13104: Dung beetles address soil fertility and environmental health
Australia has around 350 species of native dung beetle and 23 species introduced from Hawaii, Africa and southern Europe. Most native species eat marsupial dung (from kangaroos and wallabies) and are not well suited to processing the moist dung of cattle.
Introduced dung beetles are very useful in agricultural regions as they are able to bury large volumes of cattle dung, with many benefits for:
- soil structure and fertility
- water infiltration and runoff
- pasture growth and productivity
- biological control of bush fly
- minimising loss of nitrogen (NH3, N2O) and carbon (CO2) to the atmosphere.
A colony of dung beetle (Bubas bison) will be established on Bannister Downs Dairy farm in Northcliffe to investigate their impact on soil structure, chemistry, fertility and biology (including earthworms) under perennial pasture.
Changes to the soil will be measured to a depth of 60 centimetres to see if the dung beetles work is effective in reducing compaction and fertiliser input needs and sequestering carbon.
|Investment:||$ 26 482|
|Delivery organisation:||Warren Catchments Council|
|Project duration:||February 2014 - November 2015|
|Location:||Daubney Estate, Muirillup Road, Northcliffe|
Warren Catchments Council (home)