Fertilizers in New Zealand, 1867-1929
In 1869, New Zealand use 216 tons of imported fertilizers in addition to a very small amount of local bonedust. Sixty years later, the imports amounted to 324,145 tons, while local production was in the neighbourhood of 35,000 tons. The increase in phenomenal particularly over the last few years. It is now realised fairly generally that we have banked too much on “stored fertility”. It was perhaps only natural, in the first few decades of farming in New Zealand with huge areas of the soil, that farmers should be prodigal of nature’s resources. But with the exhaustion of the virgin fertility, and the ever increasing demand and competition for land, it came to be realised very gradually, that more production was required from the existing land in occupation. Also, if possible, land previously thought useless should be made to produce. The key to both problems was found in the use of fertilizers. An attempt to trace the development of such practice forms the basis of this essay. As far as can be ascertained no previous investigation has been undertaken. Some of the outstanding points resulting from the enquiry are as follows: The importance of statistics to the investigator The pioneer work of the Canterbury Agricultural College The overwhelming importance of phosphates in general and superphosphate in particular The rise of topdressing The useful work of the Department of Agriculture The decline of the importance of local production... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsfertiliser; superphosphate; phosphate; topdressing; New Zealand
Fields of Research079902 Fertilisers and Agrochemicals (incl. Application); 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management
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