Blackberries and Dewberries

Blackberry and dewberry are closely related, but they are very different in growth habits and physical characteristics. Dewberry exhibits a low, vine-like, trailing growth habit that forms mats that are rarely taller than 2 feet above the ground. Blackberry typically has an upright rambling growth habit, which can form impenetrable thickets that are often 4 to 6 feet tall. Stems of dewberry have slender thorns and numerous red hairs, while upright blackberry stems have few to no hairs and numerous hard, broad-based thorns. Dewberry also tend to flower about… Read More →

Native Grasses for Texas

One may be surprised to learn that bermudagrass and bahiagrass are NOT native to Texas much less to the United States. There are numerous species of grasses and forbs that can be utilized for forage throughout the state of Texas. Keep in mind as we select forages we need to be mindful of our production system goals, location (soil type and rainfall), and the nutrient needs of our livestock (and/or wildlife). Many livestock producers are considering forage species and varieties that do not require as much fertilizer as… Read More →

Liquid Lime

Lime is often recommended for pastures and hay meadows in order to increase soil pH. Many forages can be sensitive to soil pH, especially acidic soils (soil pH < 7). Maintaining an appropriate soil pH can increase nutrient use efficiency, meaning plant roots have the capability to pull nutrients from the soil and use them for plant growth and persistence. For more details on soil pH and lime see previous ForageFax post: Limestone: Who, What, When, Why & How Liquid lime is a formulation of approximately 50% high… Read More →

What is Coastal, Tifton 85 and Jiggs?

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Most people think these forages are a species of their own. But they are not. They are hybrid varieties of Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon). Bermudagrass is a warm-season perennial grass that spreads mainly by rhizomes (underground stems) and stolons (horizontal aboveground stems).  The grass tolerates a wide range of soil types and soil pH values, thus making it adapted to most of the southern US.  ‘Coastal’: A hybrid between ‘Tift’ bermudagrass, a vigorous growing bermudagrass found in an old field near Tifton, Georgia, and an introduction from South Africa. … Read More →

Weed of the Week: Yellow False Indigo

Yellow False Indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) have a very wide, natural range to which they seem well adapted. It is native to the lower Midwest and Gulf states. As a group, these perennials are deer resistant, heat and humidity tolerant and drought tolerant. Height and width vary by species. It grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall by 2 to 4 feet wide with upright stems. Flower spikes are 12 to 15 inches long with large, bright yellow flowers held above bright green foliage. Most indigo species bloom… Read More →

Baleage: What is it and do I need it?

Baleage involves baling forage with 50 to 65 % moisture content, then wrapping the bales in plastic to create an air tight environment. This reduces the weather risk producers commonly face while waiting for the forage to field cure and harvest. Harvesting the forage at higher moisture levels allows for the forage to more readily retain its nutritive value and digestibility compared to conventional hay. Aerobic (free oxygen requiring) bacteria consume the oxygen remaining inside the hay within a few hours. Under these conditions, anaerobic (non-free oxygen requiring) bacteria… Read More →

Ranchers Leasing Workshop-Nacogdoches, TX

Ranchers Leasing Workshop $50 per person or $80 per couple April 9, 2019 9 am – 1 pm Nacogdoches Expo Center 3805 NW Stallings Drive Nacogdoches, TX 75964 FLYER     Focused specifically on grazing, hunting and livestock leases. Half day seminar, participants will be able to ask questions, interact with attorneys and economists. All participants receive their own copy of The Rancher’s Agricultural Leasing Handbook, which contains checklists and sample lease language.   Registration Required: https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/Ranchers     Vanessa Corriher-Olson Forage Extension Specialist Soil & Crop Sciences,… Read More →

Suns Out, Fertilizer Out?

After a cold, dreary winter we get anxious about our warm season perennial pastures and hay meadows. We start panicking about the winter weeds we see growing, the volunteer ryegrass we see growing and we start making calls to our local fertilizer retailer. Find more information about dealing with volunteer ryegrass here and dealing with winter weeds here. Now, let’s take a moment and talk about the RIGHT time to fertilize our warm season pastures/hay meadows.   First and foremost, soil test. If you have not done so… Read More →

2018 Forage Sorghum Silage Trial at Bushland

by Dr. Jourdan Bell, Jourdan.bell@ag.tamu.edu Dr. Ed Bynum, EBynum@ag.tamu.edu Dr. Ronnie Schnell, ronschnell@tamu.edu Carla Naylor, Preston Sirmon, Dr. Kevin Heflin and Katrina Horn   The 2018 Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Forage Sorghum Silage Trial consisted of 56 entries including forage sorghum, sorghum-sudangrass, sudangrass, and dual-purpose forage/grain sorghum hybrids. Two corn hybrids and two additional grain sorghum hybrids were included as checks. Of the 56 entries, 26 were brown midrib (BMR) forage sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, and 13 were brachytic hybrids. The average forage yield was 22.5 tons/acre with yields… Read More →

Warm Season Annual Forages

Believe it or not, we can actually grow some forages other than Bermudagrass and Bahiagrass in Texas! Warm season perennial grasses, such as bermudagrass and bahiagrass, make great foundations for pastures in Texas. However, there are additional forages that can be utilized for pasture or hay production in Texas. As always, when selecting forage species make sure to match species and variety to your location (soil type and average rainfall) as well as to your production system goals. For assistance in selecting a forage species and/or variety contact… Read More →