Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host the Big Country Beef Conference on Aug. 22 at the Taylor County Expo Center in the Big Country Hall, 1700 Texas Highway 36, Abilene.

The event will run from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., with registration and coffee starting at 7:30 a.m. Call the AgriLife Extension office of Taylor County at 325-672-6048 to register. The cost is $15 if registered before Aug. 15, or $20 at the door. Lunch is included.

Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units will be offered; one in integrated pest management, one in laws and regulations, and one general.

“This is a broad-ranging cattle conference covering a variety of topics,” said Cody Hill, AgriLife Extension agent for Taylor County. “We’ll have experts covering the timeliest topics relevant to cattle raisers today.”

Topics and speakers include:

Industry Issues

•    Leasing and Liability Considerations for Landowners and Agricultural Producers – Stephanie Bradley Fryer, attorney, Stamford.

•    Livestock Risk Protection Options for Cattle Producers – Cary Franks, Capital Farm Credit, Lubbock.

•    Incorporating Pasture Rangeland Forage Insurance Into Your Ranch Managemen Plan – Bill Thompson, AgriLife Extension economist, San Angelo.

Beef Herd Management

•   Nutritional Management: “How Much Should I Feed My Cows?” – Dr. Ron Gill, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, College Station.

•   Preventative Herd Health Management – Kevin Johnson, assistant director of Texas Christian University’s Ranch Management Program, Fort Worth.

Range Management

•   Integrating Brush Management in Wildlife Habitat – James Jackson, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Stephenville.

•   Balancing Rangeland Opportunities – Dr. Morgan Treadwell, AgriLife Extension range specialist, San Angelo.

•   Herbicide Laws and Regulations Update – Jason Jones, Texas Department of Agriculture, Abilene.




I am getting quite a few calls now about home landscapes that are having problems. The continued hot/dry weather makes proper watering imperative. The recommended method to water your lawn is not the same as it is for your trees or shrubs or flowerbeds.

Proper lawn watering is applying the water deep an infrequent. Try to water to a depth of 6” each time your water. Then wait to water until visual wilt is beginning. Watering this way encourages deeper, dense root growth. It is best water early in the morning. Set your automatic sprinklers to come on starting at 4 or 5 a.m. and be finished by about 9 a.m. You do not want the turfgrass to be wet all night. Numerous lawn diseases can occur if the grass is wet most o the night. During the hot summer mow at the upper end of the appropriate mowing height. Taller grasses = deeper roots. Scalped grass is stressed grass.

Apply water to trees/shrubs out at the end of the branches around the dripline. Do not let a sprinkler spray up into the tree/shrub otherwise several leaf spot diseases can appear. A slow running water hose or soaker hoes may be best for watering trees/shrubs. If you have pecan trees in your yard, they will need a large amount of water to keep from dropping the pecans and leaves now.

The best way to water flowerbeds and gardens is with a slow running hose or soaker hose. Again, do not let sprinkles soak the plant leaves.

I am also getting questions on controlling fire ants in vegetable gardens. The ants are there first because the garden is frequently watered. There are a lot of insecticides that are labeled for fire ant control. However, there are very few that are labeled for use in vegetable gardens. One of the safest insecticides that is labeled for use in vegetable gardens is Spinosad. Be sure to follow directions before using insecticides in the garden.