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After all, soil is a huge part of our life, as it cycles nutrients and provides us with environmental services, food, fibre and more. And the more we understand - how to sustainably look after it to benefit not only our businesses, but our environment - the better outcome for all.
Which is why we want to share everything we know with you.
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MyNoke was founded by Dr Michael Quintern in 2007. Learn how the MyNoke business was born, the ethos behind our people and processes, and what the future looks like for this New Zealand business leading the way in environmental sustainability.

MyNoke was founded by Dr Michael Quintern in 2007. Learn how the MyNoke business was born, the ethos behind our people and processes, and what the future looks like for this New Zealand business leading the way in environmental sustainability.

How do you process hundreds of truck loads of "muck" and industrial waste and not affect the environment.?

The solution lay in the earth itself. Earthworms eat their body weight a day, they can double their population within two months, and compress waste into 80% of what it was. If they were pretty they’d be everyone’s favourite creature. Michael owns and operates NZ's largest farm of 1,700,000,000 earthworms to turn industrial sludge into organic, fertiliser. He is a soil scientist who found himself employed to solve the problem of industrial waste and the baren lands left behind by forest harvesting. This is the story of turning muck into gold.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

MyNoke Worm Food Bin Process - Find out all there is to know about what can go in our worm food bins to feed the worms, where does it go, what happens to the waste, and what does it get turned into.

 

MyNoke Worm Food Bin Process - Find out all there is to know about what can go in our worm food bins to feed the worms, where does it go, what happens to the waste, and what does it get turned into.

 

How do you process hundreds of truck loads of "muck" and industrial waste and not affect the environment.?

The solution lay in the earth itself. Earthworms eat their body weight a day, they can double their population within two months, and compress waste into 80% of what it was. If they were pretty they’d be everyone’s favourite creature. Michael owns and operates NZ's largest farm of 1,700,000,000 earthworms to turn industrial sludge into organic, fertiliser. He is a soil scientist who found himself employed to solve the problem of industrial waste and the baren lands left behind by forest harvesting. This is the story of turning muck into gold.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

TEDx - The 600 million year old technology beneath our feet | Michael Quintern | TEDxTauranga

TEDx - The 600 million year old technology beneath our feet | Michael Quintern | TEDxTauranga

How do you process hundreds of truck loads of "muck" and industrial waste and not affect the environment.?

The solution lay in the earth itself. Earthworms eat their body weight a day, they can double their population within two months, and compress waste into 80% of what it was. If they were pretty they’d be everyone’s favourite creature. Michael owns and operates NZ's largest farm of 1,700,000,000 earthworms to turn industrial sludge into organic, fertiliser. He is a soil scientist who found himself employed to solve the problem of industrial waste and the baren lands left behind by forest harvesting. This is the story of turning muck into gold.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

Part 1: MyNOKE Vermicomposting - Earthworms

Part 1: MyNOKE Vermicomposting - Earthworms

MyNOKE Vermicomposting 1 - Our Earthworms eat Paper Mill Fibres

MyNOKE sources organic pulp and paper waste fibres as feedstock for their intensive worm farms. Originally a waste material accumulating in landfills, these fibres are given new life as the foundation for producing high quality vermicast.

Finding the right material to use as a feedstock for an organic worm farm can be a challenging task. Materials that provided a good environment for earthworms need a sufficient amount of organic matter, a high water holding capacity and plenty of area for bacteria and fungi to grow. This feedstock should be ideally sourced locally and of course, organic-certified for vermicomposting.

Originally a waste material produced during the production of high quality paper, pulp fibres provide an excellent feedstock for MyNOKE worm farms. Collected at the Carter Holt Harvey Kinleith Pulp and Paper Mill, these fibres are a local source of raw material and has organic certification. These fibres which would normally be disposed of in landfills, are collected from sedimentation ponds and are now transported to the MyNOKE facilities. These fibres contain no traces of ink or glue, retain a high volume of water and provide plenty of surface area for the interactions between the fibres and microorganisms which speeds up the process of decomposition. Once earthworms are introduced these fibres are quickly converted to high quality soil conditioner. Over 46000t/year of pulp fibres are now converted to MyNOKE vermicast.

On its own, paper waste fibre can not be applied to soils, as it requires a high volume of fertilisers to decompose in the soil. Even then, it takes many years for the fibres to become soil humus. MyNOKE worm farms dramatically speeds up this process by combining natural decomposition with the intensive action of earthworms to achieve a quick turnover of raw material which can be applied to soils directly.

Part 2: Vermicomposting Waste Fiber

Part 2: Vermicomposting Waste Fiber

While MyNOKE’s worm farms may look static on the surface, but it is below ground where everything takes place. Thanks to the hard work of billions of tiger worms, waste paper fibres are quickly turned into organic vermicast.

MyNOKE’s most valuable employees are only a few centimetres long, spend most of their life underground, and number in the billions. These tiger worms are MyNOKE’s most hard working and dedicated staff, working tirelessly to convert organic waste matter into premium organic vermicast. They are taken good care of, with as much water, oxygen and food that they need.

Earthworms speed up the natural process of decomposition, leaving behind valuable vermicast as they turnover raw material. In just twelve months, pulp fibre are converted to high quality vermicast. Once the worms have finished with the fibres, the vermicast is screened depending on its purpose and usage. For famers and horticulturalists particle sizes are 20mm, easily applied to soils with a fertiliser spreader. Finer particles up to 6mm are screened for hydroseeding and for use on golf course, turfs and lawns. This vermicompost can be ordered in bulk, for any commercial application.

Part 3: Integrating Vermicomposting in Farm Management

Part 3: Integrating Vermicomposting in Farm Management

MyNOKE services farmers, communities and industrial organic waste producers by integrating their worm farms directly with paddocks and fields. By creating a cycle where organic matter is diverted from landfills and applied directly as an organic fertiliser and soil conditioner, an environmentally safe and low cost system is created, benefitting both the suppliers of organic waste and the farmers who utilise this technology.

Part of the philosophy developed between MyNOKE, farmers and communities is the circulation of organic matter, turning organic waste matter into usable organic fertiliser. There is high demand for organic fertiliser and soil conditioner, while at the same time industries producing organic waste face issues of removing and sustainably utilising this waste material. Often, organic waste is sent directly to landfill where it serves no practical purpose. MyNOKE works closely with local industries to ensure that the potential of organic waste matter is fully utilised. Instead of being treated as a ‘waste’, this matter serves as the basis for their organic worm farms. By integrating this organic matter with farmers and horticulturalists, giving them the knowledge and tools to fully utilise this organic waste MyNOKE gives the opportunity for farmers to take control of their sustainable soil management, letting them control the product quality at minimal costs with the choice to apply this environmentally safe technology wherever was they see fit.

MyNOKE integrates worm farms directly with crop rotations on fields and pastures, applying organic certified waste directly on top of the soils. Once the worm farm has matured, the top layers are removed and processed. Directly after removal catch and cash crops (eg Lucerne/Maize) can be planted on the well-conditioned soil left behind, providing direct benefit to farmers. The entire process is easy to manage and environmentally safe whilst giving farmers onsite availability to vermicast with zero transport costs associated. Once one paddock has been fully utilised, the whole process begins on another.

MyNOKE vermicomposting removes the need for applying expensive plants and processed organic material to soils. MyNOKE has proven that the same process can be done by integrating the worm farms with the farming system, taking into account the underlying soils as well. By applying organic waste directly to soils this allows the migration of microorganisms in the soil to the product, inoculating the organic matter – a process that is only possible if the applied matter is safe and beneficial to the existing soil and groundwater systems. This includes earthworms already present in the soils as they move into the organic matter. By blending soils and organic waste in a safe and balanced way, there are no risks associated with environmental impact or the excessive leeching of nutrients like nitrogen into surrounding soils.

Part 4: Integrating Vermicomposting in Alfalfa/Lucerne

Part 4: Integrating Vermicomposting in Alfalfa/Lucerne

MyNOKE integration of worm farms and farm management has seen the rapid conversion of recently-converted pine forest to an enriched, balanced soil suitable for crop production.

As an example of the integration of vermicomposting and dairy farm management, MyNOKE has operated on a recently converted farm from pine forest to help produce more productive, sustainable soils. MyNOKE organic vermicompost acts to enrich soil humus content, biological activity, buffer pH, improve soil structure and increase nutrient exchange capacity. Over the last four years, they have applied several thousand tonnes of organic matter directly to these poor quality soils over a seven hectare block. Afterwards Alfalfa, or Lucerne has been planted. Lucerne require a neutral pH, which has been balanced by the vermicompost. Despite recent droughts, these Lucerne crops are exhibiting fantastic growth, an excellent result for both the farmer and MyNOKE.

Vermicast Application: Pasture

Vermicast Application: Pasture

MyNOKE organic vermicompost increases pasture soil fertility by promoting a healthy, well developed soil profile. Thanks to the moisture holding and nutrient exchange capacity of the vermicast, we see the development of a greater plant root system which diminishes nutrient leakage and runoff. Vermicompost also promotes microbial diversity which reduces the incidence of pasture problems such as grass grub and facial eczema.

Vermicast Application: Kiwifruit

Vermicast Application: Kiwifruit

Speaking with Leighton Oats, Manager of BayGold Kiwifruit Orchards, MyNOKE explores the benefit of using their organic vermicompost in kiwifruit application. By improving the biology of the soil, these orchards benefit from increased nutrient uptake, more earthworms, and a lighter, better soil structure.

Vermicast Application: Maize

Vermicast Application: Maize

Vermicast has huge potential benefits to crop and pasture, increasing productivity while also reducing the load of mineral fertilisers. MyNOKE organic vermicompost is different from other composts, stimulating root growth and crop production while increasing Farmer’s top yearly yields.

Vermicast Maize Yield: Interview with Phil Brogden

Vermicast Maize Yield: Interview with Phil Brogden

Phil Brogden used 20 tonnes of vermicast to his maize silage before planting maize. He reduced mineral fertilisers. During the drought in 2012/2013 the conventional maize struggled but the maize with vermicast developed more roots and was able to access more water. See the impact it has on his maize yield.

"How 100 million earthworms transform all Taupo's organic waste into fertile soil" - Environmental Education Collaboration (EEC) Taupo, NZ - September 2021

"How 100 million earthworms transform all Taupo's organic waste into fertile soil" - Environmental Education Collaboration (EEC) Taupo, NZ - September 2021

2021 Ngā Korero spotlight speaker- Michael Quintern, founder and director of MyNoke.

TEDx - The 600 million year old technology beneath our feet | Michael Quintern | TEDxTauranga

TEDx - The 600 million year old technology beneath our feet | Michael Quintern | TEDxTauranga

How do you process hundreds of truck loads of "muck" and industrial waste and not affect the environment.?

The solution lay in the earth itself. Earthworms eat their body weight a day, they can double their population within two months, and compress waste into 80% of what it was. If they were pretty they’d be everyone’s favourite creature. Michael owns and operates NZ's largest farm of 1,700,000,000 earthworms to turn industrial sludge into organic, fertiliser. He is a soil scientist who found himself employed to solve the problem of industrial waste and the baren lands left behind by forest harvesting. This is the story of turning muck into gold.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at