Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser cap

The amount of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser applied to land in pastoral land use has been capped at 190kgN/ha/year. This rule only applies to dairy farms. 

New synthetic nitrogen rules are in effect

Consent is required if nitrogen use exceeds an average of 190 kg N/ha/yr.

From 1 July 2021 dairy farmers will need to record the amount of synthetic fertiliser applied and the area it was applied to. 

In July 2022 Government regulations require that this data is reported to the Taranaki Regional Council.

The fertiliser industry is working to help farmers track their fertiliser application – and meet the regulatory requirements.


Key information

From 1 July 2021, synthetic nitrogen fertiliser application may not exceed 190 kg N/ha/yr.

While a 190 kg N/ha/yr maximum applies to pasture, a higher level of nitrogen may be applied to non-pasture as long as the average for the property does not exceed 190/kg/ha. 

From July 2022 dairy farms must provide detailed information relating to their use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser to the Taranaki Regional Council for the previous year, so farmers should be collecting this info now.

The fertiliser industry is working to put in place a simple method of data collection and reporting, and more information will follow.

The Council’s existing rules regarding fertiliser use remain in force.

The nitrogen maximum rules do not apply to arable or horticulture land use.


TRC Factsheet

Application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser [PDF, 539 KB]


Additional resources

Dairy NZ - Strategies to reduce nitrogen fertiliser(external link)

Ballance - Nitrogen fertiliser limits for different farms - how-to videos(external link)