Let the dung beetles muck in

Published: Fri 10 Dec 2010 03:54 PM
10 December 2010
Let the dung beetles muck in
Federated Farmers is supporting the Dung Beetle Release Strategy Group’s application to ERMA, to release 11 species of dung beetle in New Zealand.
“Farmers have always been receptive to new ideas and techniques for farming,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers’ biosecurity spokesperson.
“The introduction of dung beetles would potentially enhance our production efficiency and sustainability by improving soil health and reducing the runoff into waterways.
“The beetles also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dung and urine, and increase the feed area by clearing dung quicker.
“Let’s face it, cows, deer, sheep and goats were alien to this country 150 years ago. The beetles that naturally dealt with their effluent never came with them, and now we’ve got a chance to rectify this imbalance.
“This is about doing the right thing environmentally. Ironically, there has been some luddite opposition by groups in response to this proposal.
“Federated Farmers follows the science. The risk of unintended effects on biodiversity by this controlled and tracked release has been assessed rigorously, and I’m hoping ERMA will come to the same conclusion.
“There is no comparison when weighed up against the dangers of unintentional introductions such as with Psa and other unwanted organisms.
“Agricultural exports are 66 percent of New Zealand’s total exports Our dependence on primary production may be unique by OECD standards, but it is this that makes us leaders in our field. We must continually look for leading edge solutions that we can integrate in to our farming programmes that will ultimately make us better custodians of our land.
“The benefits are so clear cut it’s impossible to poo-poo what is a logical progression in farming nationwide,” he says.

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