Creating the best soil on earth

Creating the best soil on earth

With its origins dating back to the late 1800s when sulphur was mined at NZ’s active off-shore volcano White Island, farmer-owned Ballance Agri-Nutrients has a bold co-operative history based on foresight, partnership and perseverance.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a national, farmer-owned co-operative that helps its customers to farm more productively, profitably and sustainably.

The company was officially created with the merger of four entities in 2001, the name was a tribute to John Ballance, the Northern Ireland-born NZ premier (1891-93) whose groundbreaking legislation opened the way for New Zealand’s rapid, agricultural-based economic expansion. Read more about the co-op’s history online.

From its core business of fertiliser manufacturing, supply, sales and advice, the company has grown to offer farmers a full range of science-backed nutrient products and services. This enables it to help farmers achieve soil and animal nutrition and productivity with a minimal environmental footprint.

Agri-nutrient advice is complemented by award-winning web-based farm systems software, which enables farmers to capture and analyse a wealth of information, and so make the best management decisions for their business.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients covers the country with one-on-one specialist advice on farm backed up by a network of rural merchant supply partners, service centres, consignment stores, manufacturing sites and its own agricultural aviation services.
As well as supporting New Zealand farmers, Ballance also supplies products to a range of industrial businesses.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ commitment to its growing shareholder base in tough farming conditions was shown last year (2015), says Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wynne.

“First we opted to reduce the profit margins on products to support farm productivity. We could see the downward trend in farm incomes and made a call to effectively share profit earlier by pricing very competitively.

“Second, we distributed 94 percent of our $81 million gross trading result through our annual rebate and dividend and brought the payment forward by seven weeks to help tight farm budgets. At the end of July, we distributed a total of $76 million to shareholders, representing an average return of $60 per tonne of fertiliser purchased.”

The company has produced a video “This is where you start” on its website, a channel through which it seeks to inspire farmers with the invitation “join us as we help shape the future of New Zealand farming”. Featuring a child’s voiceover, it effectively sends this message: “Each farmer is a caretaker of a piece of land that will be passed on in great condition as a home and livelihood for future generations”.

And that’s where Ballance Agri-Nutrients plays its part – creating the best soil on earth.

Cooperative Business NZ Chief Executive Craig Presland met with John Paxie (Company Secretary) and Richard Hopkins (CFO) at Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Head Office in Mt Maunganui in June 2016.

Craig confirms the strong support which this key Member provides to Cooperative Business NZ, including the provision of funding for the Auckland and Massey Universities’ research project “The Cooperative Economy of NZ” which will take place from early August 2016.

Craig reports:

“We appreciate the strong support and guidance that Ballance Agri-Nutrients provides to Cooperative Business NZ and look forward to continuing our close relationship with this large and successful co-operative. This organization plays a key role within the NZ agricultural sector and actively conducts its business utilizing strong co-operative principles. In addition, Ballance Agri-Nutrients is in control of the complete value chain from sourcing raw materials overseas, local manufacture and marketing, storage, distribution and sale.”