Four new reports from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension offer Southwest cattlemen information on herd management, a look at what a recent donation to the Texas A&M AgriLife Research programs in Overton will mean to the livestock and other ag industries and an upcoming opportunity to learn about toxic plants in rangelands.
It’s a process that should be as basic as taking a soil test before planting seeds.
Unless a cattle producer knows the breeding soundness of his herd, he can’t predict how productive the herd will be. And not knowing can cost a lot of money in lost revenue.
Stan Bevers, AgriLife Extension economist in Vernon, who retired after 27 years in late August, discussed the importance of breeding soundness at the recent 62nd Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course in College Station.
A Managing the Beef Herd program scheduled Sept. 23 in Franklin, Texas, will feature “an elite group of experts,” who will evaluate the cattle market, winter feeding options, and pesticide laws.
Attendees also may participate in a contest to help sharpen their management skills. Prizes will be awarded to those with the highest scores. The program also will include a tour of Circle X Ranch operations at Camp Cooley.
Sometimes livestock producers mistake toxic plant poisoning with disease or parasite infections. The misdiagnosis can be costly.
A Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Toxic Range Plant workshop schedule Sept. 22 in Sonora, will offer information on toxic plant identification.
Program developers say weather patterns may affect toxic plant infestations and livestock consumption and losses.
“While many of us know the ‘usual suspects’ when it comes to toxic plants, many cases of livestock poisoning are misdiagnosed and blamed on disease or parasites,” says Pascual Hernandez, AgriLife Extension agent in Sutton County. “Our goal is to bring producers up to date on our area’s current toxic plant status.”
Topics will include Identification of toxic plants, integrated pest management strategies, and understanding the clinical signs of poisoning in livestock.
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With support from longtime benefactor Bruce McMillan Jr. Foundation, Texas A&M AgriLife Research programs in Overton will incorporate a 446-acre farm on Texas Highway 135 east of Overton into research and outreach programs. The foundation also will provide funds each year to support the expanded activities.
The Overton station works across many diverse disciplines to provide innovations to crop, livestock and urban clientele. Plant breeding has resulted in the release and licensing of numerous forage cultivars adapted to East Texas and the Coastal Plains states of the South.
Other efforts include grazing management, including nutrient cycling. Overton center researchers also study the effects of early puberty, temperament and stress on the growth, reproduction and health of tropically adapted beef cattle.