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Can’t beat beetles

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August 24, 2017

Releasing dung beetles onto your farm can have more benefits than just burying dung into the soil. That is what the members of Echuca Beef Group found out when dung beetle expert John Feehan was the guest speaker at their meeting on August 15.

Releasing dung beetles onto your farm can have more benefits than just burying dung into the soil.

That is what the members of Echuca Beef Group found out when dung beetle expert John Feehan was the guest speaker at their meeting on August 15.

Mr Feehan said while their main priority was to bury dung to improve soil, the beetles had the ability to do so much more.

‘‘Unburied dung can cause rank grass that livestock won’t eat. That means farmers could be 10 and sometimes up to 20 per cent out of production, if the grass is not eaten. It might as well be a thistle, tussock or a blackberry bush,’’ he said.

‘‘CSIRO research in Western Australia has found that having just two species (on-farm) can reduce bush fly by 99 per cent.

‘‘The buffalo fly costs the country $200million in chemical costs alone.

‘‘It’s important we get beetles into NSW to make a barrier for the buffalo fly.’’

Not only can dung beetles help eradicate flies, they also improve soil and reduce nutrient and chemical run-off into dams, creeks, rivers, estuaries and the ocean.

‘‘By burying dung, they are turning over paddock soils with no tractor, no fuel, no time (for the farmer),’’ Mr Feehan said.

‘‘There is no way a machine could be made to do what dung beetle tunnels do for under the soil.’’

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