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Green Kit A Money Saver

Green Kit A Money Saver

An innovative new "green" method of identifying the prevalence of internal parasites is set to save the country's cattle farmers about $3 million a year.

Dunedin-based agricultural technology firm Fecpak International Ltd - with support from Technology New Zealand - has developed a testing system that enables farmers to measure the prevalence of internal parasites on their properties.

It means farmers can drench their animals when required rather than by a fixed calendar date.

"The Fecpak System incorporates into existing farming systems, the principles and methods of sustainable and cost-effective parasite control and treatment," Fecpak managing director Greg Mirams says.

"Depending on the programme, it can cut drenching costs considerably.

" He says farmers could save $7 a head by drenching less often, saving the industry about $3 million a year.

On several of Fecpak's project farms, big drench reductions of 40 percent were achieved without compromising production.

On some, accurate timing of drench treatments produced a boost in production.

Regular testing showed that parasite problems could also occur outside expected risk periods.

The test is a simple procedure.

Farmers gather up dung from the paddock, then prepare the sample and examine it under the Fecpak microscope for worm eggs.

The egg count in the sample relates to the worm burden in the animal.

A reduction in drench use could also be a boost for New Zealand's farm exports.

"European countries, particularly, are getting strict about green issues," he says.

The system stems from one developed for sheep farmers six years ago.

Mr Mirams says its expansion into cattle has initially resulted in three new jobs for Fecpak.

The company is demonstrating the system at a series of seminars throughout the country.

Technology New Zealand is the Government agency that invests in research into new products, processes or services.

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