There is a relatively small player in the fertiliser industry that was developed and is based in Te Awamutu where they are passionate about service to clients and the environment.

TerraCare head of operations is in Jack Russell Dr — and at its head is general manager Arthur Tsitsiras, an Australian of Greek heritage who has been a 'Kiwi' since 1992.

His background is engineering, the corporate world and business — mainly manufacturing and marketing.

He is passionate about TerraCare products and how they work with clients.
"I'm driven by seeing people succeed," says Arthur.

Advertisement

And he believes Terracare has the product for the job, and at the same time helps the farmer meet their environmental obligations.

"We know it is getting harder for farmers to comply," says Arthur.

"Our goal is to work with the farmer and help meet all their needs, production, profit and compliance."

TerraCare had been operating for about 25 years and is based on the philosophy of the farmer owners who started the business of making good products that are good for the farm.

The latter part of the philosophy is not just about being good for production, but good for long term sustainability and good for the environment.

Their bread and butter is phosphate products — made in Te Awamutu.

The key is the way the product delivers the nutrient to the soil without infiltrating waterways and causing phosphate run-off and nitrate leaching.

Arthur says the product has always been good, but TerraCare is up against the giants in the industry.

Advertisement

He decided to run a more streamlined operation, with hands on help and an emphasis on forming meaningful relationships with clients.

"We have many longserving and loyal staff, who have stayed with us and who know the product and the farmers," he says.

Arthur says superphosphate has been the go-to fertiliser in New Zealand for about 50 years — but questions whether it is right to continue using it in the same form.

"It breaks down quickly in water and much is lost to run-off and waterways before it has had any benefit for the soil," he says.

TerraCare's phosphate product is designed to break down slowly, release its goodness over a longer period and to lock that goodness in the soil.

And, whereas superphosphate is highly acidic when it breaks down, TerraCare's alternative is neutral.

The TerraCare team have any number of technical breakdowns and examples of the benefit of their product they can show potential clients.

But Arthur doesn't think that is enough.

"We want to work with farmers, help them through the processes and relieve the stress they are often under," he says.

That is why TerraCare will help clients with their compliance under the Horizons Plan, Healthy Rivers and other requirements from local and central government.

"We have studied the screeds of material on the farmer's behalf, and simplified it for them so they know what is expected," says Arthur.

"Farmers are busy people, they don't have time to read and digest huge technical manuals."

"We present the whole picture to the client," says Arthur.

"This includes product advice and support, including sourcing products we don't manufacture if that is what the client wants.

"But the bottom line is if it isn't good for the farm, we don't sell it."

Terracare believes in testing, analysing and gathering information to build a complete picture so good decisions can be made.

"Information is the most cost effective tool a farmer can have," says Arthur.

"That is why soil tests are part of the service TerraCare offers clients."

The goal is for farmers to grow grass for longer, have less feed deficits, require less inputs and therefore be more profitable.

He says the products are available overseas and unusually New Zealand seems to be behind the game.

TerraCare also advocate on behalf of the farming community and are doing their best to educate farmers and the Government on the best way to use soil and lock in the carbon.

"TerraCare might use a small voice, but we have a big message," says Arthur.