Dung Hill Press- Earthworms and Dungbeetles in Tasmanian Agriculture

Introduction

In many respects Tasmania has led (or at least kept up with) the Nation in its work with dung beetles and much of the work has been done on a voluntary basis without large Government grants. The dung beetle team (Doug Kershaw and Graeme Stevenson) has had tremendous support from the media in relaying information, and from the community in providing venues and encouragement for talks on the beetles.

Ever since the introduction of exotic dung beetles into the State in the 1980s, there has been a lot of interest in these fascinating beetles. If either member of the ‘team’ were inclined to ‘jump the fence’ and look for beetle activity in the paddock they would quickly be confronted with the ‘rural neighbourhood watch’. However, within a moment of explaining that they were merely looking for dung beetles, they had a friend for life.

However, concerning earthworms in agriculture, Tasmania has slipped from once having two earthworm experts to currently having none. In many aspects, this reflects the National scene where there are at present no full-time earthworm researchers/extension persons. This situation in professional agriculture is mirrored in the general community. While most people know something about earthworms, their relevance to agriculture seems to have been relegated to a region of the mind reserved for fascinating information but with very little practical application to modern farming.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Both dung beetles and agricultural earthworms (particularly the deep digging species), in addition to a myriad of benefits to soil health, are capable of creating topsoil. In an age where farmland is losing billions of tonnes of this precious element, here is part of the solution.

right- The author (Graeme Stevenson)
with his hands full of A. longa.


These pages are also a call for help. The team is ageing fast – we need help!


Publications available from Dunghill Press

  • Ruminations of a Poo-ologist. Dung Beetles in Tasmania (100 page book).
  • Earthworms in Tasmanian Agriculture (18 page booklet).
  • The Black Headed Earthworm, Deep digger and top soil creator (18 page booklet).
  • Ahead of Their Time. A History of the Organic Gardening and Farming Society of Tasmania (112 page book).
  • DVD: Organic Gardening Magazine (a copy of all 74 magazines, over 2,500 pages plus index)
  • Chemical-free Roundworm Management in Cattle (18 page booklet).