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International Perspectives On Sustainable Nutrient Management in Agriculture

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Sustainable nutrient use - a phrase often used but poorly understood, and a subject under discussion among leading international and local researchers at a conference focussing on best practice nutrient management strategies.

Starting tomorrow, the two-day conference co-hosted by Massey University’s Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre and the New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Research Association (Fert Research), gathers scientists, consultants, Regional Council personnel and industry representatives.

Visiting German agricultural expert Professor Ewald Schnug will give the opening keynote address on the issue of sustainability of fertiliser use in agricultural practice. He says truly sustainable development is the type that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.

Professor Schnug will share perspectives on the ways in which sustainability relates to today’s agricultural practices, particularly in European Communities, and will highlight specific issues around fertiliser use and environmental sustainability, such as nutrient balancing and soil conservation.

Also presenting a keynote address at tomorrow’s conference is Professor Junichi Takahashi, a leading proponent of sustainable agricultural systems in Japan. A large amount of nitrogen is currently used in Japan to sustain agricultural production, creating substantial environmental issues. Professor Takahashi will speak about new technologies being employed to recycle effluent nitrogen and improve environmental impacts.

Co-organiser for the conference, Fert Research Technical Director Dr Hilton Furness, says that we can learn a lot from overseas experience, particularly as there is an emphasis on developing sustainable agricultural practices in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is ranked as the number one country in the world for overall environmental performance in a recent comparison of 133 countries. This is a great achievement, due in part to farmers adopting sustainable farming practices, but we can always do better. It is important to focus on continually improving environmental performance in agriculture and other related sectors.

“This conference promises to provide a wealth of scientific information from both international and local experts, which will help to promote better, more sustainable agricultural practices”, he says.

The Conference is a combination of the FLRC’s 19th Annual Workshop and Fert Research’s 29th Technical Conference and runs over two days at the Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences Block, Massey University, Palmerston North.

A full programme, and presentation abstracts can be found at: and

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