New reporting requirements for synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use

Horizons Regional Council has been working with its counterparts around the country to provide information to dairy farmers about the need to report by 31 July on their synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use this year.

In September 2020, central government introduced the Essential Freshwater package  which included new rules and policies aimed at halting or reversing the degradation of our freshwater bodies. The National Environment Standards for Freshwater (NES-FW), which are part of this package, requires all dairy farmers in the country to report their yearly synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use to regional council by 31 July 2022.

Horizons regulatory manager Greg Bevin says this is the first year that the reporting has been required.
“The reporting applies to all contiguous dairy land, this being the milking platform and any other land directly connected to it,” he says.

“We require information such as the amounts of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser applied, the area in hectares that it is applied to and the dates of each application, down to paddock scale. Recognising that this is a lot of information to pull together central government, regional councils and industry have been working together to develop a central digital platform to make nitrogen reporting easier.

“As this platform is not available quite yet, we suggest for now farmers use one of the major fertiliser suppliers, such as Ravensdown or Ballance, to collate all the necessary information, check and submit to us. We recommend farmers contact their supplier or farming services provider to find out more about this option as soon as possible.”
Mr Bevin says the reporting period applies from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 and is due to Horizons by 31 July 2022.

“We recognise it won’t be a five minute job for dairy farmers to pull this information together so strongly encourage them to make a start now. If farmers have any questions please contact our rural advice team on freephone 0508 800 800.”

Another part of the NES-FW synthetic nitrogen fertiliser regulation is that there is a 190kg/ha/yr cap for all pastoral land. However, the dairy farm reporting is required regardless of whether the nitrogen cap applies.

For more information on the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser regulations visit Horizons’ nitrogen fertiliser page