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New tech can help farmers head off enforced regulation

MEDIA RELEASE 27 September 2012

New tech can help farmers head off enforced regulation

Farmers have an opportunity to put themselves ahead of the game regarding fertiliser application and avoid tough regulations being imposed on them, the annual meeting of Ravensdown was told in New Plymouth on Monday night.

Ravensdown Chief Executive Rodney Green told 500 shareholders that the company had developed new tools to enable farmers to get the most value out of their fertiliser regime, while still dealing with concerns raised by the likes of the Environment Court’s recent decision in favour of the nitrogen limits set by the Horizons Regional Council.

“We stood with Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ and Fonterra making many submissions on behalf of farmers that were ultimately not given sufficient weight by the Environment Court,” said Rodney Green. “One thing, however, that is not in dispute is the fact that reducing the environmental footprint of New Zealand farming is increasingly important. Sustainable practices are an important part of the story to tell overseas customers about our farming produce and can also help deliver better results for the farmer’s bottom line.”

While supplying quality nutrients at the lowest sustainable cost remained a priority for Ravensdown, Rodney said, the ‘Smart Nutrients’ strategy of the company was increasingly about ensuring shareholders get the best value for money from the fertiliser they do buy and that it is used in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

“For several years, the ‘Smart Nutrients’ idea has been about providing the tools that farmers can use now to lower their environmental footprint today and head off the prospect of future regulation. For example, our trained teams help farmers draw up their nutrient management plans and farmers can choose tools such as:

• products like eco-n, which reduces nitrate leaching;

• all-paddock testing that shows which paddocks don’t need fertiliser, which do and how much;

• plus precision spreading technology, pasture measurement and performance mapping to deliver accuracy, quality and traceability in order to guide future fertiliser decisions.

“These tools are available to our farmers so that their decision-making around fertiliser application is less complicated and more likely to deliver on the bottom line. We can walk that journey with farmers and maintain, even boost their returns while still helping ensure they are compliant with environmental regulations.”

Chairman Bill McLeod told the AGM that there was a huge advantage to farmers who make use of the Ravensdown technology.

“When it comes to bureaucracy, Ravensdown doesn’t make the rules, but it’s got the tools to help demonstrate compliance with ever-higher expectations of environmental mitigation. By acknowledging the environmental issues, and placing ourselves ahead of the game through the use of superior technological advances, we farmers can take control and reduce the pressure for heavy-handed bureaucracy to make the decisions for us.”

ENDS

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