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

15 March 2023

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand has published a revised and updated Code of Practice for fertiliser nutrient management, replacing the previous version published in 2013.

The Code was launched at an event in Wellington on 13 March 2023, attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor.

Minister O’Connor welcomed the publication of the Code, saying it was important good guidance is available for all farm inputs for farmers and the wider sector.

He described farming – producing food for communities and the world – as the most noble of professions. Farmers were dealing with challenges every day and providing them with tools and knowledge was important, he said.

The Code is a key resource tool for the management of nutrients on arable and pastoral farms, horticulture and viticulture blocks, and market gardens.

Association Chief Executive Vera Power says the revised Code provides clear principle-based guidance on supplying nutrients for growing healthy food and fibre.

“Following the Code provides users, regulatory authorities and markets confidence that the nutrients used in Aotearoa New Zealand primary production are managed in a way that minimises adverse environmental impacts,” says Dr Power.

“We believe all New Zealand farmers and growers want to meet societal and their own high expectations for growing healthy food while minimising environmental impacts. Supporting all our aspirations remains at the heart of the guidance provided by this Code.”

The revised Code has had extensive input from  agricultural and scientific experts, regulators and industry groups. It can be downloaded from the Association website at www.fertiliser.org.nz

7 September 2022

The 2022 AgriTechNZ Baseline of Digital Adoption in Primary Industries report was released in August.

Created as part of a study by AgriTechNZ and insights partner Research First, the report was co-designed with partners The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand, Zespri, The Foundation of Arable Research and DairyNZ. It was also supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries as part of the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures initiative (SFFF).

The 60-page report looks at digital adoption, including key drivers and barriers across the dairy, horticulture, arable and beef/sheep sectors.

You can download the report here.

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