Time to Look at Dung! – Part 5

Time to Look at Dung! – Part 5

Haylie Shipp
Haylie Shipp
With your Southeast Regional Ag News, I am Haylie Shipp. This is the Ag Information Network.

We’ve talked all week about the beneficial bug that goes by the name “dung beetle” with Dr. Hayes Goosey out of Montana State University.

They’re good for the soil, dispersing nutrients in cattle pats and digging tunnels that increase water absorption. They’ll recycle a cattle pat much more quickly than the elements, opening up that soil for more grass growth. And the only issue with them seems to be that we don’t ever have enough. So if you’re getting ready to get to scouting, here’s what to look for….

“So you’ll see the beetles themselves. As that pat forms a crust on it, the inside is still very healthy inside and there’ll be critters moving in and out within there.”

And if you’re not too offended by picking the pat up, you’ll get a real lesson in biology…

“You should see lots of activity inside of that pat after it’s crusted. You can look at some of the pats themselves, you can see little shot-pattern holes in the top.”

That is caused, he says, partially from another beetle that benefits from the activity of the dung beetles. And then, since you’ve already got the pat flipped up, may as well look below it…

“If you don’t disturb the soil too much, you can see about a lot of pencil-sized holes beneath the pat and that’s where the tunnellers are moving manure below the soil surface.”

If you’ve enjoyed this week’s conversation on the dung beetle, listen to this podcast episode on the species: https://ranchstewards.org/podcast/

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