FLRC Shortcourses -

Sustainable Nutrient Management in NZ Agriculture

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Two courses are offered - Intermediate and Advanced

FLRC have developed these courses in conjunction with the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand (FANZ) for the accreditation of advisors responsible for safe and effective nutrient management. The courses have also proved popular with staff from Regional and District Councils who have taken the opportunity to improve their knowledge of production issues as society demands greater environmental accountability on the agricultural sector. Both courses utilise the Overseer Nutrient Budgets software as a tool to determine the effect of farm practices on the nutrient requirements for sustainable production.

The Intermediate SNM course aims to provide participants with a working knowledge of the assessment of nutrient requirements of a range of agricultural systems, including a consideration of best practices for environmental protection. It is focussed on nutrient cycling, water movement through agricultural landscapes, sustainable farm practices and nutrient budgeting in either pastoral agriculture or orchard and arable production.

The Advanced SNM course aims to provide an advanced knowledge of nutrient cycling and loss pathways in New Zealand‘s farming systems, allowing people to develop solutions for systems that have unacceptable nutrient loss to the environment.

The Intermediate SNM course is a pre-requisite to undertaking the Advanced SNM course, however, an exemption may be granted if an applicant can demonstrate prior equivalent learning (ie. B+ achievement in specific papers at either Massey or Lincoln Universities) and/or an in-depth knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices and use of the Overseer Nutrient Budgets software. Please contact us if you think you may qualify for being exempt the Intermediate SNM course as a pre-requisite.

Both the Intermediate and Advanced SNM courses are integral to the recently introduced 'Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme'. Further details of this programme are available at www.nmacertification.org.nz.

For further information on the Intermediate SNM Course: Click Here

and for the Advanced SNM Course: Click Here

To register your interest and for an enrolment form, contact: Lance Currie (Click Here)

If you are interested in other shortcourses offered by FLRC, Click Here

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Supplementary Information - Intermediate SNM

To be up to the challenge, participants should have completed at least one tertiary level course in Soil Science or Land Resource Management or have significant practical or professional experience in production agriculture/horticulture or environmental science. You need a good understanding of farm systems; it should not be your first introduction to the concepts of nutrient cycling and you should have prior knowledge of the Overseer Nutrient Budgets software. You may need to confirm with us that your qualifications and experience are appropriate.

Two options have been developed:

- Pastoral agriculture - with a focus in the case studies predominantly on dairy systems, and
- Orchard and Arable - with case studies including tree, vine, vegetable and cropping systems.

[Note: The Orchard and Arable option is currently under revision and will not be offered in 2016]

Participants on the Intermediate SNM course must complete a short pre-course assignment, attend a three-day contact course and sit a two-hour examination on the final day.

The course fee is currently $1,400pp + gst, and is inclusive of a comprehensive study guide, morning and afternoon teas and lunches. It is up to each participant to arrange their own accommodation.

The three-day contact course is a mix of lectures, tutorials, working with case studies and discussion. Typically, course size is between 20 and 30 participants.

For a Course Outline and Provisional Programme of the Intermediate SNM course (Pastoral) Click Here

For a Course Outline and Provisional Programme of the Intermediate SNM course (Orchard & Arable) Click Here

For useful information in support of the Orchard & Arable Course Click Here

We require that each person bring a laptop computer to the contact course and be registered for the internet version of Overseer Nutrient Budgets as we will be accessing this software through wifi at the course venue. Registration for Overseer can be completed free of charge at the website http://www.overseer.org.nz/.

To assess and refresh your background knowledge on soils, fertilisers and nutrient flows in grazing systems in preparation for undertaking the Intermediate SNM Course (pastoral option) you can review a set of introductory notes and undertake a mastery test. These notes were developed with support from DairyNZ and have proved useful as an indication of the topics that will be addressed in more detail on the course.

For a set of Introductory Notes and Mastery Test: Click Here (pdf). Useful resources can also be found on the Fertiliser Association website (Click Here) and that of DairyNZ (Click Here). In particular you should read the publications about fertiliser use on farms (Click Here).

If you are looking for ways to increase your 'base' knowledge prior to attending the Intermediate SNM course, there may be courses offered through the AgriOne programme (joint Massey and Lincoln Universities initiative) that may help to fill your 'knowledge gap'. To have a look at what AgriOne has on offer: Click Here.

The study guide and some case study information for the Intermediate SNM course are sent out approximately five weeks prior to the contact course. There is an expectation that participants will spend significant time (perhaps up to 40 hours) in pre-course study including refreshing their knowledge of the study guide material, loading the case study information into Overseer and improving their understanding of the capability of the software. There will be a short assignment to complete prior to attending the three day contact course.

The Code of Practice for Nutrient Management is embedded within the Overseer software. Participants should be familiar with the objectives, purpose and scope of the Code. Very useful information can be found on the Code of Practice Fact Sheets that can be accessed on the Home Page of the Overseer Nutrient Budgets software.

To be eligible to receive a ‘Certificate of Completion in Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture’ participants must attend all sessions of the contact course and pass the two-hour examination on the final day. Fifty percent of the examination is based on the interpretation of a case study (appropriate to the course option) and fifty percent is short answer questions on either the study guide material and/or relating to information that has been reinforced in lectures. Laptop computers are not used during the examination but it is essential to have a calculator.

Courses are scheduled as demand dictates; currently 4-6 courses are held each year at Massey University, Palmerston North Campus.

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Supplementary Information - Advanced SNM

The Advanced SNM course requires a significant commitment of time over a period of about five months.

To enrol in this course, participants must have successfully completed the Intermediate SNM Course.
[Note: An exemption may be granted if an applicant can demonstrate prior equivalent learning (ie. B+ achievement in specific papers at either Massey or Lincoln Universities within the last 3 years) and/or an in-depth knowledge of sustainable agricultural practices and extensive use of the Overseer Nutrient Budgets software. Please contact us if you think you may qualify for being exempt the Intermediate SNM course as a pre-requisite.]

Participants must complete four assignments over a five month period, attend a three-day contact course and pass a two-hour examination. The assignments are case studies using the latest version of Overseer Nutrient Budgets software and include both pastoral and arable examples. These are intended to assist participants to develop nutrient management plans that meet production goals for actual farm enterprises whilst minimising the negative effects of nutrient losses on the environment.

The course fee is currently $1850pp + gst, and is inclusive of a comprehensive study guide, morning and afternoon teas and lunches at the contact course. It is up to each participant to arrange their own accommodation when coming to the contact course.

The three-day contact course is a mix of tutorials, working with case studies and discussion. Typically, course size is 20-30 participants. We require that each person bring a laptop computer to the contact course and be registered for the internet version of Overseer Nutrient Budgets as we will be accessing this software through wifi at the course venue. Each person is expected to give a presentation of a personal case study enterprise, receiving feedback from fellow participants and tutors. Taking on board aspects of this critique, the final assignment is a nutrient budget report of the case study, due to be submitted 2 weeks after the contact course.

Two sessions of the contact course are devoted to presentations and discussion of a selection of recent research initiatives and policy matters that are of relevance to sustainable nutrient management.

For a Course Outline and Provisional Programme of the Advanced SNM course Click Here

To achieve well in the short course participants will spend a significant amount of time studying the course material and preparing the assignments. We estimate a commitment of up to 150 hours of 'homework', plus 20 hours attendance at the contact course, is required to achieve a positive outcome from the course. To be eligible to receive a ‘Certificate of Completion in Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management’ participants must complete all assignments to a satisfactory standard, attend all sessions of the contact course and pass the two-hour examination on the final day. The examination is a series of short answer questions relating to nutrient management, recent research and nutrient budgeting issues exposed in the assignment case studies.

The intake for the Advanced SNM courses is currently in February each year with contact courses scheduled for mid-year. All those who have successfully completed the Intermediate SNM course in the previous 2 years are automatically sent an invitation to enrol.

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A simplified illustration of the Nitrogen Cycle

Understanding how nutrients cycle in the soil-plant-animal system is central to implementing sustainable nutrient management strategies in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

A. Plant uptake of N; B. N fixation by legumes; C. Decomposition of organic matter to Ammonium;
D. Plant residues and dung to soil organic pool; E. Enzyme conversion of Urea to Ammonium;
F. Nitrification - the conversion of Ammonium to Nitrate; G. Denitrification - the conversion
of Nitrate to Nitrous Oxide gas and then to Nitrogen gas.

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