By Horace McQueen

Pasture specialists at Texas A & M tell us it is just too early to be spreading fertilizer on pastures and hay meadows. The ground is to cool to let warm season grasses start growing. Dr.Vanessa Corrier-Olson, at the Overton Research Center, says nighttime temperatures need to rise in order to warm the soil. Meantime, early application of expensive fertilizer may be going to weeds rather than Bermuda or Bahia grasses.

One thing farmers can do now is get a soil test. The folks at the soil testing labs say pastures should have a soil test every two or three years. But for hay meadows, hay production depletes soil nutrients a lot faster. A soil test every year makes business sense. Local fertilizer dealers can offer several blends of fertilizer that will work well. Nitrogen is the most valued component in fertilizer and adds to the quality of the forage produced. In the hay meadows, a good hay crop takes a lot of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash from the soil structure. Another limiting factor on our pastures and hay ground is agricultural lime. With so many of our East Texas soils acidic in nature, lime can raise the Ph to higher levels that make forage respond by making more growth. A soil test not only gives the producer information on future fertilizer requirements but also on ag lime needs.

How things have changed! Back in the “olden days” Texas A & M was strictly a male institution. Then, in 1963 women started enrolling and today the campus seems almost overwhelmed with the ladies. And when it comes to the FFA—what most of us called the “Future Farmers of America”—it was all male until 1969 in most states. Our state joined the parade in 1970 when the Texas FFA Association opened the doors to women. Today over one-half million young men and women proudly wear the blue and gold jackets. They are preparing for their leadership roles in future years. That’s –30—horace@valornet.com