January 2017

Droughts, Floods, Earthquakes, Governments and Farming

I don’t know which one of these is the worst but I know that many of you might be tempted to say Governments.

Many of my friends in farming feel that all governments do (be they local or central) is pass laws that restrict what farmers can do on their own land, and cost them money.

Sometimes I feel a little conflicted because I am opposed to more restrictions but I feel that our science and industry leaders have led us down a path which was always going to bring about what the politicians call an “intervention”.

Dairying, in particular, gets a bad rap and horticulture will soon follow unfortunately, unless things change. There is no easy way to say it …..The gold standard seems to have been a whole lot of pseudo-science that when it is boiled down to practical application is simply what I call the moron theory; in other words just tip more fertiliser on. Never mind that a lot of it is wasted. Now we have a huge backlash coming from the public and government who are alarmed about the damage that leaching is doing to our streams, rivers and lakes.

Our customers overseas are also demanding what our advertising promotes, which is products from a ‘Clean Green’ environment. Our scientists and leaders say we cannot afford to fulfil all of these demands without farmers going broke.

I SAY BUNKUM!!! I have always maintained that a pasture or a crop can only take up a given amount of nutrients as it proceeds through the growing cycle. Therefore it is important to have a steady release of fertiliser that can feed the plant but not pass right on through the ground to be wasted into the groundwater which is what is causing the damage. I import exactly the types of fertiliser that can do precisely that, and furthermore I will SAVE YOU MONEY.

Leaching is waste. Leaching is, therefore, dollars going down the drain and on top of that, leaching is giving us all a bad name. Now we have the unthinkable happening with Greenpeace placing negative advertisements on television saying that dairy farming is bad. This is an industry that earns our living by supplying around 29% of our exports with farming overall earning about 50% of our exports.

This bad publicity is not going to go away without us doing something and I can help you with products that are literally as old as the earth itself, and completely natural.

A wise but true saying is that if you keep on doing what you have always done then you will get the same result that you always got.

Give us a ring and be part of the solution.

John Barnes


Phosphate is one of the most important elements used when it comes to fertiliser in New Zealand. Our soils are deficient of this important nutrient and it is necessary for good plant development. However, very little is understood about how phosphate inter-relates with the soil and what the chemical process is once it is applied. While this information has been simplified and the terminology is non-scientific it is meant only to inform in general terms what can be a very complex subject.

Let’s look more closely at phosphate and its investment in production and also how the mineral works in the soil. Obviously if we can increase the efficiency of phosphate fertilisers and lessen the amount applied it will reduce the costs without loss of production.

Phosphate is a triple negatively charged anion which means that it is strongly attracted to positively charged cations like calcium, iron and aluminium. The fact is that when phosphate forms a bond with any of these other minerals it becomes insoluble and is no longer available to the plant. This “lock up” can begin to occur within hours of application but it is generally agreed by many international scientists that much of the phosphate could be tied up within six weeks. This costly phenomenon has been accepted by many in the farming community as a matter of fact and is built into the price of farming, but I would suggest it may not need to be the case. THE SECRET TO PROTECTING YOUR PHOSPHATE INVESTMENT is to stabilise it to prevent it from combining with other elements. This involves humates – the multifunctional wonder that has become the cornerstone to our biological practices. When phosphate granules and humate granules are combined, they form a phosphate humate. When this occurs (prior to the otherwise inevitable “lock up “with calcium, iron or aluminium) the phosphate will have been stabilised and will help to provide longer phosphate release. This is what we have been achieving with our VITAPHOS, but more about this later.

Humates are both a plant promoter and a powerful soil-life promotant. Combined with phosphate solubilising soil life, it is the key to releasing your latent reserves of phosphate. It must be assumed that some phosphate is locked up and the question is how much. Some say it could be as high as 70% but for the sake of this exercise we will make it 50%. If this was to be the case, then there is a lot of phosphate in reserve. We now can test for this. Hills Laboratory have a ‘P reserve test’ which will show how much accumulative P is in the soil. Light sandy soils may not have retained as much phosphate as heavier soils. It is not unusual to find substantial phosphate reserves. So how do we reclaim this insoluble reserve? It is all about soil biology and the promotion of certain species that specialise in phosphate solubilisation. These creatures include beneficial fungi and many species of bacteria.

Now it is great to know all this stuff but it isn’t much good unless there is a way of practically putting this into practise. So, what is needed is a product that has carbon, which includes humates. This is the multifunctional wonder and the corner stone of sustainable farming. Add to this a high-quality phosphate with a neutral Ph and a high citric solubility, the phosphate would ideally have readily available P but also have some time released P. While there would be some immediately-available phosphate to get the plants moving, there would also be phosphate being continuously released, reducing the need for a follow up dressing mid-season; a sort of fuel tank of phosphate being continually fed into the engine [plant].   If this sounds like a great idea, then that is what we do at Fertilizer New Zealand. None of this is new to us, we have been providing farmers with a range of phosphate products now for many years.

For the last six months, we have been concentrating on getting our story out on Facebook. One of our long-term staff members has been assigned to this task. Why not join us on Facebook and share your good news stories and farming photos. We look forward to seeing you.