Waikato Regional Council supports the New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Research Association Code of Practice for Fertiliser Use 1998 with the exception that Waikato Regional Council recommends a maximum nitrogen loading rate not to exceed 150 kilogram/hectare/year for animal effluent irrigated pasture (compared to 200 kilogram/hectare/year recommended by the Code). The maximum nitrogen loading rate should include all sources of applied nitrogen including fertiliser, biosolids and irrigated farm effluent.
The publication ‘Nitrogen Fertiliser Use on Waikato Dairy Farms: Bulletin One – August 1995: Waikato Regional Council’ is available free of charge from Waikato Regional Council. This addresses time and rate of nitrogen applications, influence of other factors on effectiveness of nitrogen applications, minimisation of adverse environmental effects and avoidance of excessive nitrogen use. Waikato Regional Council is proposing to publish a further, similar guide related to fertiliser use on commercial vegetable production.
Landowners should maintain a nutrient budget model for their properties in order to demonstrate compliance with conditions in Rule 184.108.40.206.
Considerable care should be taken when irrigating fertilised areas. In this regard, refer to Rule 220.127.116.11 concerning the use of water for irrigation purposes. Compliance with the conditions for that Rule should ensure no significant adverse effects from irrigation of fertilised land.
Care must also be taken when fertilising areas of land that have been subject to applications of farm animal effluent within the preceding 12 months. Refer to Rule 18.104.22.168 condition f) in this respect.
All practical steps should be taken to avoid direct discharge of fertiliser to water. This activity is not permitted under the RMA or this Plan and, subject to the level of any adverse effects, constitutes an offence regarding which Waikato Regional Council may take enforcement action.
Where fertiliser application is proposed near property boundaries, the operator is encouraged to notify any neighbours that might be affected by the fertiliser application.
Where fertiliser is being applied onto an area of more than one hectare, the operator is encouraged to undertake the application using certified or calibrated equipment. The Spreadmark Certification scheme operated by the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association is an example of a certification scheme that provides certainty that the fertiliser is being applied at an even rate and distribution pattern.
Operators are encouraged to identify and have regard to all locations that are sensitive to the effects of fertiliser (e.g. wetlands, streams, lakes, ponds or neighbours’ houses) and identify means to minimise the effect of fertilisers on these areas.
Operators are encouraged to keep good fertiliser application records including the following:
nutrient requirements of the crop(s)
date of the fertiliser applications
timing of cultivation and the are of land cultivated
fertiliser application rates (kilogram/hectare) and method(s) of application
the areas of land in hectares that was cropped and fertilised
the type(s) of fertilisers used,
the crop harvest,
the nutrient budget for fertiliser applied onto areas where biosolids or effluents are also applied as a fertilised substitute.