Planting winter pastures this fall could stretch hay supplies and help livestock producers hedge against another drought next summer, says Jason Banta, Texas AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist.

“Normally, people plant winter pastures to defray winter feeding costs,” says Banta. “But hay stocks are certainly not up to sufficient levels, and by reducing winter feeding they can certainly hang onto more of the stocks they have.”

To help producers do the best-possible job of developing and using winter pastures, Banta and Vanessa Corriher, AgriLife Extension forage specialist, will conduct a short course, “Winter Pastures for Central and East Texas.” It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Aug. 17, at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton.

The program will answer a lot of the questions people commonly have about establishing winter pastures, says Banta. Some issues addressed will include which species are best suited to a particular type of operation, expected feed-cost savings, interpreting seed-tag information and how to create a custom soil and production map for a farm from satellite data.

Program topics will include: species and variety selection; monthly and seasonal forage production potential; establishment and fertilization; estimated costs, grazing and utilization strategies; insect control and transitioning from winter to spring forages; insects in legumes; bloat and grass tetany prevention and management; and appropriate mineral supplementation.

Registration is $6, includes lunch and program materials, and will be limited to 50 people. The program will offer two continuing education units to Texas Department of Agriculture private pesticide applicator license holders – one in the integrated pest management category and one in general. Register online by going to agriliferegister.tamu.edu and entering the keyword “pasture.”

For more information, call Michelle Sensing at 903-834-6191.