- Charles Sturt University is coordinating the mass rearing of dung beetles as part of a project to release new species onto farms across southern Australia.
- A new generation of beetles are now emerging, marking an important milestone for the project.
- A plaque recognising a pioneer of Australian dung beetle research, Dr George Francis Bornemissza OAM has been unveiled at the University’s newly built mass rearing facility.
Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) is celebrating a milestone in a national research project to fill in the gaps in dung beetle distribution in Australia by honouring a pioneer of dung beetle research.
A plaque recognising the contribution of Dr George Francis Bornemissza OAM is located at the site of a new dung beetle mass rearing facility at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga.
The late Dr Bornemissza was an entomologist who led the CSIRO project that imported the first dung beetles to Australia in the 1960s.
Sixty years later Charles Sturt is playing a lead role in the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) project, a national research effort building on that early work by releasing additional beetle species on more farm sites across southern Australia.
In a milestone for the DBEE project, the Charles Sturt researchers are celebrating the emergence of thousands of Onthophagus vacca beetles.
The University’s new dung beetle mass-rearing facilities include controlled environment chambers and specially designed mesh houses for rearing beetles at a range of scales.
The plaque was unveiled by Charles Sturt Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Engagement) Professor Heather Cavanagh and Acting Director of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover during a workshop for livestock producers and researchers on Friday 27 September.
Professor Cavanagh said, “This is an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of Dr Bornemissza and to look to the future with new research that can deliver benefits to both the livestock industries and the environment.
“This project is a good example of how Charles Sturt University is working on research with impact to create a world worth living in.”
The DBEE project is supported by Meat & Livestock Australia through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.
The research is led by Charles Sturt with support from eight partner organisations: The University of Western Australia, CSIRO, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, The University of New England, Dung Beetle Solutions International, Warren Catchments Council, Mingenew-Irwin Group and the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
The Graham Centre is a research alliance between Charles Sturt and the NSW Department of Primary Industries