A drought of historic levels continues to have a firm grip on South Texas and robbing some of that valuable soil moisture are various brush species like mesquite and huisache.

To help address some of the options associated with managing these brush species a Brush Buster Seminar will be held on Tuesday, July 7, 2009.

The seminar will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Texas Agrilife Research and Extension Center on Hwy. 44 just west of the Corpus Christi Airport and conclude by 9 p.m.

The Brush Buster methods are easily understood, even by those with little or no previous experience in brush control.

This program only recommends "select" treatments capable of killing at least 7 out of 10 of the plants treated.

Brush Buster methods make every attempt to keep equipment costs and complexity to a minimum, and whenever possible, to use non-restricted herbicides.

The seminar will be conducted by Dr. Wayne Hanselka, Extension Range Specialist in Corpus Christi.

Pesticide applicators will be awarded two CEUs for participation in this seminar. This seminar is being sponsored by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Nueces and San Patricio Counties, local Agricultural Advisory Committees, and Dow AgroSciences.

For more information, please call 361-767-5223.

New Trich Regulation Applies to Bulls

Bovine trichomoniasis (trich) is a venereal disease caused by the protozoan Tritrichomonas foetus.

Because trich has no visible symptoms in bulls and few, if any, visible symptoms in cows and heifers, it is best to prevent exposure to the disease rather than try to control or eradicate it.

The primary production and economic impact of trich is on cows, because the disease causes infertility and abortions and often extends the breeding and calving season.

Texas is implementing new measures to control the spread of trichomoniasis with Phase I which began April 1, 2009 and applies to breeding bulls entering Texas, while Phase II will become effective starting January 1, 2010 and applied to breeding bulls in Texas.

Bovine trichomoniasis can enter a herd or ranch only via infected bulls, cows or heifers.

An infected bull can transmit the disease to a cow or an infected cow can transmit the organism to a bull.

You can avoid this disease by practicing the following sound biosecurity principles.

1. Maintain good fences to control the movement and commingling of cattle.

2. Purchase only virgin bulls and heifers, preferably from the original breeder.

3. Keep the bull battery as young as possible, because older bulls harbor the protozoa more easily.

4. Consider artificial insemination as a way to avoid introducing trich. Reputable semen companies repeatedly test bulls for numerous diseases, including trich, to ensure that the semen is not contaminated.

5. Implement a defined breeding season. Trich may go undetected in a continuous mating system.

6. Identify herd sires and record the breeding group to which each bull is exposed.

7. Consider keeping bulls in the same breeding groups for several breeding seasons. Should a false negative (infected) bull be in the battery, this practice prevents spread of infection to uninfected groups.

8. Consider small (but not necessarily single-) sire groups (versus large, multiple-sire herds) to avoid infecting a large number of bulls in a single season.

9. Avoid purchasing open or short-bred (less than 120 days) cows.

10. If you purchase replacement cows, do not commingle them with the existing herd during the first breeding season.

A new Texas AgriLife Extension publication on the trichomoniasis regulations can be accessed on the Internet at

http://animalscience.tamu.edu/images/pdf/beef/beef-summary-new-texas.pdf or more details are available in your local County Extension Office.

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