Feeding the world’s growing population
New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food producer is growing.
The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand promotes and encourages responsible and scientifically-based nutrient management.
Imported fertiliser use began in 1867, with the first shipment of rock phosphate to New Zealand from Nauru. Superphosphate manufacturing in New Zealand started near Dunedin in 1882. Today superphosphate is manufactured at five sites – Mt Maunganui, Hornby, Ravensbourne, Awarua and Awatoto. Urea manufacturing started in Kapuni in 1983. This plant was one of a series of ‘Think Big’ projects instigated by the Muldoon-led National Government.
Historically, superphosphate and potash fertilisers have been the backbone of New Zealand agriculture, and remain so today. In the last decades, with increasing areas of highly productive, intensive farming, the use of nitrogen fertiliser has increased.
Most nitrogen is applied to dairy and arable/horticulture land. Improved production methods and an increasing emphasis on environmental accountability have led to marked improvements in production per unit of nitrogen applied. These improvements in efficient and effective use of fertiliser and other nutrient sources are likely to continue as research and development evolves.