Turning trash into treasure
Parengarenga Incorporation is not just focused on producing quality sheep and beef.
General manager Jon Brough, assisted by farm manager Kathryne Easton and others, has wide-reaching visions of what the future holds to make the best use of the land.
One initiative they are investigating is the use of a carboniser machine to turn forestry waste into charcoal, BioChar.
They have researched what is happening in Australia with the technology where the product produced can be used to offset carbon emissions.
All going well, Parengarenga would like to see the same results on this side of the Tasman.
The machine is fed with slash and waste from a forestry skid site, which is then turned into something far more useful.
“Basically, it’s a cooking process where we load it to a certain temperature and then hold it at that temperature till it pyrolyses and produces a carbon product. From there we’re going to look at options around utilising the carbon either by applying it to the pasture or using it as an animal feed in terms of an animal lick,” Easton said.
She suggests they will look at adding molasses or something similar to encourage stock to eat it and by offering the stock access to the mix they could reduce the need for drenching.
The carboniser they are trying is a small machine but if successful they will look at bigger machines that could also provide usable energy to power houses.
For environmentally focused Easton the project fits well within her mantra and the incorporation’s values of doing the right thing by the soil.
“You’ve grown a tree, you’ve got a waste product. We turn that waste product into a valuable product, add it back to our pasture and the cycle continues. The land becomes more effective on the next forestry rotation as well so you live with a minimal amount of trash.
“So, it’s a really nice cyclic evaluation of a product that would otherwise just been waste.
“We see this project as an exploration into our future as we analyse our own capability to head towards a carbon-neutral, methane-reduced future. This is a unique part of the country with a Maori incorporation on a journey with their whenua with aspirations to make a difference in the national and international agricultural market arena.”