Ballance gears up to support farmers working within limits

Ballance gears up to support farmers working within limits

Media Release 18 July 2016

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has formed a specialist Farm Sustainability Services team as it gears up to meet the growing need for nutrient budgeting services and farm environmental plans as farmers adjust to working within environmental limits.

Team leader, Alastair Taylor, says the move builds on Ballance’s nutrient budgeting services initiated in 2013 to support Canterbury farmers in meeting the compliance requirements of the Canterbury Regional Land and Water Plan.

Farm Sustainability Services folds in the contractual work Ballance currently does for dairy companies, irrigation schemes, levy boards and commercial partners to analyse and interpret nutrient loss data. It will also draw on products and technology developed through Ballance’s $19.5 million Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries. This includes N-Guru™, a model that more accurately predicts pasture responses to nitrogen, and MitAgator™, which takes data from OVERSEER® files and links them with farm mapping data to identify the areas on farm at risk of losing nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and bacteria and determine which mitigation techniques will be most effective.

“We’re always aiming to stay one step ahead of what our farmers need and last year we identified environmental constraints as likely to be one of the largest impacts on their businesses. When we talked to our farmers they identified sustainability as being at the heart of this, with its environmental, economic and social aspects,” says Alastair.

The Farm Sustainability Services team will meet growing demand for analysis of year-end farm nutrient data for dairy companies and year-end nutrient budget reports for irrigation schemes, regional councils, and resource consents. It also expects to work with proactive farmers building up a database of their nutrient performance ahead of moves by their regional councils to impose nutrient limits. Having an on-farm database gives farmers and their primary industry groups like DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand better information to work with when negotiating local limits.

Alastair says nutrient advice has been offered by Ballance for many years, and investing additional resources and time to developing the specialist Farm Sustainability Services team is a step up to providing better support for farmers to enable them to make sustainable and profitable decisions.