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New Training Course Enhances Fertiliser Knowledge

New Training Course Enhances Fertiliser Knowledge

Farmers can expect their fertiliser advisors to be armed with the very latest information and tools when making fertiliser recommendations following the establishment of a new specialist training programme for Fert Research member company advisors.

Fert Research and Massey University's Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre have joined forces to establish the new postgraduate course in nutrient management specifically designed for fertiliser advisors, titled Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture.

Fert Research Technical Director Dr Hilton Furness says that the training course will ensure advisors are up to date with the latest fertiliser innovations and technology.

"Advising farmers on fertiliser use and formulating recommendations is a specialised field that requires ongoing education to keep up to date with new research findings. Those advisors who attend the course will be shown how new research can be applied to New Zealand agriculture in order to maximise the benefits of fertiliser use while minimising environmental impact."

"The course is designed to integrate and complement other Fert Research tools such as the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use, the Overseer* Nutrient Budget and Fertiliser Recommendation Models and industry schemes; Spreadmark and Fertmark. Meaning advisers will be able to use the tools developed by the fertiliser industry to come up with innovative and alternate ways to meet farmers' nutrient requirements."

Given that Fert Research member company fertiliser advisors already have relevant tertiary qualifications or experience this course is set at a postgraduate level. It covers topics such as soil patterns, land use and climate; nutrient cycling; farming for environmental protection; sustainable nutrient management; and complying with the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use.

Director of Massey's Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre, Assoc. Prof. Mike Hedley says the course is an important step for the fertiliser sector to be pro-active in developing sustainable land management practices.

"To become world best in nutrient management New Zealand fertiliser advisors must have thorough knowledge of landscape, farm system and climate interactions that lead to efficient nutrient use and how losses of nutrients to sensitive surface and ground waters can be minimised or avoided."

All 120 fertiliser advisors from Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative will complete the course by early 2003.

Massey University is the base for the course which combines lectures with fieldwork, case study analysis and computer aided classes.

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