July 2019

Leaching is losing

If somebody were to tell me that my money was slipping through the floorboards of the Bank and into the local stream, I would be on the phone immediately and if I was told not to worry by the Bank Manager, I would change Banks very soon after.
Yet on many farms throughout New Zealand this is exactly what is happening with fertiliser and it seems to be accepted as being inevitable.  It is not, and losses of this nature should never be accepted, particularly when they are doing serious environmental damage as well.
Just a few years ago we all rubbished such claims as being a story from some mad bunch of greenies, and everyone from farmers, the fertiliser companies and the Government said everything was fine.  It was not fine as it happened, and most fair-minded people now accept that we have a problem, particularly in high density dairying areas.
Usually acceptance will be followed by some sort of action, and particularly where money is being wasted.  However, many farmers seem to have just accepted the fact of leaching and are waiting for some miracle of science to fix the problem – (a miracle that is not even on the horizon at this point).
The answer is, as is often the case, right there in front of us in our own hands!!  As I have said repeatedly over the years, grasses and crops can only take up so much fertiliser at one hit and if too much is applied it simply goes past the root system and runs to waste in the local waterway with a corresponding financial loss.  Therefore, we need to stop doing what is causing the problem and do something that solves it.  That can happen today.
We need to change our ways and change our fertiliser programmes.  There are lots of new and exciting types of nutrients available nowadays.  Spraying nitrogen in liquid form achieves the same result with one third of the product.  Many other liquid fertilisers do the same.  Slower release fertilisers keep the phosphate feeding into the root systems at a rate that ensures maximum use of the nutrients with minimum waste.  Fertigation uses far less fertiliser to do the same job as well.  Need I go on!  The days of dumping huge amounts of superphosphate and nitrogen on our land should be over.  There are far more sophisticated and less wasteful ways of doing things in this modern age.
To get more information on these new and exciting products, contact one of our Field Representatives.
John Barnes
Managing Director