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As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bell-Williamson Counties Pecan Show Results

The Bell-Williamson County Extension Pecan Committees hosted the annual Bell-Williamson Counties Pecan Show this past Friday, December 8, at the Comanche Community Center. This year’s show featured 28 entries, from 6 area growers. Mr. Bill Ree, State Extension Specialist-Pecan IPM served as the Pecan Show Judge for this year’s show. Bill is known throughout the state for his work in pecan entomology and pecan orchard improvement.
The Commercial Division features pecan varieties that are typically found in commercial orchards and are sold in the largest quantities to Pecan Shellers. The fact that they are sold commercially does not limit their popularity with homeowners and small growers who either eat the pecan themselves or peddle the pecans in roadside stands. Every year new pecans are added to the Commercial Division list and old ones are moved to the Classic Division or dropped completely for lack of interest.
In the commercial division there were 19 entries in 9 classes. In the Cheyenne class Warren Sefcik of Georgetown won the class and this pecan was named Champion of the Commercial division. Robert Kaderka of Taylor placed second and Ronny Wells of Belton placed third. Choctaw is a very popular variety in Central Texas noted for its large size and kernel quality. In the Choctaw class Warren Sefcik won 1st, David Phillips of Little River won 2nd and Darwin Karkoska of Granger won 3rd. In the Desirable class 1st place went to David Phillips, 2nd to Ken Gerstenberg of Belton and 3rd to Warren Sefcik. The Forkert Class was won by Darwin Karkoska. The Reserve Champion Commercial pecan was won by the 1st place entry in the Kiowa class and was shown by Darwin Karkoska of Granger. 2nd place Kiowa went to David Phillips. The Oconee class was won by Warren Sefcik and 2nd place went to Ken Gerstenberg. Both the Mohawk, Sioux and Wichita classes were all won by David Phillips of Little River in Bell County. The Sioux pecan is known for being a small pecan with a long slender shape. Its size of 60 nuts per pound compared to a Choctaw at 36 makes it seems like a “native” pecan. But when you start to shell a Sioux you realize it is thin shelled and the pecan meat is one of the lightest colors you will find in a pecan. It is high in oil content which makes it a constant favorite in taste tests.
The Classic Division is made up of pecan varieties that are no longer propagated by commercial orchards but are still enjoyed by growers, hobbyists and homeowners. The Classic Division featured 9 entries in 5 classes. In the Brake Class Darwin Karkoska placed first and this pecan entry was named Champion of the Classic Division with a 58.2% kernel. Darwin Karkoska also placed first with his Nacono entry and Ken Gerstenberg placed 2nd. In the Shawnee class Darwin Karkoska placed first. The Variety Seedling class features pecans from trees where only one parent is known. In this class there were two entries, Darwin Karkoska again placed first and David Phillips placed 2nd. The Other Variety class is for pecan varieties that do not have a specific class and so all are judged together. The winner of the Other Variety class was Darwin Karkoska with a Goertz Seedling and this pecan was named Reserve Champion of the Classic Division. David Phillips placed second with his Imperial and he also entered an Aggie variety to win 3rd.
The Native Pecan Division consists of pecans grown on trees that are the result of nature planting the trees mostly in pecan bottoms. The genetic background of the trees is unknown but in some cases the pecans can be quite good. In fact many “native” Texans claim that the only good pecan is a native. It is a myth to think that natives have to be small and hard shelled in order to be termed “native”. Many natives are thin shelled and large compared to other native pecans. There have been many years that native pecan entries from the Bell-Williamson pecan show have won the state pecan show. Unfortunately this year the native production was very low and growers did not enter.
All first place class winners automatically advance to the Regional Pecan Show held in Stephenville on Friday, December 12th. The first three placings from each class at the Regional shows advance to the State Pecan Show held each July as a part of the Texas Pecan Growers Annual Meeting. Congratulations to all the winners in this year’s Bell-Williamson Counties Pecan Show!

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