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V lC U

Vol. 7, No. 1






January 15, 1952

Blue Panic Grass
Blue P an ic— a summer perennial, fast­
growing, highly palatable grass— is providing
unusually heavy grazing for the few south­
western farm ers and ranchers who have
planted this relatively new forage plant.
The grass is similar to Sudan grass in its
growing habits. It is an upright plant attain­
ing a height of from 4 to 7 feet and is adapted
to a wide area of the Southwest. It is making
a commendable showing in all areas where
the annual rainfall is at least 20 inches or
where irrigation is available. Unlike Sudan
grass, it does not have to be seeded each year
but usually grows well for 3
or 4 years from the original
planting. With adequate fer­
tilization, satisfactory stands
may be kept produ ctive for
many additional years.

Seeding usually is made in the spring after
danger of frost is past, although late spring
or summer plantings are safe if moisture is
available. Best results are obtained when the
grass is planted in standard width rows (36
or 40 inches apart) at the rate of 1 pound
of seed per acre. A clean, firm, well-prepared
seedbed is required, and the depth of plant­
ing should not exceed X
A inch. A packing
wheel or other device should be used follow­
ing the planter to press the soil firmly against
the seed. Some cultivation may be required
during the first month or two to control
Spring plantings usually
can be grazed about 2 months
after seeding or when the
plants have attained the
height of about 3 feet. Early
fall plantings also can be
made and will provide graz­
ing 1 or 2 weeks earlier the
follow in g spring than nor­
mally can be expected from
Sudan grass.

Most efficient use of Blue
Panic grass is obtained when
it is used as a rotation pas­
ture, according to Albert W.
Crain, extension pasture spec­
ialist of The Texas A. & M. College System.
The most efficient method of grazing Blue
In a recent publication by A. & M. College en­ Panic grass is to use adequate cross fencing
titled Blue Panic Grass, Mr. Crain points out to permit rotation grazing. With such a pro­
that although it has many desirable character­ cedure, one area can be grazed off fairly close
istics and is a welcome addition to the for­ and the livestock then moved to a new area,
age plants now available to southwestern permitting the first pasture to develop a new
farmers and ranchers, Blue Panic does have growth. This rotation plan provides abundant,
certain limitations. For instance, it is not a palatable feed at all times and permits the
range grass, and it does not do well in a grass to produce the maximum amount of
mixed seeding of grasses. Moreover, it is not forage.
successful on poorer soils unless it is pre­
From San Antonio south, grazing can be
ceded by a crop of vetch or other legume
obtained from Blue Panic grass any season
plus rather heavy applications of fertilizer.
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of the year. In this area, farmers sometimes
refer to it as “a perennial Sudan grass.”

Blue Panic can be cut for hay or ensilage.
Cutting should be started just as the seed
heads become visible. If the planting is to be
used primarily for hay, it may be desirable
to broadcast the seed at a rate of 5 to 10
pounds per acre rather than to plant it in
rows. This forces the plants to produce a finer
stem, giving a better quality hay. However,
broadcast plantings are not recommended for
Mr. Crain emphasizes that Blue Panic
grass requires large amounts of plant food
and that it will not do well on poor, unfertile
soils. The plant is capable of producing large
yields, but it will not do so unless adequate
plant food is available. In the sandy soils of
the West Cross Timbers region of Texas and
in east Texas, all three of the major plant
foods— nitrogen, phosphate, and potash— are
needed, while in the Blacklands and Grand
Prairie sections of the State, nitrogen and
phosphate are the principal fertilizers recom­
In tests at College Station, Texas, an in­
vestment of $17 per acre in fertilizer applied
to Blue Panic grass brought a return of $78
in increased yields and a higher quality for­
age— 14.3 percent protein compared with
11.3 percent on the unfertilized plot.

In closing his discussion of Blue Panic
grass, Mr, Crain states:

“Blue Panic deserves a good trial. It is not
a range plant and should not be expected to
‘take care of itself.’ A pound of seed per acre
in rows on a good seedbed is enough; use
adequate plant food; graze with enough cat­
tle to prevent four or five feet of growth but
not closer than six to ten inches; plant sweetclover, or singletary peas or another legume
and remember: Good Pastures Are a Cash
Crop— Treat Them As Such!”

Fertilizer for Johnson Grass
Most southwestern farmers have devoted
many hours to eradicating Johnson grass
from cotton fields, and generally the grass
is considered a pest. However, many thou­
sands of acres are cut for hay each year, and
in some communities Johnson grass hay is
the principal roughage available during the
winter months.
Where Johnson grass is to be used as hay,
the use of commercial fertilizer will pay big
dividends. Albert W. Crain, extension pasture
specialist of The Texas A. & M. College Sys­
tem, cites results obtained in tests in the
Brazos River bottom over a 3-year period in
which the yield of Johnson grass was doubled
through the use of fertilizer. In this experi­
ment an expenditure of $35 per acre for fer­
tilizer resulted in an increase of 6 tons of
hay. The protein content of the hay from the
fertilized field also was higher, with the in­
crease equivalent to a ton of cottonseed meal.
In DeWitt County, Texas, the application
of 100 pounds of ammonium nitrate per acre
on Johnson grass on September 16, following
a rain, resulted in the production of 1 ton of
forage per acre by November 1. The unfertil­
ized field yielded only 600 pounds of forage
per acre. In this test also, the protein content
was higher, with the ton of forage produced
on the fertilized field containing $24 worth of
protein compared with only $5 for the value
of the protein in the 600 pounds produced on
the unfertilized area.
In citing these examples, it should be em ­
phasized that the increase in yield on the
fertilized fields was achieved with the same
amount of rainfall as that received on the
unfertilized areas. This fact emphasizes the
importance of proper fertilization during sea­
sons when rainfall is short.
If Johnson grass is to be used as hay, har­
vest should be started just before the seed
heads first begin to appear. Delaying harvest
beyond this stage may increase the tonnage


but will yield a coarser, less palatable hay,
lower in protein content and less valuable as
a livestock feed.

Close Spacing of Cotton Increases
Higher yields of cotton were obtained with
thicker stands of plants in tests at the Temple
unit of the Texas Agricultural Experiment
Station, Plants spaced 5.5 inches apart in the
row yielded 174 pounds of seed cotton more
per acre than an 11.4-inch spacing.
In commenting upon the tests, the special­
ist in charge pointed out that there were
fewer bolls per plant on the closer spaced
plantings but more bolls per acre. The size
of bolls was about the same in both cases.
Another advantage of the closer plant spac­
ing is that mechanical harvesters operate
more efficiently in cotton that is planted to
the thicker stand.

Chemicals for Weed Control
in Cotton
Control of grass and weeds in cotton by use
of chemicals rather than by hand hoeing was
achieved during 1951 in tests at the Texas
Agricultural Experiment Station.
Comparative costs show a saving of $2.39
in favor of chemicals over hand hoeing. In
addition, there is the added advantage of be­
ing able to apply the chemicals faster and
without waiting for hand labor. In the past
2 years, such labor has been very scarce and
frequently unavailable when needed most.
Chemicals for weed control are applied
with a spray machine attached to the tractor.
The most satisfactory procedure used in the
tests mentioned above was to make one ap­
plication of a “pre-emergence” chemical at
the time of planting and two “post-emerg­
ence” applications after cotton plants were up
to a stand.


The pre-emergence application was made
at the rate of 2 pounds of “Premerge” (the
trade name of the chemical) in 10 gallons of
water per acre. This solution was applied
directly behind the planter press wheels and
covered a 10-inch strip over the cotton row.
The purpose of this application was to kill
shallow-seeded annual weeds and grasses as
they germinated, until the cotton was up suffi­
ciently high to permit cultivation.
When the cotton plants were high enough
to permit spray nozzles to be directed into the
row below the bottom leaf of the plant
(about 3 to 4 weeks old ), the first application
of a post-emergence chemical was made. The
chemical used is called Lion Oil No. 1 and
was applied at the rate of 5 gallons per acre.
A second application was made 7 days later.
These sprayings controlled seedling grass and
weeds in the row but did not injure cotton
plants, except for an occasional burning of
lower leaves.
Satisfactory results with chemical weed
controls also have been obtained in Louisiana,
and it now appears that the solution of this
bottleneck to the complete mechanization of
cotton production is making rapid progress.
It should be emphasized that chemicals can
be used successfully in controlling weeds and
grass in cotton only if manufacturers’ direc­
tions are followed closely.
As is the case with most mechanized opera­
tions in agriculture, careful attention to de­
tails is necessary. Thus, farmers who con­
template using chemicals for controlling
weeds and grass in their cotton should make
a careful study of the methods that have
proved satisfactory and should make certain
that their tractor operators follow directions

Irrigated farming now occupies an impor­
tant place in Texas agriculture. During the
9-year period, 1940-48, the area under irriga­
tion in Texas increased from 1,045,000 to
2,885,000 acres, according to the Texas Agri­
cultural Experiment Station.



Cull Chickens for More Profit
Frequent culling of the laying flock to elim­
inate birds that are not laying will help reduce
the feed bill— the biggest single expense in
producing eggs, says W. J. Moore, extension
poultryman of Texas A. & M. College.
Mr. Moore suggests that the flock be culled
at least four times each year: first, when the
chicks arrive at the farm; second, when the
pullets are turned out on the range; third,
when they are brought back into the laying
house; and fourth, when the hens reach maxi­
mum production. All birds that are moulting,
diseased, or that are not laying for any reason
should be eliminated immediately from the
Inexperienced poultrymen should consult
their county agricultural agents or other spe­
cialists in their communities in order to learn
how to spot the nonlayers. Certain character­
istics, such as coloring of the beak and shanks,
give ample evidence of the bird’s egg produc­
tion, and a few minutes spent in learning how
to cull the laying flock will pay big dividends.

1 9 5 2 Farm Credit School Planned
About 200 bankers attended the first an­
nual Farm and Ranch Credit School for
Commercial Bankers held at Texas A. & M.
College last month. The enthusiastic endorse­
ment of this type of meeting led to a request
by those present that a similar school be
scheduled for 1952. Dean Charles N. Shepardson announced that A. & M. College would
be happy to comply with this request and
that dates for the 1952 school would be D e­
cember 8-10.
“ Students” attending last year’s school were
particularly pleased with the practical, downto-earth approach of the “faculty” in discuss­
ing problems of farm and ranch credit. The
discussion period following each lecture pro­
vided an excellent opportunity for the ex­
change of ideas and the clarification of
points brought out by the speaker.

A. G. Brown, Chairman of the Agricultural
Commission of the American Bankers Associ­
ation, was unable to attend the school but ex ­
tended his congratulations and stated that, to
the best of his knowledge, this was the largest
“first session” of any similar meeting in the

Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, C ol­
lege Station:
Bermudagrass Research in Texas, Circular
129, by E. C. Holt and others.
Chemical Control of W eeds in Converting
Pasture Land to Tomato Production in
East Texas, Progress Report 1338, b y
P. A. Young.
W a ter C onservation In creases C o tto n
Yields, Progress Report 1340, by C. E.
Fisher and P. T. Marion.
Supplying Phosphorus to Range Cattle
through the Fertilization of Range Land,
Progress Report 1341, by E. B. Reynolds.
Fertilizer Requirements for Rice on the
Soils of the Gulf Coast Prairie of Texas,
1947-50, Progress Report 1348, by R .
L. Cheaney and R. H. Wyche.
Drying and Storing Flax Seed in South
Texas, Progress Report 1352, by M . G.
Davenport and others.
Effect of Time of Application of Various
Fertilizers on the Yield of Rice Varie­
ties of Different Maturity, 1949-50, P rog­
ress Report 1362, by R. L. Cheaney and
Livestock Auctions in Texas, Bulletin 732,
by John G. M cNeely and others.
American-Egyptian Cotton Variety Tests
at the El Paso Valley Experiment Sta­
tion, 1949-50, Progress Report 1406, b y
Lee S. Stith and others.
Cotton Variety Tests in the Lower R io
Grande Valley, 1951, Progress R eport
1408, by J. L. Hubbard and others.

Agricultural News Letter

is prepared in
the Research Department under the direction
of CARL H . M oore, Agricultural Economist.