Dung Beetles: Getting to the Bottom of Healthy Pastures - @FarmED

Posted: 14th September 2022

Monday 3rd October, 09:45 – 16:00

A one-day deep dive into dung beetles to find out their importance within ecosystems, what they do for us and what we can do for them - with Sally-Ann, founding member of Dung Beetles for Farmers.

Just how important are dung beetles in our livestock systems and what are they doing beyond removing dung? We generally don’t think of the tiny insect communities based around the dung piles in our fields and these include our native dung beetles. But what if we lose these beetles? What effect would it have on our pastures, soil and farm biodiversity? By gaining an understanding of dung beetles we can implement small changes in our management decisions that could have much wider benefits.

We'll begin the day by introducing our native dung beetles with a presentation and a selection of specimens. The presentation will highlight the ecosystem functions of these economically important pastoral insects, their ecology, their threats and the potential practical changes in management required for their conservation.

After the presentation there will be a practical session enabling the opportunity for a dung dive out in the field. This will demonstrate how to identify and monitor the dung beetle populations by a simple surveying methodology enabling you to try for yourself at home.

Who is leading this Event:

Sally-Ann Spence is a Fellow of both the Royal Entomological Society and the Linnaean Society as well as an Honorary Associate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. She specialises in dung beetles and pastureland biodiversity and founded the UK Dung Beetle Mapping Project accumulating species data. Her work with the project has seen her surveying field sites all over the UK including many outlying islands enabling her to study a multitude of grazing systems.

This practical experience has been translated into collaborative projects working on sustainable land management plans within the farming community to promote dung beetles as important bio-indicators for soil, pasture and livestock health.

Sally-Ann is a founding member of Dung Beetles for Farmers which was formed to continue the awareness of this insect group and highlight their conservation.

She also owns and runs an educational research centre ‘Berrycroft Hub’ based on her farm where she keeps PFLA accredited livestock and manages all the grassland.

As a passionate advocate of British farming and biodiversity, Sally-Ann does a great deal of scientific public outreach both at her centre on the farm, at various events such as Groundswell and ORFC, and on all media platforms including television.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course, participants will be able to….

  • Understand the ecosystem functions of these economically important pastoral insects, their ecology, their threats and the potential practical changes in management required for their conservation
  • Identify the 3 different groups of dung beetles in the UK 
  • Monitor dung beetle populations at home

Who is this event for:

We are welcoming anyone and everyone onto this introductory course from farmers to equestrians to insect lovers.


09:45 - Coffee/Tea & cake on arrival

10:00 - Welcome, Intros and Housekeeping

10:15- Short Presentation about FarmED

10:30 - Dung beetle presentation

12:30 - Lunch 

13:30 - Deep Dung Dive in the Field

15:30 - Tea/Coffee break

15:45 - Final thoughts and questions

16:00 - Depart


Ticket Prices


Tickets include refreshments and a seasonal lunch from the FarmED Kitchen.


Delivery of our mission is a collective effort and our values embrace  inclusivity and diversity. We don’t want price to be a barrier to  anyone visiting FarmED or attending our events. Read more about our tiered pricing policy here.


If cost is a barrier to you attending, then please do ask us for financial support. The FarmED Bursary offers free or subsidised places  to those that will benefit most.


GREAT Farmers and Growers


Subsidised places available for existing and aspiring farmers, growers and advisers in Gloucestershire. To book,  please select the GREAT ticket option below. You will be asked for a few  eligibility details including evidence of your involvement in  regenerative agriculture and your potential impact in Gloucestershire.

Book here: