New Research Strategy To Grow Agricultural Wealth
The fertiliser industry’s new strategy for research aims to boost the economic returns from fertiliser use by farmers. The research strategy recently launched by the New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Research Association (Fert Research) wants scientists to undertake research that will assist in creating wealth for farmers through a wide range of tools, practices and innovations.
Dr Hilton Furness, Technical Director of Fert Research says; “Every year farmers spend thousands of dollars on fertiliser and a key focus in the new research strategy is identifying ways they can get the best possible return for this investment. Research projects will now need to clearly identify what benefits they believe the findings will contribute to our farmers and how we can transfer this knowledge to the farming community.”
Fert Research is a major funder of agricultural research investing millions of dollars in the past decade. In the coming year it has allocated up to $1million for research that delivers outcomes aligned to the new strategy.
The research strategy has been designed to align with that of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST). This will ensure that the fertiliser industry remains at the forefront of producing major research gains. Research that produces incremental results remains important to Fert Research. However, creating wealth for New Zealand through innovative research which creates major advances is now an important goal.
Research collaboration with other sectors and individuals is also critical to the new funding model.
Dr Furness says; “The benefits from our research outcomes are already helping to create a knowledge economy for New Zealand’s agricultural sector. Gaining greater research returns through collaboration and innovation is central to our new strategy.”
The new strategy also aims to position New Zealand as a world best practice model within the agricultural community. To do this Fert Research hopes to pioneer research into nutrient management practices: for the environment, to increase the creation of new technologies, to create wealth for New Zealand and its farmers and to maximise the potential of sustainable agriculture.
“It is a challenging task we are undertaking but with the support of farmers, researchers and joint partners I believe the goals we have set are achievable and will produce results of great benefit to New Zealand,” says Dr Furness.
Funding levels will not be reduced as a result of the new strategy. Dr Furness says; “Researchers can expect projects which align closely with our research goals and objectives to be funded at or above past levels.”
The first funding meeting takes place in early September.