Recent rains brought Thanksgiving early to large parts of Texas, where many producers had planted winter pastures early, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

And, although drought-hammered summer pastures are in sad shape, according to county Extension agents, rain will eventually be good for warm-season pastures, too, says Vanessa Corriher, Extension forage specialist in East Texas.

“Whether it’s a cool-season annual ryegrass, or some small grain or any cool-season legume, the moisture will help those forages to potentially provide some grazing.”

It’s highly recommended to fertilize winter pastures, but the timing is a bit off, Corriher adds. Her standard recommendation is to wait until around the middle of November but after the first freeze – to ensure all warm-season pastures have entered dormancy. East Texas hasn’t had any frosts yet.

“And it’s a better idea to get the nitrogen out before we’ve had a rain,” she says. “But if you have some winter pasture that’s coming up, and you are anticipating some more rain, fertilization would be a great idea for optimal production.”

Some producers were holding off planting because of lack of moisture, but it’s a bit too late to plant now. For East Texas, Corriher doesn’t recommend planting any winter forages past about Nov. 15.

“There are some producers, who I’ve visited with recently, who are looking at planting winter pastures, primarily annual ryegrass,” she said. “Realize, though, that planting at a later date will result in (forage) production later in the season, and not necessarily when it’s needed.”

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force Website.