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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Supporting new scientists

Congratulations to Lincoln University PhD student Daniel Martin-Hendrie, who has completed his PhD research investigating phosphorus and sulphur availability in relation to soil acidity and aluminium toxicity across the South Island high country.

Daniel's research had a special focus on the impact these relationships have on legume growth and persistence. Not only applying lime to the soil surface, he also investigated the deep application of lime directly into subsoil for greater plant growth. During his studies, Daniel hit upon the ideal formula for identifying whether high country farmers are best to apply lime, fertiliser, herbicide or seed to improve nutrient availability and their farm productivity.

Daniels' PhD was funded by the Fertiliser Association in partnership with Callaghan Innovation R&D Grants. This support provided Daniel with close engagement with the industry through work grants and stipends for financial support, plus training in industry-specific professional development and post graduate courses.

"I am very grateful to have had industry support towards my study," said Daniel.

"The financial support was invaluable, as it helped cover expenses such as travel costs to attend and participate at conferences, and the publication of associated journal papers."

"It also enabled me to get strong commercial experience and engagement with field staff, the farming community, researchers and rural professionals," added Daniel.

"The Fertiliser Association is a long-term supporter of PhD projects on nutrient management issues," said Greg Sneath, Executive Director at the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand.

"The intention of partnering with Callaghan Innovation Student Grants is to encourage a well-rounded programme for development of academic and technical skills, as well as meaningful commercial experience to support and encourage new young scientists with the skills and capability to make a difference in the world."

"We want them to be able to lead the next generation with the best possible experience and training during their academic development."

You can read more about Daniel's research here.

Daniel is looking forward to starting a new job working for Agriculture Victoria at the Grains Innovation Park in Horsham, Victoria.

We asked Daniel a few questions about his new role, and his chosen career.

What will you be doing in your new role?

"I will be working across a range of studies on nutrient availability, soil acidity and salinity issue-particularly in subsoil-for wheat production.

"This work will involve investigating the deep application of various amendments to counter these subsoil issues using customised machinery for deep incorporation without the need for full cultivation."

"As well as the direct effects of applying these amendments, I will be also working on a precision ag aspect by using investigative mapping work to identify specific areas where these amendments are best applied across a paddock."

"This work relates to my work on soil acidity and aluminium toxicity in high country, given the climate limitations on production, and also to the use of novel machinery for deep application of amendments into subsoil."

Why did you choose this career path?

"I am excited by innovation and new ideas in the agriculture industry, and the constant drive to improve the way things are done on farm. Being in a research position gives me the chance to look deep into the value of new ideas, and be a part of introducing them to drive innovation and increase farm productivity, and sustainability."

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

15 March 2023

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand has published a revised and updated Code of Practice for fertiliser nutrient management, replacing the previous version published in 2013.

The Code was launched at an event in Wellington on 13 March 2023, attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor.

Minister O’Connor welcomed the publication of the Code, saying it was important good guidance is available for all farm inputs for farmers and the wider sector.

He described farming – producing food for communities and the world – as the most noble of professions. Farmers were dealing with challenges every day and providing them with tools and knowledge was important, he said.

The Code is a key resource tool for the management of nutrients on arable and pastoral farms, horticulture and viticulture blocks, and market gardens.

Association Chief Executive Vera Power says the revised Code provides clear principle-based guidance on supplying nutrients for growing healthy food and fibre.

“Following the Code provides users, regulatory authorities and markets confidence that the nutrients used in Aotearoa New Zealand primary production are managed in a way that minimises adverse environmental impacts,” says Dr Power.

“We believe all New Zealand farmers and growers want to meet societal and their own high expectations for growing healthy food while minimising environmental impacts. Supporting all our aspirations remains at the heart of the guidance provided by this Code.”

The revised Code has had extensive input from  agricultural and scientific experts, regulators and industry groups. It can be downloaded from the Association website at www.fertiliser.org.nz

7 September 2022

The 2022 AgriTechNZ Baseline of Digital Adoption in Primary Industries report was released in August.

Created as part of a study by AgriTechNZ and insights partner Research First, the report was co-designed with partners The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand, Zespri, The Foundation of Arable Research and DairyNZ. It was also supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries as part of the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures initiative (SFFF).

The 60-page report looks at digital adoption, including key drivers and barriers across the dairy, horticulture, arable and beef/sheep sectors.

You can download the report here.

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