May 24, 2016 08:00 AM

Visits to Texas and Pennsylvania

Vanessa Corriher-Olson
Forage Specialist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Spring rainfalls have perpetuated ryegrass and clover production throughout eastern and central Texas. To the north, spring rainfalls have led to flooding in low-lying areas. There are some concerns as to the recovery of those fields; it will be dependent on forage species, length of time under water, temperature of the water, and whether the water was flowing or still.

Cooler night temperatures have slowed bermudagrass growth so far this spring. Hay harvests have been slow to initiate due to sporadic rainfall. Some hay has been harvested but most is a mixture of ryegrass and bermudagrass. A majority of the state has good moisture conditions for the time being; however, many anticipate a dry summer. Producers in more southern regions have begun herbicide applications for warm season weeds and brush.

Sugarcane aphids have been reported in Lubbock County on Johnsongrass and in Hill County on sorghum. These reports are a few weeks earlier than reports in 2015. No other insect pests have been reported at this time. Producers are hopeful that cooler temperatures and moisture will delay grasshopper populations.

Jessica Williamson
Extension Forage Specialist
Penn State University

The dry conditions of April have given way to a very wet, cold May in Pennsylvania, posing challenges for planting and harvesting. In many parts of the state, winter small grain cuttings are still being made for silage and hay, but a considerable amount of mowed small grains have been wasted as a result of the inability to get into the fields to chop and get the silage to storage at the correct moisture. First-cutting alfalfa and grass hay is beginning to be harvested in much of the southern into the central portion of the state as weather permits.

The wet and unusually cool conditions are proving to be challenging to schedule a timely harvest for good-quality, dry hay. The lack of moisture in April caused some doubt for high-yield first cuttings, but the precipitation in May has helped to make up for some lost growth last month. Perennial forages are still slow growing as a result of our cold May.

A considerable amount of corn has been planted across the state, but the cool temperatures are delaying emergence or slowing the growth of emerged seedlings. Newly seeded hay and pasture ground is experiencing similar struggles with the cool weather preventing new seedlings from taking off and growing.