Leading Fertilizer Company Uptake New Zealand Emphasize Animal Nutrition Through Soil And Plant Health As Their Core Philosophy in Farming
By Ciaran Warner
As the less environmentally-friendly aspects of many forms and applications of fertilisers are called into question in the agricultural community all over New Zealand, Taupo-based fertiliser company Uptake have resolved to focus on what they believe to be the key aspect of farming: nutrition.
The health of farm animals is the key to a farmer’s success, and the quality of the pasture is vital to animal health. A balance of essential elements, such as copper, zinc, selenium, sodium and others, is crucial to maintaining a farm animal’s healthy diet, promoting strength and size and helping the animals fight off illness and lower stress levels.
While many farmers believe an excess of granular urea is sufficient for healthy grass growth, recent research into New Zealand soil health has shown that a disproportionately large amount of nitrogen, and subsequently inadequate amounts of other elements, is ultimately both insufficient for soil, plant and animal health, and harmful to the environment.
John Davis, owner of Uptake and a veteran farmer of over 40 years, refers to this process as the “legacy of morons.”
“What if nutrition was the key driver? Payment on protein content, sustainability, taste, consumer driven, environmentally friendly, healthy. In other words, less is more. Isn’t that what Uptake clients do?” John says.
“I had a steak at a good restaurant the other day, it looked good, cooked perfectly, well presented, cost $38. Might as well have eaten my gumboot. Tough, no taste, horrible. That is a problem.”
John says that many Kiwi farmers are made to believe that laying on the nitrogen and phosphate thick and heavy will get the job done, and as a result pour a hefty chunk of their budget into purchasing these elements in large quantities, resulting in funds pouring in for the large fertilizer companies even as they empty from the pockets of the farmers in question.
He adds that for thousands of farmers all over the country, the health of their animals is paramount. Deer, sheep, cows, goats and more all receive their nutrition from the land, and if they aren’t getting as much nutrition as they could be from the plants and soil, then farmers are losing money and their customers are losing quality.
“Every good farmer knows that they must replace nutrients in their soil. Nutrients in the soil are taken away by the farming process.”
Uptake’s mission, as described by John, is simple: quality over quantity. He firmly believes that the “more is better” philosophy is made redundant in the light of proven results; good nutrition passing from the soil, to the plants it grows, to the animals the plants feed. The benefits will also eventually pass to the farmers themselves, and of course, to the consumers they supply.
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