Step 1: Set objectives for nutrient management
The NMP must include all of the Code specific objectives as listed below. It may also include additional property objectives. The objectives are the things the land manager wants to achieve, against which they will compare the final results of their nutrient management.
Code specific objectives
‘Code specific’ objectives apply to all users of this Code and primarily cover environmental management. Other aspects of this Code link these to production goals. These objectives should be used when following this Code. Not all of the objectives will apply to every property but all should be considered and adopted where they do. For example, all properties will have to meet objectives 1 and 2 but some will find that objective 5 is not relevant because the land does not have any significant (extensive, native) vegetation areas or wildlife habitat. Where a Code specific objective is not applied in the NMP, you should explain the reason for that decision.
The Code specific objectives
- To comply with all legal requirements related to nutrient management activities.
These include all national and regional legal requirements plus industry standards and requirements.
- To take all practicable steps to maintain or enhance the quality of the property’s water resources.
This will be achieved by adopting management practices that minimise the risks of groundwater and/or surface water contamination.
- To take all practicable steps to ensure that there is an adequate supply of soil nutrients to meet plant needs.
Most land managers expect to optimise soil nutrient levels (this would be determined in consultation with the fertiliser company representative or farm consultant). This may require an increase or decrease in nutrient inputs.
- To take all practicable steps to contain nutrients within the property boundaries.
Best management practices must be adopted where there is any risk of nutrients applied on the property causing damage or nuisance beyond the boundary.
- To take all practicable steps to minimise the risk of nutrient contamination of any areas of significant vegetation and/or wildlife habitat.
Nutrient management activities must not degrade any areas identified in district or regional plans as ‘outstanding’ or ‘significant’ vegetation or wildlife habitat. Best management practices must be planned to minimise the risk of nutrient contamination to these areas.
Property management objectives
‘Property management objectives’ are part of a nutrient management plan. These typically have a production focus (e.g. “To grow an average of 15,000 kg DM/ha/year on irrigated pasture areas” or “To achieve Olsen P of minimum 25 in all tested paddocks”) but may also include environmental perspectives (e.g. “To enhance Pukeko habitat along Wandery creek”), and social perspectives (e.g. “To take at least one month’s holiday each year”).
Appropriate fertiliser applications will depend on what the land manager is trying to achieve on the property. It is important to know what levels of performance are required before making fertiliser decisions. Is the manager attempting to hold or increase production? Will pasture or crops change in future? If so, do nutrient levels need to be altered over time to suit? The answers to these questions will help set the property management objectives.