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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Phosphorus fertiliser application effects on dry hill country pasture and soil

Alan Gillingham
Completed 2016


A grazed trial established in 1980 evaluated the effects of superphosphate fertiliser application on pasture growth on Easy (10°–20° slope) and Steep (30°–40° slope) land in the Waikato, North Island, New Zealand.

Continuous and rotational grazing showed no effects on pasture responses to fertiliser. Mean annual pasture dry matter (DM) production ranged from 11,275 to 14,155 kg DM ha−1 on Easy, and 6413 to 7480 kg DM ha−1 on Steep slopes through the range of 10–100 kg ha−1 yr−1 of phosphate (P) fertiliser rates. Initial fertiliser effects on Olsen P tests were in the 0–3 cm depth only, and in the 7–15 cm soil depth only in the 100 kg ha−1 yr−1 treatment by year 4. Near maximum (97%) annual production, derived from relative yield analysis, was obtained at 0–7 cm depth soil tests of 30 on Easy slopes and at 12 on Steep slopes.

Results from this trial are directly relevant to the variable fertiliser rate aerial application technology currently being developed.

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The full report has been published in the New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research.

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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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1 March 2024

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand recently updated its Fertiliser Use on New Zealand Dairy Farms booklet to ensure farmers get the best value from fertiliser applied and to align the advice with the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Nutrient Management.

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. 

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