Why are Cane Toads a Problem for Farmers?

Cane toads don’t only present a serious threat to native species and to pets, but they also significantly affect the productivity of farms, particularly beef cattle producers. Here’s why.

Australia has its own native dung beetles, but because they weren’t so good with cattle dung, a different species was successfully introduced from Africa in the 1960s.

Now cane toads just love to eat dung beetles – there are even reports of cane toads sitting around dung piles just waiting for dung beetles and gobbling them up. The problem? Cane toads breed so rapidly that dung beetle numbers are dropping off dramatically. In a nutshell, the toads are winning.

Fewer dung beetles (or none) means cattle dung doesn’t get processed by beetles and so isn’t able to enrich the soil and capture carbon. Also, cattle dung lying around makes paddocks less productive and increases the issues cattle face with flies and other insect pests.

Getting rid of toads – in efforts like the Cane Toad Bust – means that existing stocks of dung beetles can increase. It also means we’d be able to bring in more cattle-dung-loving beetles and know we wouldn’t simply be feeding the toads!

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