Nutrient Budgets

Nutrient budgets are essential to determine how much fertiliser you need for your crops and at what time of the year to maximise yield and minimise loss. We also need to know what your nutrient losses are at so we work out if we are meeting our scheme nutrient limit.

TimeframesWho can do themRavensdown & Ballance MOUWhat do I needWhat does my number mean?

You must complete an OVERSEER nutrient budget with your 2018 FEP update by the 31st August 2018

  • If the budget is not complete by the deadline you must provided us with confirmation of who is preparing the budget & that they have all of the appropriate information to complete the budget.
Nutrient budgets can be tricky to complete, especially for arable farms, therefore we require nutrient budgets to be completed by a suitably qualified professional (CNMA certification) according to the most recent Best Practice Input Standards.

The individual who completes your nutrient budget needs to give you a declaration that they meet the criteria and let us know if they have had to tweak anything to make your budget work.

Make sure you ask the person who completes your nutrient budget the following questions:

  • Are you an accredited Nutrient Management Advisor (CNMA)?
  • Have you completed the Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management Course?

If the answer is “no”, you might need to ensure a more experienced person to sign off their work, or look for another consultant complete the budget.

Irrigo Centre Limited has signed an Memorandum of Understanding with both Ravensdown Environmental and Ballance Farm Sustainability to ensure you are prioritised to meet our timeframes, there is a streamlined and standardised process and the costs of completing your budgets are minimised. We will share your FEP maps and use information you provided in your FEP to help minimise duplication.

To make completing your nutrient budget as easy as possible we have agreed to the following process:

  1. Ravensdown and Ballance have dedicated staff to complete our nutrient budgets. They will regularly use our offices to meet with you to collect the data they need.
  2. Irrigo will contact you to book you in and provide the consultant with a summary of your FEP. You will need to bring additional information for the relevant season. The cost of the Nutrient Budget service will be discussed during the appointment.
  3. The consultant will provide your nutrient budget to both yourself and the scheme. Irrigo will then upload your nutrient budget and complete this FEP section.

Please contact us if you would like to use this service.

Both companies will charge to complete nutrient budgets, our aim is to streamline the process and minimise the cost of the budget.

You are not obliged to use this service and you can choose anyone you like to complete your nutrient budget. Budgets prepared using this process can be used for any purpose (E.g. fertiliser recommendations, Fonterra or consent compliance) 

Your consultant will explain the information they need to complete the nutrient budget and will likely give you a checklist of records to have available when they visit you or when you come in. You will generally need:

  • Stock numbers by month
  • Pasture/Crop yields and rotation
  • Milk production figures
  • Soil test results (if you have them)
  • Farm Map
  • Type and amount of fertiliser applied and when

BCI have a series of templates available to help make keeping records easier for you, Dairy Effluent – Maintenance Record, Effluent Application Records, Irrigation Records Calendar and Fert Applications.

For more information on OVERSEER nutrient budgets, go to:- Facts about OVERSEERNutrient Budgets explained

When making decisions to improve management practices on your property, it’s useful to have an idea of what causes N loss into groundwater so you can focus your efforts on updating practices to have the greatest impact.

The key drivers of N loss are:

  • Animals (type/density)
  • Drainage (irrigation/soil type)
  • Fertiliser
  • Feed (amount/type)
  • Effluent

If you target Good Management Practices to maximise the efficiency in these areas, you will be able to significantly reduce your N losses over time.

See: Summary of N loss drivers and ability to change them;Most industry bodies will be able to provide you with information on how to improve these areas of management on your farm.