Focus on Dung Beetles

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April18

Focus on Dung Beetles

HLN held a successful series of events looking at dung beetles last week. Graeme Stevenson, a fellow Landcarer from NW Tasmania, gave an enthusiastic talk on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday morning, Belinda Pearce ran a very informative ID workshop. Belinda has quite a history of working with dung beetles in the Kiewa Valley and put together the dung beetle resource package some years ago. The workshop was followed by a farm walk at ‘Blairgowrie’, where we were all very pleased to find 3 active species working away in the paddock. Thanks to Dick Turnbull for hosting the farm walk. Who’s Who in the Poo was funded by Murray LLS and the Australian Government through the National Landcare Programme.

There are still a few spare dung beetle resource kits available. If anyone would like one please drop in, call or email the office.

 

 


 

  • The role of dung beetles and earthworms in natural soil health

Graeme Stevenson – Landcare NW Tasmania and former Senior Research Officer, Tasmanian Agricultural Department

Tuesday 26th April 7:00 pm, Holbrook RS Club

 

  • Dung beetle identification workshop

Belinda Pearce – Former Local Landcare Facilitator, Kiewa Catchment Landcare Groups

Wednesday 27th April 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Holbrook Library Complex

 

  • Farm walk looking at dung beetles in the paddock

With Graeme Stevenson and Belinda Pearce

Wednesday 27th April 2:00 – 4:00 pm, ‘Blairgowrie’, Yarra Rd Holbrook

2015 dung beetle release

 

New species released at Corowa last year. Thanks to Corowa Landcare for the photo

 

Holbrook Landcare is pleased to have experts Graeme Stevenson and Belinda Pearce coming to talk about dung beetle identification, population establishment, and nutrient recycling benefits.

Dr Graeme Stevenson is the author of Ruminations of a Poo-ologist: Dung Beetles in Tasmania, and has been flying the flag for sustainable agriculture and the Landcare movement in North West Tasmania for over 20 years. He has organised a myriad of field days and seminars to help share knowledge with farmers in the region on a variety of subjects including weed identification and management, wallaby management, rivers and waterway management as well as organising five field days and ten seminars for the Tasmanian Organic Farming Advisory Service.

Always demonstrating a proactive and creative approach to education and knowledge sharing and having identified a need to engage primary school students with sustainable agriculture issues, Graeme developed a series of presentations which he delivered in a voluntary capacity to schools around the state as his alter-ego, Dr Spluttergrunt!  He also conducted practical workshops allowing children to get up close and personal with dung beetles and earthworms.

Graeme traps dung beetles on dairy farms in north-west Tasmania to sell to farmers around Australia. It’s a hobby, a bit of an obsession, and an income for Graeme. He introduced Blue Bombers, a Spanish species, into Tasmania almost 20 years ago because of their ability to deal with the poo of farm animals. Tasmania, like the rest of Australia, has native dung beetles, but they’ve evolved to munch on the dry manure of marsupials like wallabies and possums.

Graeme Stevenson is a great advocate of dung beetles and praises the work done by groups such as the Lucyvale Better Beef Group whose successful dung beetle project resulted in seven species of dung beetles introduced into the area, with at least 3 species becoming established. Dung beetles have great benefits for the environment and help improve soil fertility and soil structure as well as increase the availability of grazing area, increase pasture production, improve water quality and reduce pest species associated with livestock.

Holbrook Landcare invites you to join Graeme Stevenson on Tuesday evening (26th April) as he explains the benefits of dung beetles and earth worms, and to give hints on how to encourage these bugs and worms to thrive in your paddocks.

Belinda Pearce ran the dung beetles project in the Kiewa Catchment (with Lucyvale Better Beef Group), producing the dung beetle resource kit and facilitating the release and establishment of dung beetles in North East Victoria. Belinda has continued in her role as Local Landcare Facilitator in the Kiewa catchment up until just a few weeks ago, so has many years of experience working with dung beetles locally relevant to Holbrook.

Belinda will conduct the dung beetle identification workshop which Graeme will also attend. Then both Belinda and Graeme will take a farm walk with interested locals to look at and talk about dung beetles in action on farm.

Places are also still available for the ID workshop on Wednesday morning (27th April), and the farm walk that afternoon. A dung beetle resource kit including the handy CSIRO pocket field guide will be available to all workshop participants.

Please RSVP to the HLN office for any or all of these events.

Phone: 6036 3181

Email: office@holbrooklandcare.org.au

IMAG0481 web

Dung beetle resource kit available to workshop participants

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