Doing it with Dung Program Report 2022-23

Mitta Valley Landcare received a grant through the Federally funded National Landcare Program – “Smart Farms Small Grants” Round 4 in 2022. This has enabled us to continue trying to establish two spring active dung beetles in the Mitta 2 Murray Landcare Network region. If successful, we would achieve our aim of having year round dung burial.

The two new species that CSIRO have imported from Europe are only available in limited numbers and so a system of “Farmer Nurseries” is being trialed. There is 22 participants in the program, each has been given a small number of beetles with a breeding tent and instructions on their care. It is hoped that the beetles will reproduce in sufficient numbers to enable a paddock release with a greater chance of survival and establishment.

It is now a year since our first beetles arrived and we are excitedly waiting for the spring hatching to start. Participants will trap, count and transfer beetles to a second tent so that we will know how successful the breeding program has been.

Our beetles come from a breeder in South Australia, Greg Dalton of Creative Care. Greg visited us on 30th June and checked the sites of new breeders who will receive their first beetles this spring.

On July 1st he gave a workshop at Eskdale Hall followed by lunch and an inspection of existing tents at Judy and Alec Cardwell’s place. The 27 people who attended were given some invaluable information on both the importance of dung beetles in agriculture and the best methods of breeding them.

This year we will have 22 breeders and we can only hope all their efforts will be well rewarded.

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