A new online training course, specifically designed for farmers who spread their own fertiliser, provides instruction on the important areas of how fertiliser can be best applied, how farm productivity can be maximised and what health and safety spreading requirements must be met.
The web-based programme, initiated by the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) in partnership with Federated Farmers, also includes guidance on good farm practice around minimising the environmental impacts when spreading fertiliser – for example, keeping the spreader hopper covered when moving fertiliser, avoiding waterways and not spreading in windy conditions.
The training tool, the Farmer Spreadmark Fertiliser Training Course, is split into six interactive modules – Introduction, Environmental Impact I, Environmental Impact II, Agronomy, Wash-down and Records, and Spreader Calibration. Each module must be completed before a course certificate is issued. This can be printed and displayed, and added to the farm’s audit file.
Commenting on the development of the training course, Anders Crofoot (FQC Chairman), says the programme is for the farmer who doesn’t use a spreading company accredited to the industry’s Spreadmark* scheme – and who does not have any other means to prove spread accuracy.
He foresees that farmers and growers will increasingly be required to provide proof of accurate fertiliser spreading – especially by food processors keen to certify that their suppliers exercise good management practices (GMP).
“As consumer demand for traceability, transparency and provenance continues to rise around the world, more and more food processors from the milk, meat and cropping industries will adopt GMP incentive schemes, such as Synlait’s Lead with Pride programme – which rewards suppliers who meet a set of stewardship standards,” he says.
“The new Farmer Spreadmark Fertiliser Training Course will certify farmers in the fundamentals of fertiliser spreading and also enable them to take advantage of GMP schemes.” Will it?
The Farmer Spreadmark Fertiliser Training Course was devised by Quality Consultants of New Zealand (QCONZ) and supported by the Waikato and Canterbury Regional Councils.
It costs $55 and can be accessed at www.qconz.co.nz.