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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 21, 2009

Bell-Williamson Counties Pecan Show Results

Bell-Williamson Counties Pecan Show Results
The Bell-Williamson County Extension Pecan Committees hosted the annual Bell-Williamson Counties Pecan Show this past Thursday, December 3rd, at the Bell County Extension office. This year’s show featured 58 entries, from 16 area growers. Dr. Tommy Thompson, Pecan Research Geneticist with USDA-ARS served as the Pecan Show Judge for this year’s show. Dr. Thompson has over 30 years of breeding work and is responsible for most of the newest pecan varieties.
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 38 entries in 10 classes. In the Caddo class Ron Leps of Georgetown placed first. In the Cheyenne class Warren Sefcik of Georgetown won the class, Al Endsley of Taylor placed 2nd and Ronny Wells of Belton placed 3rd. 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, Ken Gerstenberg of Belton won 2nd and Raymond Danek of Georgetown won 3rd. In the Desirable class 1st place went to Warren Sefcik, 2nd to Raymond Danek and 3rd to R.H. Schlieker of Temple. The Kanza class was won by Darwin Karkoska of Granger. The first place Kiowa was shown by Raymond Danek, 2nd place by Darwin Karkoska and 3rd place by Ken Gerstenberg. The Reserve Champion Commercial pecan was won by the 1st place entry in the Oconee class and was shown by Ken Gerstenberg. Second place Oconee went to Warren Sefcik and 3rd place to Raymond Danek. The Mohawk class was won by Dennis and Marilyn Perz and 2nd place went to Ken Gerstenberg. The Pawnee pecan was introduced in the eighties and has since been planted on thousands of acres. The Champion Commercial pecan came from the Pawnee class and was shown by Ray Ponton of Taylor. Second place Pawnee was Ronny Wells of Belton and third was Ed Zucknick of Taylor. 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. This year the Sioux winner was Ron Leps, 2nd place was Ed Zucknick and 3rd place was David Phillips of Little River.
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 19 entries in 12 classes. In the Brake Class Darwin Karkoska placed 1st. Ed Zucknick placed 1st with his Melrose pecan. In the Nacono class Ken Gerstenberg placed 1st and was this Nacono was named Champion of the Classic Division. R.H. Schlieker placed 2nd in the Nacono class and Darwin Karkoska placed 3rd. The Podsednik pecan is the largest pecan shown with an average of only 29 nuts per pound. It is large but in many years this pecan just won’t fill and ends up being a problem, but not this year! The first place Podsednik was also named Reserve Champion Classic and was shown by David Phillips. Prilop is a native pecan that was propagated, named and trees sold because of its outstanding flavor and size. In this class Ken Gerstenberg had the 1st place entry. In the Shawnee class Raymond Danek placed first and in the Stuart class Jane Danek also placed first. The Variety Seedling class features pecans from trees where only one parent is known. In this class there were five entries, Ronny Wells placed 1st, David Phillips placed 2nd and Ed Zucknick placed 3rd. 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 David Phillips with an Imperial, David Phillips also placed second with his Aggie variety and Ronny Wells placed 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 many growers did not enter. This year we had one native so Champion Native honors go to Ed Zucknick of Taylor.
All first place class winners automatically advance to the Regional Pecan Show held in Stephenville on Wednesday, December 9th. 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!


David said...

My family and I have aquired about 5 acres of land that my father in law owned last year and it has 9 pecan trees that have produce in the past, but not last year. Does the Williamson county agent ever go out to inspect pecan trees on the owner's request. I would really like to start up a pecan growing business if possible. You and contact me at dsdoming001@yahoo.com with any replys you may have. Thanks!

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