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Practical science to the fore at research workshop

Practical science to the fore at research workshop

With subjects incorporating terms like micronutrients, nutrient uptake, acidity, alkalinity, solubility and minerality, the order paper at the 26th annual Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre Workshop, which opens today at Massey University, reads like the glossary of a highly-technical science thesis.

“But there is a practical heart to all this discussion,” says Ravensdown’s General Manager of Research and Development Mike Manning. “It’s designed to boost the accurate and efficient use of nutrients on farms.”

Presented in conjunction with the Precision Agriculture Association of New Zealand, the three-day workshop includes an impressive list of research and poster presentations. These explore a complex array of ideas to help achieve the best possible use of agricultural nutrients for the best return, while also addressing issues such as the environment, sustainability and profitability.

Ravensdown supports the workshop Manning says, recognising the value of the research to New Zealand’s agricultural economy and the importance of a smarter approach to nutrient management.

“We’re proud that our staff will be presenting a variety of papers at this workshop, looking at issues as diverse as the uptake of micronutrients to the economics of fertiliser application in the hill country,” Manning says. “That hill country paper is particularly interesting. Normally it is the dairy sector that attracts a lot of attention, yet the hill country farmers are under pressure with their returns moving up and down. The authors wanted to explore pros and cons of fertiliser application to help those farmers make an informed judgement. The results show that in the right circumstances, and with the right factors in place, fertiliser application in hill country can increase yield, stocking rates and profit.”

Ravensdown has submitted more papers to the workshop this year than any previously. Manning says Ravensdown has a strong focus on helping farmers develop efficient fertiliser application plans to put the right amounts of the right nutrients in the right places. “This helps boost farm productivity and profitability and can eliminate the risk of applying more fertiliser than necessary – an important cost consideration for the farmer and a real benefit to the environment.

“The science behind many of the papers presented will seem complex, but the knowledge gathered by our Ravensdown staff and researchers, and the others presenting at the workshop, will have a lasting and practical impact on the productivity and sustainability of farming.”
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