- Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, email@example.com
FRANKLIN – There was forage – and lots of it – showcased at the recent O.D. Butler Field Day held at Camp Cooley Ranch in Franklin.
Hundreds of Brazos Valley beef cattle producers attended the field day to learn more about controlling weeds to boost forage yields, and viewed the latest in hay harvesting equipment.
The field day was hosted by Circle X Land and Cattle Co. and sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Brazos Area Hay Producers Association.
After the noon meal, a speaker panel featured area hay producers. One important topic discussed was feral hog control and repairing damage to hay fields.
“We disc, repair and replant,” said Chris Duewall, Circle X Land Cattle Co. operations manager. “The biggest challenge is keeping the weeds out. We typically disc, get the ground smooth and sometimes have to haul in soil with a dump truck if the hogs have really rooted deep in areas.”
Ervin Homman, a Robertson County hay producer, said when customers come looking to purchase hay, they are looking for good quality hay at a fair price.
“Most importantly, they are looking at quality,” he said. “If they can afford it, they will pay to get quality. We make sure customers are getting a good price for their hay as well as quality.”
Homman said one thing to keep in mind is if the price is cheap, “you better examine it.”
Experts on the panel advised producers to get their hay tested so they know what the protein content is.
Storage was another topic discussed. Experts on the panel recommended storing hay in a barn.
“We store about a year’s worth of hay in a three-sided barn with the front open,” Duewall said. “This allows air to get through it. We also believe in testing both our soil and hay so we know exactly what we are feeding. We raise a lot of heifers and we need to know the exact nutrition to feed them.”
Earlier in the day, Dr. Paul Baumann, AgriLife Extension state weed specialist in College Station, presented a 26-year review of demonstration work at the Butler field day. Baumann, who was presenting at his final field day event before retiring June 1 after 26 years with AgriLife Extension, highlighted 15 major Texas A&M AgriLife Research and AgriLife Extension works done in the area affecting regional forage producers.
“For one, you can’t fertilize your way out of a weed problem,” Baumann said. “There’s a lot of benefit to killing weeds and following up with a good fertilization program. The take-home is that those weeds are picking your pocket. They are taking away moisture you wish you had when it comes July or August.”
Baumann also highlighted work done in controlling Bahia grass in pasture. Use of Ally or Cimarron herbicides have provided good results followed by fertilization to encourage coastal Bermuda grass to come back in areas “when you’ve been wiped out by Bahia grass.”
The war on grassbur was also discussed. Baumann said initial research used Roundup, but the herbicide also caused Bermuda grass injury. The most effective herbicide treatment found through several studies is Pastora. He recommended 2.5 ounces to 100 gallons of water with spot applications.