Science Not Conjecture Vital When Talking Fertiliser
The New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association (NZGFA) annual conference in Tauranga has been told to believe
science and not conjecture when it comes to agriculture and so-called pollution.
Retired Federated Farmers Dairy head, Lachlan McKenzie, told the delegates that scientific fact did not always underpin
the raft of rules and regulations that were restricting farming practices in New Zealand.
“A simple example is the trout,” McKenzie said. “Out of the 50 most invasive fish species in the world the Rainbow Trout
is 26th and the Brown Trout 47th. Further, in streams inhabited by trout just 21% of the algae growth is eaten. The
figure for native fish is 75%.
“I just can’t believe that we put two of the world’s most invasive fish in our waterways and then place them on a
pedestal,” he said.
He was followed by Ian Elliott, a large South Waikato dairy farmer, who has recently returned from a Rabobank-sponsored
conference on agriculture in Holland.
He told the crowd to forget organic farming as it required six times the land area of conventional farming and we just
didn’t have those resources. He added that we had the iniquitous situation of eight percent of the world’s population
who live in Europe telling the rest of us how we should grow our food.
“The problem is that we have rules imposed without people thinking of the end result those rules will have. It is also
important to realise that the higher production is per hectare, the lower the environmental footprint per unit of
NZGFA President, Stuart Barwood, said the speakers highlighted issues the organisation had been concerned about for some
“We have a positive plethora of rules and regulations, many of them based more on conjecture than scientific evidence.
In addition there is no credit given to those many fertiliser spreaders who invest considerable amounts of time and
money becoming state of the art in their game.
“A modern Spreadmark accredited operator can spread fertiliser with absolute precision and not pollute sensitive areas
or waterways. Listening to some officials you would think we just chucked it off the back of a truck with a shovel,”