Cool Season Annual Forages: To Plant or Not To Plant…Now or Later?

Cattle Grazing Winter Forages

Areas of Texas have received very little rainfall since the end of June. As we begin the month of October many of us are questioning whether to plant cool season annual forages (such as ryegrass, small grains or legumes). Many are optimistic about the wetter-than-normal winter that most likely will come because of an exceptionally strong El Nino this year. However, for many of us that hope is not enough as we look at the cost associated with planting.   Ideally we would like to plant to soil… Read More →

Toxic Plants, Nitrate Toxicity and Prussic Acid Poisoning

Carolina Horsenettle

This season has been or has become a drought year for many of us in Texas. With drought conditions come fears in regards to toxic plants, nitrate toxicity and prussic acid poisoning. TOXIC PLANTS There are numerous plants in Texas that can be toxic to livestock (cattle, horses, goats, etc.). Toxic Plants of Texas  is a great website with a list of toxic plants along with images, livestock affected and livestock signs. Always make sure your livestock have sufficient forage/feed that will meet their nutritional needs. NITRATE TOXICITY When livestock consume… Read More →

Fall Armyworms

Fall Army Worms on Boot
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Gerald Evers

With rain expected in East Texas, fall army worm infestations may develop in pastures and hayfields. Below is information on management of fall armyworm in pastures and hay and an updated list of labeled insecticides (click on “Armyworm Fact Sheet”). As always remember to read the label of all pesticides before use! Armyworm Fact Sheet                   Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson Forage Extension Specialist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Overton, TX

Winter Pasture Program August 14th

Grazing arrowleaf clover

Winter Pastures for Central and East Texas   Friday, August 14, 2015 Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center 1710 N Hwy 3053, Overton, TX 75684   Reduce hay needs and winter-feeding expenses by using winter pastures. Topics Include: Cool-season forages and variety selection Monthly and seasonal forage production potential USDA web soil survey demonstration Establishment and fertilization Grazing and utilization strategies Impact of cool-season annuals on warm-season perennials Appropriate mineral supplementation Estimated costs   Register online at: or call Extension Conference Services @ 979-845-2604   Register before… Read More →


Grasshoppers resting on a weed

There are about 150 species of grasshoppers in the state of Texas, but 90% of the damage to crops, gardens, trees, and pastures is caused by just 5 species. Grasshoppers deposit their eggs 1/2 to 2 inches below the soil surface in pod-like structures. Each egg pod consists of 20 to 120 eggs. Egg pods are very resistant to cold and can easily survive the winter if the soil is not disturbed. Grasshoppers deposit eggs in fallow fields, ditches, fencerows, and weedy areas, as well as in crop… Read More →

Bermudagrass Stem Maggot

AgriLife Logo

The bermudagrass stem maggot (Atherigona reversura), a new pest of bermudagrass forage in Texas has been reported from Jasper, Comanche, Rusk, Denton, Lee, Lavaca and Waller Counties in 2015 so far. The bermudagrass stem maggot is native to south Asia (from Japan westward to Pakistan) and was first reported in the United States in Georgia in 2010. This pest only infests bermudagrass and stargrass (Cynodon spp.). The fly (yellow with black head) lays its eggs within the stem of the bermudagrass plant. Once the egg hatches the larva,… Read More →

Bermudagrass Decline

Bermudagrass Field Suffering From Bermudagrass Decline

Bermudagrass decline is characterized by gradual thinning or outright loss of bermudagrass stands over time. Below are some of the reasons associated with bermudagrass decline: 1. Fertility: The lack of an appropriate fertility program may be the number one cause of bermudagrass decline. Nitrogen (N) is important for forage production, however, it is often the only nutrient applied. Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) are critical for forage production and persistence. Potassium (K) has been shown to be an important nutrient for forage, stolon and rhizome production. It is… Read More →

Rain, Rain Everywhere!


For the first time in a while, not a single county in Texas is in Extreme or Exceptional Drought conditions (according to the latest US Drought Monitor). All of this extra rainfall has been appreciated but has also been cursed by many crop and hay producers. So what does all this rainfall mean for our forages? Weeds have matured and multiplied due to inability to spray at appropriate times. Once fields are accessible and there is a window of opportunity be prepared to control weeds whether mechanically or… Read More →

Weed of the Week: Grassbur (field sandbur, sandbur, etc.)

SWK-04-020 Deleon0011

Grassbur is a grass weed that is very troublesome in pastures and hay meadows throughout Texas. Most grassburs are easily recognized in the mature stage of growth when the “bur” seed heads become apparent. The bur itself is actually a “capsule” that usually contains from 1 to 3 seeds. We tend to think of the grassbur species as a warm season annual plant. However, many grassburs are classified as perennials because they can survive from one year to the next. The presence of grassburs can be an indication… Read More →

The Sugarcane Aphid: A New Pest of Grain and Forage Sorghum (New Publication)

Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Entomologist from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension have just released a publication on the Sugarcane Aphid (SCA). This publication summarizes the latest information on biology, scouting, economic thresholds and insecticides for SCA control in grain and forage sorghum. We are still learning more about this new pest and this publication will be updated as new research becomes available. Website: Texas Sugarcane Aphid News Publication: SCA Management Guide