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Restoring Pastures, Wildlife Management Focus of O.D. Butler Forage Field Day

15:31PM May 30, 2014

Rainfall in south Central Texas has prompted beef producers to consider renovations to pastures, which was one of several topics featured at the recent O.D. Butler Field Day held at Camp Cooley Ranch.

The annual field day is conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and in coordination with the Brazos Area Hay Producers Association. Supporting counties include Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson and Washington.

"This year we had more than 200 producers from 15 counties throughout Central Texas," said Dusty Tittle, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Brazos County. "Our focus has been forage production, whether it’s cultivar selection, fertility management, herbicide application and equipment, soil compaction, planting either sprigs or seed – pretty much all of the topics spanning forage production."

Jim Cathey, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, College Station, discussed many options available to cattle producers wanting to incorporate wildlife into their livestock operations. This program topic came about due to heightened interest from Brazos Valley producers, Tittle said.

"We’ve received quite a few phone calls on how we can capture the interests of wildlife and how they co-exist with beef cattle or livestock operations," Tittle said. "They are mutually compatible."

The program also featured Vanessa Corriher-Olson, AgriLife Extension forage specialist, Overton.

"There are a lot of things to consider when establishing Tifton 85 and Coastal Bermuda grass," she said. "When conducting seed bed preparation with plowing, you need to make it soft enough to plant sprigs, but not too soft that you lose a shoe. You want it just soft enough to be able to leave a footprint in the soil."

She also discussed weed control using pre-emergence herbicides throughout the establishment process to reduce competition through the early growth stage.

"Collecting soil samples prior to planting is also important, making sure the soil pH is appropriate and all other nutrients are needed to assure proper growth of newly established forage," Corriher-Olson said.

Paul Baumann, AgriLife Extension state weed specialist, College Station, discussed grass burr control. He said early treatment is key in combating grass burr problems in hay meadows and pastures. Prowl H20 and Pastora were two products discussed that producers can use as part of control options.

The field day included numerous pasture plots demonstrating the latest in grasshopper and weed control. An update on the Texas Beef Checkoff Referendum was given by Texas Farm Bureau representative Tracy Tomascik.

Source: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension