Media Releases

News: Fertiliser expense calls for higher analysis 

Farmers are set to be making some tough decisions on whether to ‘fert or not to fert’ in autumn. The record fertiliser price increases (primarily with urea and DAP) are putting the pressure on farmers who are feeling the pinch. 

Unfortunately, for the arable and horticulture industries the decision to withhold fertiliser is not an option and the consumer will feel the burn as the cost is likely to be passed on, Fertiliser Quality Council Chairperson Anders Crofoot says.

“While pastoral farmers will be able to withhold for a year, if they need to, their options for establishing their winter grazing crops will be limited.

For an industry that is being relied on for our economic recovery, this is an extra burden that could be done without.”

The on-going COVID supply chain issues driving the increase in fertiliser costs, coupled with reduced urea supply, highlights the importance of quality nutrient analysis for farmers.

“The more expensive nutrients become, the more important it is to have reliable nutrient analysis of what you are purchasing. The higher nutrient density ensures you are getting bang for your buck by reducing the cost in cartage and spreading.

Anders adds that the financial impact can be minimised by farmers ensuring they are being as efficient as possible in their decisions around the quality of the nutrient they are purchasing. 

“The Fertiliser Quality Council’s work on physical and nutrient properties, through Fertmark and Spreadmark’s quality assurance schemes, is about making sure farmers can do the best job with what they have got on hand. 

Fertmark and Spreadmark’s independent certification gives farmers confidence in their most expensive purchase decision on-farm.”



Anders Crofoot, FQC Chairperson, 027 426 5324, 

Penny Clark-Hall, FQC Communications Manager, 027 723 2733,


The Fertiliser Quality Council is responsible for both the Fertmark and Spreadmark initiatives.

Fertmark was devised in 1992 as a fertiliser quality assurance scheme after the government withdrew from fertiliser auditing. The scheme involves an independent audit whereby only quality products are approved and awarded with the Fertmark tick. There are currently 14 companies in the programme with over 69 registered products.

Spreadmark is a fertiliser quality assurance scheme founded by the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association (NZGFA) in 1998. The logo can be seen on the trucks of over 75 companies in New Zealand.


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June 2020 – Expressions of interest for auditing the Fertmark and Spreadmark Schemes

June 2020 – Expressions of interest for auditing the Fertmark and Spreadmark schemes are now being sought from interested parties.

Please contact FQC Executive Director Philippa Rawlinson, for more information.

Expressions of interest close on 26 June 2020.

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April 2019 – Importing fertiliser for personal use is risky business, warns the Fertiliser Quality Council

The Fertiliser Quality Council of New Zealand (FQC) is urging anyone contemplating importing fertiliser themselves to think again. The organisation, which is responsible for Fertmark, the fertiliser auditing programme that verifies products so users can be certain they know what they are spreading on their pasture, says importing fertiliser for individual on-farm use is fraught with risk.

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May 2018 – FQC produces guidelines for bulk fertiliser storage and handling

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) has produced a set of storage and handling guidelines for manufacturers and distributors who deal with bulk fertiliser. The guidelines, which can also be applied to the storage and handling of fertiliser on-farm, aim to ensure that the physical quality of the product is maintained from when it arrives at the depot (or farm) to the point it is distributed on the land.

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June 2016 – Onus on Spreadmark companies to ensure vehicle certificates are valid

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) is urging all spreading companies registered with Spreadmark – the industry guarantee programme – to check their vehicle certification status. The call from the Council follows an alert from auditors that companies registered with the Spreadmark scheme may, unknowingly, have trucks or aircraft with expired certificates.

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June 2016 – Accurate fertiliser spreading could save NZ agriculture millions

A research study, commissioned by the New Zealand Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC), estimates that New Zealand agriculture could save tens of millions of dollars in lost production and wasted fertiliser – every year.

Conducted by Massey University’s Centre for Precision Agriculture, the report, which reviewed spreading accuracy from twin disc fertiliser spreaders, found that several factors contributed to ‘off target’ fertiliser spreading – including the physical properties of the fertiliser product, demand for spreaders to spread wider, as well as topography and wind.

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