As the industry struggles with the increasing pressure and ramifications agricultural practices have on climate change, one Manjimup farmer is turning to the winter-active exotic dung beetle, Bubas bison, to help implement a carbon positive approach.
Pioneering the use of biochar as a means of sequestering carbon, Doug Pow of Marron Brook Farm sidestepped intensive machinery to fertilise inaccessible Alps slopes by developing a strategy using the dung beetle to bury the biochar-infused manure deep within the soil profile.
And this landed Pow the Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award at the 2019 Western Australian Landcare Awards last week.
‘I feel being awarded for Innovation in Agriculture is a quite an honour,’ Doug said.
‘I am sure it will help spread the systems I have developed even more widely. My goal is to have extreme long term carbon sequestration profitably integrated into all agricultural practice.’
This innovative carbon sequestration practice, resulting in healthy cattle, improved soil nutrient levels and pasture growth, has lead to a short-term State NRM funded trial at Bannister Downs Dairy. And the trial confirmed biochar could be fed to cows in stalls with additional benefits including a marked reduction in odour in the dairy.
The practice is being further trialled by the Fleurieu Milk Company (SA) where increased milk yields of 2 litres/day are reported.
Doug will go on to represent WA while competing for the Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award at the National Landcare Awards in 2020.
Dr Shane Norrish, CEO at Landcare Australia, commended Mr Pow on his outstanding accomplishments.
‘It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by someone like Doug Pow’ said Dr Norrish.
‘A hugely deserved winner, he has not only significantly contributed to the protection of native biodiversity through on-ground, grassroots activities. But through his tireless work, he is nurturing the voices of international environmental leadership on climate change and we’re incredibly proud to help shine a light on his inspiring, important efforts.’