Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Dung beetles to be rolled out region-wide

07 November 2018

The first region-wide release of non-native dung beetles in New Zealand is just beginning as Greater Wellington Regional Council and Dung Beetle Innovations team up to help communities looking for cleaner fresh water and farmers seeking higher productivity.

Four species of dung beetle are being offered to famers throughout the region in packages designed to encourage on-farm trials that will lead to cleaner pasture and the environmental and economic benefits that entails.

The release of the packages (based on the size of farms) will take place on Sunday 11 November at a sold out function at Featherston’s Kaiwaiwai Dairies, which is part of the national Fonterra Open Gates 2018 programme.

Dung beetles are a natural answer to rebalancing the environmental impact of livestock. They tunnel through soil and bury livestock dung, which aerates soil, improves the nutrient cycle and helps manage water absorption and dispersion.

The result is improved water quality, more available grazing pasture, decreased maintenance time, improved soil health, and parasite and pest reduction. Dung beetle use is approved by the Government and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Greater Wellington wants to drive better freshwater quality in Wairarapa, a matter on which the Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee focused. Managing nutrient build up and run off is a key priority and the dung beetle option is one we are happy to support,” says Greater Wellington Environment Committee chair Sue Kedgley.

“It’s encouraging to see the strong interest of local farmers in the scheme, particularly in south Wairarapa where we are focusing on improving water quality in and around Lake Wairarapa.”

Waste management is a key issue on farms. The introduction of livestock 170 years ago has damaged water quality and soil health, and the damage is an ongoing challenge as nutrients continue to build up. Every year around 100 million tonnes of waste is produced by cattle, sheep and horses.

Research shows that introducing dung beetles can make a practical, sustainable, and cost-effective contribution to reducing farm waste problems. The first ever non-native dung beetle release in the north island was undertaken in Wairarapa.

Cleaner pasture means more pasture for feeding.

The species being introduced to New Zealand are tunnellers, which burrow to about 20cm, both integrating manure down to that depth and bringing sub-soil closer to the surface, in the process improving the soil profile. This creates aeration and drainage channels, which are good for pasture growth, and also channels through which roots can grow.

Benefits take a while to be realised and l depend on the profile of each farm. Under ideal conditions farmers can expect that within 1-3 years the species will become established, within 4-6 years there will be noticeable environmental and economic benefits, with established beetles beginning to freely breed, and between 9-11 years the colony will be at full capacity and functioning optimally.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction. However, our current worldview and political paradigm renders us incapable of responding adequately due to its disconnected and divisive default settings.

These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

The Dig: Scoop’s Engaged Journalism Platform Launches
The Scoop Ecosystem has grown bigger with the launch of The Dig - a new public interest, in-depth, Engaged Journalism platform. More>>


Unscoped Or Missed Damage: Resolution For Canterbury Owners Of On-Sold Homes

People with over-cap on-sold* properties in Canterbury can now apply for a Government payment so they can get on and repair their homes. More>>


Hamilton-Auckland: First Urban Growth Partnership Signed

New Zealand’s first urban growth partnership between the Government, local councils and mana whenua was signed at a meeting of mayors, chairs and ministers in Hampton Downs today. More>>


Vote On Action Next Week: Secondary Principals Walk From Negotiations

“Unfortunately we consider there is no further value in continuing negotiations at this point. The government has not been able to table an offer that will be acceptable to our members.” More>>

Patrol Car Stolen, Glocks Taken: Manhunt In Gore

The driver rammed the patrol car before fleeing on foot with Police chasing, also on foot. The man has then circled back around, stolen the patrol vehicle, which had the keys left in it, and rammed another Police car... Two Police-issued Glock pistols were stolen. More>>


"Shocking And Dangerous": Accused Mosque Shooter's Prison Letter Posted Online

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has sent seven letters from prison and had two others withheld, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. Corrections has now blocked the accused gunman from sending or receiving mail... More>>


Standing On List Only: Paula Bennett To Run National’s Election Campaign

The National Party is pleased to announce the appointment of Paula Bennett as our Campaign Chair for the 2020 General Election, President Peter Goodfellow says. More>>

Waiver For State Care Inquiry: Historic Abuse Survivors 'Can Speak Freely'

Abuse in state care survivors can take part in the forthcoming Royal Commission proceedings without being bound by any confidentiality obligations to Crown agencies under their historic claim settlements, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said. More>>


Trail Trial: Sexual Violence Court Reduces Lead-Up Times And Trauma

An evaluation of New Zealand’s first sexual violence court has confirmed that the approach taken in the judge-led pilot considerably reduces the time that cases take to reach trial. More>>




InfoPages News Channels