Heart of Texas tour helps improve habitats for wildlife, livestock
Steve Byrns AgriLife TODAY
Improving habitats will be the focus of Texas AgriLife Extension Service's Heart of Texas Range and Wildlife Tour set for 8 am, Monday, Sept. 24, on the Phillips Ranch east of Lohn on County Road 314, in central McCulloch County.
The multi-county tour is a joint effort of the AgriLife Extension Agricultural and Natural Resources Committees in Coleman, Mason and McCulloch counties.
Vance Christie, AgriLife Extension agent in McCulloch County, said the tour would highlight several result demonstrations that have been conducted on the Phillips Ranch for years.
Christie said improving rangeland and pastures for increased carrying capacity for livestock and wildlife continue to be major concerns for Central Texas landowners.
In recent years, the carrying capacity of existing rangeland and pastures has been reduced by drought, loss of habitat and invasive species. "The Phillips family has worked hard to overcome as much diversity as possible, given the climatic circumstances in recent years," Christie said.
He said much of the method demonstration work on the tour focuses on reducing invasive species such as mesquite, yucca and prickly pear.
"The Phillips family strives to balance livestock production with habitat for deer and turkey, but most recently they have placed a great deal of emphasis on improving the ranch's quail habitat," he said. "As a result, sightings and frequent calls of both adult and juvenile quail over the past few months are showing their efforts are paying off, even during the drought."
Speakers and topics will include:
• Brush Sculpting to Improve Quail Habitat and Ongoing Research at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch at Roby, Lloyd LaCoste, research technician at the ranch
• Brush Busters Individual Plant Treatments for Mesquite, Yucca and Prickly Pear, and New Control Technologies On the Horizon, Will Hatler, AgriLife Extension weed and brush control program specialist, Stephenville
The demonstration tour will include work on rainwater harvesting for wildlife and pasture restoration techniques using ripping and reseeding of native grass mixes.
Five Texas Department of Agriculture continuing educations units, three general, one laws and regulations and one integrated pest management, will be offered to private pesticide license holders. Also, 0.5 Beef Quality Assurance credits will be available for those involved with that program.
Individual preregistration is $10 if received at one of the participating AgriLife Extension offices by 5 pm, Sept. 17. The fee includes a noon meal, breaks and educational materials. Late registration is $20 per person.
Tour sponsors include Dupont, Central Texas Farm Credit and McCulloch County Farm Bureau.
For more information contact Christie at 325-456-9687, email@example.com.