Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weed of the Week: Johnsongrass

Weed of the Week: Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense): Johnsongrass is a warm season perennial grass that is one of the most common and troublesome weeds in agriculture. It is commonly found on roadsides, pastures and hay fields. It grows erect from 3 to 6 feet. Johnsongrass spreads by seeds and rhizomes (underground stems). The seedhead is a large, open panicle often with a purplish tint. Johnsongrass leaves have a large white midrib and a smooth, glossy appearance. Stems are smooth with no hairs.   Select Herbicide Options: Outrider (for… Read More →

Pasture Management – Just the Facts

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants combine solar energy, atmospheric CO2, and water, within green leaf tissue (chlorophyll) to produce carbohydrates. Plants use these carbohydrates as a source of energy to carry on basic metabolic processes. In short, while overly simplistic, plants can create their own food using the simple ingredients of sunlight, water, and CO2. Plants do require, however, adequate green leaf (photosynthetic tissue) in order to carry out photosynthesis. Without these four main ingredients plants cannot survive.  As managers there is not a lot we… Read More →

Timing on Weed Control is Critical

Our human nature is to find a simple, one time solution for our problems. Unfortunately, this simple, one time solution does not exist for weed control in pastures and hay meadows. There are several factors that are important when it comes to weed control. These include:   Weed Identification: We cannot make the best management decisions if we don’t even know what the plant is we are trying to eradicate. Identification will determine the timing of our herbicide application along with the herbicide we choose. There are a… Read More →

Establishing Bermudagrass

As temperatures rise we often start getting an itch to plant. When it comes to establishing bermudagrass from sprigs there are several things to keep in mind before we start tilling the soil… Location: Choose a well drained soil; bermudagrass does not do well on wet-land (except for Jiggs Bermudagrass).   Variety Selection: Match variety to soil type, average rainfall, production goals, and willingness to manage (provide fertility, etc.). Find more information on bermudagrass varieties Bermudagrass Varieties, Hybrids, and Blends for Texas.   Weed Control: Destroy existing vegetation… Read More →

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?

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 →