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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Nutrient Management

‘Nutrient management’ is a very important concept in ensuring efficient nutrient use and avoiding or minimising adverse environmental impacts. It combines production and environmental aspects of nutrient input and output management, rather than considering manufactured fertiliser use in isolation. Complete nutrient management looks more widely at all sources of nutrient input and output and considers manufactured fertiliser use as part of the mix.

Nutrient input sources could include those:

  • supplied through breakdown of organic matter (including applied compost or naturally occurring organic matter) and continued weathering of soil materials
  • applied in fertiliser use
  • deposited in urine and dung
  • returned through the irrigation of dairy effluent
  • added through the importing of supplementary feed
  • nitrogen fixed from the atmosphere by clovers and other legumes
  • deposited aerially

Nutrient outputs could include:

  • nutrients taken off in products (e.g. fruit, vegetables, grain, logs, meat, wool, milk)
  • crop residues removed from the paddock or burnt on site
  • losses through erosion, leaching, surface flow and return to the atmosphere
  • hay and silage sold off farm
  • transfers to unproductive areas (e.g. raceways, stock camps)

Nutrients are essential for healthy plant and animal production, and deliberate nutrient inputs are often required to enhance productivity and address animal health issues. However, poor nutrient management can lead to consequences that are highly undesirable, environmentally, socially and economically. Implementing nutrient management planning will help land managers to maximise the efficiency of their use of nutrients, which will in turn avoid or minimise adverse environmental impacts and increase overall production efficiency.

This Code provides a procedure for the management of all nutrients used in primary production systems, with special emphasis on the management of manufactured fertiliser inputs.


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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