Cadmium research

The Cadmium Management Group and its members have produced reports and reviews to help manage cadmium in New Zealand.

Reviews and reports

Cadmium and New Zealand Agriculture and Horticulture: A Refreshed Strategy for Long-Term Risk Management (2019) [PDF, 325 KB]
The refreshed Cadmium Management Strategy explains how and why cadmium will be managed in the future. It describes governance, research, monitoring, management, and education activities. Together, these can lower cadmium in food, soils, and fertiliser. The strategy has been developed to minimise risks of cadmium to the environment and human health.

Tiered Fertiliser Management System for Soil Cadmium (2019) [PDF, 2.5 MB]
The Tiered Fertiliser Management System for Soil Cadmium aims to limit the accumulation of cadmium in agricultural soils by managing phosphate fertiliser applications. It was developed by the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and endorsed by the Cadmium Management Group.

Status of Cadmium in New Zealand Soils (2014) – Fertiliser Association of New Zealand
This project collates, analyses, and updates data on soil cadmium levels. It includes recommendations for future soil sample collection.

Cadmium in New Zealand Agriculture (2008) [PDF, 901 KB]
This report summarises the risks from cadmium in agricultural soils.

Sector educational resources

In 2020 the Cadmium Management Group produced a series of resources to provide growers and farmers with advice about managing cadmium in New Zealand.

Fact sheet – Managing cadmium in food crops in New Zealand [PDF, 763 KB]

Fact sheet – Managing cadmium in leafy green crops in New Zealand [PDF, 1.7 MB]

Fact sheet – Managing cadmium in onion crops in New Zealand [PDF, 653 KB]

Fact sheet – Managing cadmium in potato crops in New Zealand [PDF, 837 KB]

Fact sheet – Managing cadmium in wheat and cereal crops in New Zealand [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Fact sheet – Managing cadmium in grazing farm systems in New Zealand [PDF, 898 KB]

Guide – Managing cadmium in food crops in New Zealand [PDF, 672 KB]

Guide – Managing cadmium in grazing farm systems in New Zealand [PDF, 854 KB]

Other research papers and reports

Total soil cadmium concentrations in the Winchmore long-term phosphorus fertiliser trial are still increasing (2020) [PDF, 1.3 MB]
This long-term study is providing robust information that will help with the ongoing management of cadmium in New Zealand.

The potential for potassium chloride fertiliser applications to leach cadmium from a grazed pasture soil  (2019) [PDF, 262 KB]
This research found that applying chloride (for example, as potassium chloride) in autumn may be a simple strategy to help slow the enrichment of soil cadmium and does not increase the uptake of cadmium by pasture shoots.

Effect of Breeding for Lowered Cadmium Concentrations in Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) on Foliar Micronutrient Concentrations (2019) – Fertiliser Association of New Zealand
This report looks at essential trace elements in chicory plants with high or low foliar cadmium.

New Zealand Total Diet 2016 Study
The New Zealand Total Diet Study is a nationwide survey of foods sold in New Zealand. The survey aims to assess New Zealanders' exposure to a range of compounds, including cadmium, in foods they eat.

Environmental Concentrations of Cadmium in the Taranaki Environment and Implications for Policy (2017) – Massey University
Soil samples taken over time suggest that levels of cadmium in the soil are stable. These cadmium levels should not pose a risk to human, animal, or soil health.

Cost-benefit Analysis of Cadmium Management in New Zealand’s Horticultural Soils (2017) – Massey University
This study looks at ways to reduce the amount of cadmium available in soils used for potato production.

The Effect of Irrigation on Cadmium, Uranium, and Phosphorus Contents in Agricultural Soils (2017) – Science Direct
This study investigates the amount of cadmium in irrigated and unirrigated soils.

Isotope Tracing of Long-term Cadmium Fluxes in an Agricultural Soil (2017) [PDF, 1 MB]
Fertiliser and soil samples from a long-term field trial were used to calculate the amount of cadmium in the soil between 1959 and 2015. This will help improve estimates of soil cadmium increase or decrease in the future.

Subsurface Cadmium Loss From a Stony Soil – Effect of Cow Urine Application (2017) – Springer
This study investigates a winter dairy-grazed forage crop. It looks at whether cow urine increases cadmium concentrations in drainage.

Understanding the Influence of Soil Properties on Plant Uptake of Cadmium in New Zealand Agricultural Soils (2017) – Massey University
This project looks at how soil properties influence cadmium uptake in leafy greens, potatoes, onions, and wheat.

Cadmium Accumulation in Three Contrasting New Zealand Soils With the Same Phosphate Fertilizer History (2016) [PDF, 770 KB]
This study investigates whether soils with different properties accumulate cadmium at similar rates.

Cadmium in New Zealand’s Agriculture and Food Systems (2016) [PDF, 530 KB]
This report summarises data on the management of cadmium in New Zealand’s agriculture and food systems. It includes cadmium concentrations reported in fertilisers compared to agreed voluntary limits. It also looks at soil cadmium levels across land uses and soil types.

Cadmium in New Zealand Pasture Soils: Toxicity to Rhizobia and White Clover (2015) – Taylor & Francis Online
This survey looks at cadmium and phosphorus in soil and plant material, as well as soil properties. It examines the impacts on soil rhizobia, which convert nitrogen gas into a form usable by legumes.

Research published before 2015

Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

Massey University

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