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.

Read more

Best management practices for fertiliser application

Most agricultural fertiliser is spread by contract ground spreaders and aerial applicators following the applicable parts of the Code of Practice for the Placement of Fertiliser. Good communication between the contractor and farmer or land manager is essential for best value from fertiliser and to minimise environmental risks. 

The ideas listed below are also useful considerations for land managers who apply their own fertiliser.

Clearly state the name of product and application rate. Use correct product names as stated on sales documents – common names and abbreviations can cause confusion.
  • Express all application rates in kilograms per hectare (kg/ha); lime application may be stated in tonnes/ha. Be sure your spreading operator is absolutely clear about the desired fertiliser application rate.

  • Give details of the application area. A map showing the location, boundaries and size of the area(s) to be treated is best. Pointing out easily identifiable ground features can help the contractor find the right paddock.

  • Describe any hazards present, such as power lines, trees, silage pits or hidden steep slopes that may be dangerous to the operator. It is also important to highlight any ‘unusual’ activities that may be taking place on the farm – e.g. tree felling.

  • Note any areas and features to be avoided, such as streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands and riparian strips. It is helpful to mark these on the map, rather than rely on verbal explanation. Areas of high nutrient status may not respond to the fertiliser being applied and should usually be avoided – e.g. stock camps.

  • Note any conditions to be avoided. Avoid applying fertilisers, particularly those containing nitrogen, when soil moisture levels are high (at or near field capacity) to avoid the risk of nutrient moving laterally rather than being absorbed into the soil. There is a risk that fertiliser applied on slopes will be washed downhill if the soil surface is hard and dry and/or the vegetative cover is very short. Delay spreading fertiliser materials if the wind is strong enough to cause drift away from the target area or if the wind direction is towards nearby sensitive crops or dwellings.

  • Consult the fertiliser supplier for information about hazards to livestock from direct intake of fertiliser. Avoid application on blocks where livestock are grazing.

  • Specify the accuracy and evenness required. The usual measure for evenness of spread is the coefficient of variation (CV%), in which the lowest figure represents the most even spread. Spreader operators should be given a clear indication of the evenness (CV%) required for the job in hand.

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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