Fertilization of Winter Pasture

Fertilization of winter pasture should be based on a soil test to maximize forage production and prevent applying more fertilizer than is needed. Nitrogen fertilization of small grain and small grain-ryegrass mixtures can be split in 2 to 4 equal applications during the growing season. Two applications are often sufficient in Central Texas with lower rainfall and heavier textured soils. Three or four applications are required on the sandy soils in East Texas because of low nutrient holding capacity and high rainfall. Phosphorus and potassium can be applied… Read More →

Bastard Cabbage – A Widespread Noxious Cool-Season Annual Weed

Bastard cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum) is a cool-season annual, multi-branched, herbaceous plant native to Eurasia that grows from one to five feet or more in height.  It has a robust taproot and dark green leaves that are lobed and wrinkled, but sometimes have a reddish cast.  Bastard cabbage typically flowers from early spring into summer, bearing clusters of small, showy yellow flowers at the tips of its branches.  Bastard cabbage can be identified by its unusually shaped two-segmented seed capsule.  The seed capsule is stalked, with a long beak… Read More →

Feeding Hay to Reduce Waste

On many farms, hay feeding losses are as high as storage losses. Some hay losses during feeding can be expected with any feeding system, but the amount of loss varies with the system used. The major objective for any feeding system should be to keep loses to a practical minimum level, thus permitting animals to consume the majority of hay offered at feeding. Feeding losses include trampling, leaf shatter, chemical and physical deterioration, fecal contamination, and refusal. Feeding in only one area can cause excessive sod destruction, usually… Read More →

Liquid Calcium: A substitute for what?

Liquid Calcium:  A substitute for what? The transportation and application costs associated with limestone applications often exceeds the cost of the limestone by 10-30 times.  When soil test recommendations call for three, four or even five tons per acre, the end cost can sometimes exceed $300 per acre.  Increasingly producers are looking toward non-traditional approaches to battle low soil pH.  Over the past several years, online ad posting have stressed the liquid calcium formulation marketed by company X or Y is many times more available than the calcium… Read More →

Weed of the Week: Broomsedge Bluestem

Broomsedge Bluestem (Andropogon virginicus L.) is a warm season perennial grass found throughout Central and East Texas. Broomsedge growth begins as temperatures consistently stay above 60 degrees F. It produces many seeds that are distributed by wind. It is a poor competitor, has poor nutritive value for livestock and low palatability. Broomsedge can quickly become the dominant species in over-grazed, low pH (< 5.5), low fertility, eroded soils where desired vegetation will not thrive. Since this plant thrives on low pH and low fertility soils, soil testing is… Read More →

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

Areas of Texas have received very little rainfall since July. 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). According to NOAA (http://climate.gov), for a majority of Texas we have an equal chance of being drier than normal or wetter than normal for October 2019- December 2019. It will rain again one day. However, for many of us that hope is not enough as we look at the cost associated with… Read More →

Hay Testing…Know What You’re Feeding

One of the first considerations when purchasing hay is that it should be based on individual animal requirements. For optimal production, forage quality should be matched as closely as possible to the nutritional needs of the animal. Low quality forage can result in reduced animal performance and increased supplemental feeding costs. Whereas hay of sufficient quality, little or no supplementation will be necessary to meet the animals’ nutritional needs. Keep in mind that not all forage or hay is created equal. There is great variation between forages and… Read More →

Planting Winter Forages

Late September-early October is the ideal time for planting cool season annual forages such as annual ryegrass, small grains (rye, wheat or oats) and/or cool season annual legumes. Anytime we are incorporating new forages into our production systems it is important to make sure to match the forage species to your location (soil type, average annual rainfall, intended use, etc). If you have questions about forages appropriate for your area contact your local county extension agent. Three methods for establishing cool-season annual grasses include planting into a prepared… Read More →

Fall Armyworms

When rain comes back to Central & East Texas, fall army worm infestations may develop (or already have) in pastures and hayfields. Below is information on management of fall armyworm in pastures and hay and a list of labeled insecticides (click on “Armyworm Fact Sheet 2019”). As always remember to read the label of all pesticides before use! Armyworm Fact Sheet 2019                   Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson Forage Extension Specialist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Overton, TX vacorriher@ag.tamu.edu

Fall-Planted Forage Mixtures for White-Tailed Deer in Texas

The options for fall-planted wildlife mixtures are many but often the random mixtures offered for sale by national retailers are not the best-adapted plants for Texas.  Warm season forage legumes, cool season forage legumes and forage oats are all great choices to include in forage mixtures for white-tailed deer in Texas.  One problem with planting mixtures of these three forages is determining the correct planting rate for each forage species so that competition is minimized and each species can be productive.   Planting rate experiments with cowpeas, oats… Read More →