Another discounted offer of dung beetle packages is now available for Wairarapa farmers as Greater Wellington Regional
Council steps up its strategy of using insects to manage dairy effluent and nutrient run-off into rural streams, rivers
The second region-wide release, in partnership with Dung Beetle Innovations Ltd, started on 7 November and discounted
beetle packages will be available until 9 December.
The purpose of the partnership is to help communities looking for cleaner fresh water and farmers seeking higher
Each year here in New Zealand more than 100 million tonnes of cattle, sheep and horse dung is produced covering
productive pastures. Farm run off entering waterways is an issue we are facing across agricultural landscapes in New
Zealand which are impacting our waterways.
Four species of non-native dung beetle are being offered to famers throughout the region in packages designed to
encourage on-farm take up. Packages are discounted by 50 per cent within priority catchments in the Wellington Region
and by 20 per cent elsewhere.
Early adopters since 2016, and former winner of Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the LIC Dairy Farm
Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Habitat Improvement Award, Carterton dairy farmers Ray and Lyn Craig are
enthusiastic about the potential benefits of dung beetles on their farm.
“I was looking for non-invasive ways to control pests and improve soil condition in our pasture, and dung beetles are
cost-effective – they just work away, they’re very cheap workers. Their tunnelling promotes soil aeration, root growth,
improved drainage and better water quality,” says Ray Craig.
“I’m a very results-based famer. Ultimately, what I’m looking for from dung beetles is better soil, extra grass and
higher productivity, without too much cost in time and money.
“Investment in dung beetles isn’t a punt, the benefits are well documented. They are not a leap into the unknown. Dung
beetles have been on my farm for a couple of years. I can see them starting to spread, they should be pretty active by
According to Greater Wellington deputy chair and Wairarapa representative Adrienne Staples “Greater Wellington wants to
drive better freshwater quality in Wairarapa. Nutrient build up and run off is a key priority and the dung beetle option
is one we are happy to support.
“We were encouraged by our first offer to farmers, which resulted in 7350 hectares of land in our region under coverage
from dung beetles following farmer investment. We’re now making the offer again and we expect lots of interest.
“We know there’s a lot of pressure on farmers to take action on improving the health of waterways. We’re offering one
solution through this discounted programme,” says Cr Staples.
Dung Beetle workshops for farmers will take place at Kahutara on Wednesday 27 November and at Mangatarere on Thursday 28
November. The first of this season’s beetles will be sent to farms from mid-December 2019. Farmers interested in
investing in dung beetles should go to www.gw.govt.nz/dung-beetles