Beetles rule

According to one of Australia’s foremost experts on dung beetles, these tiny animals are the secret to carbon capture and clean water.

In the latest in the Soils For Life video series, John Feehan OAM describes the crucial role that dung beetles play in facilitating water penetration, introducing carbon, and removing nutrients and chemicals from our waterways and oceans.

“Every single day, our 28 million cattle drop half a million tonnes of dung a day over this tired burnt out continent. And if there’s ever a continent on this planet that needed every gram of this valuable material being put underground and put to good use, it is Australia”, John says.

“Cattle drop around 12 cowpads per day and the average weight of these weighs about one and half kilograms. When dung beetles are working well, for every litre of dung they put into the soil, they bring up about two kilograms of subsoil”.

In a detailed explanation of how dung beetles work, John says by putting the dung underground, the beetles not only aerate the soil, but improve microbial activity.

“Earthworms can move into the habitat, and you sequester massive amounts of CO2 in the tunnel system with the microbial activity”.

“Scientists have told me that CO2 can be sequestered in the soil just as efficiently with microbial activity as plankton can sequester into the oceans, and this can go on forever”.

John Feehan works with farmers all around the country, harvesting beetles and sending the right species for their conditions – by post – almost overnight.

“We have a very good working winter species for southern Australia. It becomes active in May when the first winter rains arrive that works through May June July and August, and the beetles then go into hibernation and then reappear in the following year in May when the average winter rains arrive”.

“This is the answer to nutrient and chemical runoff from farmland into waterways – into the creeks, rivers, estuaries and oceans”.

Find the interview with John Feehan here.

Soils for Life programs demonstrate proven solutions in regenerative landscape management to increase the natural capital value of the Australian landscape – rural, regional and urban.

For more information contact: Niree Creed, Media, Soils For Life, 0418625595