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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Application accuracy

Fertiliser application must be confined to the desired application site. Fertiliser spread more widely is inefficient and potentially environmentally harmful. The person applying fertiliser shall ensure that it is applied as accurately as is reasonably possible. A clearly marked map showing buffer zones should help contractors ensure that non-target areas are not treated.

As well as keeping fertiliser to the target area, application needs to be even across this area at the desired fertiliser application rate. The potential evenness of application for any given fertiliser is affected by:

  • the physical form of the fertiliser
  • size guide number (SGN), uniformity index (UI) and bulk density (BD) of fertiliser mixes
  • the type of application equipment
  • application techniques
  • operational factors at the application site, including the weather (wind speed and direction)

The evenness of distribution is described using the coefficient of variation (CV%). This can be measured by catching fertiliser in collectors across the distribution area and weighing the fertiliser in each container.

CV is defined as:
standard deviation (of weight of fertiliser retained in each collector) ÷ mean weight across all containers and is expressed as a percentage.

A high CV indicates poor (uneven) spreading while a CV of zero indicates perfectly even spreading.

The target application rate should be chosen to meet the true plant nutrient requirements. Inappropriate application may increase the risk of adverse environmental effects and reduce production potential.

In New Zealand, the standards set under the Spreadmark Code of Practice for the Placement of Fertiliser allows for a single pass transverse spreading CV of no greater than 15% for nitrogen fertilisers and 25% for all other fertilisers. When making recommendations for the amount of fertiliser to be applied, fertiliser providers and consultants assume a CV of zero percent.

Modern technology, such as GPS and GIS systems, has enabled commercial fertiliser spreaders (ground and aerial) to achieve a high degree of fertiliser spreading accuracy. This technology enables spreaders to cover precise areas with minimal overlap or gaps between spreading runs and to achieve accurate buffers between target and non-target areas.

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

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.”  

24 November 2021

FANZ has made a submission to the Ministry for the Environment on Te hau mārohi ki anamata - Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future

The primary sector has a key role to play in helping achieve global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining food security. This requires low-emission production systems, with increased efficiencies and the use of new mitigation technologies. 

Investment in the development and adoption of new technologies requires a clear regulatory pathway to market. We will need to work internationally with trading nations and also locally with existing qualified networks within the agricultural community for the extension and adoption of new mitigations.  

You can read our submission in full here.

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