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Cattle pesticides killing off dung beetles - study
Researchers hope their findings will help to inform farmers about the negative impacts of the pesticides.
Damage could result in economic loss for farmers 

The prolonged use of some pesticides to treat cattle for parasites is having a detrimental effect on dung beetles, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, looked at 24 cattle farms across south-west England and found that farms that used certain pesticides had fewer species of dung beetle.

Study leader Dr Bryony Sands from the University of Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences said: “Dung beetles recycle dung pats on pastures, bringing the nutrients back into the soil and ensuring the pastures are fertile.

“Damage to dung beetle populations is, therefore, concerning, and could result in economic loss for farmers.”

The study is the first landscape-scale project to show that long-term use of the pesticides has a negative impact on dung beetle populations on farms. Study co-author Professor Richard Wall first discovered 30 years ago that pesticide residues in dung could kill dung beetles.

Dr Sands added: “It is now clear that long-term use of these pesticides could cause declines in beetle biodiversity on a large scale.”

The study also found that synthetic pyrethroids pesticides were not as damaging to dung beetles as macrocyclic lactone pesticides. In general, these pesticides are considered a safer alternative for farmers who want to protect biodiversity on their farms.

Researchers hope their findings will help to inform farmers about the negative impacts of the pesticides, some of which now carry warning labels. 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
British sheep meat to be exported to India in new agreement

The UK government has secured a new export deal of sheep meat to India.

In 2017, UK sheep meat exports were worth £386 million. This new agreement is predicted to increase this value by £6 million over the next five years.

With a range of meat cuts due to be exported, the deal is seen by international trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, as “another vote of confidence in our world-leading food and drink”.