Sheryl Brown

Fertco is celebrating 20 years of leading the way with eco-friendly and innovative fertiliser products that are suited to the growing environmental demands on farmers.

The Mount Maunganui company was established by Waikato farmers in 1999 because they wanted a broader range of fertilisers that were more ecologically sound, chief executive Warwick Voyce says.

“That was during a time when farmers were relying heavily on nitrogen fertilsers. These farmers wanted to have a more environmental focus and that philosophy still holds true today at Fertco.”

Fertco has the largest range of certified organic fertilisers in New Zealand and has the most efficient, yet environmentally friendly, phosphate fertiliser on the market.

An increasing number of farmers and orchardists are looking to use these fertiliser products to meet growing environmental regulations, he says.

“Organics is the fastest growing part of our business with lots of farmers using them as part of their conventional fertiliser programmes.”

In the 2000s eco-friendly and organic became ugly tarnished words, but today using these products on conventional farms helps to improve efficiency and meet industry regulations, Fertco national sales manager Arthur Payze says.

“There are a lot of farmers using fishmeal, lime, gypsum and guano – mainly to mitigate nutrient loss

“The market has come to us, we have always been doing this, it has always been common sense,” he says.

Fertco’s new CloverZone fertiliser programme, which focuses on the physical, chemical and biological attributes of growing clover, is an example of how the company is leading the way with its approach to fertiliser use, Arthur says.

“Our focus is designing fertiliser programmes that optimise productivity, while mitigating nutrient loss.”

All Fertco fertiliser consultants have industry qualifications and have all completed a Sustainable Nutrient Management Course.

A major strength of the company is the team of people behind it, Warwick says.

Many of its employees have been working at Fertco for more than 10 years and the company invests a lot into their capability.

“We can deliver on service because of our team, we are very conscious of having good people throughout the business.”

Fertco services Northland down to the top of Lake Taupo and sells 30,000 tonnes of fertiliser/year. It supplies the dairy, sheep and beef, equine, cropping and horticultural sectors.

It imports its products from around the world, including Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The company has a mandate to use only suppliers that are transparent and produce the product in an ethical manner, without harm to humans, animals or the environment.

“We insist on transparency and do our own internal checking of products,” Warwick says.

While it holds just 2% of the NZ fertiliser market, there is a strength to staying smaller, Warwick says.

A smaller company can deliver better results by delivering a superior service to its customers.

“Surviving 20 years in any business is a feat in itself and we are very grateful to our customers for their support over the years.”