Looking Towards The Future
Sourcing fertiliser sometimes means I am required to visit Europe to look at product and assess its worthiness for our farming clients. Whilst there, I was told about the new standards that are going to be imposed on European farmers over the next twelve years and I was given a hard copy of these new regulations.
Cadmium levels in phosphate products will from next year fall incrementally over the next twelve years to 20ppm. The fertiliser we sell to our clients is already at that level but the allowable level in New Zealand is 160ppm and this in my view is too high.
That aside, I was encouraged to see that they are wanting their farmers to develop a closed system. This will also come here, in my view, and it is something I have advocated to people on my programmes for the very good reason that it will save them money. A closed system, as it suggests, means that all waste generated on farm stays on farm. It might sound scary until one works out that most of our farm waste is fertiliser of one sort or another and can be used to grow more and better crops and pastures. This form of nutrients is less expensive than that which is transported thousands of miles across the world’s oceans and then trucked to your farm.
I have spoken about integrated systems such as this for years and advocated for less chemical fertilisers applied at far more moderate rates and combine them with home grown waste and good management. That dung is good stuff, my friends!!!!
As we increasingly become part of a global village, the people who buy our produce at the high prices we should be achieving are going to demand that our food is safe and free of contaminates. They are going to want identifiable and world-respected quality control stamps on our products so they are guaranteed safe and can be tracked back to the source.
For our part as a company, Fertilizer New Zealand is going to be required to adhere to clear compliance requirements in the future which we will happily meet in order to bring you high quality low Cadmium products. The rest of the fertiliser industry will be forced to do the same and not before time.
To me the future is exciting and not at all daunting. I am keen to have our Company Representatives engage with you, and together we will make a better and more prosperous farming enterprise that benefits us all.
John Barnes, Managing Director, Fertilizer New Zealand.
Consumers are much more discerning now. They want to know how their food has been grown and what it is grown with. This has led to producers needing to be a lot more accountable as to how the produce has been grown.
To do this, now a whole new set of compliance regulations have been created. At Fertiliser New Zealand we have recognised this fact and have now got procedures in place to meet these new standards. One part of this process is to have a Nutrient Budget.
What is a Nutrient Budget?
Much like a financial budget, a Nutrient Budget tells you how much is coming in and how much is going out and to where. It provides a statement of the total nutrient balance for a specific area or farm system, taking in to account all the nutrient inputs and all the outputs. The Nutrient Budget includes activity from seven major farm nutrients – Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, Magnesium and Sodium – as well as acidity for pastoral blocks. This information can then be used to judge how efficient a farm system is in its use of available nutrients.
Why are you being asked to do a Nutrient Budget?
By now most farmers will have been asked to have a Nutrient Budget done, whether it is by your local Council or your milk factory, as they are becoming an increasingly important tool for financial and environmental reasons. If properly prepared and interpreted, it can help identify potential production or environmental issues arising from nutrient excesses or deficits.
We at Fertilizer New Zealand are accredited to do Nutrient Budgets with our certified Nutrient Management Advisor.
New Zealand soils are naturally deficient in phosphorus hence the need for ongoing phosphorus applications.
There is an increasing focus on environmental issues, particularly as they relate to intensive pastoral farming. Phosphorus levels in our natural waterways are increasing, resulting in increased weed and algae. However, that problem can be reduced without jeopardising farm production.
There are essentially two types of phosphate rock, hard and soft. Hard rock must be treated with acid in order for it to be a useful fertiliser. There are very large deposits available internationally. Soft rock is chemically different to hard rock and may be applied directly to land and release phosphorus sufficiently quick to be a useful fertiliser.
Just as there are varying deposits of phosphate, these different deposits also have different levels of cadmium. Fertilizer New Zealand has sourced Phosphate from mines which are known to have low cadmium levels. For more information on this, give us a call on 0800 337 869.