A new set of guidelines has been introduced to improve the way farmers and others are using the nutrient management system that's become the industry standard in agriculture.
Overseer is a computer software package originally designed to help pastoral farmers assess nitrogen and phosphorus losses and greenhouse gas emissions from their farms.
Its use has now been extended to cropping and horticulture and regional councils have started to use it as a regulatory tool in their land and water plans.
That's caused inconsistencies in the way it's being applied.
Overseer's general manager Dr Caroline Read says a 'best practice' standard has been introduced to make the results more reliable.
She says input standards will ensure that the quality of information going into Overseer is the same, no matter where in the country they are or what farming type it's used for.
Dr Read says that will ensure high quality information comes out of Overseer.
She says it will be able to be used across many types of farming across the country and it will ensure consistent results.