Cadmium in soils to be actively managed

Cadmium in soils to be actively managed

Unwanted chemical residues in food are a constant challenge to processors, and ensuring what we produce is clean and green is a responsibility of all farmers.

The risk and economic costs associated with a "food scare" for NZ, are potentially major, and everyone in the food chain must take good care not to contaminate the soil or plants.

Cadium, this naturally occurring element, has the potential to build up in heavily phosphate fertilised soils, and the management strategy to minimise it getting into the food chain should be read and understood by all who spread fertiliser.

Our reliance on phosphate fertiliser to stimulate clover growth is the basis of our pastoral systems, so do we need to ask our scientists, is there other ways to maintain our low cost farming system?

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) yesterday announced a proactive strategy to manage the gradual cadmium build-up in NZ's agricultural soils. MAF’s Director of Natural Resources Policy, Mike Jebson says cadmium is a naturally occurring element, present in phosphate rock from which phosphate fertiliser is made. It tends to accumulate slowly in soils where there is regular use of this fertiliser.

“Excessive levels of cadmium in soils can restrict land use flexibility and increases the risks from cadmium entering the food chain, which can have implications for human health. The Cadmium Management Strategy is a best practice approach to ensure that cadmium in rural soils remains a minimal risk to health, trade, land use flexibility and the environment over the next 100 years, while supporting the ongoing economic contribution of the primary sector.

“MAF’s food safety experts have estimated that the amount of cadmium in the diet of the average New Zealander is at a level far below that which would cause adverse health effects. “The strategy recommends that farmers and growers work closely with their fertiliser representatives to determine the most cost effective, efficient and appropriate fertiliser application and land management options,” he says.

The CWG identified the need for a measured and strategic approach to prevent cadmium accumulation in soil becoming a future hazard and have produced three reports to date, including the management strategy which outlines a combination of governance, research, monitoring and management activity for food, soils and fertiliser.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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We had fertiliser sprayed over our back fence from application to the paddock over there a couple of years back. Flipping annoying! The lawn went nuts up there for quite a while. An extra catcher of grass on every mowing easily. The bu99ers.

The farmer, who leases the Whale Watch property next door is spraying with airplanes – right onto our property. Our little Mazda Demio is now the size of this one: http://www.hummer4hire.co.nz/

I ask my 1.67m wife if she would take a tee- spoon or two of it – but refused.

 Yes - the world is changing - crazy fast.

Haha good one, I missed this as I was away when you posted it. 

Got to love this phosphate......

Should see my veggie garden this year....beans just keep cropping, same with the capsicums...and they are huge...then there are the tomatos..meant to be dwarf, yeah right anf just keep on cropping.

The phospate Source...the old nesting material out of NZ native kakariki nesting boxes

Not good on the radishes thu...went straight to seed lol