The morning session of the annual Ag Technology Conference, scheduled for Dec. 8 in the Sam Rayburn Student Center, Texas A&M-Commerce, will examine repercussions of the 2011 drought on livestock and crop production.

“We focused on drought as a central issue in the program,” says Jim Swart, Texas AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist and program organizer. 

“For both ranchers and crop producers, we organized a talk on maintaining herd health in drought conditions.  Part of this presentation will be a discussion of the value to failed crops and corn and grain sorghum stalks as a source of nutrition for cattle.  Virtually all of the corn and grain sorghum stalks left in the field following harvest this year were baled for feed.  In my 28 years here, this is the first time I have seen that happen on such a large scale.”

Clay Wright, livestock consultant with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, will discuss managing cattle in drought conditions.

Also, Mark Fox, of the National Weather Service, Fort Worth, will talk about short-term weather predictions and how they may affect forage and crop selection. He will discuss the El Niño and La Niña weather cycles and how they relate to regional rainfall predictions for the next two or three years.

The afternoon session will include topics that affect farmers and ranchers. 

“For crop farmers, we will have an update from Extension Weed Specialist Paul Baumann on postemergence grass control herbicides in grain sorghum,” Swart says. “This new technology may rekindle interest in grain sorghum in this region. In the past, grass control options in this crop have been limited to preemergence herbicides, which are dependent on timely rainfall for activation.” 

Feral hogs are the scourge of both ranchers and crop producers, he says, and Extension Wildlife and Fisheries Specialist Billy Higginbotham will provide an update on control options.   

The last presentation of the day will be a discussion of the grain marketing outlook and pest management considerations associated with long- and short-term grain storage. Kim Anderson will address that topic.

Swart says the conference should be of interest to farmers and ranchers alike.  “Several years ago, Maynard Cheek, a Cereal Crops Research Incorporated director, said that ‘getting these CEUs is like taking medicine — but at least we try to put a little sugar in with it.’” 

The program offers five pesticide CEUs for private and commercial pesticide applicators, as well as credits for CCAs. 

A $30 registration fee is in effect until November 25, after which the fee increases to $40 per person. Lunch is included.

The conference also offers an expo displaying the latest in farm and ranch products and services. It is sponsored by Cereal Crops Research Incorporated, Texas AgriLife Extension, Texas A&M University-Commerce and the agribusiness industry.

For more information contact Jim Swart at 903-886-5363 or james_swart@tamu-commerce.edu.