Australian government announces Dung beetles increase farm profitability

Australian government announces Dung beetles will be used to increase farm profitability

Dung beetles will be used to increase farm profitability and productivity in Australia, in a new 9.2 million AU dollar (6.81 million U.S. dollar) project announced by the Australian government.

Under the plan, livestock giant Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) will be given the money to research ways to use dung beetles to increase productivity and profitability in Australia’s 23 billion dollar (17 billion U.S. dollar) farming industry.

In a statement released on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Australia’s Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said that the “humble dung beetle” could deliver “big benefits” for Australia’s farms.

“They can improve soil health; reduce the spread of flies, pests and diseases; increase pasture health; and reduce nutrient run off into waterways. No wonder the ancient Egyptians gave them a sacred status!” Joyce said on Monday.

“This project will help farmers unlock the potential of these powerful ‘ecosystem engineers’ to increase productivity and reduce the costs of production, effectively turning dung into dollars.

“MLA will collaborate with 12 project partners with the shared goal of realizing the value of the 80 million tonnes of dung produced by Australian livestock every year.

“(The government’s) Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit Program funds projects that deliver practical and accessible results for farmers, including managing pests, better pasture management and production techniques and improving access to premium markets.”

Between 1965 and 1985, Australia’s scientific agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), introduced 23 species of dung beetles into Australia, improving the quality and fertility of Australia’s cattle pastures and reducing the number of bush flies by around 90 percent.

Joyce’s colleague and the Member for Page, Kevin Hogan,said the new project had the potential to deliver further benefits for Australia’s farming industry.

“This project will involve the roll-out of national and region-specific dung beetle services to a network of over 1,000 producers and producers groups,” he said on Monday.

“These groups will have access to information such as a dung beetle database, infield training and online education packages to help select the more beneficial dung beetle species for their farm.”


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