Feeding the world’s growing population

New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food producer is growing.

Optimising food production

Over the next 50 years farmers around the world will need to produce more food than has been grown over the past 10,000 years.

Best use from a limited resource

Fertiliser helps farmers produce food efficiently by replenishing the soil. But fertiliser needs to be used responsibly.

Responsible and sustainable nutrient management

The Fertiliser Association invests in research and tools to ensure farm profitability while minimising nutrient losses to the environment.

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand promotes and encourages responsible and scientifically-based nutrient management.

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Taupo Lakes Trust grazed lucerne trial

Research funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Sustainable Farming Fund, is obtaining data on the amount of nitrogen leaching under lucerne, grazed by stock on a representative site in the Lake Taupo catchment.

This data will be made available to the Overseer Committee for inclusion into the Overseer model. Current values of nitrogen leaching on these soils potentially constrain the use of lucerne. Nitrogen leaching data is being generated from existing large lysimeters currently planted with lucerne. The urine collected from sheep and cattle grazing on lucerne is applied to the lysimeter to simulate urine patches under grazed lucerne.

A June End of Year report (Milestone 7) indicates that overall the research is on track. Preliminary observations include:

  • Pre-leaching together with variation in rainfall patterns may have modified the drainage patterns.
  • There does not appear to be a “cultivation’ induced peak of nitrate in the lysimeter leachate.
  • The researchers speculate that either the wetter and warmer seasons mean more plant growth, or, alternatively, nitrogen may be going into soil storage as the pre-leaching may have reduced nitrogen stored in the soil.
  • Lucerne lysimeters treated with cow urine appear to be leaching the most nitrogen.
  • At this stage plant roots may not yet be developed throughout the full depth of the lysimeters thus maximum plant extraction of applied nitrogen may not yet have been achieved.


The Sustainable Farming Fund Project Summary and updates can be accessed at the Sustainable Farming Fund Portal – Grant Number 404960.


The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and Dairy NZ funded development of the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme (NMACP). This industry-wide certification aims to ensure that advisers have the learning, experience and capability to give sound nutrient advice.

Find out more

8 October 2018

New Zealand's agricultural industry is increasingly considering the challenges and opportunities of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


5 September 2018

From having an internationally acclaimed research method named after him to running a highly successful research centre, Professor Mike Hedley can look back on his 40-year academic career with a huge sense of achievement.

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