When it comes to grazing for cattle, Bermuda grasses are the ones we migrate to.
But when push comes to shove, lots of cattle producers, hunters and just plain folks worried about the environment wish for more choices. Not any question that our “fence row to fence row” planting of Bermuda and other imported grasses have depleted our quail and some other native wildlife.

The native grasses that once covered much of Texas are about gone in some regions of Texas. There is a renewed interest in planting bluestem and other grasses and forbs that are native.

Dr. Jim Muir, Texas A & M grassland specialist at Stephenville, says many landowners want to return their land to the original plants. Muir says “Bermuda grasses are an ecological desert in terms of wildlife and pollinators, whereas native plants support an entire ecosystem.”

He says those landowners interested in the old native plants are not that interested in producing maximum pounds of beef from the soil. They, says Muir, want plants that attract and support native wildlife, such as songbirds, deer, quail and pollinators.

Don’t get carried away with pruning your woody plants. January and February pruning works but hold off till March for crape myrtles. This is also a perfect time to apply ag lime to the lawn or garden areas if needed. Since most of our East Texas soils are highly acidic, a healthy dose of lime can work wonders.

With heavier winter coats, cattle are more susceptible to harboring lice. Cattle specialists recommend a double helping of lice control products to break the life cycle of the insect. It is recommended to wait two or three weeks between chemical applications.

When it rains it pours — according to Morton Salt Company. Here in East Texas this is also true. But getting the moisture when it’s really needed is another story.

In 2017, most of us went from too wet to too dry from month to month. We received plenty of the wet stuff over the entire year. At our farm, the rain gauge showed 55 inches in 2017. That’s all for this time!

Horace@valornet.com