Stuff: Aussie dung beetles are coming

ERMA has given permission for ten species of Australian dung beetles to be brought over to New Zealand, to help farmers deal with agricultural runoff and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The beetles turn manure into a sawdust-like material which aids soil fertility, and can also help prevent manure leaching into waterways as well as increasing production.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“New Zealand lacks native pastoral dung-burying beetles and, while dung decomposes naturally, intensive farming means large amounts are dropped on to pasture.

“This can lead to leaching of nutrients into waterways and reduced production as cattle avoid fouled areas in pasture.

“”Dung beetles should have come to New Zealand 150 years ago with the first cows and sheep, but they didn’t,” said organic Rodney farmer John Pierce, chairman of the group behind the project. “They’re part of a whole package.””