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.