Global agrichemical player Nufarm has signed a new 5-year partnership plan with Rural Contractors NZ, announced at their annual conference in Invercargill today. Both say it recognises their history in working together as well as the need to address increasing demands for sustainability and assurance from agricultural and horticultural spraying sector applications.

Rural Contractors NZ CEO Andrew Olsen says the reforged partnership will allow those of his members who use sprays and agrichemicals to do so with confidence through the link to best in market product, technical information and innovation. “This is the natural evolution of a relationship that began more than a decade ago. The partnership will add value for the established agrichemical professional and members who do a bit of spray work.” He says rural contractors and Nufarm will work and train together to address tough sector issues such as compliance with district plan requirements and the need for sustainability in products and application processes. “We will have a lot more listening, learning and leading based on member feedback and product knowledge and advice.”.

Gavin Kerr, Nufarm’s NZ country manager says several new trends are impacting the agrichem industry and it’s important to work with RCNZ to address them. “Contractors are critical to providing effective crop protection solutions through spray application. Never before has the industry been under more scrutiny in terms of what it is spraying and how it’s being applied. We need contractors spraying with confidence and we believe this partnership ensures this confidence continues to grow.”

He says farmers are increasingly moving away from the storage and application of their own crop protection solutions to more reliance on spray contractors. “With escalating handling legislation and health and safety requirements, there’s more and more opportunity for the rural contractor to take the lead as the professional in the application of agrichemicals. We are also seeing a real shift from thinking of crop protection as a cost to a critical investment in farm productivity.”

Gavin Kerr says using the appropriate agrichemicals at the right time can mean increased production or reduced losses of 20% and even 40%. “The flip side is you can lose it all.” Another trend supporting the need for a premium partnership between Nufarm and RCNZ and its members are the increasing environmental and workplace demands. These include requirements to support bio-diversity, to manage nutrient run-off and health & safety risks and plan for resistance to agrichemicals by pests and weeds. All these issues require substantial communications and training. “RCNZ offers Nufarm a valuable conduit to talk directly with our very important contractor segment.”

Nufarm will work closely with Croplands in offering training programmes and technical expertise in the field of agricultural chemicals and machinery to members.They would also work with RCNZ on building their membership base and will use both roadshows and the conference to add value through interactive workshops. Nufarm will also assist with ensuring current RCNZ members remain accredited for agrichemical application.

With the new contract in place, Gavin Kerr and several of the Nufarm technical and sales team along with Croplands representatives are present at the RCNZ conference in Invercargill June 20-22.