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May 2013 — Issue 2

To apply or Fishing for profits not to apply? Ponds can help land owners boost the bottom line XXXXXXXXXXXXXX PAGE 10 PAGE 12

PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID BRYAN, TX 77802 PERMIT # 23

JAMES THOMPSON GETTING STARTED

JAMESFIELD BEEF THOMPSON DAY

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ID, JAMES PLEASE THOMPSON

JAMES BURN SLOW THOMPSON

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Straight fromwill Conferences thegive horse's newcomers mouth. a leg up.

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May 2013 — Issue 2

The Land & Livestock Post


From the General Manager

I

by letting law-abiding fisherman, such as the “grown-up” me, to fish at their place. It can be a good source of extra revenue, especially during the late spring and summer months. We also have some information about some upcoming conferences and classes available, as well as an update on the cattle market. All this along with a few other stories sprinkled in, combined with

our regular features should make this an issue to enjoy. And if you have a pond just teeming with fish, let me know — maybe I can come pull a few out for you. ’Til next time.

PROTECTING JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING YOU COULD RAISE ON A FARM. Dennis Klesel, Agent 3800 Harvey Rd College Station, TX 77845 979.324.4428 dklesel@txfb-ins.com

May 2013 — Issue 2

got that fish on the bank. He was not very happy. It’s a wonder I didn’t get arrested or shot during my criminal fishing days. These days, Courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department if I get to fish at ted in the sun. all, I keep it aboveBut that didn’t stop me from board. I’ve paid for a fishing fishing from every bank from license for the past 10 years, which I could throw a line, and I doubt I’ve gone fishing 10 and I mean every bank. Some times and, when I do, I stick to of my spots were not exactly the public water ways, fighting “legal” to fish, and many times for a spot among all the other I may have been “trespassing.” fishermen. I still enjoy it, but I I got kicked off a few ponds. think I would enjoy a peaceful One time I was battling a bass farm pond a lot more. when I heard a truck pull up Turns out, I’m not the only behind me, I was so focused on one who feels this way, and a reeling the fish in I didn’t even lot of farmers and ranchers notice the truck until the door can benefit from this. In our closed and a man told me I cover story, we take a look at had a finite amount of time to recreational fishing and how vacate the premises. I told him land owners with ponds or I’d be on my way as soon as I lakes can earn extra revenue

n my younger days, I would go fishing two, sometimes three times a week. My first purchase with my first paycheck ever was an inflatable raft. I had visions of scooting around the water all summer long in that thing. On its maiden voyage, I reeled in a catfish and as I was getting it on the boat, the fin JESSE WRIGHT poked the side. It wasn’t leaking much with the fish still stuck in there, so I spent the rest of the afternoon fishing with that catfish sticking out the side. When I got home I deflated the raft and hung it on the fence to dry, with every intention of patching the hole, but instead it stayed there and rot-

The Land & Livestock Post

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The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

News

Conferences to help new producers get a start By Blair Fannin Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

BRYAN — Who will feed the growing U.S. population in the next 50 years? As the current generation of farmers and ranchers ages, the next generation must take over, according to organizers of two agricultural conferences scheduled for Bryan and Abilene. Capital Farm Credit and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will host two conferences designed to help the next generation of producers transition into the business or to help current farmers and ranchers expand their operations. The 2013 Next Generation Agricultural Conferences, scheduled May 23-24 at the Brazos County Expo in Bryan and July 18-19 at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, are designed to provide production and financial management tools to

JASON CLEERE farmers and ranchers. “The main topics that will be covered include farm financial management, agricultural economic forecasts, general agriculture, farm planning and budgeting,” said Jason Cleere, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist in College Station and one of the presenters. “Keeping up with the latest operational strategies and available credit

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and risk management practices are the key to the most successful large and small operations. These conferences will assist with providing information that can be incorporated into their operations, making them more profitable.” Cleere said the first day of the workshop will feature presentations on analyzing the performance of an operation, potential to expand an operation, purchasing or leasing equipment, operation diversity, and farm and ranch success stories. “The second day will focus on the ag economy in the southern region and where we are heading,” he said. “Then the program will transition into developing a marketing plan for the farm and ranch, protecting your operation from volatile commodity markets and weather, new tax and estate laws, as well as programs on hay value, marketing and rebuilding the cow herd.” Featured speakers from

AgriLife Extension include Cleere; Ron Gill, beef cattle specialist, David Anderson, livestock economist; Mark Welch, grains economist; and Wayne Hayenga, economist. All are from College Station. Other AgriLife Extension speakers will be Jason Banta, beef cattle specialist, Overton; and Stan Bevers, economist, Vernon. Experts from Capital Farm Credit will include Barry Abel and Jason Fuchs. Brian Brigge-

man, Kansas State University agricultural economist, will be one of the featured speakers. He will provide an overview of the Southern Plains agricultural economy and provide some insight into where it is headed. There is no cost for the conference if registered by May 20 or $50 after. For more information about the conferences, visit www.capitalfarmcredit.com/ or contact Cleere’s office at 979-845-6931.

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The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

May 18, 2013

May 8th, Comfort Inn & Suites (936) 825-9464

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The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

6

News New animal identification rules aid disease traceability risdiction of the state’s regulations. For cattle, the following are deemed officially accepted forms of identification: • Metal ear tags (brucellosis “orange” tag or National Uniform Eartagging System “Brite” tag). • Plastic ear tags (with or without RFID, but must have a unique 15-digit code with 840 as the first three digits, the U.S. shield and manufacturer’s logo or trademark). • Group or lot identification

By RoBeRt Wells Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

In an effort to control the sspread of animal diseases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 11 initiated the Animal Disease Traceability Program to track interstate livestock movement. According to the USDA, “Animal disease traceability, or knowing where diseased or at-risk animals are, where they have been and when, is very important to ensuring a rapid response when animal disease events take place. This will reduce the number of animal owners impacted by an animal disease event and reduce the economic strain on owners and affected communities.” The new rule replaces the previous unpopular version of the National Animal Identification System and pertains to all livestock, including cattle, horses, sheep and goats. The new rules will change

Photo courtesy of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation The new rules initiated by the Animal Disease Traceability Program will change minimally official identification requirements for animals that are shipped interstate.. minimally official identifica- Veterinary Inspection, ownertion requirements for animals shipper statement or a brand that are shipped interstate, yet certificate. The owner-shipper it will improve animal disease statement and brand certificate traceability. The program will must be approved by officials in require livestock that move both the state of origin and the interstate to be accompanied receiving state. Animals moved by an Interstate Certificate of intrastate will be under the ju-

when applicable. • Brands, when recognized by a brand inspection authority, accompanied by an official brand inspection certificate and allowed by the receiving state. • Ear tattoos acceptable to breed registries when accompanied by a breed registration certificate or back tags when cattle are moved directly to slaughter. Federal rules require the following animals to be identified officially:

See RULES, Page 7


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The Land & Livestock Post

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C.F.L.X. Ranch 21314 O.S.R. Madisonville, TX 77864

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Rules, from Page 6 • All sexually intact dairy cattle. • All rodeo, exhibition or event cattle and horses. • Sexually intact beef cattle over the age of 18 months. • Equines that move interstate. Existing sheep and goat scrapie regulations apply. The metal ear tags will be provided at no cost to producers from the USDA as long as funds are available. Exempt cattle are those that are moved directly to a livestock slaughter facility or to an approved livestock tagging facility with an owner-shipper statement; moved from farm of origin to a veterinary medical facility and then returned to the farm of origin, directly from one state through another state and back to the original state;

or moved as a commuter herd with a copy of the commuter herd agreement. Ordinarily there is no requirement for a producer to maintain a copy of the movement document, but it is highly recommended that records be kept. If an animal loses an official ear tag, however, a replacement may be used. If this occurs, then records that include the new identification number, the date it was implemented and the old number, if known, must be maintained for five years. This situation could apply if mature breeding beef cattle are purchased and shipped between states. As the drought eases and producers restock, they will need to make sure that cattle have compliant identification and maintain those records necessary for USDA compliance.

Questions About Cattle Health?

Ask the Vet! Steve Wikse - Retired DVM Large Animal Clinical Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University

Rains don’t hurt South Texas onions Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

WESLACO — Rains that fell in late April likely will have little effect on the South Texas onion harvest. “Onions are a dry weather crop,” said Juan Anciso, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service vegetable specialist in Weslaco. “And until Sunday,

onions had had the perfect weather, and production was going through the roof. “Fortunately, about 60 percent of the crop had already been harvested,” he said. Growers planted some 7,300 acres of onions, roughly the same amount as last year, Anciso said. Unfortunately, high market prices early in the season did not hold up.

WIKSE

Submit your questions to:

P.O. Box 3000 Bryan, TX 77805 or jesse.wright@theeagle.com

7


The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

News

Cow slaughter rates are affecting cattle numbers By DonalD StottS Oklahoma State University

STILLWATER, Okla. — Both beef production and slaughter have been larger in recent weeks, helping to make the decrease in the year-to-date total less than many analysts expected. Total beef production for the year to date has decreased 1.3 percent and total slaughter is down 2.1 percent compared to the same period last year. “A significant part of the total slaughter number is the result of increased cow slaughter,” said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension livestock marketing specialist. “Year-to-date slaughter of steers, heifers and bulls are all down from last year. Only cow slaughter is up, at 1.2 percent so far this year,” he said. Peel believes the numbers are the result of several factors,

most notably unexpected beef herd liquidation and structural change in the North American dairy industry. For example, the closure of a major cow slaughter plant in Quebec, Canada, last year has had an effect on U.S. cow slaughter, as well as the trade flow of cattle and beef between the United States and Canada. “A significant part of the 4.4 percent increase in dairy cow slaughter this year is likely due to increased imports of Canadian dairy cows,” Peel said. “Previously, these cows were slaughtered in Canada and much of the processing beef shipped to the United States.” Though the data are incomplete, there are indications that the flow of processing beef — such as trimming for ground beef — has reversed with Canada, which is now deficit in processing beef. “The incomplete nature of trade and domestic slaughter data make it difficult to assess

what is happening to the U.S. dairy cow herd,” Peel said. “However, it is clear that this structural change must be considered, otherwise it would be easy to draw incorrect conclusions about changes in the U.S. dairy cow herd.” After five weeks of yearover-year increases, beef cow slaughter in the United States decreased only 2.1 percent for the year to date. Unexpected beef herd liquidation is implied by the fact that beef cow slaughter has increased nearly 14 percent year over year for the past five weeks. “Basically, it appears that winter has been just too much for some producers,” Peel said. “Hay is extremely expensive and in short supply, and apparently beyond the reach of some cattle producers, especially in more recent weeks.” With improvement in drought conditions in many regions, the combination of warm weather and the beginning of forage

growth — thereby providing producers with more affordable cattle feeding options — should result in beef cow slaughter declining sharply in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, Peel said the damage may be done as far as herd inventory goes. “Larger than expected beef cow slaughter so far this year, combined with indications that more heifers may have entered feedlots this spring, may have

already erased any chances of avoiding additional beef cow herd liquidation this year,” he said. Cattle producers should be looking closely at beef cow slaughter rates the next few weeks and the mid-year heifer on feed inventory, as these may provide clues about herd inventory changes and subsequent market effects. Complete data, however, will not be available until next year.

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Stocker and Feeder Sale. Mason, TX. June 8 - Texas Red Angus Field Day. R.A. Brown Ranch, May May 16 - Advertising Deadline for Throckmorton, TX. June 13- Jordan Cattle Auction the Land & Livestock Post. 979Special Stocker & Feeder. San Saba, 731-4721 TX. May 18 – Cattleman’s Top June 13- Advertising Deadline Cut Replacement Female Sale. for the Land & Livestock Post. 979Navasota, TX. 903/599-2403 May 18 - The Event Brangus Sale, 731-4721 June 27 - Advertising Deadline Brenham, TX for the Land & Livestock Post. 979May 30 - Advertising Deadline for the Land & Livestock Post. 979- 731-4721 731-4721 May 30-31 - Grassfed Beef Do you have a sale or event you’d like listed? Conference. College Station, TX. Call Jesse Wright at 979-845-2604 (979) 731-4721 or email jesse.wright@theeagle.com

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O.D. Butler Field Day to be May 17 at Camp Cooley Ranch

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P.O. Box 9172 979.224.4277 College Station, TX 77842 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin Barron Rector,TexasA&MAgriLife Extension Service range specialist,displays white prickly poppy as part of a walking tour at the 2012 O.D. Butler Memorial Forage Field Day at Camp Cooley Ranch in Robertson County.

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May 2013 — Issue 2

FRANKLIN — The 27th annual O.D. Butler Field Day scheduled May 17 at Camp Cooley Ranch will feature the latest weed control technologies, plus strategies on buying and selling cattle during fluctuating market conditions. The ranch is at 4297 Camp Cooley Ranch Road in Franklin. This year’s forage field day will be highlighted by demonstrations on the Boar Buster Corral by Jason Gaskamp of the Nobel Foundation, said Dustin Coufal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Brazos County. “We will also feature youpon control under trees by Barron Rector, AgriLife Extension range specialist, and controlling grass burrs by Paul Baumann, AgriLife Extension state weed specialist, both from College Station.” Registration is $25 and RSVP by calling 979-823-0129. The fee includes lunch and materials. The program begins at 9 a.m. The field day is conducted by the Brazos Area Hay Producers Association and AgriLife Extension in Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Limestone, Leon, Madison, Milam, Robertson and Washington counties. “The presentations we have scheduled should give producers many things to consider and apply to their own operations,” Coufal said.

Rector. • Soil and forage analysis update, Tony Provin, AgriLife Extension soil chemist, College Station. • Where are we in the cattle cycle — is it time to buy or sell?, Jason Johnson, AgriLife Extension economist, Stephenville. • Latest technology in trapping feral hogs, Josh Gaskamp, Nobel Foundation, wildlife division. For more information, call 979-823-0129.

Three continuing education units will be awarded to licensed Texas Department of Agriculture private, commercial and non-commercial pesticide applicators. The following is a schedule of topics and speakers: • Latest technology in weed control, Larry Redmon, AgriLife Extension state forage specialist, College Station. • Grass burr control demonstration, Baumann. • Youpon control under trees,

By Blair Fannin Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

The Land & Livestock Post

News

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The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

News

Go fish!

Farm ponds offer additional income By RoBeRt FeaRs Special to The Post

M

ost farms and ranches have one or more ponds or lakes to provide water for irrigation or for livestock. Some of these lakes are stocked with fish for family recreation. If lakes are a quarter acre or larger in water surface, there is an opportunity to lease fishing rights to the public. Since fishing is a popular pastime in a growing population, public fishing areas are becoming more crowded every year. Opening private farm ponds or lakes for fee fishing can be a winwin situation for the fisherman and the landowner. Urbanites are willing to pay for an opportunity to visit the country and enjoy a secluded place to fish. For the landowner, fee fishing can add another profit center to the farm or ranch business.

sion Service. “For example, landowners with 10-acre reservoirs are in a more favorable position to manage exclusively for largemouth bass than those with one-acre ponds. Even though a market may exist for a target species such as largemouth bass, landowners might consider other species such as channel and blue catfish, sunfish, crappie and even rainbow trout during the winter months. These alternative species may appeal to a broader range of anglers and offer more fishing opportunities.” Value-added amenities such as shade, toilet facilities, cabins, a picnic area, camp

Develop a plan

As with the initiation of any new commercial enterprise, it is important to write a business plan to help determine whether it will be profitable. The first step in writing the plan is to inventory what you have to offer.

Photo courtesy of Steve Alexander Steve Alexander, owner of PrivateWater Fishing proves he knows how to catch fish.

10

How large are the lakes and are they currently stocked with fish? Are the lakes aesthetically pleasing? Can the lakes be reached by all-weather roads? The answer to these questions will show what you have to offer and what changes need to be made for public acceptance. “Larger ponds and reservoirs offer more options for managing fish populations,” said Billy Higginbotham, Texas A&M AgriLife Exten-

sites, food and beverages, bait, tackle, rental equipment, ice and a fish cleaning service should be considered in the plan. Will

some of these amenities attract more customers? Will the amenities generate enough additional revenue to pay their costs? “Landowners, who successfully lease private waters for fishing, offer unique experiences at reasonable prices,” Higginbotham said. “Careful evaluation of direct competition from other leasing operations and public fishing areas is important. It is also necessary to es-

timate the number of potential lessees to determine demand for fishing opportunities,” he said. “Marketing consists of matching the operation’s products with customer needs and desires,” Higginbotham said. “If on-site lodging is available and the property is close to an urban area, landowners may want to employ a lease of limited duration such as a day, weekend or week. If landowners do not desire a high degree of contact with the public or cannot provide lodging, a season-long or year-round lease may be preferred. Each landowner must determine the marketing strategy that best suits the individual situation.” The marketing strategy is part of the business plan and should include the reasons that a strategy was chosen.

Reduce risk

For a business to be successful, it is important to reduce risk. Two of the primary risks in any business are liability and customer dissatisfaction. A way to reduce customer dissatisfaction in a sport fishing business is to negotiate a lease agreement between the lessor and lessee that clearly defines the terms that both parties are expected to follow. The terms should include duration of the lease, description of the lease tract, access, species available, fishing methods allowed, density of fishermen, price, payment schedule, use of facilities, lease transferability and rights to lease renewal. Although it is possible to prepare a written sport fishing lease on your own, it is recommended by Higginbotham that you consult your lawyer during the actual drafting of the document. Money paid for such services may well prevent potential legal problems. At least two copies of the lease should be prepared and properly signed — one copy for the landowner and the other for the lessee(s). “Landowners must address the is-

See FISH, Page 11


The Land & Livestock Post

News

Fish, from Page 11 sue of liability whenever sport fishing rights are leased,” said Higginbotham. “Landowners leasing sport fishing rights should include a ‘hold harmless’ clause in a written lease agreement that protects them from liability and makes lessees responsible for damage or accidents. Since ‘hold harmless’ clauses are not infallible,

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landowners should consider extending insurance coverage or requiring lessees to purchase liability insurance that covers both parties. Statutes regarding liability may differ between states.”

May 2013 — Issue 2

Photo courtesy of Robert Fears Amenities on this pond near Rock Springs include an aerator,boat dock and aesthetic big rocks.

Fish management

Managing fish and ponds is

See CATCH, Page 13 NEWS YOU CAN USE RIGHT IN YOUR MAILBOX

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less than one surface acre should be stocked only with catfish. Use a stocking rate of 100 to 1,000 fingerlings per acre depending on the feeding frequency. It is recommended that fathead minnows be added to the pond at 500 per surface acre to serve as supplemental forage for the catfish. The best months for stocking are March through May or October through December. “Ponds larger than one surface acre are suitable for management of bass-bluegill or bass-bluegill-catfish,” Higginbotham said. “Occasionally, supplemental forage species such as threadfin shad, fathead minnows, golden shiners and /or redear sunfish are stocked in addition to the bluegill. “Stock 20 six- to eight-inch bass and 30 three-inch or larger bluegill per surface acre if available. The best months to do this stocking are March through June. If only one- to three-inch bass and bluegill are available, stock with 500 bluegill per surface acre in the fall followed by 50 bass per surface acre the next spring. Catfish stocked with bass-bluegill should be at least as large as the bass fingerlings. Stocking rates for bass-bluegill-catfish strategies can be doubled if a fertilization program is utilized.” Initiate chemical weed control when growth begins in the spring, usually in April or May. Proper plant identification is essential for selecting the right herbicide. Do not treat an entire pond containing heavy weed infestations in

by aquatic insects and small fish. The small fish serve as food for the larger fish, such as largemouth bass. Apply granular 20-20-5 fertilizer at 100 pounds per surface acre followed by one or two reduced rate application of 35 pounds per surface acre as needed to maintain the bloom. Liquid fertilizer such as 16-34-0 also is utilized at one gallon per surface acre with reduced rate applications as needed to maintain the bloom. Fertilization should be continued on an annual basis. Floating fish rations can be offered to catfish to increase their growth rates and forage species such as bluegill can be stocked in bass lakes. Bluegill make an excellent forage base for largemouth bass due to their ability to reproduce at incredible rates. Steven Smith of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation said that a female bluegill can spawn three times during one summer, releasing 2,300 to 81,100 eggs per spawn. This rate of reproduction is necessary to maintain adequate bass forage in a balance bluegill/largemouth bass fishery.

Other options

Would you rather not have to deal with the public in leasing your lakes for fishing? Will lake and fish management require time that you don’t have? If your answer to either of these questions is yes, you can consider other options for capturing income from sport fishing. An example of one option is to work through a company such as Private Water Fishing.

See MARKET, Page 14

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May 2013 — Issue 2

Catch, from Page 11

Marketplace

the summer due to risk of oxygen depletion caused by the dying vegetation. Spot treatments can be made during the summer as needed. Inorganic fertilizer can be utilized to double fish production by increasing the food supply. Fertilization increases the amount of microscopic green plants known as phytoplankton which gives a green color to the water. The green color is referred to as a bloom. Phytoplankton is consumed by zooplankton (microscopic animals), that then are eaten Photo courtesy of Steve Alexander A happy customer is one who catches fish.

not as simple as stocking and forgetting. The fish population has to be managed in order to provide customers a memorable fishing experience. Higginbotham lists three management strategies that are important for developing fisheries on private lands: • Appropriate stocking rates and species balance. • Control of noxious aquatic vegetation. • In some cases, fertilization or supplemental feeding to increase carrying capacity. Muddy ponds and those

The Land & Livestock Post

News

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The Land & Livestock Post May 2013 — Issue 2

News

Photo courtesy of Steve Alexander While amenties such as these can make a“fishing hole”more attractive,land owners must determine if they will be cost effective.

Market, from Page 13 “Private Water Fishing is a company organized to manage customer relations for landowners,” said Steve Alexander. “We have been in business for 14 years and have a clientele of 450 fisherman members. These members pay an annual fee for current access to 52 private lakes plus a daily fishing rate. The landowner receives the

majority of the daily fishing rate. “By leasing lakes through Private Water Fishing, the landowner does not have to solicit fishing customers nor act as their host when they fish your property. [Private Water Fishing] carries liability insurance for each property and requires all members to sign a

See MANAGE, Page 15

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Manage, from Page 14

May 2013 — Issue 2

Lauderdale Aerial Spraying, LLC Kenneth Lauderdale Cell Phone: 979.255.1380 Office Phone: 979.535.8024 www.lauderdalespraying.com

hold harmless clause. We have a strict set of rules and code of conduct that our members must follow. Our program is primarily used by hunting ranches and beef cattle operations,” Alexander said. “We also assist landowners in fish and lake management through our consulting service,” Alexander said. “Our services include monitoring fish populations and determining appropriate management practices. [Private Water Fishing] does

not execute the management tasks, but we can recommend reliable contractors.” There are many ways to capture fishing income from private lakes. The key is to select one that best fits you and your operation. Additional information and assistance can be received from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and various fisheries biologists and consultants.

The Land & Livestock Post

News

Photo courtesy of Steve Alexander Bill Morris gets in the final fishing of the day on the 9G Ranch. Public fishing can add to a landowner’s profits.

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The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

News May 24 Beef Cattle Field Day slated for Martinez to look at management ideas By Paul SchattenBerg Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

MARTINEZ — The 2013 Multi-County Beef Cattle Field Day, presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Bexar County Agricultural Committee, has been set for May 24 in Martinez, said event coordinators. Martinez is in east-central Bexar County, about 10 miles east of downtown San Antonio. The event will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Bexar County Junior Livestock Show Association Grounds, 7514 F.M. 1346. Field day registration, including coffee and donuts, begins at 8:30 a.m. with presentations starting shortly after 9 a.m. Activities begin with a welcome and introduction by Cheree Leita, AgriLife Extension agriculture youth educator for

Bexar County. “This field day will be a great learning opportunity for people involved in the beef cattle industry,” Leita said. “There will be a lot of useful information, including cattle handling and land management techniques, that can be applied to beef cattle operations.” The cost of the event is $10. Check should be made payable to Bexar Agricultural Committee and mailed to Beef Cattle Field Day, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, Suite 212, San Antonio, TX 78230. Attendees also are asked to RSVP to Angel Torres at 210467-6575 by May 22. Three Texas Department of

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Agriculture continuing education units — one laws and regulations, 0.5 integrated pest management and 1.5 general — will be available to attendees. Topics and presenters will include: • “Pesticide Laws and Regulations,” Vick Alexander, Texas Department of Agriculture inspector. • “Cattle-Handling Pointers,” Rick V. Machen, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist, Uvalde. • “Brush Management 101 — What to Use and When to Use It,” Bob Lyons, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Uvalde. A discussion and evaluation period from 12:15–12:30 p.m. will end the program.

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Mobile phone app can help with controlled burns By Corey Moffetr Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

Marek Grain Bin Co. • GSI Grain Bins • Grain Handling Equipment • Hutchinson Augers

group users regardless of the distance between them. Without groups, only users within a 5-mile radius are displayed. This feature is nice because a group member, anywhere in the world, can view progress being made on the burn. The advanced user digitized the burn unit on the ActInNature website, used his mobile device to add tags at the ignition sequence locations and

See APP, Page 18

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May 2013 — Issue 2

will respond and where the fire has escaped relative to the nearest labeled point. A desire to improve on this system led us to ask, “Is there an app for that?” A search for an app specifically designed for aiding in conducting prescribed

temperature and relative humidity forecasts. Our experience with this app for conducting prescribed burns was generally good. We used the app with one advanced user and the rest as basic users. We set up a group, which allowed us to define areas and tags that only the group could see. This also required users to enter a password chosen by the advanced user. All users could see other

Prescribed fire is a powerful tool that can be used to achieve management goals and manipulate vegetation. A February 2000 Ag News and Views article by Mike Porter discussed how to conduct a prescribed burn. When conducting the burn, good communication between the burn crew members is critical for conducting it safely. A common bit of information that needs to be communicated among crew members is where resources, such as a containment or ignition crew, are located. To facilitate this need, crew members typically are issued a map showing the burn unit and several labeled locations along the burn boundary prior to the burn. Radio communications reference these labeled locations. As an example communication, ignition crew 2 might report to ignition crew 1 that they have reached point G and they might hold at that position, waiting for ignition crew 1 to report that they have reached point E. Another example might involve an escaped spot fire. The location of the spot fire needs to be communicated to the burn boss. In turn, the burn boss will communicate which resources

burns or managing wildfire responses was not successful. We were aware, however, of apps that allow you to view, with your friend’s permission, their location, or rather the location of their smartphone. We looked for such an app that might have some useful features. One app we found that looked promising, ActInNature, is designed as a hunting app. It is available for iPhone, Android phone or Android tablet, and it has several features we were seeking. The app supports basic (i.e., free) and advanced user (for a small annual subscription) types, the main difference being that advanced users can edit “areas” and share “tags.” We used “areas” to define the burn unit and Photo courtesy of the Noble Foundation “tags” to mark points of interThe ActInNature map view on an Android est, such as ignition sequence tablet while conducting a burn. Shown points or mop-up locations. The are the burn unit boundary (red line), app also polls weather data and ignition sequence markers (blue flags) provides current wind speed, diand burn crew resources (e.g., ignition rection, temperature and rela1, contain 1, fire truck, etc.) as labeled tive humidity. Advanced users red dots.The dots have an arrow indicat- also get three-hour and six-hour ing the direction they are moving if the resource is in motion (e.g.,ignition 2 and the fire truck).

The Land & Livestock Post

News

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The Land & Livestock Post  May 2013 — Issue 2

News App, from Page 17 then shared the tags with the group. The ability of each crew member to see his position on the map was helpful. The ignition crew could confirm quickly where they were, relative to other crew members and the burn boundary. It was easy to adjust the pace for ignition sequences where it is desirable that one ignition crew be igniting at a more downwind position relative to the other crew. It is also reassuring to see where the containment crews are positioned and their progress on patrol. During mop-up, it was useful for the advanced user to add and share tags or spots that needed attention from the crew. On the downside, the app requires a good network connection (i.e., 3G or better), which still is not available in many rural areas. Wearing gloves makes it difficult to interact with the mobile device. In addition, the app does not play well with other software. For example, there is no ability to import maps created with other GIS software, and tracks created by GPS fixes of where a user has been can’t be exported. The name of each tag is not displayed — only the symbol — so the user had to select the tag to get the name of a point. Finally, the app accesses GPS often, which means it uses a lot of power. This is not a problem if the device is in a vehicle or is plugged into an external power supply.

TE PRIVA Y T A E TR

rk A n a l C

Photo courtesy of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation The ActInNature track graph view on an iPhone after the burn was completed showing the path of a member of the ignition crew. For users who are on foot, it may be helpful to get an external battery pack to extend the battery life. Perhaps some day there will be an app specifically designed to conduct prescribed burns. In the meantime, the ActInNature app brings some abilities that we otherwise would not have, which makes it an app we likely will use on future burns. Perhaps you will find this app useful for conducting prescribed fire on your burns. • Contributing to this story were Frank Motal, Josh Gaskamp and Mike Protocr, all with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

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The Land & Livestock Post

May 2013 — Issue 2

19


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May 20, 2013 Land and Livestock Post

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