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Native grass program is Thursday


Aug. 9, 2011 at 3:09 a.m.

Switchgrass and other native grasses can sometimes be used for grazing and hay production. The Matagorda County Texas AgriLife Extension service will host a program Thursday on native grasses.

Native grasses have always played a role in the Crossroads' history, said Brent Batchelor, Texas AgriLife extension agent for Matagorda County.

"The interesting thing is, even during the time the first settlers came in, there was a sea of grass along the Gulf Coast," he said. "That included many varieties."

And, on Thursday, coastal residents can discover ways to use such grasses to their advantage.

The Texas AgriLife Extension Matagorda County and the Natural Resource Conservation Service will host "Going Native," a program on native grasses, Thursday at the Matagorda County Fairgrounds.

Batchelor said the organizations chose the topic because of increased interest among landowners and ranchers. High input costs related to traditional introduced grasses led many to look into other methods of production for grazing and hay meadows, he explained.

"There's pros and cons, and give and take," he said. "But, under certain circumstances, it may be more beneficial for them to establish and utilize native grasses as an option."

Native grasses can be more difficult to establish, Batchelor explained. Once established, however, they do not require as much water or fertilizer for upkeep.

Switchgrass, Indian Grass and Eastern Gammagrass are all common native varieties among coastal communities, he said.

Thursday's event topics include a history of the coastal prairie, information regarding what native grass is, pros and cons of native pasture and establishment issues, according to a news release.

Registration is $10 and begins at 6:30 p.m. the day of the program. For more information, contact the extension office at 979-245-4100.



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