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 →

Weed of the Week: Silverleaf Nightshade

Weed of the Week: Silverleaf Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) Silverleaf nightshade has foliage with gray or silvery appearance, violet, light blue or white flowers, and is 1 to 3 feet tall. Stems are sparsely covered with short yellow thorns. Leaves and stems have a dense silvery covering of hair. Optimum time to spray with a herbicide is during bloom.   Select Herbicide Options: Weedmaster Duracor GrazonNext HL Grazon P+D Pasturall HL Surmount Chaparral (for bermudagrass pastures, will destroy bahiagrass) Cimarron Max (for bermudagrass pastures, will destroy bahiagrass) Pastora (for… Read More →

Herbicide Applications During Dry, Hot Months

Invasive brush can decrease forage productivity for livestock or decrease brush diversity valuable for wildlife habitat.  Most ranchers find themselves constantly considering options for brush management, weighing not only the cost and effectiveness, but also when they can find the time to complete the treatments.   As temperatures continue to climb across the state and the chances of rainfall seem to be weakening, it’s important to consider the effect this will have on any herbicide applications. Treating weeds or brush with a leaf spray application when temperatures are as… Read More →

Weed of the Week: Crabgrass

Crabgrass is a warm-season annual grass that is commonly found in pastures and hay meadows in parts of Texas. Relative to other warm-season annual grasses, crabgrass has a low- to medium-yield potential but is high in forage quality. As such, it is often a desirable component in pastures and is sometimes planted for forage in pastures. As is the case with many annual grass species, crabgrass is a prolific seed producer which enables new stands to establish in subsequent growing seasons for summer grazing. Due to its high-volume… Read More →