Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Support for new Fertmark auditing rules


Ravensdown strongly supports the drive of the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) to ensure all enhanced fertilisers are verified under the Fertmark scheme and calls for more disclosure on all imported and coated products.

When the conditions are right, urease inhibitor coatings on standard urea have an important role to play in reducing the loss of nitrogen to atmosphere and keeping more N available to the plant.

A press release on FQC’s site states that “fertiliser users need to know the composition of these coatings along with any other active ingredients that affect the base fertiliser product.”

Our coated products such as N-Protect are already certified under the scheme. This contrasts with Ballance Agri Nutrients who recently withdrew their coated urea called Sustain from the scheme.

Mike Manning, General Manager Innovation and Strategy said, “The amount of active ingredient in the coating has a material effect on the reduction of N-loss and of course it’s cheaper for the supplier to use less of the active ingredient.

“This is why the Fertmark scheme and today’s announcement are so important. It’s a case of knowing what you’re paying for. If it hasn’t got the tick, then the claims may not stick,” added Mike.

“As a farmer-owned co-operative, we’re here to enable smarter farming and one way we do this is by sourcing and providing fertilisers to an assured level of quality. Many importers chasing an opportunity are not willing or able to provide the Fertmark assurance so that presents a risk to New Zealand as a whole and the buyer who has no way of easily telling what they are actually getting,” said Mike.

As Anders Crofoot of the FQC says in the Council’s press release “users still need to be aware that there are products on the market, many imported, that are not verified – and which, without independent testing, could contain unknown and even harmful ingredients.” 

Farmers themselves and the companies that market the food they create need transparency so they can provide assurance to end consumers.