Farmers delve into fascinating world of dung beetles
Local farmers signed up in droves to learn more about dung beetles over a lunch time webinar recently.
Kathy Dawson, South West coordinator of the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project and Manjimup farmer Doug Pow, spoke about the importance of dung beetles and their roles in nutrient cycling, pest control, soil fertility and the benefits for water quality.
The most common species in the South West is the Bubas bison, which is active autumn to winter. This species was introduced to Australia from Europe in 1983 and lays its eggs, along with dung, up to 60cm deep in the soil. Attracting more species that do this important work year-round will improve soil structure through better aeration and water infiltration, as a result of the tunneling activity of the beetles.
Yoongarillup dairy farmer, Elaine Haddon, is keen to encourage more of these ecosystem engineers to her property. Elaine set up a dung beetle trap near her dairy to help collect information about dung beetle species present in her area.