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Don’t Expect To See A Fish Tube Or Salmon Cannon In Texas

Salmon attempt to leap up the fish ladder in the river Etterick

There aren’t any large fish species in Texas that would benefit from using a fish tube, but it’s needed in some areas of the U.S., even if it can be disorienting for fishes.

By Sam Peshek, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications

Salmon attempt to leap up the fish ladder in the river Etterick

Salmon attempt to leap up the fish ladder in the river Etterick on October 27, 2014 in Selkirk, Scotland.
(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Whether you call it a fish tube or a salmon cannon, don’t expect to see the apparatus that took the internet by storm in Texas any time soon.

Todd Sink, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service aquaculture specialist and associate professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, said there is currently no need for the projectile system in Texas that was depicted in a viral tweet, as it was developed specifically for salmonids to help them overcome manmade barriers to their migration along the Pacific coast.

“We don’t have any native salmonids in Texas nor any large fish species that as a whole species or population are dramatically impacted by manmade migratory obstructions,” Sink said. “There may be an argument for paddlefish or sturgeon, but this technology would have to become mega-sized for these species.”

The footage used in the viral tweet originated from Cheddar, which documented the work from the tube’s creators, bioengineering company Whooshh Innovations. The tweet launched thousands of memes into existence in a matter of days, like an edit that swapped out the music with sounds from Mario, but it’s no laughing matter for those tasked with the health and survival of fish populations. Washington State wildlife specialists told “Popular Mechanics” the apparatus has helped salmon overcome manmade obstacles along their migratory patterns for years.

Amid all the conversations about tubes and cannons and the think pieces it spawned in media outlets like WIRED and The New Yorker, some social media users raised an important question: what happens to the fish at the other side of the tube?

Sink, a fish physiologist by training, said the salmon cannon would cause momentary disorientation and may elicit an acute stress response, including increased cortisol secretion, leading to decreased plasma glucose concentrations, disrupted blood ion regulation and suppressed immune response.

“This all sounds terrible, but it is all part of the natural stress response that keeps an animal safe in response to a stressful stimulus,” Sink said. “In reality it is no different than a student that gets stressed before taking a pop-quiz. Upon hearing of the pop-quiz, a student would experience a short-term stress response including increased cortisol secretion, leading to decreased plasma glucose concentrations, and suppressed immune response.”

Tubes and cannons may seem over-the-top to the casual observer of fish projectile systems, but for Sink, it’s an action that needs to be taken in order to help species overcome the obstacles put in place by humans and survive.

“Fishery scientists are always looking for ways to protect, conserve and restore native fish populations in the face of growing human populations, water needs and urbanization, and do it in a manner that causes the least amount of discomfort to the fish,” Sink said. “For now the fish cannon may represent the best way to conserve this population of salmon even though it may cause temporary, minor discomfort to the fish.”

This article by Sam Peshek originally appeared in Texas A&M Today.

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Urban Stream Processes and Restoration program set for Sept. 19 in McKinney

An urban stream processes and restoration workshop will be held Sept. 19 in McKinney. (Texas Water Resources Institute photo by Ed Rhodes)

MCKINNEY – The Urban Riparian and Stream Restoration Program of the Texas Water Resources Institute will host an Urban Stream Processes and Restoration Training from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 19 in McKinney for professionals interested in conducting stream restoration projects in and around the Dallas area.

The morning session will be at The Mill at East McKinney, 407 E. Louisiana St. The afternoon session will be outdoors along Old Settler’s Creek, where participants will learn stream surveying techniques.

Attendees are encouraged to register early as the workshop is limited to 40 people. Registration cost is $50 and includes all training materials, lunch and a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Attendees must register by Sept. 16 to Clare Entwistle, research associate at the institute’s San Antonio office, at 210-277-0292, ext. 205, or clare.entwistle@ag.tamu.edu or online at Texas A&M Marketplace.

Fouad Jaber, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program specialist in Dallas, said riparian and stream degradation is a major threat to water quality, in-stream habitat, terrestrial wildlife, aquatic species and overall stream health.

“Proper management, protection and restoration of these riparian areas will improve water quality, lower in-stream temperatures, improve aquatic habitat and ultimately improve macrobenthos and fish community integrity,” he said.

Jaber said the goal of the workshop is for participants to better understand urban stream functions and impacts of development on urban streams.

“Attendees will also learn to recognize healthy versus degraded stream systems, assess and classify a stream using the Bank Erosion Hazard Index, and comprehend differences between natural and traditional restoration techniques,” he said.

Workshop presentations will be given by representatives of the Texas Water Resources Institute, the Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas Community Watershed Partnership and the Houston Advanced Research Center.

Entwistle said the institute is able to offer the workshop at a reduced cost thanks to program funding provided through a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Entwistle said participants will receive a certificate of completion and appropriate continuing education unit certificates at the conclusion of the training. The workshop offers many types of continuing education units, and more credits are in the process of being added.

Foresters and professional loggers can receive six hours from the Society of American Foresters. It offers one unit from the Texas Water Resources Institute, seven hours for Certified Crop Advisors, and six hours for Texas Nutrient Management Planning specialists. The program may also be used for continuing education units for professional engineers.

Participants should check with their local Master Naturalist and Master Gardener chapters to see if the workshop is approved for their area.

For more information, contact Entwistle or go on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasRiparianAssociation.

The urban riparian stream education program is managed by the Texas Water Resources Institute, part of AgriLife Research, AgriLife Extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

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Online tool available for South Plain farmers facing farm bill decisions

Lubbock and Seminole meetings slated Aug. 28

 

Lubbock — South Plains farmers will soon be making another farm bill decision, and the Texas A&M Agricultural Food Policy Center has developed an online tool to assist producers in their decision-making process.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has arranged two meetings for Aug. 28 to explain how to use the online tool. Joe Outlaw, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist and co-director of AFPC, College Station, will be speaking at both meetings. 

There is no registration or fee for either meeting. For additional information, call Jackie Smith, AgriLife Extension economist in Lubbock, at 806-746-6101.

The first meeting will be at 9 a.m. in Seminole at the Gaines County Civic Building, 405 NW. 5th St. The second meeting will be at 2 p.m. in Lubbock at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center auditorium. The center is located north of the airport at 1102 E. Farm to Market Road 1294.

AgriLife Extension specialists also wanted to remind farmers that they still have time to go to their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and sign up for FSA services, if they have not yet done so.

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Texas A&M AgriLife sorghum breeding program finds new West Texas home

AMARILLO – The longtime tradition of Texas A&M AgriLife having a sorghum breeding program in West Texas will continue, just in a new location, said Bill Rooney, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research sorghum breeder, College Station.

Bill Rooney, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Research sorghum breeder in College Station, is establishing a component of his program in the Panhandle area. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Rooney, also the Borlaug-Monsanto Chair for Plant Breeding and International Crop Improvement in the Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, said production issues prompted the movement of select sorghum breeding activities from near Lubbock to Bushland in the Panhandle.

“We will continue to maintain a presence of sorghum improvement in West Texas,” he said. “There’s been at least one sorghum breeder in Chillicothe or Lubbock or West Texas since the early 20th century.”

West Texas is distinctly different from South and Central Texas, Rooney said. And with the sorghum seed industry in the Texas Panhandle, it is important for Texas A&M materials to be characterized for that environment for the seed to be licensed and used there.

“Hybrid seed production is primarily in West Texas, from Lubbock to Dalhart,” he said. “If the parent lines don’t flower at the right time, they will not be useful to commercial seed producers.”

Rooney said the West Texas region, which includes the High Plains, Rolling Plains and South Plains areas, has played a historical role in the development of grain sorghum.

Roy Quinby, who retired about 1960 as director of the AgriLife Research Chillicothe Station, and U.S. Department of Agriculture geneticist Joe Stephens found a sterility system in sorghum, which led to the first commercial-scale production of grain sorghum hybrids in the early 1950s.

Darrell Rosenow, Ph.D., who spent 40 years as the sorghum breeder at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Lubbock, led the cooperative sorghum conversion program initiated in 1963 with USDA-ARS in Puerto Rico. This program converted tall, late-maturing exotic sorghums to earlier-maturing lines, which produced well in temperate climates and could be harvested by combines.

Rosenow worked alongside Gary Peterson, Ph.D., AgriLife Research grain sorghum breeder and geneticist who retired last year after almost 30 years in the program.

“For us to maintain a presence of sorghum improvement, we created a research associate position for that area of the state who will be hired soon and will be supervised in part by Dr. Jourdan Bell, AgriLife Extension’s agronomist there in Amarillo, and myself,” he said.

Rooney said the program will continue to work toward tolerance for sugarcane aphids in sorghum in West Texas. Another area of research will focus on the development of specialty hybrids with unique grain characteristics, such as color and waxy endosperm sorghums for improved ethanol fermentation.

“We will also be working with Dr. Bell to continue improvement on forage sorghums that are important to the livestock industry in that area,” he said.

The Bushland Forage Sorghum Plot Tour, where all the forage and sorghum work at Bushland can be viewed, will be Sept. 4.

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Master Gardeners from throughout South, Central Texas receive advanced vegetable gardening training

SAN ANTONIO – More than 30 Master Gardeners from 19 counties recently came to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office for Bexar County to participate in the Master Gardener Advanced Training in Vegetable Gardening.

Texas Master Gardeners receiving advanced classroom training on vegetables. (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Paul Schattenberg)

“This three-day training is an intensive training to empower Master Gardeners throughout the state with the knowledge and skills required to effectively support AgriLife Extension’s horticultural efforts and Earth-Kind educational programming,” said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture, Bexar County.

Earth-Kind gardening is a combination of modern and traditional practices that focus on lower water use and reduced application of chemicals.

Classroom instruction was provided at the agency’s office in San Antonio. Presenters were Rodriguez; Larry Stein, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde; Jerry Parsons, Ph.D., retired AgriLife Extension horticulturist, San Antonio; and Russ Wallace, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Lubbock. Additional instruction was provided by Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist for Bexar County, and Master Gardeners with expertise or certification in vegetable gardening.

Classroom topics included site selection, soil testing, fertilization, weed management, mulching,  growing specific vegetables, garden pests, cool- versus warm-weather crops, common vegetable diseases and proper garden irrigation.

Master Gardeners touring the Culinary Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. (Photo courtesy of Lou Kellogg)

“What I enjoy about the training is that it emphasizes the proper tools and techniques for vegetable gardening as well as the right vegetables to plant and how to maintain them,” said attendee Lou Kellogg, a Bexar County Master Gardener. “It’s a very comprehensive look at a variety of vegetables and what is needed to grow them successfully.”

The final day of training included a tour of the Culinary Garden at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, where attendees received additional tips on growing vegetables.

Bexar County and nearby area Master Gardeners also visited the Children’s Vegetable Garden, a collaborative project of AgriLife Extension, the Master Gardeners association and the botanical garden.

“Probably the most important aspect of this training is that each Master Gardener will go back to his or her county and share the knowledge they have gathered here with others in their community,” Rodriguez said. “It’s great that the Master Gardeners themselves are getting to know more about advanced vegetable gardening, but the real benefit of this training is that they can teach others how to be better gardeners and harvest better vegetables.”

Rodriguez said this and other Master Gardener trainings on various horticultural topics are conducted in San Antonio and other locations statewide throughout the year.

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Young to take North Texas 4-H specialist position

Denita Young
Denita Young

Denita Young (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

DALLAS — Denita Young will become the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s new program specialist for 4-H Youth Development in the agency’s District 4 beginning Oct. 1. 

The district encompasses 22 North Texas counties, including Dallas and Tarrant. Young’s duties will include overseeing multidisciplinary youth development programming in health, science, technology, agriculture and civic engagement.

Young is now the agency’s Family & Community Health agent for Rains County, located within District 4. She has served the county in this capacity for about 12 years. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Denita into this position with 4-H Youth Devel

opment,” said Courtney Dodd, AgriLife Extension assistant director for Texas 4-H. “She has been quite impactful in her role with FCH, and we look forward to great things down the road.” 

During her time with Family & Community Health, Young developed more than 350 news articles and 120 educational resources on nutrition, preventive health, consumer sciences and wellness. She secured more than $350,000 in grants and in-kind extension programming support, and she received 18 state and national awards for her service. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to transition into this next phase of my career with 4-H, and I’m eager to get started,” Young said.  

The Texas native holds a master’s degree in educational administration and a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies, both from Texas A&M University-Commerce. 

Before joining AgriLife Extension, Young was a high school and elementary school teacher for eight years. 

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46th annual AgriLife Research Sheep and Goat Field Day, AgriLife Extension Texas Sheep and Goat Expo held in San Angelo

Molly Walker, wife of center director Dr. John Walker, unveiled the center’s sheep statue during the field day. (AgriLife Extension photo by Blair Fannin)

SAN ANGELO —  The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in San Angelo held their annual sheep and goat events over the weekend, attracting over 300 participants. 

Sheep and Goat Field Day

The morning of Aug. 16, the 46th Sheep and Goat Field Day was held at the center. Attendees toured the center and listened to Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialists discussing their work related to small ruminants being done at the center. 

“The field day was a great success,  and attendees learned about several active research projects – from new genomics tools for on-farm testing to improve sheep genetics, to using fire and goats to control brush,” said John Walker, Ph.D., AgriLife Research and Extension Center director, San Angelo.

“Highlights of the field day were the official unveiling of Miss TAM‘Ewe’niversity, the latest addition to the San Angelo collection of sheep statues and the presentation of the Fred T. Earwood award to Dr. Jake Landers, retired extension range specialist,” he said.

Texas Sheep and Goat Expo

The Texas Sheep and Goat Expo kicked off Friday afternoon at the Spur Arena. Industry experts from Texas A&M University and other organizations presented a wide range of topics related to the industry. Educational sessions on Friday included a sheep and goat carcass evaluation; health and management; integrative crop and livestock systems; business and marketing; and wildlife management.

The Expo is the country’s largest event of its kind, attracting participants from across the U.S. and countries as far away as Australia.

“The success of the 2019 Texas Sheep and Goat Expo can be attributed to the diversity of presentations and speakers,” said Robert Pritz, AgriLife Extension regional program leader and event organizer, San Angelo.

“One highlight of the event was the carcass evaluation session, with the objective of showing sheep and goat producers the important processes involved when taking a live animal to the retail counter for consumers,” he said. “The event is always heralded for its hands-on approach to topics with information being shared from both industry professionals as well as respected sheep and goat producers from across the country.”

Industry experts, sessions and sale

Keynote speakers for the event were John Nielsen-Gammon, Ph.D., Texas A&M University Regents professor of atmospheric science, Texas State Climatologist and Director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies, College Station; Greg Ahart, vice president of sales, Superior Farms, Sacramento, California; and Benny Cox, American Sheep Industry Association president, Producers Livestock Auction sales manager, San Angelo. 

Saturday’s sessions were topic-centered with participants choosing sessions related to hair sheep, wool sheep, club lambs, angora goats or meat goats. The expo also included a day-long hands-on course for kids and a sale. 

“Consignments to the 2019 Texas Performance Ram Sale had a good range of estimated breeding values, or EBVs, for growth, parasite resistance and reproductive traits,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist, San Angelo. “Buyers were eager to use EBVs in their ram selection decisions. Ram consignors were rewarded with a 20% premium for rams with excellent reproductive EBVs. Buyers tended to be quite interested in parasite resistance EBVs, especially after the most recent wet spring that brought on severe parasite infections across the state.”

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Texas Crop and Weather Report – Aug. 20, 2019

The KBDI attempts to measure the amount of precipitation needed to bring the top eight inches of soil back to saturation. Zero represents complete soil saturation, or no moisture deficiency, and 800 means it would take eight inches of precipitation to fully saturate the soil. Wildfire intensity begins to increase significantly after 400. Burn bans are routinely instituted in the 600-700 range. (Texas A&M Forest Service graphic)

Texas weather swings from extreme to extreme 

COLLEGE STATION – Weather went from extremely wet to extremely hot and dry across most of Texas, according to the Texas State Climatologist.

John Nielsen-Gammon, Ph.D., College Station, said the weather turned from record-breaking rainfall in the spring to being among the driest and hottest summers on record. The jet stream migrated north, away from Texas, and tropical thunderstorms didn’t deliver in the summer months either, as temperatures continued a 1-2 degrees warmer long-term trend. 

“A lot of the state picked up rain in June, after a very wet spring,” he said. “But then it started getting dry.”

A large swath of the state from the Lower Rio Grande Valley to Midland and Lubbock, the Hill Country up Interstate 35 to Dallas and much of East Texas has received less than 1 inch of rain since July 1, he said.

Some parts of the state, including around Beaumont and parts of the Panhandle, remained relatively wet, but Nielsen-Gammon said those areas are scattered.

“The monsoon season in West Texas was below normal with some parts receiving 2-3 inches, but it was spotty,” he said.

The state averaged 1.9 inches of rain total in July and August so far, which would make 2019 the third driest period behind 2000 and 2011 if no further rain fell, he said.

Nielsen-Gammon said the lack of moisture has allowed temperatures to climb.

“It’s been warm too,” he said. “The average temperature for the first 18 days of August has been the hottest on record for much of West Texas and some coastal areas. Temperatures have been in the top five hottest everywhere else except north central and northeast Texas.”

Nielsen-Gammon said 95 record high temperatures had been set, and 88 high temperature records had been tied at reporting stations around the state in August.

The drought monitor shows 22% of the state is in drought and 45% of Texas is abnormally dry, he said.

Texas A&M Forest Service Outdoor Burn Ban monitor showed 132 of 254 counties were prohibiting fires of any kind as of Aug. 20. The agency’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index, which measures drought and fire potential, has continued to climb around the state.

Nielsen-Gammon said some areas, including the Panhandle and parts of southwest Texas, have “opportunities for rain” in the near-future, but that he expects neutral weather conditions to persist into the fall.

“There are no indications of an El Niño or La Niña pattern, so it will be a flip of the coin on weather,” he said. “It shouldn’t be exceptionally dry or exceptionally wet.”

AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries: 

The 12 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Districts

CENTRAL: Rains gave rangelands and pastures a drink but not enough, and hay feeding ramped up. It was a good year for hay production and producers were still cutting and baling. Extremely hot temperatures were reported, and all counties needed moisture. Livestock were in good condition. Crop harvests were nearly complete with above average yields in some areas. Harvest of corn and grain sorghum continued. Livestock conditions were declining due to heat and drought. Water tanks were filled during the wet spring, so water was not a problem. However, pastures dried down significantly, and the blackland soils were cracking everywhere. Producers needed some moisture to plow up small grain seedbeds in preparation to plant. Nearly all counties reported short soil moisture levels. Overall rangeland, pasture and crop conditions were fair in nearly all counties.

ROLLING PLAINS: The district experienced another hot and windy week with a few areas receiving much-needed rain. Cotton fields were blooming. Pastures and rangelands needed moisture with conditions ranging from poor to good. Several wildfires were reported. 

COASTAL BEND: Most areas reported hot and humid weather with no rain. Colorado County reported scattered showers. Soil moisture levels continued to decline. Burn bans were in effect in many areas. Corn, cotton and rice harvests were in full swing, though many cotton acres remained. Several farmers were waiting to harvest a rice ratoon crop. Average to above average yields were reported with most crops. Soybean harvest began, but quality losses were likely due to a lack of rainfall in the last 30-plus days. Growers were also busy with post-harvest fieldwork. Rangelands and pastures were extremely dry and continued to decline in quality and quantity. Some grazed pastures were running short, but livestock were still in good condition. Many producers started supplemental feeding with some just utilizing protein, while others started feeding hay. Some producers sold off some cattle, but a recent price drop may cause others to wait and see if the market rebounds.

EAST: The lack of rain and extreme heat caused a rapid decline in pastures, hay meadows and vegetable crops across most of the district. Pasture and rangeland conditions were fair. Subsoil was adequate, while topsoil conditions were short. Livestock conditions were fair to good. Anderson County reported cattle were in good condition with producers supplementing protein. Cattle market prices took a big dip from previous weeks. Armyworms and Bermuda grass stem maggots were reported. Cherokee County reported that Bermuda grass stem maggots had been a bigger problem than normal. Wild pigs continued to cause damage. 

SOUTH PLAINS: Dry conditions continued. The cotton crop needed rainfall as plants were flowering in many areas. Cotton farmers were starting to pull back on irrigation to allow plants to finish maturing. Other producers were continuing to irrigate to keep up with the heat. Producers also continued to keep an eye on the insects beginning to show on crops. Pumpkins were emerging. Beef cattle were in good condition because of the spring and early summer rains on grazing lands, but pastures were getting very short. 

PANHANDLE: Temperatures were in the triple digits across the district. The heat stressed crops, rangeland and livestock. Corn and cotton were in fair condition across the district. Corn, sorghum and cotton were three to four weeks behind in the northern panhandle. Subsoil and topsoil were short across the district. Rangelands and livestock were in poor condition due to the continued heat.

NORTH: A few counties reported adequate soil moisture, but most reported short to very short conditions. Temperatures were around 100 degrees with winds 5-10 mph. Rain showers were spotty with up to 2 inches in some locations, and no rain in the forecast. Soils were cracking. Pastures were in decent shape but were starting to show signs of heat stress. Some tanks were beginning to shrink. Hay harvest continued. Wild pig activity was light. Armyworms were showing up in fields. 

FAR WEST: Average high temperatures were in the 100s with lows in the mid-70s. Scattered showers delivered up to 0.5 to 1 inch of rain. High winds and dry conditions were contributing to poor cotton crop conditions with reports of fields wilting in eastern parts of the district. Upland cotton in northwest areas were doing well. Minimal pest pressures were reported, though the district had seen an outbreak of stink bugs and some boll worms. Stink bugs damaged some younger bolls, mainly in Upland cotton, and not so much in Pima cotton. Some cow/calf producers were expecting to ship cattle within the next two weeks. Hay producers continued to make hay under ideal conditions. Pecan weevil traps were placed and tracked in preparation to spray. There was a high alert for fire danger due to heavy spring and early summer growth now turning to fuel. More than 8,000 acres has burned in the district so far. Producers continued to feed livestock and wildlife. Dove season was around the corner.

WEST CENTRAL: Very hot and dry conditions continued to persist. Forage and hay crops were stressed by drought. Fire conditions continued to increase. Cotton was in mostly fair condition. Grain sorghum harvest was underway. Sugarcane aphids continued to be an issue in isolated areas. Stock tank levels continued to decline but were not critical yet. Sheep and goat markets were steady, but the cattle market was down.

SOUTHEAST: Brazos County reported very high temperatures. Conditions were dry, and burn bans were being implemented or considered. Livestock were in good condition despite the dry conditions. Rangeland and pasture ratings were excellent to very poor, with fair being most common. Soil moisture levels ranged from adequate to very short, with short being most common.

SOUTHWEST: Some areas received rain, but not nearly enough to help drought-stricken counties. Temperatures were mostly in the upper 90s and exceeded 100 degrees. Conditions were drying very rapidly. Some wildfires were reported, and anthrax continued to be a concern for some counties. Rangeland and pasture conditions were declining. Many stock tanks were reaching critical levels, and streams and creeks were very low to dry. Corn harvest was complete or nearing the end for most producers.

SOUTH:  Conditions were hot and dry with short to very short soil moisture levels. Some counties were experiencing severe drought conditions. Temperatures were over 100 degrees in most areas. Dimmit County reported a high temperature of 112 degrees. Cotton and peanuts were progressing quickly with the warmer temperatures. Peanut fields were setting pods and were under irrigation. Cotton bolls were opening while producers in other areas were defoliating or had completed harvest. Cotton harvest continued in Jim Wells County with fair to average yield reports. Rangeland and pasture conditions were deteriorating rapidly. Pastures were browning, and some producers started feeding hay. Some producers began to cull herds or move them to other pastures. Watermelon and cantaloupe harvests were almost complete. Coastal Bermuda grass fields were producing good hay bales. Producers reported supplemental feeding of livestock was underway in some parts. Corn harvest was active and neared completion in some areas. Pecans made good progress with no insect pressures reported. Deer breeders were providing supplemental feed. Some ranchers were providing water for livestock and wildlife. 

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Ag and Wildlife Symposium Sept. 6 in Lampasas

LAMPASAS – Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, in conjunction with the Hill Country Soil and Water Conservation District and U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, will host an Ag and Wildlife Symposium on Sept. 6 in Lampasas. 

This symposium will offer local landowners and land managers an opportunity to hear about conservation management practices essential to their farming, ranching and wildlife operations.

The event is free and includes a catered barbecue lunch. The workshop will be held at the Grace Fellowship Church, 2974 U.S. Highway 281. Preregistration is required by Sept. 2.  

Landowners conducting soil and water conservation and vegetation management operations to improve rangeland productivity, aesthetics and wildlife habitat can benefit from the program, said Tom Casbeer, Hill Country Soil and Water Conservation District chairman

“Hill Country SWCD serves both Burnet and Lampasas counties and works to increase the understanding of the needs of soil and water conservation,” Casbeer said. “In addition, we work to enhance the efforts of public and private organizations and agencies into a united front to improve soil and water conservation and to enhance water quality and quantity at the local level. We encourage everyone to take advantage of this unique opportunity.”

The program will also offer information from experts regarding funding incentives and technical support provided to area landowners.

“Attendees will also hear information about local natural resource programs that offer technical and financial incentives that are available to landowners that implement conservation practices for landowners,” said Lee Gernentz, Hill Country Soil and Water Conservation District technician. “In addition, participants will also hear an update about new products and control methods for wild pig populations.”

Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education credits will be offered for non-commercial pesticide applicator license holders – one integrated pest management and four general.

For more information and to register, go to www.lampasasriver.org or call Gernentz at 512-556-5572, Ext. 3. 

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East Texas Forage Conference Sept. 6 in Gilmer

GILMER – The annual East Texas Forage Conference will give livestock and hay producers a wide range of information to help them maximize their pastures’ potential. 

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service program is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Upshur Rural Electric Co-Op, 1200 W. Tyler St. in Gilmer.

Forage management, pest and weed control and testing for quality will be a few of many topics covered at the East Texas Forage Conference in Gilmer Sept. 6. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Cost is $15 per person until Aug. 30 and $25 thereafter. Lunch is provided. To register, call the AgriLife Extension office in Upshur County at 903-843-4019.

Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education credits – two general, one laws and regulations – will be available for licensed pesticide applicators.

Topics and speakers include:

  Sprayer calibration and armyworm control, Darren Rozell, owner Rozell Sprayer Manufacturing Co., Tyler.

  Pasture herbicide updates, Clint Perkins, AgriLife Extension agent, Smith County.

  Winter forages and winter weed control, Jason Banta, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Overton.

  Feral hogs, Hank Hayes, D.V.M., Texas Animal Health Commission region director, Sulphur Springs.

  Electronic animal identification, Hayes.

  Importance of forage testing and supplements, Banta.

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