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The benefits of dung beetles

Recently the Churnet Valley Farmers group enjoyed an inspirational day, with an amazing speaker, learning about dung beetles and their benefits to farming systems. In favourable conditions, with good populations, dung beetles can reduce dung pats in a matter of days. This reduces pasture fouling, soil compaction, costs of harrowing, parasites and pest flies as well as improving soil organic matter, pasture fertility and soil aeration. It takes 4-6 months to break down dung by fungi and weather alone! It was great to hear of examples of where farmers had saved £1000's from introducing sustainable management plans for these species. They do a really important job in breaking down animal dung, especially as cattle produce 6% of their body weight in muck each day (sheep produce 4%) - imagine what a field would look like if they weren't about to do this! Australia and New Zealand know how important it is to have these beetles to break down the dung - there were no dung beetles in these two countries that would eat cattle or sheep dung when they first introduced livestock farming there and they've had to spend $millions$ introducing them, so it's really important that we conserve what we've got.
Please follow the link for more information on dung beetles.