Inaccurate fertiliser spreading costs farmers

Farmers collectively may be losing millions of dollars in lost production because the fertiliser they buy isn’t applied accurately.

It’s to improve the performance of fertiliser applications that the Spreadmark programme was established by the NZ Groundspread Fertilisers Association in 1994.

It was subsequently expanded by a group with representatives from Federated Farmers, the NZGFA, fertiliser companies and FertResearch.

The Spreadmark scheme is a fertiliser placement quality assurance programme. It’s objective isplacement of fertilisers in locations where they can be of the most agricultural benefit and cause least environmental harm.

The scheme will register spreading companies provided they have certified spreading machinery, trained operators and an appropriate quality management system which ensures that farmer/grower outcomes are met and environmental sustainability is protected.

Overall systems will be subject to an independent audit to ensure both farmers/growers and regional councils can have confidence in the programme.

The proper placement of fertiliser is of considerable agronomic benefit to farmers and growers and will help protect the environment from the undesirable side effects of poor fertiliser spreading practices.

The precision placement of fertiliser requires a number of factors. It depends on the careful integration of operator skills, sound spreading equipment and appropriate fertilisers.

It’s the integration of these factors that’s at the heart of the Spreadmark scheme. Registration is voluntary but the scheme is designed and will be operated and promoted in such a way to encourage all operators to become involved.

The Spreadmark scheme is governed by a council consisting of representatives from fertiliser user groups, fertiliser applicators and fertiliser manufacturers.

The Spreadmark scheme operates closely with its sister scheme, Fertmark.

The two schemes operate to ensure high quality fertiliser is manufactured, mixed and spread in a way that precision agriculture is fostered and the environment is protected. Both programmes have strong links to the Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use.

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