Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pasture Grazing Workshop educates about Soil and Water

Rainfall simulator shows water runoff results
A coalition of organizations came together in the Piedmont on April 22 in order to discuss conservation practices for livestock grazing pastures. The stated purpose to lower feed bills for livestock by increasing forage production drew a large crowd of landowners. Other helpful topics benefitting anyone with an interest in their soil quality and how to make their grass grown better came in to the picture as the discussion progressed, just like a free-grazing herd on the move.

2016 Pasture Field Day host
Most of the organizations involved are based in S.C. with the exception of the National Grazing Land Coalition, found on the Internet at, which sent a representative from Texas to the meeting. The Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District hosted the meeting, in conjunction with the S.C. Forage and Grazing Lands Coalition. The S.C. Cattleman’s Foundation signed on to underwrite the barbecue lunch for everyone, since the workshop raises interest about this important process in the beef industry.

The most informative part of the workshop regarding soil health came in the form of a rainfall simulator test. A rotating shower nozzle set up over four test plots of soil released something close to a 3-inch rainfall, and a row of catch basins measured the amount of that water that ran off the land. If the water runs off, it does not benefit the grass growing there, or the livestock seeking nutrition. Keeping records of rainfall amounts and tracking vegetation production with a ruler are just two examples of the common practices that can help you find the keys to unlock optimal pasture land performance.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries on Agribusiness click on 2016 Flooding - Tree Farm Lobby Day - Clemson Extension - Thanksgiving Harvest - Tree Farm Changes - Benton's Peanuts - Fresh On The Menu

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Report - 4/26/2016

Fishing Report for the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina:
April 30th is the 3rd Dolphin Slam !!
Inshore Report: Scott Hammond at Haddrell's Point West hints that the spring has sprung wide open offering full tilt fishing for those with saltwater fever. Large trout are being found in solid numbers fishing with live baits or Trout Tricks around creek mouths and shell rakes in 3 to 10-feet of water. Sheepshead are still being caught in great numbers on the nearshore reefs and the jetties using fiddler crabs and sand fleas for bait. Redfish have begun to transition into a summer pattern, breaking out of larger schools and populating every dock in sight, and even pushing into the grass during moon tides. Large bull reds are showing up in solid numbers around the jetties and grillage using chuck mullet or blue crab, and the bonnethead sharks are also a good bet to make your drag scream. Jack Crevalle have been spotted in the nearshore waters lately too. For all the latest seminar information visit the Internet at Haddrell's Point.

Offshore Report: Scott says the time is NOW! For those who enjoy the offshore trolling, do not wait a day longer!! Great reports of dolphin are already flooding into the store, plus the blackfin tuna are showing up in strong numbers. This is a wonderful time of year to put some fresh fish flesh on the table with the mahi eating skirted ballyhoo and the tuna chasing cedar plugs. Some wahoo are still being found along the ledge, and the lure of choice is the YoZuri Bonita. The first blue marlin of the year have been caught and released within the last week, so think BIG when out in the Deep Blue!

To view past Lowcountry Saltwater Fishing Reports click here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kershaw County Forest Landowners - Spring Meeting Speaker

Betty Slade, Speaker Jeff Dennis and Rep. Funderburk
Explaining about my Polyphemous Moth photo
The Spring Meeting of the Kershaw Country Forest Landowners Association was held in downtown Camden on Monday April 18. I was asked to be their featured speaker to share my photos and knowledge of Forestry and Wildlife, and to promote my work with LowcountryOutdoors. I have been active in the Tree Farm system and it was at the 2016 S.C. Tree Farm Lobby Day that Mrs. Betty Slade asked me to visit with the Kershaw County landowners. I also was pleased to learn that my friend S.C. Representative Laurie Slade Funderburk, Betty's daughter, was a fellow private landowner who can speak up for Tree Farmers in the S.C. General Assembly.

Mature pine woods are always a good topic for discussion
The 7 p.m. meeting began with a covered dish supper to feed the 35 folks in attendance, ranging from 23-years old and up. Sliced ham, macaroni and cheese, butter beans, sweet potato and a biscuit were washed down with sweet tea and water. After a blessing of the food, I was asked to go through the line first so that I could begin speaking when ready. Thanks to Rep. Funderburk for the kind words during her introduction, and for taking the time to be present, since this was not her only engagement of the night.

Thanks for the Intro Laurie!
My slideshow began with several wildlife-oriented slides in order to ask the audience to try and identify the critters. As we moved through the forestry-related images, the audience participation began coming up with a larger percentage of the correct answers. So my informal conclusion would be that this group really knows about pine tree thinning, hardwood tree clearcutting, site-preparation for re-planting, and also about prescribed fire. As for the wildlife, I urged them to keep a sharp eye out every day around the beginning of May looking for migratory songbirds and other wildlife sightings.

A question and answer period raised questions that continue to perplex private landowners. How do you utilize prescribed fire to enhance your acreage? Conversely, How do you learn to not be wary of any fire at all on the landscape. My answer was that I had studied to become a Certified prescribed Fire Manager and then spent years on the landscape practicing with active fire, and taken field trips to see successful burning results. Another popular question regarding wildlife was about the status of quail populations. My answer involved that I believe that quail can still rebound, and that attending classes focusing on wildlife management and being a naturalist can give insight on these subjects.

To view past blog entries on landowner meetings click ACE BasinS.C. Prescribed Fire CouncilSavannah River PreserveHerbicide - Mayfield Garden Club

To view past blog entries on wildlife click on Field Notes - Birding Journal Observations

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town - Grace Wins, Donald Second

Luke Donald putting on the 17th green
When the PGA Tour visits the Harbour Town golf links on Hilton Head, the players, patrons and TV audience enjoy the scenic beauty of the Lowcountry. The pressure of The Masters is followed by the lighter-atmosphere at the RBC Heritage, and that one-two combination has been proven for many years. This year’s tourney was played in very windy conditions and Donald led most of the way, until Sunday afternoon when South African Branden Grace shot 5-under par to claim his first PGA Tour title victory.

The 18th Hole at Harbour Town 
But Donald’s history at The RBC Heritage deserves closer examination since his 2016 finish isn’t his only second place finish. Donald also finished in second place in 2014 and 2011 during memorable losses against Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar. Donald has also finished in third place at the RBC Heritage three times and this former World Number One golfer must be coming due for a big win at Harbour Town in the future. But for now, Donald has raked in enough earnings all-time at the RBC Heritage to surpass five-time champ Davis Love III.

Credit Jason Day for being friendly to the media
While current sensation Jordan Spieth did not play the RBC Heritage in 2016, the present Number One golfer in the world did return to Hilton Head. Australia’s Jason Day played an early round of golf on Wednesday with RBC officials and then came to the media tent where he gave a lengthy and informative press conference. Day has earned many fans because of his relentless drive to win, but also for his demeanor on and off the course. 
To read the feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries for the RBC Heritage click on 20152014 - 2013

Can't be there in person? Try VR.
To view past blog entries from The Masters click on 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2009

To view past blog entries from the BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Tour click 20152014.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

2016 Charleston Race Week - Sunday Sailing and Results

Warhorse and the Cooper River Bridge
After canceling the offshore races on Friday, and an injury due to rough seas on Saturday in the offshore circle, the offshore races were moved into the Wando River for safety's sake. I have been covering Charleston Race Week for 8 years, and don't recall a scenario that sent the bigger sailboats inside the river to race. And another first came when a sailor went into cardiac arrest and a pre-positioned EMT was put on board the vessel within 5 minutes and actually helped bring that patient back to life. To say that the 2016 CRW was full of drama would be an understatement.

Stiff winds and sloppy sea conditions were in place inside the Charleston Harbor for the inshore races. Some narrow margins separated first, second and third place awards. Sometimes those emotions are still raw on Sunday afternoon and I witnessed one testy exchange between winners where one described the other as sailing over them and keeping them from placing better. Other more colorful language was expressed between those parties, but overall I see lots sportsmanship in play at this major sailing regatta.

It was announced after the 2017 CRW, the Melges class of sailboats will hold their Nationals here in Charleston Harbor, adding more flare to the Lowcountry waters known for strong tides and stiff breezes.

For the full results at the conclusion of Charleston Race Week click on 2016 results.

Crew of Warhorse heading up the Wando River
Racing in the Wando River
 To view blog entries from 2016 Charleston Race Week click Saturday SailingSailing Begins

To view past blog entries from Charleston Race Week click on 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 
Winners from the Inshore Races show off their hardware

The crew of Teamwork are recognized on Sunday

Start Line action includes a C-17 jet!