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Thursday, November 10, 2011

ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE CEU OPPORTUNITY

Overton Pesticide Applicator trainings set Nov. 29 and Dec. 6

Pesticide applicators can earn 5.5 continuing education units toward
the renewal of their licenses at trainings held on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at the
Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton.

Programming is nearly identical for the two events with one exception. The November training will feature an 8:30 a.m. session titled "Critter Control Around the Home, Farm and Ranch" by a wildlife control expert. On the Dec. 6 training, the 8:30 a.m. session will be "Aquatic Weed Control in Farm and Ranch Ponds."

The rest of the programming for both events will include: Research updates on
maintaining Bermuda grass stands without commercial nitrogen; the release of a
new white clover variety by the legume breeding program at the Overton center;
an update on feral-hog control; current information on the control of Giant Salvinia in private and public lakes and ponds; recovering drought-damaged pastures; and the control of pests in home lawns and gardens.

Presenters will include AgriLife Extension and Texas AgriLife Research faculty.

Both training sessions will begin with registration from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the
Overton center's classroom. The presentations will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at
about 2:15 p.m., with an hour break for lunch at noon.

By state rules, participants may attend both the Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 sessions and
earn 11 continuing education units. Three of the units will be in the general category, one in laws and regulations, and 1.5 in integrated pest management.

Registration for either training will be $30 per person and includes lunch and
refreshments. Registration will be at the door only.

To reduce costs to participants, no credit-card payments or telephone registrations will be taken. Payments may be made either by check, money order or cash. To receive continuing education units, participants will need to present either their driver's license or a copy of their applicator's license at registration.

The Overton center is located 1 mile north of downtown Overton on State Highway
3053.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Expect Weed Growth After Drought and Wildfires

By Kay Ledbetter

COLLEGE STATION – “A weed is simply a plant growing out of place or growing in a site where it is not desired.”

Those are the thoughts of Dr. Barron Rector, Texas AgriLife Extension Service range specialist. And he said following this year’s drought, wildfires and tons of imported hay, there may be a lot more weeds for landowners to deal with, and some could be invasive species or even toxic.

Rector recently presented a webinar, “Invasive Plants of Texas Rangelands,”
as a part of the AgriLife Extension ecosystem science and management department’s Texas Range Webinar Series. This webinar, as well as others in the series, can be accessed at http://naturalresourcewebinars.tamu.edu/.

“The soundest way to control weeds is to prevent the invasion, which means we must understand the biology, limit the movement, understand the human behavior and actions that can cause the spread, and understand the pathways for its introduction,” he said.

Some “weeds” may be a desirable plant in one location and a weed in another, Rector said. For instance, native weeds serve a role of protecting the soil surface after a disturbance, reducing raindrop impact and solar radiation, and providing some organic matter on the soil surface and below ground.

These native weedy plants depend on natural disturbances, such as grazing, fires, flooding, drought, mudslides, earthquakes, volcanoes and land development to spread and reproduce, he said. However, foreign or exotic invasive plant species can survive, reproduce and advance on the same kinds of soil disturbance and human management that produces native weed and brush problems.

“Our major problem with land management today is our inability to recognize an invasive plant species and deal with it accordingly,” Rector said.

And following the recent influx of hay from other regions of the U.S. and even abroad, landowners should expect more invasive plants, he said.

Invasive species of weeds can cause economic or environmental harm due to habitat degradation, displacement of native plants threatening the reduction of wildlife food resources, alterations to the ecosystem of a region or alterations and changes to natural waterways.

“Invasive plants are those that have a tendency to spread and invade healthy landscapes ultimately causing some kind of negative impact,” Rector said.
“Invasive plants are often best defined as plants that do not stay where they are planted.”

Since 2008, portions of Texas have been in moderate to extreme drought, he said.
This has had an important impact on forage production for livestock. In response to the drought, many livestock owners have opted not to sell their herds, but to buy hay that is available.

“That hay is coming from Louisiana, Tennessee, Nevada, Florida, Nebraska, Kansas and other surrounding states,” Rector said. “Some individuals have even purchased hay from foreign countries, such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Canada.

“This sets up a potential problem because interstate commerce of hay is not regulated for the most part. There’s no one at the state line to inspect the hay for foreign and invasive plants.

Many landowners and livestock producers could be setting themselves up for weeds they’ve never seen and introduce potentially invasive plants.”

Experience with this type situation goes back to the drought of the ‘50s when hay and other feedstuffs transported from California to Texas are suspected of setting up the invasion of woolly distaff thistle, a native of Italy and the Mediterranean region, he said.

Research has shown the seed of this plant may be viable in the soil for up to 19 years, Rector said. Today, because of the aggressiveness of this plant, it now grows in 47 Texas counties.

A second example would be in the drought of 1994-2002, where hay delivered from Louisiana to Jasper County carried the first tropical soda apple to Texas, he said.

The tropical soda apple is listed 94th on the federal noxious weed list, and woolly distaff thistle is on the Texas list of noxious and invasive plants.

“We want to alert landowners who feed hay from another state that it could carry with it viable seed that could come up on their land,” Rector said.
“It’s a Catch 22. We bought the emergency hay to feed and hold on to our herds, but there is the potential that we can introduce an unwanted plant that will cost more management dollars in the future trying to get rid of it.”

He said there are 1,400 invasive species documented in the U.S. infecting an estimated 1 million acres, and that number will continue to increase 8-20 percent annually, requiring a destruction cost in U.S. estimated at $100 billion annually.

Producers need to start now learning what plants they should be on the lookout for, Rector said. If the hay was purchased from Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, producers should watch for an invasive plant called leafy spurge. If they purchased hay from Florida to Louisiana, that zone is known for the invasive tropical soda apples weed.

Other plants of concern include Canada thistle, spotted knapweed, blessed milk thistle, Russian knapweed and yellow star thistle, he said. Because of their aggressiveness, these will often be the plants that come up on the disturbed areas.

Not only will these invasive weeds keep landowners from producing valuable grass resources in the future, but they can take the place of native weeds that would have come up, such as broomweed, which provides seed that feeds birds such as quail.

Rector said there are several things a landowner needs to do now to prevent problems later.“The first thing to do is be aware of what invasive plants occur in the area you bought the hay,” he said. “Know what they look like.”

Each state has an invasive plant website or every state can be found on the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s invasive and noxious weeds list at http://plants.usda.gov/java/noxiousDriver.

“Make sure you know what they look like and then be on the lookout for them, starting in March,” Rector said. “If they are a warm-season annual, they will be germinating then.”

In general, annual weeds are treated with chemicals when the plant is 3-6 inches tall, he said. It is important to know what the plant looks like in the seedling, rosette and the early vegetative stages because that is when the chemicals and management practices are the cheapest.

“By the time most weeds are flowering and setting seed, it is too late to use a chemical to control most annual plants,” Rector said.

Once a landowner can identify the plant, they need to know the recommendations for management to reduce the impact or eliminate it from the land, he said.

Rector said landowners can go to http://essmextension.tamu.edu/plants and there is a choice of plant identification links that will help a landowner not only identify a plant, but also learn about its habitat, toxicity to livestock and management strategies.

“Try to limit the areas where you feed the hay and not spread it all over your ranch. And then make sure you continually go back and look at pastures where you fed hay in future years,” he said. “With the weather prognosis of continued drought, those seeds may sit in the soil for several years before they emerge.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pestide Licensing and CEU Training Planned

Hunt and Rockwall County Extension Offices will be hosting an upcoming event where pesticide applicator license holders may receive Continuing Education Units (CEU’s), AND persons who do not have, but need a Pesticide License can receive the training and testing necessary for that. Both events will be held on Thursday, November 17.

The training will allow those who do not currently have a pesticide applicator license to go through the class, as well as be tested by a representative of the Texas Department of Agriculture. Those persons wishing to take the licensing test should pre-register by calling the Extension Office at (903)455-9885. Private Applicator and Laws and Regulations Manuals, which are recommended study for the class, are currently available at the Extension Office for $40. In addition, there are worksheets to pickup, which must be completed before the class date. Class participants will need to bring their completed worksheet, a calculator and photo id to the class.

Registration for the training and testing for new trainees will begin at 9:45 a.m. with the training beginning at 10:00 a.m. The course will last until mid afternoon, and be directly followed by testing. There will be a $25 charge for all attending.

Current Licensed Applicators who are working towards receiving Continuing Education Units hours may also attend a training that same day, and receive 5 hours of CEU's. This training will begin with registration at 12:30 p.m. and the sessions will run from 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. Topics and speakers for this portion of the program will include:
Pesticide Applicator Laws and Regulations, Mr. Henry Krusekopf, Texas Department of Agriculture
Internal and External Parasites of Cattle, Dr. Jason Banta, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist
Forage Recovery with the Use of Herbicides, Mr. Brian Cummins, Retired Van Zandt Co. Extension Agent
Herbicide Update, Mr. Brant Mettler, DOW AgroSciences
Adjuvants and Surfactants, Mr. Steve Thurman, Adjuvants Unlimited

The 5 CEU hours will be certified as 1 Laws and Regulations, 2 General, and 2 Integrated Pest Management. Participants must have their drivers license number or pesticide license number to register. Cost is $25.

As a reminder, private applicators should check their license to determine the month and year of expiration. If you are a Private Applicator, requirements include obtaining 15 hours of CEU's every 5 years. The 15 CEU's must include two hours in Integrated Pest Management, and 2 hours in Laws and Regulations.

Also, all private license holders are required to do self certification. This is a recertification process by which applicators manage their own CEU records. This is not done by Texas AgriLife Extension or the Texas Department of Agriculture. At each training held, instructors distribute certificates of completion. These should always be kept for verification of CEU hours. Check your records, and be sure you have the appropriate number of hours to renew your license. You will receive a notice from the Texas Department of Agriculture when it is time to renew your license.

Both trainings will be held at First Baptist Church in Royse City. First Baptist is located at 900 Pullen Street. From I-30, Exit FM 548 and go south. Pass the frontage road, then take the first left. This is Pullen Street. You will see the church on your right. Parking is available on the side and rear of the church.

If you have further questions or need more details regarding either of these programs, please contact the Hunt County Extension Office at (903)455-9885, or visit us at 2217 Washington Street in Greenville.