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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Weed of the Week: Curly Dock

Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) is a perennial broadleaf plant that usually grows in wet areas and is frequently associated with standing water. Leaves are alternate to one another along the stem forming a rosette. The mature plant stands erect and grows 2 to 5 feet tall. Leaves are alternate to one another along the stem. The small greenish flowers are arranged in dense clusters on elongated stems. The fruiting stem dies back in mid to late summer, and the fruits and stems turn a distinctive rusty brown. New… Read More →

Impact of Sub Freezing Temperatures on Warm-Season Perennial Grasses

Warm-season perennial grasses are the basis of pasture systems and livestock production in Texas. The most prominent warm season species are bermudagrass (seeded and hybrid) and bahiagrass. Neither of these species is native to the state of Texas but they are well adapted to Central and East Texas. Unfortunately they can be greatly impacted by cold winter temperatures. Central and East Texas have seen record temperatures along with snow and ice in mid-February. Many may be concerned about whether or not their warm season forages have survived these… Read More →

Weed of the Week: Buttercup

Buttercup (Ranunculus species): One of the many yellow flowering weeds that we fight in pastures and hay meadows. Buttercup is a winter annual that thrives in weak or thin pastures. There are several species of this winter annual. They differ mainly in leaf shape and growth, but all produce characteristic bright yellow blossoms. March to early April is the best time to kill buttercup. The goal is to spray buttercup before bloom.   Fertilizing and liming to soil test recommendations and efficient utilization of pastures or hay fields are… Read More →

Renovation

During the dormant season we often get anxious for warm weather and green pastures so we start thinking about renovation. Renovation is a practice or series of management practices which “restores the vigor” or “makes new again.” In pasture management, renovation refers to improvement of a permanent pasture by changed management. Renovation of bermudagrass pastures may be as simple as soil testing and applying proper fertilization; or, it may be as complex and intensive as destroying the existing sod, preparing a seedbed and sprigging again.   Some renovation… Read More →

On-Site Brush Pile Burning in Texas

I introduce to you a new publication…”On-Site Brush Pile Burning in Texas” written by Dr. Morgan Treadwell, Associate Professor and Range Extension Specialist and Tiffany Lashmet, Associate Professor and Agricultural Law Specialist. Brush pile burning is something that many of us do yearly to help clean up unwanted or dead plant material. Most of us may not give it enough thought beyond compiling the stack and lighting the match. This publication addresses outdoor burning regulations, time of year, smoke management, weather conditions, and more. I highly recommend reviewing… Read More →

Weed of the Week: Mayweed chamomile

Mayweed chamomile, often called dog fennel, stinking chamomile, or stinking mayweed is an annual bushy broadleaf plant that germinates in early spring. Mayweed chamomile inhabits crop fields, roadsides, pastures, hay meadows and other disturbed, unmanaged sites. Leaves are alternate to one another along the stem, are lobed to deeply divided, and nearly hairless to hairy. Mayweed chamomile can have a spreading form or be an erect plant, reaching 6 inches to 3 feet long. A distinguishing characteristic of mayweed is it’s unpleasant odor. Flowering takes place from spring… Read More →