Driss Touhami of the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University. Touhami is also a member of the AgrioBioSciences Program, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Ben Guerir, Morocco.

The paper, titled "Effects of long-term phosphorus fertilizer inputs and seasonal conditions on organic soil phosphorus cycling under grazed pasture", was co-authored by Leo Condron Richard McDowell and Ray Moss.  The report can be viewed here.

Read more about the long-running Winchmore trial on the FANZ website here.

25 January 2022

Final-year Lincoln University PhD candidate Kirstin Deuss is the 2021 recipient of the NZ Society of Soil Science/Fertiliser Association of NZ Postgraduate Bursary Award.

The award recognises the efforts and present (or likely) contribution to New Zealand soil science arising from a doctorate study. It carries a $5,000 one-year stipend.

Kirstin holds a BSC in Biomedical Science from Victoria University of Wellington and an MSC in Horticultural Science from the Technical University of Munich, Free University of Bozen (Italy) and the University of Bologna.

Her postgraduate research has seen her lead a long-term field study on soil and catchment hydrology in Southland. The findings will help understand the role mole and tile drains play in Southland’s unique landscape.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected as the recipient of the NZSSS Fertiliser Association Postgraduate Bursary, it is an honour that I will cherish for the rest of my career,” says Kirstin. “I love working with soils and my career objective is to apply my field, research and management skills towards supporting the sustainable management of New Zealand’s soil resources.”

“My PhD has been challenging but also so rewarding, and this award is a real confidence boost as I prepare to start my new career at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research in February. I wouldn't be where I am without the support of my many great mentors, friends and colleagues, who have given me so much of their time and energy to help turn ideas into reality and put it all into the written word!

 “It's truly been the best experience of my life and I am really looking forward to where it is going to take me.”

 Kirstin was nominated by Peter Almond, Associate Professor, Department of Soil and Physical Sciences at Lincoln University. He described her to the judging panel as a “highly adept scientist capable of complex quantitative analysis of soil-hydrological systems”.

“I think she is a deserving recipient.  The prestige of the award would further her goal of securing a position working professionally in soil science in New Zealand so that she can contribute to environmental sustainability of our primary industries.”

Fertiliser Association chief executive Vera Power described Kirstin’s research as “hugely important”.

“The more we can understand what’s happening in our soils and catchments, the better placed our primary sector will be to improve farm management, all while protecting the environment.”  

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