Mesquite trees are a thorn in many Texas landowners’ sides, but they don’t have to be.


Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s online class, Brush Busters, helps landowners and range managers learn more about brush and trees in Texas and how to better manage encroaching and invasive species with individual plant treatment (IPT) herbicide applications.


Many of these species cause extensive economic losses in Texas pastures and rangelands each year by using up available water and nutrients, as well as forcing out more desirable forages. Learning to control them is beneficial to landowners and livestock.


Brush Busters methods are designed to be easily understood by individuals with little or no prior experience in brush control. However, there is beneficial information for experienced land managers, as well.


Participants will learn about choosing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for applying herbicides, how to select the best application method and appropriate equipment for the task, mixing herbicides and how to clean and store applicator equipment and chemicals properly.


Individuals who complete the course also will learn about the management of common Texas brush species, including mesquite, greenbriar, Macartney rose, prickly pear, eastern red cedar and redberry and blueberry juniper.


Upon completion of the land management course, participants will be prepared to obtain and maintain a Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) herbicide applicator’s license.


This course also can be completed for continuing education unit (CEU) credit.


To earn credit, participants must complete all modules, a post-test to gauge knowledge gain and a satisfaction survey. There is no minimum score to be met.


After successful completion of this course, participants will earn one CEU in each of the following categories: general pesticide factors, general equipment characteristics and laws and regulations.


The Brush Busters course costs $25.


The link to register for the online course is below:


https://agrilifelearn.tamu.edu/product?catalog=ESSM-003


2020 agricultural custom rates survey now available online


The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service has made available online the results of the 2020 Texas Agricultural Custom Rates survey of regional and state rates charged for custom agricultural operations.


"Each year, AgriLife Extension receives many requests for prevailing rates for certain kinds of work and custom farm or machine operations," said Steven Klose, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist in College Station. "This is a current update of information that has been used extensively over the years."


Current and past custom rate publications are available.


The online publication is 29 pages. Custom operations include:


Tractor rental, tillage operation, planting operations, application of fertilizer and chemicals, cotton harvesting, peanut harvesting, including hauling and drying, combining and hauling grains, haying and silage operations, land preparation, brush control and miscellaneous livestock operations.


A survey was distributed to select farmers, ranchers, landowners, as well as custom operators across Texas. In addition, the survey included an online version open to the public. The results help establish a baseline of rates statewide to further assist with questions inquiring about custom-hire activities, Klose said.


"We are very thankful for the people who take the time to complete this survey. Outside of this survey, market information on specific custom work in Texas is very limited to non-existent," Klose said. "This publication provides a range of rates for different services. It’s an important information resource whether you are providing or hiring custom services in Texas agriculture."