Dung Beetles: The Unsung Heroes of Our Soil

15th Mar 2020

Landholders from around the region are encouraged to attend GLENRAC’s Focus event with Dr Zac Hemmings on Wednesday night: Dung Beetles – the Unsung Heroes of our Soil.

Dung beetles are critical providers in agricultural settings as they bury fresh manure, reducing fly and internal parasite populations and enriching the soil with fertilising nutrients. They also aerate the earth with their burrowing pathways, increasing carbon sequestration, water retention and the profitability of pastures.

Due to the widespread effects of drought and bushfire across the district, there has been a significant decrease in dung beetle populations, with landholders concerned about how they will reintroduce these communities back into their paddocks.

At the Glen Innes Services Club on Wednesday night, Dr Hemmings will discuss all things dung beetle related, including the importance of these ecological engineers to agricultural environments and their potential to increase farm profitability, how landholders can manage populations, where to purchase appropriate species for reintroduction into paddocks, and how to recover numbers after drought and bushfire. 

Dr Hemmings, who completed his PhD at UNE, studying the thermal physiology of native and introduced dung beetles, will also talk about his research work at Australia’s largest dung beetle related body.

“I'm currently working as a researcher for the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) project, which aims to introduce new dung beetles to Australia to fill seasonal gaps and to quantify the benefits of the introduced species that are already here,” says Dr Hemmings. 

Other aims of the DBEE include estimating the economic impacts of dung beetles to farming systems, working with landholders to detect dung beetles in their environments, and modifying agricultural practices to enhance the success of dung beetle habitats.

 “Landholders have a lot to gain from attending this event,” says Dr Mahri Koch. “The reduced numbers of livestock in paddocks due to the impact of drought and fire on our natural environment, has had a critical impact on dung beetle populations. We need to be proactive at reintroducing these communities as they play such an important role in maintaining the health of our soils, livestock and pastures.”​​

Dung Beetles: The Unsung Heroes of Our Soil. Wednesday 18th March 2020, 7:00pm-9:00pm. Glen Innes and District Services Club Remembrance Room. Free event. Dinner provided.

RSVP by phone on 02 6732 3443 or email mahri.koch@glenraco.org.au or drop into the GLENRAC office at 68 Church St, Glen Innes.  

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