New Zealand is recognised as the world’s leading pastoral agricultural producer. Pasture-based exports account for almost half of our total exports and given the state of the rest of the world, we are quickly becoming globally recognised as gold standard food producers.
Unfortunately, all that productivity puts us in the shit…. tonnes of it. It’s a problem.
North Canterbury President Cameron Henderson says dung sits on the surface of paddocks for months at a time. It creates no-graze areas for livestock, encourages pests and parasites requiring expensive and toxic chemical treatments and – most critical – pollutes our water systems through run-off and leaching.
“We spend a great deal of effort maximising the nutrient value of the effluent we collect at the dairy shed but we give little consideration to the majority of effluent dropped naturally in the paddock.”
Cameron has put his words to work and has just released some new livestock – an army of thousands from Dung Beetle Innovations.
“These awesome little critters will better utilize the nutrients in our effluent. They are literally a natural in-paddock effluent management system,” Cameron says.
And they don’t muck around either.
“They quickly break down the dung and deliver the nutrients into soil. This not only helps feed pasture from below the surface but allows more pasture to grow on the surface that was previously covered by dung. At the same time, they aerate the soil, reduce parasite levels and reduce greenhouse gases – all biologically and without further cost.
“Personally, I find the videos of these beetles in action fascinating and I look forward to seeing the effects in person over the coming years.”