Programme start: October 2013
Length: 8.5 years
PGP funding: $5.671 million
Industry funding: $5.946 million
Crown funding paid out to programme for work done as at 31 December 2021: $5.62 million
Commercial partners: Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-op Ltd
Estimated potential economic benefits to NZ: Additional export earnings of $120 million per annum by 2030 and a net economic benefit of $734 million to the New Zealand economy over the period 2020 to 2050.
Fertiliser is usually applied to hill country farms using top dressing aircraft which broadcast the fertiliser in blanket applications over farm land, assuming the nutrient status of the land is relatively uniform. This results in over-fertilising and wastage in some areas, and under fertilising and poor growth in others.
This programme aimed to improve the productivity of hill country sheep and beef farming through more efficient use of fertiliser. Precision application technology was developed using remote sensing of the nutrient status of the land to determine where nutrients should be targeted. GPS guided aircraft is able to deliver fertiliser to targeted areas of the farm. The technology also enables farmers to minimise the discharge of nutrients into water ways in critical areas.
This programme aims to transform the way fertiliser is applied in farming in New Zealand. It seeks to improve the profitability of hill country farming and generate earnings of $120 million per annum by 2030 from additional exports of meat and wool.
A final report and independent evaluation on the outcomes of the programme will be available soon.