Well-managed rangelands are critical to the resilience of food production and human and environmental health. Our research will produce holistic rangeland management scenarios patterned on natural systems that profitably produce more nutritious meat and provide valuable ecosystem services.
Valuate dung insect communities and the services they provide to rangeland. Dung beetles contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to cattle operations every year, but we know very little about how to conserve these important insect communities. We will determine how pasture characteristics, grazing regimens, and ivermectin use affect dung insect communities and their function in pat removal and killing dung pests.
Adaptive multi-paddock grazing systems have system-level benefits on rangeland profitability and resilience. Moving high densities of cattle frequently, and allowing the pasture a prolonged rest, mimics grazing patterns on ancestral grasslands and prairies. We will examine how this innovative practice affects pasture quality, herd performance, pest management, pollinator health, and dung arthropod community structure. And we will tie it back to the economics of production.