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Ultimate Goal Is Full Farm Nutrient Plans

27 MARCH, 2007

Ultimate Goal Is Full Farm Nutrient Plans

The ultimate goal of the fertiliser industry is for every farmer in New Zealand to operate a full farm nutrient management plan.

The industry also intends to encourage the Government to introduce tradable options for emissions at an early stage, and is prepared to administer those options as they relate to fertiliser use.

These were two new initiatives the Chairman of Fert Research, David Graham, said the Association would be pursuing in his address at the launch of the Association's Code of Practice for Nutrient Management.

Mr Graham said the fertiliser industry was committed to providing leadership in the area of sustainable farming to the 42,000 farmers that were members of the co-operatives that made up the Association.

He said it was a little appreciated fact that New Zealand was recognised internationally for its expertise and success in managing farm nutrients, and that New Zealand farmers were a decade ahead of their European and North American counterparts in the tools they had to manage the use of fertiliser in a sustainable way.

The evidence he cited to support the positive nature of New Zealand's international report card on the management of nutrients included:

* 80% of dairy farmers already operating nutrient budgets, with Fert Research member companies targeting 100% adoption by dairy farmers by mid 2007 * an OECD study of global nitrogen use, which rated New Zealand as the most efficient user of nitrogen in the OECD * a United Nations report which rated our water as the third best in the world and * a recent 2006 Yale/Harvard study which rated New Zealand number one in its Environmental Performance Index, which looks at national pollution control and natural resource management.

Mr Graham called on the country to recognise these achievements and to; "believe in the ability of farmers to make the right decision about the way they manage their farms."

He said contrary to what many believed, the average farmer is deeply committed to sustainability and environmental protection.

"After all, to the farmer the land is their home, their business and their major investment and common sense alone dictates that you would do all within your power to nurture something that valuable," he said.

"The judicious use of nutrients was critical to the economic future of New Zealand.

"Without fertiliser use we could not sustain the food production output that drives New Zealand's economy.

"We must also nurture and protect the health of our soils and water. If we don't, we cannot sustain future food production."

He said the key was getting the balance right between nutrient use and maintaining the health of soil and water.

"Fert Research is committed to working with central and regional government to find answers to common challenges," said Mr Graham.

About the Code of Practice for Nutrient Management

The 2007 Code of Practice for Nutrient Management - with emphasis on fertiliser use, is a new Code, significantly updating, and replacing the world-first Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use launched by Fert Research in 1997 (updated 2002).

It was officially launched today in Wellington by Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, Jim Anderton.

The 2007 Code of Practice for Nutrient Management is available online and is a fully searchable, interactive tool. It also features nutrient budgeting and a Nutrient Management Planning template for farmers to record and manage their specific nutrient use, from a 'whole farm' approach. See www.fertresearch.org.nz

ENDS

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