30 Mar 2011

Superphosphate to have local content

9:18 pm on 30 March 2011

Farmers will have access from this week to the first local phosphate fertiliser to be mined in 70 years.

The Ravensdown fertiliser co-operative has spent 18 months investigating the feasibility of using phosphate rock from Clarendon, near Milton in South Otago. The deposit was last mined in the 1940s, during World War II.

Ravensdown, which started exploring the deposit after local farmer Tony McDonnell raised the idea two years ago, has now released a new superphosphate blend that includes 15% of the local rock.

It had initially hoped to completely replace increasingly expensive imported phosphate with local product but chief executive Rodney Green says that wasn't possible.

Still, he says, being able to use some local phosphate will bring economic benefits to the company and to farmers.

The new blend is being supplied in Otago and Southland from this week.

Mr Green says Ravensdown is continuing to explore the Clarendon deposit and will look at increasing the mix of local phosphate if that can be sustained.