Boosting growth from the ground up

Boosting growth from the ground up
Agrifert supplies a range of fertiliser products, including organic and biological fertilisers.

Always looking to make an affordable difference for their clients has been the key to success for Sam and Pamela Taverner, directors of Agrifert Ltd. Based in New Plymouth, Agrifert is a progressive fertiliser company offering sustainable fertiliser solutions and programmes to growers predominantly in the North Island.
Armed with a degree in agriculture and ‘hands on’ farming experience, Sam says productivity and growth always starts in the soil.
He says getting the soil correctly balanced flows through the plants, the animals and into the farmer’s bottom-line.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re growing, the principles are always the same. Anything from grapes, blueberries, grass, vegetables or brassica crops -there are principles to soils you have to get right. Calcium and Magnesium are the two key soil nutrients to consider while Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potassium and Sulphur are the key plant nutrients, and not forgetting the important trace elements.”
Sam says his past life as a farmer has been advantageous when relating to other farmers’ and appreciating their position when times are tough.
“Farming is the only industry in the world where you’re buying at retail and selling at wholesale. No other industry could survive this model.”
While Sam and Pamela took the helm of the business in 2005, rebranding as Agrifert, the business has a history going back 20 years. When the couple took the business over it dealt mainly in liquid fertiliser products.
Sam believes there is a role for both liquid and solid fertiliser products and over the years solid fertiliser, along with organic and biological fertiliser, have been introduced to the wide range on offer through Agrifert.
“We have certified organic fertiliser products with a good customer base of certified organic farmers. We also have biological fertilisers for non-certified organic farmers who follow the principles – which is where we sit.”
While fertiliser remains Agrifert’s core product, Sam says the business goes a lot further with its clients. He says that it is just as important to ensure farmers are growing the right crops that fit within their farming system as is using the right fertiliser on the crops.
“I love to network with other companies and if a company has a product that we can offer to our clients—be it seed or stock food—we’ll work cooperatively to provide the best service to the customer.”
Sam says the process of assessing a farmer’s fertiliser requirements starts with an on-farm discussion and either assessing an existing soil test or arranging for one to be done using Eurofins Laboratory Services.
Based on the results of the test a discussion is had with the farmer around his wants and needs, with priority given to the most limiting factors.
Consideration is also given to what stock foods are being used as complementary to pasture. “You have to have a passion for this work and we’ve swum against the tide for a number of years,” says Sam.
“The environment is important to us and by introducing biological products farmers can keep producing grass economically without having to pour on lots of chemical nitrogen.”
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