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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Frequency of application

The best way to ensure that added nutrients are used efficiently by plants and to reduce the risk of nutrient loss to the environment is to match nutrient availability to plant demand over time. Annual crops, perennial crops and pastures all have different patterns of nutrient demand over time, and respond differently according to soil moisture status and temperature. These factors should be considered in planning fertiliser applications.

Mobile nutrients such as nitrogen or potassium are most effectively used when split applications of fertiliser are applied frequently during the periods of crop or pasture growth. This is usually preferable to one large application. However, crops and pastures may have short periods of very high nutrient demand and so a larger application will be required at that time.

Fertigation systems (adding nutrients in irrigation water) provide flexibility in applying nutrients to meet plant demand but regular top-dressing or side dressing of fertiliser can have similar effects, provided that there is sufficient moisture to move nutrients into the soil.


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.

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30 September 2021

We recently submitted evidence to the Environment Select Committee on proposals to ban nitrogen fertiliser.

11 August 2021

Creating tools to assist farmers to make the right choice on nutrient management is a long and sometimes expensive process. The Fertiliser Association is committed to a journey of enabling New Zealand farmers to meet their goals for profitability and heightened environmental responsibility.

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