Dung beetle study

In the summer of 2020, Project Parore invested in thousands of new farm workers.  The release of dung beetles on farms in two catchments was supported by the project as part of our mission to improve soil health and water quality.  It will take time for these tiny but industrious creatures to establish themselves, but when they do, their dung-loving behaviour will enrich the soil, improve pasture and reduce nutrient runoff to water ways as well as improve animal health.

Project Parore has teamed up with Ag Research to investigate how dung beetle introductions to farm pasture impact dung decomposition and the survival of the parasitic worms that live inside a cow’s gut. Scientific research is underway on Pukekauri Farm in Te Mania catchment, with three, 4 week-long paddock trials (a Spring, Summer and Autumn treatment). A number of parameters are being measured. Soil is being sampled for analysis in the lab and each treatment plot was inspected by hand to collect beetles and earthworms.
We’ll bring you more info as the research progresses. A summary of the research objectives is here.
For more on dung beetles, this article by Elaine Fisher is a great explainer.

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