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Spreadmark scheme gains traction

Spreadmark scheme gains traction

Spreadmark is gaining traction in the industry with Synlait recently announcing that Spreadmark will form part of its Lead with Pride programme.

New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association president, Dean Brooks, says that as consumers increasingly demand sustainability and knowledge about how their food has been produced Spreadmark will help to enable food producers to meet this need.

The Spreakmark fertiliser quality placement programme ensures quality placement of fertiliser for farmers. The Spreadmark programme was established by the NZ Groundspread Fertilisers Association in 1994.

It was then expanded by the Fertiliser Quality Council an industry representative group with representatives from Federated Farmers, the NZGFA, fertiliser companies, Agresearch and FertResearch.

The main objective of the Spreadmark scheme is to ensure the accurate placement of fertilisers in locations where they can be of the most agricultural benefit and the least environmental harm.

In order to be registered a spreading company must prove they have certified spreading machinery, trained operators and an appropriate quality m anagement system to ensure that farmer/ grower outcomes are met and environmental sustainability is protected.

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

The Spreadmark scheme is governed by the Fertiliser Quality Council consisting of representatives from fertiliser user groups, fertiliser applicators and fertiliser manufacturers.

Dean says it is increasingly recognised by industry and regional councils as the best management practise scheme in New Zealand.

A survey conducted at the NZGFA 60th Annual Conference last year showed overwhelming support for the Spreadmark accreditation scheme with nearly 94% of survey participants agreeing that Spreadmark was ‘a great industry initiative’.

Interestingly the survey shows that only 81% of participants indicated they were Spreadmark registered.

Dean says around half of NZGFA members are currently registered and registration is something that will continue to grow as companies such as Synlait start to demand farmers use Spreadmark registered spreaders in order to gain a premium for their milk.

He says that the NZGFA is currently in talks with other major industry players interested in Spreadmark.

Industry needs to confront problems of blended product: It’s one of those things that seems like a good idea but blending coated fertiliser products with incompatible products is leading to placement issues, says New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association president, Dean Brooks.

“I’m probably not going to be very popular for bringing this up but it’s just not working and there needs to be more education about what products can and can’t be blended together,” he says.

While the purpose of blended products is that they can be mixed and spread with other products reducing the need for multiple spreadings, caution needs to be exercised as to what products are compatible. While some NZGFA members refuse to spread incompatible products, farmers may insist if they are unaware of the issues.

“The reactions mean that buildup can occur on spreading equipment, which compromises spreading patterns. There’s nowhere enough education about this, especially letting the farmer know what can happen. We will be putting pressure on the New Zealand Fertiliser Quality Council to sort this issue out.”

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