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13 December 2013

OVERSEER® Best Practice Data Input Standards launched

Today the owners of OVERSEER® – AgResearch, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries – launched the OVERSEER® Best Practice Data Input Standards (the Standards).

“OVERSEER® is a world class nutrient budget model and the launch of the Best Practice Data Input Standards is another positive step by the owners to improve modelling of nutrient flows for New Zealand farm types,” said Dr Caroline Read, General Manager of OVERSEER®.

The Standards are a set of guidelines that have been developed to assist expert users to define data inputs into OVERSEER®. The purpose of providing a ‘best practice’ Standard is to reduce inconsistencies between different users when operating the model.

The Standards, which are thorough and yet simple to follow from a user’s perspective, were developed by a group of seven technical expert users in consultation with agricultural industry representatives, regional councils, the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry for the Environment and Irrigation New Zealand. They are the product of extensive and detailed technical work.

The technical expert users drew on their personal knowledge plus that contained in the DairyNZ Input Protocol, the AgResearch Expert User Group Guidelines and the Waikato Regional Council’s Protocol for Variation 5 (West Taupo catchment).

“OVERSEER® is a sophisticated modelling tool and it is proving to be an excellent resource for farmers and growers and, more and more, regional councils. As it continues to grow, the Standards will assist users to achieve greater consistency,” said Dr Read.

“The more consistent the data entered into OVERSEER®, the more consistent the tool is across a range of users and farming types.

“OVERSEER® is an increasingly valuable tool at a time when farming within environmental limits is becoming increasingly important,” said Dr Read.

The Standards will be updated and amended as often as necessary to ensure that they meet with the requirements of each new version of OVERSEER®.

The OVERSEER® Best Practice Data Input Standards are available to download at



OVERSEER® is an agricultural management tool which models the cycling of nutrients within a farming operation; it estimates the inputs, outputs and nutrient flows of various farm management scenarios to assist users to optimise production and environmental outcomes. It estimates nitrogen and phosphorus loss and greenhouse gas emissions allowing the environmental effects of farm management options to be taken into consideration.

A joint initiative between AgResearch, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries, OVERSEER® nutrient budgeting software was first released in the early 1990s and has received some $15 million of investment over the years.

OVERSEER® has enabled nutrient budgeting to be rolled out to virtually all dairy farmers and a good start has been made with sheep and beef farmers. As a result, many thousands of farmers are now receiving the benefits of the model on a regular basis.

OVERSEER® is available free to users at

Further information

Dr Caroline Read

General Manager

OVERSEER® Management Services Limited


Amanda Duncan

Network Communication

04 460 6616 or 021 487 954

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