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Friday, August 30, 2013

Water Education Network Now Online

A Water Education Network to help people in Texas learn the  best ways to manage the precious resource has been launched by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

The site,,  provides a “front door” for all of AgriLife Extension’s information on water conservation, water management, irrigation and water quality, which makes it easier to navigate, according to the developers.

The Water Education Network contains information useful for homes, residential and city landscapes, and agricultural and wildlife management. Water-related programs are organized in three main categories: conservation, management and irrigation, and quality. It is organized so that those topics are easy to reach either directly on the site or with search engines. The key is to get important facts and how-to information to the people as easily as possible.”

Viewers of the website can find links to water-related events, classes and trainings offered by AgriLife Extension throughout the state, and can subscribe to receive email updates.

Water conservation topics and publications on the site include: Water Conservation at Home, Youth Water Resources, Conserving Residential Water Through the 40-Gallon Challenge, Landscape Water Conservation using Earth-Kind Landscaping, Water Conservation and Technology Center, and Biological Control of Aquatic Weeds and Saltcedar.

In the water management and irrigation section, viewers will find: Stormwater Management Program, Rainwater Harvesting, The School of Irrigation, Irrigation and Agriculture, Rebuilding the Beef Herd (after Drought), and Managing Ponds and Lakes on Private Lands.

Water quality is addressed with: Protecting Texas Watersheds, Attoyac Bayou and Bacterial Source Tracking, Onsite Waste Water Treatment Systems, Texas Well Owner Network, and Animal Manure and Process Waste Water Management.

Other publications already available are: Home Water Conservation Tips and Checklist, Energy Star Appliances Overview, Home Water Quality Problems – Causes and Treatments, Rainwater Harvesting System Overview and Making a Rain Barrel.

Ranch Management University Scheduled at Texas A&M

New landowners interested in learning to manage their ranch’s resources while protecting the environment can do so during the annual Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Ranch Management University on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

The workshop is scheduled Oct. 28 through Nov. 1 at the TAMU Beef Center, 7707 Raymond Stotzer Parkway, said Dr. Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist.  “Applying fertilizer based on soil test recommendations and using pesticides in accordance with the pesticide label are important parts of protecting our environment and valuable water resources,” Redmon said.
“Ranchers are important stewards of our state’s valuable natural resources, and we want to ensure new landowners get off to a good start. We do this with the goal of optimizing economic return while at the same time protecting the environment. This helps with our additional goal of producing safe food products.”

Registration is $500 and attendance is limited to the first 50 people who enroll. Slots will go fast, so he advised those interested to not wait to get registered. To register online and for more information, go to and enter “ranch management” into the search window.
Redmon said the intensive five-day workshop is offered twice a year. This fall session will cover the fundamentals of soils and soil fertility, forage establishment, pasture management and livestock and wildlife management. Grazing management, stocking rate and body condition scoring will be highlighted, and horse and small ruminant management presentations will be conducted.

Additionally, several wildlife management topics are on the program for those interested in managing white-tailed deer, turkey, feral hogs and farm ponds. Various forage species, including Bermuda grass and other introduced forages, native forages, small grains, annual ryegrass and clovers will be studied by workshop attendees.

Approximately one-half the workshop involves lectures and discussion, Redmon said, with the remainder consisting of the field demonstrations.  “Field demonstrations will include learning how to properly calibrate a sprayer, assess body condition scores of cattle, obtain proper soil and hay samples, and to assess the fish populations in ponds,” Redmon said. There will also be a discussion regarding pond weeds and a demonstration on hog-trap design.

Time at the workshop will be allowed for interaction with Texas A&M faculty with expertise and experience in all management facets of the soil-plant-animal interface and wildlife management.
Meals and break refreshments are covered by the registration fee, along with a resource CD containing more than 100 publications covering ranch resource management.
For additional information, contact Redmon at 979-845-4826 or .

Friday, August 23, 2013



            Entries are currently being accepted for the annual Hunt County Hay Show. Many factors have affected hay production the past several years, including rainfall, and rising costs of fertilizer and fuel. What better time to take advantage of a free analysis of your hay, to find out the quality of what you have produced.
           Having an analysis of your hay sample can allow you to feed livestock much more efficiently, supplementing only what your livestock need during the winter feeding season.
            Entries are due by 5 p.m., Wednesday, September 4, for the show. We hope you are making plans to enter, and will get your samples delivered.
            Entering the show is simple. Producers must take any entries to a drop location, complete an entry form, and you are done. The Extension Office and members of the Ag and Livestock Committee will pick the samples up, have them tested for crude protein, TDN and ADF, and get them ready for the show. It is important to note that entering is free. The fee for testing is provided by the Noble Foundation, and is normally worth $15 per sample.
The following locations will accept entries: NET Farmers Co-op (both the store and fertilizer plant) in Greenville, and Huffman Farm Supply in Commerce.
            We ONLY require a feed sack full of hay to constitute an entry. Samples filling a 50 pound paper feed sack, are all we will accept. We still need plenty of hay for testing and preparing entries for the county show, so for your entry sample, you may put 2-3 blocks from a square bale or a sample from the center of a large round bale to fill the feed sack. Please do not use plastic bags, as they cause the sample to mold before the show, and could cause disqualification.
            Classes include legumes and legume (clover) grass mixes; forage sorghum, sudans, hybrid sudan, and johnson grass; bermudas; small grains and winter annuals; and other, which includes prairie, grass mixes, etc.
Hay will be judged on protein score, and acid detergent fiber (ADF). Entries will not be accepted that have injurious foreign material, hardware, or are moldy, caked, dusty, or badly weathered.
            The actual Hay Show and meal will be held on October 3, 2013 at the Fletcher Warren Civic Center in Greenville.  Hay show winners will be announced that same evening. Tickets, will be available at the drop off locations and the County Extension Office, and are $10 per person, and are required to ensure a meal at the show.
            We hope you will get your entries in for the show. Remember, there is no entry fee, and it is open to all Hunt County producers. Also, if you are worried that your hay may not be competitive, give the show a try anyway. Only blue ribbon hay will be identified as to the producer, but you may be surprised, and find you have better hay than expected. You will also take home lots of information about the quality of your hay when feeding it to livestock.
            If you would like any further information, please contact the Hunt County Extension Office at (903)455-9885, and we will be glad to discuss details of the hay show with you. Hay show rules and entry forms follow for your use.