Recently I’ve been able to travel to Georgia and study agricultural production there. They have a climate very similar to ours with as much rainfall as we typically get. Different from East Texas, there is a large variety of farming operations, in addition to raising cattle.

However in East Texas, it is apparent that we have a huge emphasis on cattle and hay production. Make no mistake, raising cattle is big business in East Texas. Indeed the number one business of private, non-industrial landowners is cattle.

As such, a large part of the Extension offices educational effort is geared to our cattlemen. This Friday in Hemphill, several county Extension agents are holding a joint county program aimed at helping cattlemen from across the region.

Dubbed the Pineywoods Cattle Congress, the day long program will be at the R&W Ranch on 8:00 am until 3:00 p.m. at Welden and Rita Elliott’s R&W Ranch, located at the dead end of Alfred Smith Drive, off of FM 1592, two miles northwest of Hemphill, in Sabine County, Texas.

Welden Elliott, the host for the Pineywoods Cattle Congress has employed a number of unique and innovative practices that will be discussed.

One of the unique things that the R&W ranch does is utilize wood ashes as a liming agent and fertilizer. While lime sometimes difficult to obtain, Elliot has turned to the use of wood ashes as an effective lime substitute. Used extensively by home gardeners as a soil enhancer, wood ashes can be applied in bulk over pastures to the same effect.

Another practice that has gotten recent attention this past year from our wet weather and local salesmen is haylage, ensiled hay or “baleage”. Most folks will simply recognize the product by the white plastic-wrapped hay bales. The economics of this will be analyzed and discussed as there is a lot of misinformation on this practice.

Dr. Vanessa Corriher, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist for Forages serving all of East Texas will be the lead speaker on wrapped hay. Despite the cost, wrapping hay can fill a certain need for cattlemen who need to harvest hay without waiting on good hay-baling weather and who will be using it in a much shorter time frame than regular hay.

Cattle handling practices will also be a major point of discussion. Dr. Ron Gill, Professor and Livestock Specialist, will discuss and demonstrate low-stress cattle handling practices. Working gentle cattle is a priority for a number of producers. The manner in which stockmen handle cattle in the pens and chute will benefit the cattle as well as the workers.

And with the care and precision needed for field applications, Darren Rozzell, of Rozell Sprayer Manufacturing of Tyler, will explain and demonstrate the ins-and-outs of using GPS guided systems for spraying, fertilizing, seeding, etc.

Various local tractor and equipment dealers will have equipment on display and will provide demonstrations in the afternoon, for those that are interested.

Individuals with Pesticide Applicator licenses with the Texas Department of Agriculture will receive three CEUs.

The Pineywoods Cattle Congress will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 8 am to 3 pm. Early registration is $20. After May 13, attendees may pay $30 at the gate, the day of the event, but are asked to provide the courtesy of a call or text to Sabine County extension office at 409-594-7400, to help plan for the program and the lunch meal.

The Pineywoods Cattle Congress, it is a non-profit, non-political, educational event organized by Extension offices in Angelina, Nacogdoches, Panola, Sabine, San Augustine and Shelby counties.

For more information contact me at 936-634-6414 x 2 or the Sabine County Extension office at 409-594- 7400.