A farmer in the province of Drenthe has developed an interesting alternative for the use of controversial crop protection products, like Roundup, in agriculture.
He rents pigs that dig the soil in an environmentally friendly way. In ten weeks, they plow the soil and remove the remains of potato plants, as reports RTV Drenthe. That way, the owner of the land does not have to use the controversial Roundup- a herbicide originally produced by the Monsanto corporation that has been linked to hugely increased risks of developing cancer.
Potatoes were harvested from the field in October, but remains of the potato plant linger in the soil: called potato storage. This is disadvantageous for next year’s harvest.
“The pigs are a solution for us,” says farmer Hennie Peeks. She rents the pigs from pig farmer Willem Hempen from Akkervarkens from Valthermond.
The snorting weed removal team can clean the entire plot in ten weeks. “They have a strong nose. With that, the pig smells the potato and then he eats it,” says Hempen.
The alternative would be to remove the potato remains by hand. Or to spray with glyphosate, better known under the Roundup brand name.
Farmer Hennie Peeks is very satisfied with the new help. “The results are good. They know exactly where the tastiest potatoes are,” she says, laughing.
It seems like a purely positive story. The pigs clean the field and fertilize it at the same time. No toxic agents or polluting machines are needed that burn fossil fuels.
But the pigs do contribute to nitrogen emissions. “We have to deal with that too,” says Hempen. “If everyone has to hand in half we have to, too. That is very unfortunate.”