Jenschke: Spring dairy DOPA program set for April 15

Lonnie Jenschke
Special to the E-T
Lonnie Jenschke

The Spring Dairy DOPA Program is scheduled for Thursday, April 15, at the Foster’s Home Grubbs Center, 1779 N. Graham St. The program is hosted by Erath, Comanche and Hamilton Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the program to follow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The morning program will include "Composting Carcasses & Manure Compost for Bedding," presented by Dr. Brent Auverman, Texas AgriLife; and "Soil Nutrient Management," presented by Dr. Jake Mowe, Texas AgriLife Extension.

The afternoon program will include "New Manure Management Regulations," presented by Darrin Turley, executive director; "Flies and Manure Management," presented by Dr. Sonya Swiger, Texas AgriLife Extension; and "Lagoon Construction, Shutdown Protocol & EQUIP," presented by Catherine Stanley, NRCS civil engineer.

Five DOPA credits will be offered for this program: two for the morning session and three for the afternoon session. Lunch will be provided at no cost by our sponsors.

Please RSVP to (254) 965-1460 or send an email to erath-tx@tamu.edu 

Mowing warm season turfgrass

"Mowing might seem like one of the simplest and most intuitive practices to many of us, as even children mow at a fairly early age to earn some extra money," said Dr. Becky Grubbs, AgriLife Extension turfgrass specialist in College Station. "However, mowing can also be one of the fastest ways to stress and compromise your turfgrass health."

Grubbs said it is not uncommon for mowing to be at the root of any number of turfgrass problems.

"People have a tendency to mow at an inappropriate height or frequency for their specific turfgrass species and cultivar," she said. "This can lead to added stress on their turf and create opportunities for pest encroachment.

"St. Augustine grass should be maintained between 2.5 and 4 inches in height, but it's not uncommon for me to see people mowing it much lower – the way they might for a Bermuda grass lawn," Grubbs said. 

She also points out that many people wait too long between mowing, ultimately removing more than one-third of the total turfgrass height each time they mow.

"When we do this throughout the season, we are essentially scalping and stressing our turfgrass each time by removing a large volume of its photosynthetic material and exposing the soil for weed encroachment in the process," Grubbs said.

"Following the one-third rule means that if, for example, I am trying to maintain a mowing height of 2 inches, I should really aim to mow by the time it reaches 3 inches in height." 

She said this may mean mowing more frequently than some lawn owners are used to doing if they really want to keep their turfgrass healthy.

Finally, Grubbs said not to forget to take time to properly maintain equipment.

"Mowers are like any other tool," she said. "They will perform best when they are clean and sharp. Dull, dirty blades can spread pests and create entry points for disease. You wouldn't use dull shears to prune your woody plants, and the same principles apply here."

Lonnie Jenschke is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent for Erath County. He may be contacted at Lonnie.Jenschke@ag.tamu.edu or (254) 965-1460.