Follow by Email

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sunflower Farming

A sunflower producer meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, December 18, 1:00–3:00 pm at Helena in Honey Grove.

Dr. Calvin Trostle, Extension Specialist from Lubbock, will be on hand to discuss sunflower production in NE Texas. In addition, he has invited several sunflower companies to attend this meeting. We hope they will be able to attend and provide information on 2014 contracts for oil and confectionary sunflowers.

Questions? Contact

Michael R. Morrow
County Extension Agent-Ag
Lamar County
4315 Bonham St., Suite A
Paris, Texas 75460

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Blackland Prairie Grazingland Conservation Initiative Tour

Submitted by:

Matt Machacek
Grazingland Specialist
Blackland Prairie Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
4321 West Hwy. 22
Corsicana, TX 75110
Office: 903-874-5131 ext. 113
Cell: 903-257-6633

The Blackland Prairie Grazingland Conservation Initiative purpose is to provide direct technical assistance to privately owned grazingland, and conduct outreach on different topics. Some major topics include ranch profitability, sustainability, and opportunities to improve our soil and forage resources.  From time to time we work with innovative ranches to host field days with the purpose of helping local ranchers network and find different technology that might fit their operations.

I would like to invite you to our 2013 Fall Grazing Tour on November 19th in Sherman, TX.  This tour will be located on Watson Farms.  Watson Farms is a 450 acre ranch divided into many paddocks with electric fence.  Stocker cattle are grazed at high density  to improve the forage base and focused management is being used to grow more beef per acre while staying profitable. Craig Watson is certainly an innovator and he will explain his approach to ranching profitably. 

This tour is scheduled from 9:30 to 12:00 and it is open to the general public.

Friday, October 18, 2013

New Apps available for Pond Management.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Department has recently developed apps for use by producers. These apps are now available in the iTunes store for iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch, MAC, & PC. We invite you to check them out. AquaCide – $2.99

The Aquatic herbicide selection, effectiveness, and restriction guide is a tool for recreational pond managers as well as aquaculture professionals. This comprehensive visual guide helps you select the most effective herbicides for all aquatic vegetation classes, including the most common North American algae and floating, submerged, and emergent aquatic vegetation. Only herbicides that provide good or excellent control are provided for each species. AquaCide provides the environmental restrictions of all aquatically labeled herbicides, such as restrictions for human use (drinking, swimming, and fish consumption), livestock watering, irrigation (turf and crops), and other general comments pertaining to restrictions and differences in formulation.

Keywords: AquaCide, herbicide, pond management, aquaculture  AmmoniaCalc - $1.99

The un-ionized ammonia calculator is an invaluable resource for on the go aquaculture producers and managers as well as home aquarium hobbyists. Ammonia is the major end product in the breakdown of proteins in fish. Total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) is composed of toxic (un-ionized) ammonia (NH3) and nontoxic (ionized) ammonia (NH+ 4). Over time the buildup of ammonia within the fish system, combined changes in pH and temperature causes fluctuations in the concentration of toxic un-ionized ammonia. AmmoniaCalc allows the user to input simple, easily measured water chemistry measurements such as pH and temperature to instantly calculate the un-ionized ammonia concentration.

Keywords: ammonia, calculator, aquaculture, aquarium, fish, toxic, water quality  AquaPlant - $5.99

AquaPlant is designed to help pond owners and their advisors in the identification and management of aquatic vegetation. Aquatic vegetation management can be a perplexing problem. The first part of that problem is proper identification. Management of most aquatic plant species depends on properly identifying the desirable or nuisance plant. After identification of the aquatic plant is achieved with the visual index and description pages of AquaPlant, the user can then use the management section for each species to learn the correct treatment options including biological, mechanical, and herbicide controls.
Keywords: aquatic, vegetation, management, plant, identification, herbicide, grass carp
AquaRef – The aquaculture and pond manager quick reference guide is an inclusive set of tables and conversion factors for aquaculture professionals. Conversion factors range from the weight of chemical units that must be added to water to achieve particular concentrations to temperature conversion to volumetric water conversion factors to metric-English conversion for chemicals. This guide is packed full of useful  information including pond filling time, pumping rate equivalents, discharge rates from standpipes, net mesh sizes for grading fish, length/weight relationships for fish, oxygen saturation points, pounds of fish that can be hauled at temperature, egg development stages, stocking guides, fertilization rates, and much more. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s AquaRef is credited in large part to Larry Dorman with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, as he developed many of these materials for the quintessential Aquaculture Producer’s Quick Reference Handbook. Tables were reproduced with permission.
Keywords: aquaculture, pond, reference, guide, conversion, fish
PondCalc is a comprehensive tool for recreational pond users as well as aquaculture producers. One of the most common problems in pond management is over-estimation of pond size. This tool allows the user to quickly and easily calculate the surface area of any shaped pond and then calculate the number of acre feet, all without having to do any math. These calculations allow the user to determine accurate pond area and volume for the application of chemical treatments and herbicides.
Keywords: pond, area, volume, acre-feet, calculator

Look for more Apps coming soon! Upcoming releases include the Texas Pond Management app and the Texas Deer Management app!

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Bermudagrass Pest Confirmed

This post is taken directly from an Agrilife Communications news story.
By: Robert Burns
‘Stealthy’ pest damages inside of stems – not outside
Adult stem maggot fly
Photo Caption: Bermuda grass stem maggot infestation begins when the adult fly lays its eggs on a stem near a node, according to Dr. Allen Knutson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, Dallas. (Photo by Dr. Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia forage Extension specialist)

Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191,
OVERTON — The presence of a new Bermuda grass pest has been confirmed in Van Zandt County, and producers are advised to be on the lookout, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.
Unlike other insects that attack plants from the outside, the Bermuda grass stem maggot damages them from inside, according to Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, AgriLife Extension forage specialist, Overton.
“Basically, they consume material inside the stem, unlike armyworms or grasshoppers, where the damage is external,” she said.
Corriher-Olson did her graduate work in Georgia, where the pest has had a presence since 2010, and she is familiar with the damage it does. The Van Zandt field is the first confirmed instance of the pest in Texas.
She said the pest is native to southern Asia, common from Japan to Pakistan. Somehow it made its way to the U.S., where it was found in three Georgia counties.
Bermuda grass stem maggot
Bermuda grass stem larvae are yellow and less than an eighth inch long. (Photo by Dr. Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia forage Extension specialist)
“It’s relatively new to the U.S., and very little is known about its life cycle yet,” Corriher-Olson said.
“It is not yet known how damaging this insect will be in Texas,” said Dr. Allen Knutson, the AgriLife Extension entomologist at Dallas who confirmed the identity of larva found in a Van Zandt County field of irrigated Bermuda grass this summer.
What is known is infestation begins when the adult fly lays its eggs on a Bermuda grass stem near a node, Knutson said. The larvae, which grow to be about an eighth-inch long, look like a pale yellow maggot. They burrow into the Bermuda grass shoot to feed. This feeding causes the top two to three leaves to wither and die. Cutting open the stem just below these dead leaves will reveal the maggot and the brownish feeding site on the stem.
The adult flies may go unnoticed; they are small with dark eyes, Knutson said.
The early stages of an infestation may go unnoticed too, Corriher-Olson added.
“People are not going to realize they have the pest until they see the damage,” she said. “It looks similar to what you might see from a light frost. Stem tops are whitish or lighter in color than unaffected plants. Only the top parts of the shoots are damaged. The lower leaves on the shoot remain green. The leaves above the feeding site wither and die.”
To further complicate identification, the larva may have already developed into flies and left the plant before their damage is apparent, Corriher-Olson said. And there may be several generations each summer. The fly’s life cycle is usually about three weeks, but it can be as short as 12 days.
Dr. Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist, College Station, noted unconfirmed reports of the Bermuda grass stem maggot have been coming to his office since last year.
“We had a call from a producer in Waller County during 2012, which was the first one I know of,” he said. “Additionally, we have had a report of what appears to be stem maggot damage in Comanche County this year.”
The amount of yield reduction seems to depend upon growing conditions, Corriher-Olson noted.
Stem maggot damage to Bermuda grass
Photo Cutline: Damage done by the infestation begins when the adult fly lays its eggs stem nodes. The damage looks similar to what one might see from a light frost, according to Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service forage specialist, Overton.(Photo by Dr. Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia forage Extension specialist)

“Typically, damage is more likely to be found in a hay meadow, not in a grazed field, because the flies won’t have time to complete their life cycle,” she said.
Management strategies depend upon how near the hay crop is to harvest when the damage is identified, Corriher-Olson said.
“If damage is found within one week of harvest, the recommendation from Georgia is to harvest as soon as possible,” she said. “The longer they wait, the more likely the damage will spread, and there will be further reduction in yields.”
If the pest and its damage are confirmed one to three weeks after the previous harvest, the recommendation is to cut the damaged areas, bale the damaged grass, and remove it from the fields, Corriher-Olson said.
“The only threat posed by leaving the hay in the field is that it’ll compete with any attempts of the plant to regrow, therefore decreasing the yield of the next cutting. Leaving the hay in the field does not increase infestation,” she said. “It’s unlikely that the damaged areas will contribute significantly to yields during the next harvest.”
The pest can also be controlled with foliar applications of several inexpensive insecticides, Knutson said. Current recommendations are to treat after a cutting if damage levels are high.
However, economic thresholds for treatment in Texas have not yet been established, he said.
All three AgriLife Extension specialists recommend producers who suspect they have an infestation contact the AgriLife Extension agent in their county to confirm they have the pest before treating or using other control measures.
Contact information for all offices may be found at .
They may also contact Corriher-Olson at 903-834-6191,“>