The De-Go-La Resource Conservation and Development Inc., a non-profit agency serving 16 counties, including Nueces, Live Oak, Bee, and San Patricio counties has organized a Hay Lift program to help bring hay to South Texas at a reasonable price.

This is an effort to assist the 16 County area during this time of disaster by purchasing large amounts of hay at an affordable cost. The hay could be of the following types: Bermuda mix, Kansas Bluestem, Coastal Mix or Bahia Mix. They will be 1,000 pound plus bales at a price of $49 per bale.

Hay will be delivered in a typical truckload of 38 bales per truck and buyers must commit to one full truckload. If you want less than a truckload, you can split the load with a neighbor, but the delivery point will be to one location and the hay will be unloaded at that location.

The purchaser of the hay must have equipment and manpower to unload the truck at the delivery location. The purchaser will be notified within 24 hours of the delivery date. The hay must be delivered to one of the De-Go-La counties and hay purchased in this program is not for resale.

Payment must be received in advance with a completed order form and the payment must be made in the form of a cashiers check or money order and no personal checks will be accepted. Prior to placing your order check with the local Nueces County Soil and Water Conservation District Office at (361) 387-2533 for an exact cost of the hay order.

Only one truckload per order will be accepted in an effort to help as many livestock producers as possible. The order forms for the hay may be obtained at the NRCS Office, located at 548 S. U.S. Highway 77, Suite B in Robstown, or the Nueces County Extension Office, which is located at 710 E. Main Ave., Suite 1 in Robstown).

Payment and order form must be submitted to the Nueces County Soil and

Water Conservation District Office.

The cashiers check or money order should be made payable to De-Go-La RC&D. Orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis.

With rain comes new issues

Rainfall has sure changed the landscape from what looked like a desert all summer long to now greening pastures and fields. The results, mostly all good, unless you have a sunflower or sesame crop that is still standing in water needing to be harvested.

Rain also brings out pests like weeds and mosquitos, but we can deal with those. Farmers should also be on the lookout for emerging cotton seedlings, as they need to be destroyed so boll weevil habitat is not established.

Fall armyworms hungry, too

Recent rains have spurred the recovery of rangelands and pastures and with lush new grass and in the fall comes the potential of a forage-devouring pest, the fall armyworm.

Pastures should be watched closely now for infestations of fall armyworms as they may infest pastures until the first frost in the fall. Larvae of the fall armyworm range from pale green to brown or black and are often striped with white to yellowish lines from head to tail.

These stripes extend to the head, where they form an inverted "Y," a distinguishing characteristic of this species. Moths are mostly black, with white markings on the wings.

There are two species of armyworms that can damage pastures and small grains, the armyworm (Pseudaletia unipuncta) and the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda).

These two species take approximately four to five weeks to go through the larval stage. When the worms are small, little forage is consumed. However, when the larvae reach 3/4 to 1 inch in length, they eat much more forage.

It is estimated that mature worms will consume 75 to 80 percent of their entire diet in the last few days of their existence as larvae.

Armyworms should be controlled when they occur in large numbers or plant damage is becoming excessive. The fall armyworm outbreaks usually occur late in the summer and early fall. Preventive treatments normally are not justified because attacks are sporadic and egg mortality is usually high.

A variety of natural enemies keep fall armyworm larvae down to moderate numbers. Early detection of larvae is the best management tool and is achieved by frequent, thorough inspection of plants. Outbreaks seem to occur shortly after a rain or supplemental irrigation.

Fall armyworms feed any time of the day or night, but are most active early in the morning or late in the evening. Susceptible fields or lawns should be scouted by counting the number of armyworms in a square foot area in eight different sites. Divide the total worm count by eight to find the average number of armyworms per square foot.

Be sure to take samples in the interior of the field because this pest is often heaviest near the field margins. Sometimes, only the field margins require treatment. Thresholds in improved pastures and lawns vary with conditions but treatment should be considered when counts average three or more worms per square foot.

There are several insecticides labeled for control of the fall armyworm, some of which have grazing restrictions so be sure and check the label before using the product.

For more information check out this Web site: http://insects.tamu.edu/extension/publications/epubs/eee_00009.cfm.

Jeffrey Stapper is the Agricultural and Natural Resources Agent for Nueces County. Readers may contact him at 767-5217.