In 2018, the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers RRDFP project commenced and will conclude in 2022. The project aims to improve soil in grazing systems, reduce the spread of flies, pests and diseases, increase pasture health and reduce nutrient runoff into waterways through the introduction of three new dung beetle species/strains, increased rearing and release of the recently released species Onthophagus vacca and Bubas bubalus and the provision of management information to producers.
The project will focus on estimating how dung beetles improve profitability and productivity for primary producers by undertaking the following: rolling out a dung beetle services network to producer groups and producer groups, improving access to information such as a dung beetle database and in-field training packages and quantifying the benefits of dung beetles to encourage changes in farming practices. The DBEE project will build on previous survey work in Queensland to provide a nation-wide survey of seasonal activity, which is an essential component of determining what species are missing and therefore which species should be introduced.
Having been awarded a $9,174,174 grant from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit Program, the project is led by MLA in conjunction with multiple funding and research partners. No producer levies are invested in the project, with generous contributions coming from the MLA Donor Company, in-kind contributions and numerous project partners.
The project involves collaboration between MLA, Universities (Charles Sturt, Western Australia, New England), Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, CSIRO, Landcare Research NZ, Dung Beetle Solutions International, various councils
(Warren Catchments, Leschenault catchment) and the Mingenew-Irwin Group.