Dung beetles play a hugely important role in positively engaging soil biology, from dung decomposition to nutrient cycling, and the rate at which dung breaks down indicates how active they are on your farm.
How to do the test
1. Go to one of your GPS mapped soil sampling sites in a pasture field (or create a new sample site while you’re out in the field). This test is ideally done when you’ve just moved the herd out of the field.
2. Find a pile of fresh dung nearby, and take a photo of it under the correct field in Soilmentor, making a note under the observation activity with an appropriate name – e.g. dung observation 01.
3. Observe how this dung breaks down over time, taking a photo under the observation activity each time you return to it.
4. When the dung has broken down, record the total time for the dung to break down in the Soilmentor app, under the ‘Time taken for dung to break down’ activity:
5. Either < 3 days, 3 – 7 days, 1 – 2 weeks, 2 – 4 weeks, > 1 month
Image Credit: Agricology – Ceri Mann ‘Dung beetles: Keeping pasture healthy and livestock happy’