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 →

Weed of the Week: Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass is a warm-season perennial that has grazing potential. Dallisgrass is palatable and has a higher level of nutritive value than bahiagrass and some bermudagrass varieties, and it can retain its nutritive value later into the summer. Dallisgrass, however, produces a lower dry matter yield than some bermudagrass varieties. One concern with dallisgrass is the potential for an “ergot” fungus (Claviceps spp.) to infect seedheads and cause dallisgrass poisoning (also known as dallisgrass staggers). The fungus infects the seedheads typically in late summer or fall. The affected animals… Read More →

Texas A&M AgriLife Research Cool Season Clover Cultivars

Blackhawk Arrowleaf Clover is a new cultivar that was released by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Overton, TX in 2013. Blackhawk has multiple disease tolerance compared to Apache and Yuchi cultivars. Blackhawk is slightly earlier in maturity than Apache arrowleaf and is in full bloom around May 10 at Overton, TX. Test soil and follow lime and fertilizer recommendations Soil pH should be 6.0 to 6.5 Plan acreage needed (0.5 to 0.8 acre/cow + calf) Graze or hay warm season grasses to about 2-inch height before planting. Disturb sod… 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-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 →

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

Stockpiling Bermudagrass or Bahiagrass

A different winter feeding approach, other than hay, could be the use of standing or stockpiled warm season perennials (such as bermudagrass or bahiagrass). These forages are allowed to accumulate in the field for grazing during fall and early winter. Stockpiled bermudagrass can provide the required nutrition for dry, pregnant cows through January if the appropriate procedure is followed. Producers should plan on providing approximately 45 to 60 days of grazing with the dormant bermudagrass. In most instances, stockpiled bermudagrass should be used up by January. Once the… 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 →

Limestone: Who, What, When, Why & How

Who Needs Limestone: Many Texas soils are acid soils; that is, the soil pH is less than 7.0. Soil acidity is caused by various environmental, climatic, and cultural factors. The most common of these factors are: Parent material from which the soil is derived. Leaching by rainfall or irrigation that removes basic elements such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium from the soil profile leaving acidic hydrogen, aluminum, and manganese. Cultural practices such as nitrogen fertilization, removal of harvested crops and associated basic elements, and soil erosion, which results… Read More →