The arrival of spring in South Dakota means warmer weather and more outdoor activities. However, it also brings an increase in tick activity.
With much of South Dakota continuing to experience moderate-to-extreme drought conditions, black grass bugs could become a concern in some areas. Large populations of black grass bugs can cause severe damage to pasture.
Insects, in general, may offer more indication of rangeland health than any other type of organism. They serve as key building blocks that other organisms depend on.
Cover crops have been gaining a reemerging acceptance over the last decade, with very few producers disagreeing about the potential soil health benefits of adding cover crops to their farming operation.
Along with being irritants to livestock, horn flies, face flies and stable flies are economically important to producers due to their negative impacts on milk production and calf weaning weights.
As South Dakota emerges from the wettest 12-month period in 124 years of climate recordkeeping (June 2018-May 2019), June has started warmer and drier than average. The outlook, however, turns towards cooler and wetter than average again for the middle of the month.
We often receive reports of large ant mounds in a pastures and rangeland. These mounds are the creation of thatching ants, which are common in South Dakota. Although these mounds are often considered a nuisance, the ants may play an important role as predators of potential pest insects.
As we progress later into the summer, we commonly see an increase in horse fly activity.
In South Dakota, dung beetles help regulate rangeland health through dung dispersal.