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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Winchmore long-term fertiliser trial

The Winchmore Research Station fertiliser trials in the Canterbury Plains, funded by the Fertiliser Association, have provided valuable insights into fertiliser use for almost 70 years.

As the longest fertiliser trial under pasture in New Zealand, the site has been invaluable in helping us to understand the role of phosphate fertiliser on irrigated pastoral systems. The original fertiliser treatments at Winchmore included a control (nil application of phosphate fertiliser), superphosphate applied at 188 kg/ha/yr and superphosphate applied at 376 kg/ ha/yr. More than 30 years ago two additional treatments were included: 250 kg/ha/yr of superphosphate and application of an equivalent rate of phosphorus using reactive rock phosphate.

Winchmore has allowed us to monitor and document the effects of consistent and uniform use of phosphate fertiliser over decades. However, it has delivered far more. Many issues faced by farming were not envisaged when the trial was initiated, such as soil carbon sequestration, impacts on earthworms and soil biota, accumulation of contaminants are a few examples where this long-term trial has provided invaluable information above and beyond the pasture responses to phosphate fertiliser. A significant change was introduced in the 2017/18 year, as the site's irrigation system has moved from a border dyke to a centre pivot system, to reflect the latest technology and comply with best practice and regulatory obligations under resource management.

The consistent management, meticulous record keeping and archiving of regular soil and plant samples have proved a rich source of material for many other studies.

Research findings have also been used to develop and validate several nutrient management models, such as Overseer.

The Fertiliser Association has been funding the annual maintenance and data collection at Winchmore Research Station for many years. In July 2018, we renewed our commitment to the Winchmore Fertiliser Trials. To protect them for the future, we have agreed to lease the trial site with AgResearch for the next 30 years. We want to ensure that Winchmore can continue to act as a testing ground for researchers for many generations to come.

Read more about the Winchmore Fertiliser Trials in a 2012 Special Edition of New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research.

Winchmore long-term fertiliser trial: 2019-2020 annual update

Winchmore long-term fertiliser trial: 2018-19 annual update

Winchmore long-term fertiliser trial: 2017-18 annual update

2017 Report: Analysis of samples from the Winchmore long-term fertiliser trial for total soil cadmium contents

2017 Report: Fluorine accumulation and loss from a pasture soil


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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15 April 2021

Good soil fertility is critical for our agricultural economy. We welcome today's report. One of the areas highlighted in the report is soil quality, and in particular, soil fertility as measured by the 'Olsen P' soil test. However, the report's analysis is based on a limited data set. Our analysis of industry data suggests a slightly different picture than presented in the report.

31 March 2021

Congratulation to Tim Jefferd, Regional Manager for the Eastern North Island at Agricom, who became the 300th person certified through our Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme.

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