Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser cap

Rules about the amount of synthetic nitrogen that can be applied to pastoral land of 20ha or more came into effect on 1 July 2021. The amount of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser you can apply must not exceed 190 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare, per year, averaged across your grazed land area.

Dairy farmers must submit records of their synthetic nitrogen use to regional and unitary councils for them to report to the Ministry for the Environment.

Regional and unitary councils have worked with Ballance and Ravensdown on a simple and consistent method for collecting the required data. We’ve come up with three nitrogen use reporting tools that you can choose from to record your synthetic nitrogen use on grazed land in the twelve-month period from 1 July to 30 June in the following year.

The three tools that are available to farmers based on their fertiliser company:

HawkEye and MyBallance are existing tools that have had functionality added to allow data inputs to be used for calculating the synthetic nitrogen use by farmland-use area. When given permission by the person inputting the data, it is submitted securely to the appropriate regional and unitary council/s.

The Regional Sector web portal (N-Cap) is a recording system that requires manual calculation of the same information. A calculation spreadsheet is available for download that guides you through how to create the required records – this includes information such as the farm business entity, fertiliser purchases, landholding and land use, along with dates, volume, and types of synthetic nitrogen application. This information is entered into a form in the web portal, and just like the fertiliser company apps, data is then submitted securely to the appropriate regional and unitary council/s.

Over time, other companies may come on board with their own apps to perform the same functions required by the new rules in the National Environmental Standards for Freshwater Management.


Frequently Asked Questions

Fertiliser data is already recorded and reported to milk supply companies. Why can’t that be used?

We are aware that many farmers already supply some fertiliser data to their dairy company. The new regulations require different data than what is currently provided. The development of the new tools by the Regional Sector and fertiliser industry has been carried out to meet those different requirements and provide a consistent way for farmers to submit data to their regional or unitary council.

What are my options if I don’t want to/can't use an online tool for recording?

A calculation spreadsheet can be used to record nitrogen use and is available from your council. If a farm owner wishes to, they can provide information directly to their regional council using this manual form; however, this approach is not encouraged.