Sustainable expectations


Production demand brings sustainable expectations

July 18, 2013

Sustainable expectations

Ballance Chairman David Graham says that alongside increasing demand for global food production is a growing expectation for food to be produced sustainably.

“All around the world producers are responding to the growing demand for food to feed an expanding world population. At the same time, there is more emphasis being placed on producing this food sustainably – and we are seeing that sentiment flow through to regulations on how we farm here in New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Graham, who recently attended the Ballance Farm Environment Awards national showcase ceremony, believes sustainability is about ‘doing the right thing’, but doing what’s right has to contribute to farming profitability – if farmers cannot make a living there will be no farmers, no food, no future.

“The need for sustainability is understood by farmers all around the country. The challenge is determining how to go about achieving the balance between improving our efforts to look after the environment and maintaining, or better still improving, our economic success.”

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have existed since the mid-1990s and are much more than an annual celebration of farming excellence. They have created opportunities for farmers to benchmark themselves and their environmental practices against their peers – and learn something along the way.

“Ballance has been a long-time supporter of these awards, and we are working hard to help New Zealand food producers to farm more productively and sustainably.

"We have taken note of the growing interest in sustainable farming practices and the demand for good advice and good science to support decisions on-farm.”

“As a co-operative, owned by farmers and here for farmers, it is only natural we would increase our ability to respond to this demand. We have expanded beyond fertiliser to offer complete farm nutrient management advice, technology, services and products backed by sound science.”

As part of this work the co-op is looking to the future, with its research and development programme finding new ways to support sustainable, productive farming.

“We’re building a comprehensive toolkit including the products, services, technology and advice that will enable the pastoral sector to lift profitable production with reduced environmental impacts.

“This includes new forms of nitrogen and phosphate fertilisers to reduce nutrient losses, along with new systems and models to help farmers use fertiliser only on areas of their farm which will benefit most from nutrient application.”

As Ballance looks to better support farmers’ needs they can expect to see some of the results of the research roll out of the lab and onto the farm once the co-operative has worked through user trials and validation.

18 July 2013

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