TODAY |

Wairarapa farmers encouraged to use discount dung beetles to help protect waterways

Farmers in the Wairarapa are being offered a unique opportunity; a discount on dung beetles.

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They’re being offered a stinking good discount to get started. Source: 1 NEWS

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s encouraging people to buy the bug in bulk, as a potential way to reduce the harmful pollutants in agricultural runoff.

There’s several species on offer, all being provided by Shaun Forgie from Dung Beetle Innovations.

He told 1 NEWS that the bugs naturally help stop contaminants entering our waterways.

"You've got livestock here that's exotic, the grass they graze on, that's exotic, you haven't got the beetles,” he said.

They act quickly to bury the dung from farm animals, ensuring it’s not swept away by rain or flooding.

For around $1500, farmers can be delivered a colony of beetles, grown in Auckland and then couriered straight to the farm.

Kolka Schaller, from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, says releasing them is easy.

“So you'll get a plastic box, it'll arrive in the post with anywhere to 300 to 700 dung beetles,” he said.

“You'll go out into your paddock where you've got some cows grazing, pour a whole lot of dung, pour the beetles, cover them up, that's their new home.”

While the particular species being introduced in the Wairarapa aren’t native to New Zealand, they’ve been given clearance from the Environmental Protection Authority.

"They found no negative impacts from introducing exotic dung beetles into New Zealand, so the science is there,” said Mr Schaller.