We are only about 60 days or so away from time to plant small grains such as wheat or oats. It is not too early to start planning for it. The majority of the wheat/oats planted in Brown County is intended for livestock grazing and deer food plots. Do you know which varieties produce the most forage for grazing? Which varieties are more prone to disease problems? Which varieties will livestock and deer graze the best? What other forage plants attract deer?

We will answer these questions and more during a Wheat/Oats/Deer Plot program which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 11. The program will be conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. It will be held at the Brown County Fairgrounds located at 4206 Highway 377 South in Brownwood. The program will start at 6 p.m.

Dr. John Tomecek, Extension Wildlife Specialist from San Angelo will discuss deer food plots and forage plants to include in them.

Dr. David Drake, Extension Agronomist from San Angelo will discuss wheat/oat forage production.

This program is open to anyone interested. There will be a $10 registration fee payable at the door. Two Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be available to licensed private applicators. For more information, contact the Brown County Extension Office at 325-646-0386.

OXYGEN DEPLETION

COMMON IN STOCKED FISH PONDS

The dog days of summer are here, and a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert says landowners should watch for oxygen depletion in stock ponds.

From June to September, the air is increasingly hot and pond water temperatures climb. Oxygen depletions occur most during this time, according to AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist in Overton Dr. Billy Higginbotham.

Too many pounds of fish, weather and improper aquatic weed control contribute to the oxygen depletion.

Typical ponds can sustain 1,000 pounds of fish per surface acre through the summer months.

Smaller fish aren’t as affected as larger fish by the low oxygen levels.

The recommendation is to check ponds at daybreak when oxygen levels are at their lowest daily levels. If fish are surfacing for air, the owner should act quickly.

It’s almost as if they are gasping for air at the air-water interface. That’s a clear sign of oxygen depletion and the pond owner should act quickly to avoid a complete die-off of their fish.

According to AgriLife Today, pond owners can produce more oxygen for fish in various ways, including placing a pump in the shallow portion of the pond, controlling aquatic vegetation and investing in an aeration system.

They recommend thinning fish populations to reduce the pounds of fish the pond supports going into the mid-summer months.

Weed control efforts should be done gradually, about 15-20 percent of the vegetation at a time and a week break between treatments.

Watch very carefully as we enter these still, cloudy days, the dog days of summer. Be mindful of oxygen depletion and the possibility of losing fish populations.