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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Nitrogen leaching under grazed lucerne

Malcolm McLeod, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research
Completed March 2020


Lake Taupō Protection Trust (LTPT), the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Pāmu, Fertiliser Association of New Zealand, and Waikato Regional Council funded a field trial on N-leaching under grazed lucerne on a Taupo Lake Care member's farm. The project objective was to use lysimeters to quantify nitrogen leaching due to livestock urine from autumn-grazed lucerne or ryegrass/clover pasture.

Grazing was simulated by the application in autumn of ewe lamb or cow urine collected from animals whose diet included lucerne. Results showed that a single autumn urine application (simulated grazing) significantly increased N leaching compared to controls, but no significant differences were found between pasture or lucerne vegetation. When expressed at the paddock scale, assuming urine patches cover 3% of the paddock during a single grazing, the three-year average nitrogen leaching loss from the autumn grazing was approximately 2 kg TN/ha/yr under cow grazed lucerne and approximately 3 kg TN/ha/yr under cow grazed pasture. Controls (no grazing) showed leaching losses of approximately 1 and 2 kg TN/ha/yr for lucerne and pasture respectively.

"Studies like these are critical to understanding the nutrient flows in different farm systems," says Greg Sneath, Executive Manager, Fertiliser Association of New Zealand.

"It helps provide the information needed for building the tools for management and mitigation of nitrogen losses in productive farm systems."

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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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28 June 2023

Dairy farmers milking cows on a farm area of more than 20 hectares are required to record synthetic nitrogen use on their dairy platform land, including a zero-kg record if no synthetic nitrogen is used. The regulations require data to be submitted by 31 July each year for the preceding year ended 30 June. 

14 May 2023

The New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research has published a paper titled Nitrogen fertiliser use in grazed pasture-based systems in New Zealand. The research paper was commissioned by the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and written by AgReserch senior scientist Colin Gray.

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