Fertiliser application at Battle Hill and Belmont Regional Parks
The grazed areas at Battle Hill Farm Forest Park and the western side of Belmont Regional Park will undergo fertiliser application from Wednesday, April 2 as part of the essential services which are permitted to continue during the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown.
Greater Wellington Regional Council Western Parks Principal Ranger Wayne Boness says the application of these areas has been delayed over the past few months due to the dry period, however, the next few weeks are optimal for application.
“This timing will allow for enough growth in pastures to carry stock through the winter period. During this period of lockdown there will be very few people around, which provides a window of opportunity for safe fertiliser distribution,” Wayne says.
At Belmont Regional Park a plane carrying fertiliser will take off from the park’s airstrip and fly west to the farmed area behind Waitangirua and Cannons Creek where it will apply fertiliser to the grazed areas. The pilot will be briefed about local use of walking tracks to avoid people.
At Battle Hill, the fertiliser application will be undertaken by helicopter and tractor ground spreading. All distancing restrictions required for the Level 4 lockdown will be followed with only essential people being on site.
Greater Wellington Councillor Prue Lamason says there is a balance to be struck here in order to keep the grass growing through autumn and early winter to feed the animals without depleting the soil, and minimise nutrient loss to waterways.
“The fertiliser applied is based on recent soil testing which tells us which nutrients are required, nitrogen is not being used as the soils do not require it.
“The application rates are carefully calculated from soil tests to only apply what is needed to grow sufficient pasture for the stock on the parks – which includes sheep, cattle, deer and horses. The timing means it will soak into the soil and do the job it’s meant for,” Cr Lamason says.
Distribution of fertiliser will happen from April 1 and application, weather permitting, will take place over the coming weeks.