Dung beetle research group is established

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A group has been formed to help with research around releasing dung beetles on to New Zealand farms, to help with the natural breakdown of pastoral animal dung.

In February 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency gave approval to import and release 11 species of dung beetle.  These creatures have the potential to improve outcomes for farmers and the public through processing animal dung in the

paddock.

Some of the beetle species have been imported and are being bred in containment. Although planning is under way, no

release of the dung beetles has been made yet. To assist in this process a Research and Technical Advisory Group has been established to help in designing, supporting and interpreting the results of the research programme.

Federated Farmers is an active member of this group. New Zealand is one of the few countries which lack this type of beetle in a primary agricultural context. To date, while there have been two prior attempted introductions in New Zealand and two self introductions, none of these became extensive.

No introduction of a new exotic organism is without risk, so to ensure all concerns are addressed, the advisory group will work towards the most effective release strategy.

This will involve assessment of scientific data, working with the agricultural industry and science representatives to reach agreed outcomes and ensuring that best practice is achieved.

- Hamilton News

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