Beef producers shouldn’t get too caught up in adding cattle to herds despite recent rainfall, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service forage specialist.

“After the drought, remain de-stocked,” said Dr. Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist in College Station. “Just because you see green in the spring doesn’t mean you should load up with cows again. Consider drought management as part of your overall strategy.”

Redmon gave drought recovery tips at the 50th Blackland Income Growth Conference in Waco recently. Many producers are likely wondering how long it will take their pastures to recover from drought.

“It will take three to four inches a month and, depending on the species, an entire year for pasture recovery,” Redmon said. “Obviously, there will be no recovery with no rainfall. Folks, we killed cedar with the drought in the Hill Country. We can’t expect recovery to our pastures without rainfall.”

Redmon advised producers to pay attention to weeds, which can inhibit recovery due to competition for moisture, sunlight and nutrients.

“You need to also pay attention to grasshoppers,” Redmon said. “And this past fall season, some of you noticed armyworms invading your pastures.”

Redmon advised producers to watch and treat as necessary with pesticides available at a minimal cost per acre.
Another thing to keep in mind this spring is over-seeding of winter pasture grasses in Bermuda grass pastures.

“You can easily choke out Bermuda grass if you over-apply winter seed forage,” Redmon said.

He closed his presentation reminding producers of Texas’ unpredictable weather patterns.

“Remember this description of Texas weather, ‘It is prolonged drought interrupted by periodic flooding events,’” he said.
Redmon said producers can find out more about pasture management online at http://forages.tamu.edu.