Our Co-op

You can count on us to deliver results both on and off farm. Learn about Ballance's history and current operations.

Our Business

Ballance is a New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative that helps its customers to farm more productively, profitably and sustainably.

From our core business of fertiliser manufacturing, supply, sales and advice, we have grown to offer farmers a full range of science-backed nutrient products and services. This enables us to help farmers achieve soil and animal nutrition and productivity with a minimal environmental footprint.

“When it comes to rural supply operations, there are people who sell fertilisers and feed – and then there's Ballance. We know what farmers want because farmers own us. They count on us to be one step ahead of their changing needs.”

Our agri-nutrient advice is complemented by award-winning web-based farm systems software, which enables farmers to capture and analyse a wealth of information, and so make the best management decisions for their business.

As well as supporting New Zealand farmers, Ballance also supplies products to a range of industrial businesses.

Our Brands

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is proud to own and operate the following brands:

SealesWinslow is a leading compound ruminant feed manufacturer, offering a complete animal nutrition package to enhance the performance and wellbeing of pasture fed animals and herds.

Visit SealesWinslow

Super Air have a modern fleet of aircraft that are suited to the aerial application job required on your farm. Utilising modern GPS technology, Super Air can work with farm mapping and reporting tools, providing proof of placement of your nutrients.

More about Super Air

Our History

The history of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited is one of foresight, partnership and perseverance.

Its origins can be traced back to the late 1800s, when sulphur was mined at White Island, an active off-shore volcano situated in the Bay of Plenty. Conditions were bleak and health and safety non-existent – at one point an eruption killed 14 men working on the island. The mined sulphur was shipped to Tauranga, where it was refined before being sold both in New Zealand and Australia.

As New Zealand’s farming industry grew, so too did the demand for quality fertiliser products. In the early twentieth century, tests at Ruakura showed the benefit of phosphatic fertilisers, and as time went on demand for these increased, particularly as more land was broken in for pastoral use.

"The company completed its planned evolution in 2005, when the co-operative bought the 20 percent shareholding held by Yara. As a result, Ballance was once again a 100 percent farmer-owned company, a position that leaves it ready to move into the next phase of its development."

1940's – 1970's

Early co-operatives

In the post-Second World War years, farmers in some regions of the country were experiencing difficulties getting sufficient fertiliser as and when they needed it. In both Southland and the Bay of Plenty, these farmers decided to take action.

In Southland, a group of local farmers formed the Southland Co-operative Phosphate Company in 1947, although the first shares were not issued until 1955. At the same time, farmers in the Bay of Plenty were working towards the establishment of the Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-operative, which also issued its first shares in 1955.

Both co-operatives benefited from the nearby port facilities, which enabled phosphate rock to be shipped in from locations such as Nauru and Christmas Island.

The two co-operatives operated independently through the 1960s and 1970s, the heyday years of New Zealand agriculture.

1980's – 1999's

Responding to economic challenge

In 1984, the face of the rural economy changed dramatically when government fertiliser subsidies were removed. The effects were not only felt by fertiliser manufacturers, but also by ancillary operations, such as the top-dressing industry. In 1987 a collective of aerial top-dressers approached the Bay of Plenty co-operative with the aim of forming an alliance to ensure their long-term survival. The collective, known as Super Air, became a subsidiary of BOP Fertiliser.

In that same year BOP consolidated its position in the central North Island by merging with Kiwi Fertiliser, a subsidiary of the Fernz Corporation. The resulting entity was BOP Fertiliser Ltd, 60 percent of which was owned by the Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-operative, and 40 percent of which was held by Fernz.

At this time, fertiliser manufacturers in New Zealand were focused on producing superphosphate, which had radically changed the farming landscape. It supplied both phosphate and sulphur, two nutrients that were deficient in many New Zealand soils.

In 1992, BOP Fertiliser turned its attention to another nutrient that was important for farming success - nitrogen. The company purchased the country's only ammonia-urea manufacturing plant, at Kapuni in Taranaki. Significant investment was made in this plant to convert it into a top-quality manufacturing facility.

1990's – 2000

A Country wide company

The late 1990s saw the fertiliser industry in New Zealand undergo a significant degree of consolidation. BOP Fertiliser merged successfully with the Southland Co-operative, but only after a lengthy battle and a favourable ruling from the Commerce Commission. A year later (1998), BOP Fertiliser purchased Whangarei-based Farmers Fertiliser from Fernz Corporation, extending its customer base from north to south, and adding another manufacturing plant to its facilities.

Prior to the end of the century the company underwent further change. The co-operative bought half of the 40 percent shareholding held by Fernz, returning more ownership to farmer-shareholders. At the same time, international fertiliser giant Norsk Hydro (today known as Yara), purchased the remaining Fernz shareholding. This was an important alignment for the co-operative, as it ensured access to a significant pool of knowledge and research about plant nutrients, as well as Yara's speciality fertiliser products.


Ballance is Born

With four entities operating under one umbrella, it was time to strengthen the connections between each division and so in 2001 the company was relaunched as Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited. The bright new logo reflected the company's commitment to a scientific approach to farm nutrient management. The name of the company was a tribute to John Ballance, the prime minister who created the legislation that opened the way for New Zealand's rapid, agricultural-based economic expansion. John Ballance died in office in 1893.

As part of Ballance's growth strategy, fertiliser outlets throughout the country were either upgraded or built anew, an exercise that saw an investment of $20 million. The aim was to provide as many New Zealand farmers as possible with easy access to Ballance products and services.

The company completed its planned evolution in 2005, when the co-operative bought the 20 percent shareholding held by Yara. As a result, Ballance was once again a 100 percent farmer-owned company, a position that leaves it ready to move into the next phase of its development.

Business Partners

If you are interested in supplying goods or services to Ballance Agri-Nutrients, you should first familiarise yourself with our terms and conditions.

  • These are outlined in the General Terms and Conditions for Supply of Products and (or) Services link to the right.
  • Merchant partners can view the terms and conditions applicable to their business by clicking on the Terms and Conditions - Merchant Customers link to the right. 
  • If you represent a commercial company that wishes to purchase from us, please contact our Channel Manager.