Sunsets, cheese, wine and... beetles

18th May 2022

On 13th of May, we gathered folks on the gorgeous Leap Farm to eat, drink, and... look at poop.

Image: Andrew Doube shows off some specimens ©Huon Douglas

Just before sunset, attendees of Landcare Tasmania's Dung Beetle Evening at Leap Farm made their way to a picturesque spot at the top of a hill...surrounded by dung.  It may sound odd to enter a circle of poo... but the dung was there to attract some special beetles.

Image (Left): Here to learn. Grab a magnifying glass and look closely! ©Huon Douglas 

Workshop-goers came to learn about Dung Beetles - their role in soil health, and how they contribute to sustainable agriculture practices -and were hoping to spot some beetles, too!

Everyone was welcomed by hosts Kate and Iain from Leap Farm. Dung beetle expert Andrew Doube was there to share his wealth of wisdom and demonstrate what these fantastic creatures can do for soils.

It took a while for all to settle, first excitedly meeting their neighbours, nibbling a delicious platter provided by Mitchell Alomes (with Tongola cheese - YUM), sipping Bream Creek Vineyard's finest drop (donated) - and being distracted by goats...

Image: Platter (left), and Leap Farm goats (right)     ©Huon Douglas 

But as darkness fell on the property, the crowd quietened and Andrew stood with a torch while everyone huddled around to hear all about dung beetles. Andrew explained that whilst we'd usually have a few dung beetles flying around at dawn and dusk in Tassie at this time of year, he's been looking for them across the State over the past few weeks to little avail - so we should keep our hopes low. The crowd continued to listen eagerly and then buzzzzzz... 

Image: It's a Blue-Bomber! (with a couple of hitchhikers?)    ©Huon Douglas 

...a dung beetle flew right over our heads on its way to a pile of dung! We all gathered around to find 2 beautiful dung beetles with bright blue bellies!

While excitedly sifting through poo and checking out the beautiful beetles, attendees discussed how to make their farms dung-beetle friendly and entice beetles to live on their farms. There was valuable discussion about drench use, land management and grazing strategies.

All-in-all, it was a wonderful evening getting together and learning about dung beetles and sustainable agriculture in Tassie (and checking out Leap Farm's goats!) Those who came wandered off filled with delicious food, a glass of wine, and lots of valuable knowledge about dung beetles.

- Evie Drinnan, Landcare Tasmania 

Many thanks to Kate and Iain for having us at Leap Farm, Mitchell Allomes for the delicious food, to Andrew Doube for your expertise, Bream Creek Vineyard for the delicious wine, and to all who came along.

Image: Night Life... ©Iain field 
This event is part of Landcare Tasmania’s South East Landscape Project, which is made possible by the Tasmanian Government’s Landcare Action Grants.