The drought has caused a shortage of flattened, dried cow manure - or cow chips - for the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival, which attracts about 300 throwers and 40,000 spectators to Prairie du Sac, Wis...It's worth remembering that in pioneer days, dried buffalo patties served as handy fuel in woodless plains areas. Herbivore feces are no more nasty than the material you scrape out from under your rotary lawn mower; it's carnivore feces that get nasty.
The hot, dry summer - which has caused crop, water level and other problems across the nation - caused the grass to brown and cattle to stay near their barn for food and to keep cool. That means the manure in the pasture wasn't able to dry and flatten in the sun...
Instead, a few organizers went out sporadically and collected about a third of the usual amount - 200 or 300. Every year they keep the good ones that don't break - so they will dip into the 150 to 200 in reserve barrels for this year's competition...
When searching for chips, they look for them be about the size of a ping pong paddle. "If it looks like it has air bubbles on the top, it's bad chip," Reuter said. "It won't be worth it because it will be light and airy. But if it's thick and solid and grassy, it's a good chip."
30 August 2012
Cow chip deficiency strikes the Midwest