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Fertiliser application

Freshwater Plan Factsheet

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Fertiliser application

The Freshwater Plan has rules for applying fertilisers.  Incorrectly applied fertilisers can have negative effects on the quality of freshwater and habitats for fish life.

Fertilisers can include:

• Nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, iron, zinc like boron.
• Fertiliser additives to help plants absorb nutrients.
• Soil conditioners to alter the soil.

The Freshwater Plan rules for applying fertiliser correctly:
• When applying fertilisers you must follow the Code of Practice for Nutrient Management(external link)
• Fertiliser storage and loading sites need to be at least 50 metres away from streams, lakes and wetlands.
• Nitrogen fertiliser applications of more than 200kg N/ha/year need to be in split dressings of 50kg/N/ha.
• Soluble phosphate fertiliser applications of more than 100kg P/ha/year need to be in split dressings.
• If within 5 metres of a waterway listed in the Freshwater Plan you must apply fertilisers by hand.

Good fertiliser management

When aerial dressing - make sure fertiliser is at least 5 metres from all outstanding waterbodies.

Use good management practices when ground dressing fertiliser.

Before you start

•  Make sure operators know what application rate you want.
•  Create a map for operators so they can see the boundaries for application. Note the features to be avoided, such as streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands and riparian strips.
•  Specify the accuracy and evenness of the spread required.
•  Choose the right mix of fertilisers for safe, efficient spreading without clumping or separating.

Applying it

•  Rainwater can cause fertilisers to run-off instead of being absorbed into the soil.
•  After a drought, avoid losing fertiliser in the first rainfall and wait to apply it after some rain.
•  Avoid applying fertilisers when moisture in the soil is too high, at or near field capacity.

Stop it from getting in

• Consider planting riparian buffer strips around permanent streams.

Fact sheet

Download - Do you apply fertilisers? [PDF, 2.3 MB]

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