September 2019


Fresh Water

The recent announcement from the Government over water quality shows that they are going to be proactive in changing the way we farm. At Fertilizer New Zealand we have some idea how many farmers will be feeling. This covers all sectors of the farming community, regardless if you have stock, horticulture or are a vegetable grower. We are caught in the all-encompassing announcement.

We have been talking about how to stop leaching for years and so none of this is new to us and it should not be new to many of you, our valued customers. There are easy answers to overcoming all these new regulations and none of them are going to cost much at all.

Our first consideration when we are looking at your soil test is the Cation Exchange Capacity or CEC for short. You will find this test result on almost all your soil results. Our experienced representatives will be able to discuss this with you. It will show how porous your soil is and if it can hold or leach nutrients and this is what Government Ministers are working towards. If we only put on what our soils can hold then you save fertiliser dollars and the elements don’t get into your drinking water. It’s a win-win. At the same time, if we lift your CEC levels you will add organic matter and CARBON which is also the aim of the present Government.

Of course, if you are still applying copious amounts of superphosphate and putting nitrogen on your pastures on a regular basis, then given the Government announcement you are going to have to stop doing that. Hopefully, none of our customers are in that category because we have been advising against this for many years now.

In the maps accompanying the latest statements from Ministers Parker and O’Connor they indicate that the worst region for nitrate leaching is the Canterbury region where we have those shingle dominant soils. Logic will tell us that this soil type is more porous than any, bar the pumice country in the North Island where farmers are also having to be very careful. We are also talking in the main about dairy farms as sheep and beef farmers have been far more cautious with their fertiliser applications.

As soil types vary hugely over the country and indeed on anyone farm as well, there is not a ‘one-size’ fits all solution. Some experts have ignored this and have in the past advised a blanket programme of huge amounts of superphosphate and nitrogen no matter where your farm is located. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost.

What we are keen to debunk is the extravagant statements saying these latest announcements will drive farmers broke…they will not! Careful and judicious fertiliser programmes like the ones that we advocate for our customers will go a long way to remedy this problem in the given time. Every farmer we know wants clean water. Every farmer we know wants to look after their farm and the environment, and every farmer we know wants to make money and care for their families and their land and employees. Fertilizer New Zealand is here to help you do that.

For a voice of reason, phone one of our Company representatives because we have genuine answers to current issues.  The positive outcomes will be reflected in the environment, growth, stock health and your finances.

John Barnes
Managing Director
Fertilizer New Zealand