The national Fert$mart website has been especially developed to support dairy farmers and their advisors in making planned nutrient decisions. Fert$mart resources are freely available on the site.

Fert$mart

Fertiliser truckFert$mart is the Australian dairy industry’s national nutrient management framework developed by Dairy Australia in collaboration with farm nutrient advisors and farmers. It has been developed to improve the efficiency and profitability of fertiliser use on Australian dairy farms. The Fert$mart framework prescribes the recommended steps, including the knowhow tools, to help dairy farmers and their trusted advisors develop a Fert$mart Plan.

A Fert$mart Plan is a nutrient management plan which considers factors affecting the movement of nutrients into, around, and off the farm when formulating the source, rate, timing and placement of fertiliser to most benefit pasture productivity and profitability aspirations. Effluent re-use and distribution are an important component of a Fert$mart plan.

 

Fert$mart for Farmers

Many farmers are now finding that when they get soil and fertiliser management ‘right’, they can produce more feed at no extra cost.

This comes with good planning and more targeted use of fertiliser. The key is to use the 4Rs:

  • Right Source of fertiliser
  • at the Right Rate
  • in the Right Place
  • at the Right Time (the 4Rs).

 

A Fert$mart Plan helps to get these things right through improved targeted planning. A Fert$mart tick approved advisor has the necessary training and understanding to formulate a 4Rs fertiliser recommendation in collaboration with their client or discussion group members.

Regional delivery of Fert$mart is available to all dairy farmers of NSW. The program is supported through local collaborative projects including Dairy Australia, Dairy NSW, relevant Local Land Service agencies and dairy farmers.

Farmers are supported through the process of developing a Fert$mart Plan by becoming a member of a purpose formed Fert$mart Group or conducting Fert$mart as part of an existing dairy discussion group. These groups are facilitated by a Fert$mart Ticked agronomists. Individual farms can also contact their nearest Fert$mart Tick Approved agronomists to have a Fert$mart Plan developed.

Check the Dairy NSW calendar for Fert$mart opportunities in your region.

 

Fert$mart for Advisors

A Fert$mart Plan develops nutrient recommendations through following a Planning Cycle, using a Fert$mart checklist, setting soil fertility targets based upon regional industry guidelines and developing recommendations based upon the 4Rs principle.

Agronomists who follow this approach can use the ‘Fert$mart Tick’ logo after they have sought approval. To obtain approval, two fertiliser plans which demonstrate use of the Fert$mart framework must be presented to a Fert$mart certifier. Once approved, future plans prepared by the advisor for dairy farmers can also display the ‘Fert$mart Tick’. The system is randomly audited on an annual basis.

The “Fert$mart Tick” means that the methods used by an advisor are Fert$mart approved:

  • Farm areas where fertiliser is to be applied have been identified.
  • Soil testing has been undertaken according to best management practice.
  • Soil constraints and other production limitations have been considered before making recommendations.
  • A nutrient budget has been used to work out the Phosphorus, Potassium and Sulphur (PKS) maintenance requirements.
  • Soil fertility trends based on current soil tests, previous soil test records (if available) have been considered.
  • Basic soil health indicators have been considered.
  • Crop or pasture condition has been considered.
  • Strategic use of on-farm nutrients (e.g. effluent and manure) has been explored and economic options for reuse considered.
  • A documented 4Rs fertiliser program has been provided to the farmer (either a soft or hard copy) which describes the products, rates, place/placement, and timing for each paddock or farm management zone.
  • Managing environmental, human, and animal health risks of the fertiliser program have been assessed, documented and conveyed to the farmer.

Fert$mart Advisor training has been conducted in many regions of NSW. Further workshops are planned to meet growing demand. Also check the Dairy NSW calendar for Fert$mart for scheduled advisor training opportunities in your region.