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Fertiliser Sales Show Farmers Reinvesting In Quality Pasture

Fertiliser Sales Show Farmers Reinvesting In Quality Pasture

For the first time in five years, farmers are using part of the good financial returns they are receiving for their farm produce to reinvest in fertiliser.

It is a move that is receiving the full support of the fertiliser industry, which says it has been 'concerned' over the recent lack of re-investments farmers have been making in phosphate fertiliser.

"Last year phosphate use was down about a third on the peak use seen between 2003 and 2005," said Dr Philip Mladenov, Technical Director of Fert Research.

"Many farmers have been reducing their phosphate use significantly, and in some cases have applied no fertiliser at all.

"As a consequence they have eaten into their soil phosphate reserves to maintain production, or have accepted lower production output.

"Initial data on sales for the 2010-11 season, which has now ended, is that phosphate sales have increased significantly.

"This is vital if New Zealand farmers are to maintain their high production rates in coming years.

"New Zealand based research has demonstrated that even after two years of reduced phosphate use, declines in animal and pasture production were evident.

"By years three and four, production can decline as much as 20% to 30%."

Dr Mladenov said that by maintaining phosphate use farmers could prevent the level of white clover in pasture declining, and also reduce the increase in moss and weeds.

"Once pasture quality declines it can take a number of seasons for it to regain its former stock carrying capacity."


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