Soil and Nutrients

New Zealand's land-based sectors rely on healthy soils, and the effective and efficient management of nutrients.

Erosion Prevention and Management

  • The Sustainable Land Management Hill Country Erosion Programme aims to increase protection of highly erodable land. It does this by focusing on building the technical capacity of regional councils and providing targeted funding for catchment initiatives.
  • The East Coast Forestry Project was established because the Government considered it important to address the wide-scale erosion problem in the Gisborne district. Since 1992 MAF, now MPI, has provided funding to landholders to prevent and control erosion.

Nutrient Management

  • OVERSEER® is an agricultural management tool which assists farmers and their advisers to examine nutrient use and movements within a farm to optimize production and environmental outcomes.
    The computer model calculates and estimates the nutrient flows in a productive farming system and identifies risk for environmental impacts through nutrient loss, including run off and leaching, and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord is an agreement between Fonterra, the Minster of Agriculture, the Minster for the Environment and Local Government NZ on behalf of regional councils to achieve clean and healthy water - including streams, rivers, lakes, groundwater and wetlands, in dairying areas. The accord was signed in 2003 and specifies a range of targets to be achieved by 2012 including a target on nutrient management.

Management of soils

  • Cadmium: Cadmium is a naturally-occurring element which is present at low concentrations in air, water and soils around the world. Excessive levels of cadmium in food can have implications for human health and in soils can restrict landuse flexibility.

    Cadmium concentrations are relatively low in New Zealand soils and food safety officials have estimated that the amount of cadmium in the diet of the average New Zealander is at a level far below that which would cause adverse health effects.

    A Cadmium Working Group was established in 2006 to assess the potential risks surrounding cadmium in New Zealand's agricultural and food systems, and to develop responses.

    The Working Group have produced two reports to date outlining cadmium in New Zealand agriculture and a strategy for long-term risk management. This work is ongoing.

    View a list of related publications
    FAQs - Cadmium in soils


  • E-newsletter Smart Farming Bulletin gives farmers information and news about sustainable, resilient and productive agriculture. It covers information about managing natural resources, adapting to climate change and weather extremes, and the Emissions Trading Scheme. It also answers some of the questions MPI receives most often.

    To subscribe, please send your expression of interest to Smart Farming


Last Updated: 12 April 2013

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