A dung beetle project under way in the region is moving along well, with many property owners getting involved in monitoring the little critters.
A team from the University of New England (UNE) is leading the charge in studying where beetle populations are - and aren't - active.
Zac Hemmings, from UNE's School of Environmental and Rural Science, said many people had registered their interest in monitoring the beetles, some more intensely than others.
"At the moment we've got around 20 people that have put their hand up in being interested in the monthly intensive monitoring and about 35 or more people expressing an interest in some sort of monitoring, whether that's flotation monitoring once a month or every two months," he said.
"Every now and then I get an email from someone ringing up saying 'I've heard about the project, I can do some monitoring on my property'."
"I'm heading out to west of Walgett in the next few weeks doing a big round trip, to visit the farmers and see what dung beetles are out there," he said.
"We're working on a couple of workshops in Bingara and Tamworth for after the school holidays. We're just waiting for more monitoring equipment coming in."
He also said there had been a lot of interest from students Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in Tamworth.
"The guys down at Farrer seem pretty excited for their kids to do anything - running data, doing projects and experiments," Mr Hemmings told ACM.
"I think they'll do an experiment looking at fertiliser and plant growth, and they're thinking of maybe adding a dung beetle into that and see what happens.
"We're expecting this time by next month we'll have run some workshops, monitoring will be under way - pending the arrival of the equipment - and hopefully the kids will be doing dung beetle-y things."
What do dung beetles do?
Mr Hemmings told ACM last month that dung beetle activity helped to reduce fly population and build-up in pastures, increase water filtration, and improve soil nutrients and the quality and health of pastures.
He said if there were substantial active dung beetle populations on farm, it could potentially reduce the need for sheep drenches and fertilisers.
Want to get involved?
Download the MyDungBeetleReporter app and upload photos of dung beetle activity.
If there are signs of dung beetle activity in fresh dung, place the dung in a bucket then scoop up the beetles and get in touch with UNE about passing them on.
Using provided equipment and a system, set-up and monitor pan traps each month to collect dung beetles and produce a report.
To help with monitoring on the Beetles with Benefits project, submit an expression of interest online via https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DungbeetleEOI
For more information, visit the website https://www.dungbeetles.com.au or email Zac Hemmings via firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne Coote via email@example.com
The project, Beetles with Benefits, is funded by the federal government through a Rural Research and Development for Profit Program grant received by the Meat and Livestock Association.