Mikuni Construction Co. in Kitakyusyu City, southern Japan, announced that it would be launching a new service to rent goats for weeding grass starting in April 2010. This unique weeding method does not require any machinery, and is drawing attention as an environmentally friendly technique.
Japan for Sustainability reports that, having first heard about weeding with goats from his business associate, Katsuhiko Sera, the president of the company, has been investigating the approach for 3 years in an effort to devise a viable business model. He bought five goats in May 2009, and by tethering the goats with a cable, about 500 square meters of grass can be grazed over the course of a week. A trial "rent-a-goat" began in August 2009, but will be fully launched in March 2010.
Goats eat various types of weed. They eat all aboveground stems and leaves, and prefer to graze on slops, which people often find it difficult to weed. Furthermore, weeded material does not require disposal when using this method and the goat dung produced simply decomposes and is returned to the soil.
In addition to renting goats, the company plans to provide its own weeding service by increasing the number of goats, and to manufacture cheese and other products from goat milk. Mr. Sera hopes that his rental goat service will serve not only as a new tool to maintain urban green spaces, but will also assist the comfort of local residents.
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