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

Rate of application

The rate of fertiliser application for a particular situation should be based on the rate of nutrient required by the plants.

fertiliser rate (kg/ha) = required nutrient rate (kg/ha) ÷ (% of the nutrient in the fertiliser ÷ 100)

For example, suppose we have a product containing 46% nitrogen and the desired nitrogen application is 50 kg N/ha.

fertiliser rate (kg/ha) = 50 kg N/ha ÷ (46% N ÷ 100) = 50 kg N/ha ÷ 0.46 N = 109 kg product/ha

In determining nutrient rates to apply, consider:

  • soil and plant tissue analysis results
  • nutrient budget reports
  • crop type, yield/quality/stocking rate targets
  • the need for maintenance or capital applications (i.e. goals for soil fertility and production results from fertiliser. Is the land manager trying to maintain present soil fertility and productive performance or increase nutrient levels to support higher production or different pastures/crops?)
  • water availability and expected future weather patterns
  • local fertiliser trials and local land manager experience
  • previous crop and fertiliser history on the site
  • different LMU requirements

Any application of fertiliser should be made on the basis of required present and/or future production level. If calculated fertiliser application rates exceed crop uptake as suggested by nutrient budget results this should be recognised and managed accordingly through a nutrient management plan, to reduce losses and ensure production is not limited.


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

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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