Extension Agent: Drought conditions continue

Sam Womble

By Sam Womble

It appears that the weather prediction was right on track for this spring. While showers have provided some much-needed relief, the long-term forecast does not look promising with the drought predicted to persist or intensify through the end of July. I've heard reports from stock tanks drying up, to producers feeding hay to others destocking and selling cattle. If you're planning on feeding hay, keep in mind a few tips:

With a dry summer forecasted, don't wait until this fall and winter to stock hay supplies.

Purchase hay based on a forage analysis. Over the past few years, a large quantity of hay has been moved to Texas that had little to no nutritive value. This causes producers to have to supplement a lot to maintain cattle in good condition.

Do your homework and know how much the bales weigh and calculate in transportation costs.

If you're considering selling cattle, prices are still holding steady. Recently, a producer sold some cull cows for $0.78 - $0.82 and some 600 pound heifer calves for more than $1.10.

When considering which cows to cull, consider reproduction and fertility traits. If you've taken care of the cow by keeping her healthy and providing adequate nutrition, then she should calve every 365 days. Cattle that have problems that limit them from being functional and raising a calf should be culled. Examples might include feet and leg problems, eye problems and udder conformation issues.

BRUSH MANAGEMENT OPTIONS

Several calls have come into the office on timing of huisache and Macartney rose applications. For huisache, a foliar treatment (spraying the leaves) works best in the fall of the year, after most plant growth has stopped.

An individual plant treatment approach can be done anytime of the year, ideally during the spring and summer growing season. Macartney rose can be treated in early spring, late summer and fall. Do not spray in late spring during flowering and fruit formation.

For a list of recommended herbicide treatment options, see Extension publication "B-1466 Chemical Weed and Brush Control - Suggestions for Rangeland." This publication along with other resources is located on the Victoria County Ag and Natural Resources website at http://agrilife.org/victoriacountyagnr

YOUTH RANGE WORKSHOP

There are still 10 registration spots for the upcoming 57th Annual Youth Range Workshop. Youth in 4-H, and 14-17 years old, can participate in a week-long workshop in Junction on the management of Texas rangeland resources and other natural resources. The workshop will be June 19-24, at the Texas Tech University Center at Junction. For more details and registration information, please contact the Victoria County Extension Office at 361-575-4581.

Sam Womble is a Victoria County extension agent-natural resources.