NRCS & Partners Provide Outreach at Range & Pasture Field Day in Swisher County
story by Jeff Lewter, NRCS District Conservationist in Tulia
Approximately 40 ranchers, land managers, business professionals, and others gathered at the C & R Ranch Headquarters near Happy, Texas for the Fall Swisher County Range and Pasture Day. The field day was organized and planned by the USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the AgriLife Extension Service in Swisher County.
The field day kicked off with a producer discussion session in which the local ranchers discussed range and pasture issues they are currently facing due to the last two years of drought. Some of the concerns local pasture and range managers had included weed encroachment and the apparent loss of some of the native grasses in parts of the area due to the extreme drought.
Following the producer’s issues discussion, Clint Rollins, NRCS range management specialist in Amarillo, delivered a presentation about grazing management during drought periods, as well as the importance of proper stocking rates and protecting the grass resource base.
Jay Johnson, who is part owner and manager of C & R Land & Cattle, gave a brief overview of his family’s operation, the grazing strategies they employ on their operation, and the economic benefits they have seen as a result of timely herbicide applications on their pastures.
Wrapping up the indoor portion of the field day, Gerald Hobson, with DuPont, and Jody Stockett, with DowAgro, both discussed the economics of timely herbicide application in a pasture and range setting as well as the importance of proper weed identification and the pasture herbicides that their respective companies have to offer to pasture and range managers in the area.
In the pasture, participants were able to learn about forage inventory and forage monitoring techniques from Clint Rollins. Jay Johnson and Ronnie Johnson of C & R Land & Cattle also showed the group a comparison between pastures with and without pasture herbicide application. The attendees were able to see the dramatic difference between the two areas with the non-sprayed sites having a much higher weed population and less grass growth than those areas that were sprayed.
The Field Day, sponsored by the Tule Creek Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), DuPont Chemical, Lone Star Feeds, Dow AgroSciences, Consolidated Vet Services, and Wilbur-Ellis, allowed local producers to ask questions to pasture and range professionals on such topics as grazing management, weed control, grass management, restocking after the drought, and forage inventory techniques.
The Swisher County Range and Pasture Day was a great success. The day ended with a catered meal and a wrap-up session at the My Happy Place Café in Happy.
Clint Rollins, USDA-NRCS range management specialist, demonstrates how to complete the forage estimate worksheet.
Clint Rollins, USDA-NRCS range management specialist, discusses forage inventory techniques while NRCS employees, Jeff Lewter and Jim Crawson, demonstrate the clipping and weighing process.
Field day attendees listen as Ronnie Johnson, of C & R Land & Cattle Co, discusses weed control on land that burned during the drought of 2011.
Jody Stockett, with DowAgroSciences, discusses weed control and timing of chemical application for weed management.