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November 8, 2011 South Islanders switch to ‘future proof’ fertiliser

A surge in demand for Dicalcic Phosphate fertiliser throughout the South Island shows more farmers are shifting towards lower cost and more efficient farming methods.

Aaron Topp from Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate Ltd says market production of Dicalcic Phosphate may have jumped by over twenty five per cent in the last 9 months, with New Zealand’s two fertiliser giants both moving to boost their production capacity.

“This means Dicalcic Phosphate would likely be one of the fastest growing fertiliser categories in the South Island,” says Mr Topp.

Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate is a specially manufactured product that begins as 50 per cent limestone and 50 per cent superphosphate. Hatuma’s unique method of manufacture has been refined and perfected since 1962 when it was first made commercially available in Hawke’s Bay. It is typically applied at the same volume as traditional solid fertiliser.

“It’s also non-water soluble, so it works particularly well in areas where there’s risk of run-off such as the South Island hill country, as well as the sensitive low-land areas where water quality is paramount,” says Mr Topp.

Based in Hawke’s Bay, Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate Ltd partnered with Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Altum last year to start producing Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate on a nation-wide scale. It now works with Canterbury’s Springfield Lime Company and Otago’s Parkside Quarries to meet the growing demand from South Island farmers. Both business have spent considerable investment in new plant, machinery and buildings to ensure the product’s quality is consistent.

“The history of Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate really speaks for itself. It has a well established following throughout the North Island, but until recently South Island farmers had missed out. Based on sales so far we’re confident that Dicalcic Phosphate is firmly a part of New Zealand’s farming future.”

The growth in the South Island has seen Parkside Quarries near Oamaru become the biggest seller in Hatuma’s network in recent times. Company Director, Bob Wilson, says that as well as being better for the pocket and suitable for the diverse range of farmland in the South Island, farmers are attracted to Dicalcic Phosphate as a way to future proof their fertiliser strategies.

“Lower impact on the land is a major benefit. More people are interested in taking a long-term and sustainable approach to farming.”

Springfield Lime Company owner, Karl Hardaker, says they have worked very closely with Hatuma over the last year to ensure they’re manufacturing a product worthy of their Dicalcic Phosphate brand.

“Hatuma Dicalcic is the cornerstone of the nutrient efficient approach to farming that has been growing in popularity in the North Island in recent years. There is huge potential for this to be adopted by South Island farmers looking for more efficient and sustainable nutrient use.

Mr Topp agrees and says the jump in production indicates farmers are starting to think ahead to a future where the impact of the ETS and phosphate shortages will both be a reality.

“There have recently been credible sources talking about shortages of quality phosphate being available as the global supply network gets pressured by other developing countries. This is putting real pressure on our industry to find more efficient ways of using this resource, particularly in light of the ETS, which kicks in just a few short years away. The government expects to see lower emissions and smarter use of fertilisers from the sector.”

Mr Topp says using Dicalcic Phospahte is one tangible step farmers can take to meet both those expectations.

“Scientists are beginning to investigate farmers claims of improved stock health and pasture utilisation on dicalcic phosphate properties. So far the results are very encouraging.

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