Manure management: More than just spreading
By David G. Hallauer
Meadowlark District Extension Agent, Crops and soils/horticulture
Summing up manure management as simply getting rid of a waste product certainly underestimates the value of this animal end product. Manure management isn't as simple as getting a spreader and getting it distributed.
While manure is certainly a valuable fertilizer source, it is also quite variable. Different specie values are just the start of manure variability, with management from the time the animal is fed until after the product is applied affecting the final availability. Those variables make manure management from an agronomic standpoint a challenge to the point that some would rather ignore it. However, blind application without an understanding of at least some estimated nutrient values is neither cost effective, agronomically necessary, or environmentally sound.
If you have manure to apply, get the most bang for your input dollar and start by testing for nutrient value. Follow that with proper application to get the nutrients you need where you need them.
MF-2562, Estimating Manure Nutrient Availability is an excellent publication to aid your manure management decisions. It explains manure testing, book values for varying situations, and how to estimate what the value of your manure product is based upon testing. Request it from your District Extension Office.
White grubs are a major turfgrass problem for us here in northeast Kansas. Grubs are the larvae stage of scarab beetles, more commonly May beetles or June bugs and masked chafers to us. Masked chafers are the dominant species that cause us problems. Their life cycle results in a growing grub that by September and October has caused severe feeding damage on dry turf and less vigorous plants.
Damage from grubs often goes unnoticed until patches of turf start to die. That means control is key. There are two approaches to control--preventative and rescue treatments.
Preventative treatments do just that--prevent damage. That means control timing is vitally important. Contact insecticides with short residuals must be applied when grubs are smaller and more susceptible. Most products should therefore be applied August 10 to 20. One deviation from this from a preventative standpoint comes from some new chemistries with longer residual properties. These products state that they should be applied from May through August. To make sure you have adequate protection, that window narrows to mid-June through late July.
Rescue treatments fit where you can wait and see before controlling. Wait and see, however, must consist of scouting turf regularly so problems are treated appropriately. Clues include off colored turf near dark, healthy, grass, turf that appears dry/wilted, and gradually thinning turf. These areas can easily be rolled back due to weakened root systems.
Various products are available, either as rescue or preventative treatment options. Be sure to read and understand product labels and limitations before purchasing. Using a rescue treatment too early is a waste of time and money. Not applying a preventative in time is ineffective to say the least.
Check out KSRE publication MF-2635, Annual White Grubs in Turf for information.