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New Information Strengthens Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use

Monday, 30 June 2003

The Fert Research Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use has been given a boost with the release of eight new addenda providing additional information to support the core recommendations within the Code. The addenda cover key areas such as nutrient budgeting, spreading, water quality, cadmium and nitrate management as well as organic farming and greenhouse gas emissions.

The new addenda have been produced as part of a Code review undertaken last year. First launched in 1998, the Code has become an integral part of nutrient management in New Zealand. The Code has been endorsed by Government agencies, Federated Farmers, and Regional councils. Some 4,000 hard copies have been distributed to fertiliser advisors, farmers, industry, government, local authorities, educational institutes and scientists across New Zealand and it is specified within a number of Regional council plans. The Code is also available to download at

Dr Hilton Furness, Technical Director of Fert Research says, “Given the key role the Code plays in promoting best practice nutrient management it was important to review the original Code to ensure the recommendations were still valid. Secondly, we wanted to identify those areas where additional information could strengthen the Code and assist users to increase their understanding of nutrient management.”

The review confirmed the relevancy of the core Code and aside from some minor corrections, no changes were required. However, the most beneficial outcome of the review has been development of additional information on specific areas of nutrient management.

Says Dr Furness, “The new information reflects the changes that have taken place in agriculture in the five years since the Code was launched. New tools for nutrient management have been developed, dairy and organic farming have increased significantly and environmental issues such as greenhouse gases and water quality have become more important. For this reason we have produced addenda which will increase understanding in these areas and put Code recommendations into context.”

When first launched, the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use was a world first. Feedback from international fertiliser industry associations demonstrates how valuable codes are to the long-term protection of local and export markets.

Luc M. Maene, Director General, International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) said, “These days, the industry needs to be sensitive to a whole range of economic, environmental and social issues.

Fert Research's Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use is an exemplary case of stewardship by the fertiliser industry. The latest update to include topics such as greenhouse gases, nutrient budgeting, organic agriculture and cadmium demonstrates a high level of leadership by the industry in New Zealand.”

Jackie Burton of the European Fertiliser Manufacturers Association (EFMA) made the following comments, “The Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use, developed and now updated by Fert Research has all the elements that are essential if we are to have an industry that is sustainable. It reflects principles associated with integrated farming, sustainable agriculture and product stewardship. Perhaps most importantly of all, it communicates important industry messages, advising farmers and showing decision-makers that we are translating the demands of modern society into practice.”

Fert Research Code review committee members included Warwick Catto, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Richard Christie, Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative. The new addenda and updated Code contents are currently being distributed to existing Code holders. Anyone who would like an updated copy of the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use can visit to download a PDF or request a copy.

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