North West Dung Beetle Monitoring Project
13 Dec 2021
North West Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators (RALFs) Lana Andrews and Rachel Dorney have partnered with The University of New England (UNE) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to provide extension services to the dung beetle monitoring program being run by the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project. The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project is a collaboration of universities, research organisations, and producer groups through funding from the Australian Government’s Rural Research and Development for Profit program. The project aims to fill seasonal and geographic gaps in the distribution of dung beetles across southern Australia and quantify the benefits they provide to primary producers.
To get a comprehensive picture of dung beetle activity throughout the North West of NSW around 28 landholders have gathered data on the seasonal abundances of dung beetles using sampling protocols developed by the project.
Initial results from the project are promising. Landholders who have been participating over the past 12 months have found diversity and abundance has increased with a rare species found in the northern part of the region. Up to 400 individuals of the one species was caught in 24 hours on a Somerton property! The species that are most active are most suited to the warmer months of the year - the time of the year when it is important to turn over those dung pats before flies can have their maggots hatching and when internal parasites are very active.
The research data clearly shows that dung beetles are beneficial to soils, pasture production and animal health and bring economic benefits to producers. It is also believed that dung beetles may play a role in our challenge to achieve carbon net zero.
For more information on Dung Beetles along with some excellent resources visit the Dung Beetles website.
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