Pioneering to Precision - Application of Fertiliser in Hill Country
The Pioneering to Precision programme, led by Ravensdown, seeks to improve fertiliser practice on hill country farms through remote sensing of the nutrient status of the farms and precision application of fertiliser.
Currently, fertiliser is applied to hill country farms using top dressing aircraft which broadcast the fertiliser in blanket applications over farm land, assuming the nutrient status of the land is relatively uniform. This results in over-fertilising and wastage in some areas, and under fertilising and poor growth in others.
This programme is intended to improve the productivity of hill country sheep and beef farming through more efficient use of fertiliser. Precision application technology will be developed using remote sensing of the nutrient status of the land to determine where nutrients should be targeted. GPS guided aircraft will deliver fertiliser to targeted areas of the farm. The technology will also enable farmers to minimise the discharge of nutrients into water ways in critical areas.
If successful, this programme will transform the way fertiliser is applied in farming in New Zealand. It will improve the profitability of hill country farming and generate earnings of $120 million per annum by 2030 from additional exports of meat and wool.