About Me

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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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stiles Farm Field Day scheduled June 15

New cotton systems, row-crop fertility issues and herbicide-tolerant sorghum are a few of the topics that headline the 47th Stiles Farm Field Day scheduled June 15.

The Stiles Farm is located at 5700 Farm-to-Market Road 1063, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 79 and Farm-to-Market Road 1063, 1 mile east of Thrall. The event is free with registration starting at 7:45 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., tours will begin with the following scheduled presentations:

- Herbicide-tolerant sorghum and new weed technology, Dr. Paul Baumann, Texas AgriLife Extension Service weed specialist.

- Row-crop fertility issues-nutrient availability, Dr. Mark McFarland, AgriLife Extension soil fertility weed specialist.

- New cotton systems, Dr. Gaylon Morgan, AgriLife Extension cotton specialist.

- Cotton root rot update, Dr. Tom Isakeit, AgriLife Extension plant pathologist.

- Variety testing in Texas-grains, Dennis Pietsch, research associate specializing in crop testing with Texas AgriLife Research.

- Variety testing in Texas-cotton, Dr. C. Wayne Smith, professor of cotton breeding, Texas A&M University Department of Soil and Crop Science.

At noon, youth scholarships will be presented and the Taylor Agriculturalist of the Year will be named for 2010. A barbecue meal will follow, sponsored by the Taylor Chamber of Commerce.

Afternoon sessions will begin at 1:30 p.m. featuring the following topics:

- Equipment demonstrations featuring strip-till equipment, sprayers, guidance systems and more.

- Seedless watermelon production, Bob Whitney AgriLife Extension agent for Williamson County.

- Strip-till field studies featuring personnel from the Stiles Farm Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Producers with a Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide applicator license will receive three continuing education units for attending the field day. Three commercial crop advisor units will also be available.

The Stiles Farm is a non-profit, self-supporting institution established by bequest of the late J.V. and H.A. Stiles for the advancement of agriculture to benefit all Texans. A field day is held at the Stiles Farm each year to introduce producers to the latest research and best management practices.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Early Season Pecan Management Tour

Homeowners with just one tree to the large commercial pecan growers are all facing a short crop and low pecan prices. This may be the year that detailed management pays off and the Early Season Pecan Management Tour will focus on the details of doing the right things early to insure a successful pecan year. In particular the seminar will focus on pest problems but included will be information on a variety of subjects as well.
The Early Season Pecan Management Tour will be held on Wednesday, May 5th at the David Schwegmann Orchard north of Georgetown off the north bound I35 service road just before Hwy 195. Exit I35 at the NE Inner Loop (exit #262) and stay on the service road north and turn at the Pecan Tour Sign. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. and the program will begin at 10:00 a.m., and last through a catered lunch. The tour will include two pesticide applicator credits, one in general and one in IPM. To preregister call the Williamson County Extension office at 512/943-3300 or email at rwhitney@ag.tamu.edu. Cost is $5.00 per individual to offset meal costs. Sponsors include Dow AgroSciences, Bayer, Syngenta and Southern Nut and Tree.
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in this program are encouraged to contact Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Williamson County at 512/943-3300 by May 1 to determine how reasonable accommodations can be made.
Speakers for the Early Season Tour include Bill Ree, Extension IPM Specialist for Pecans. Growers in this area have heard Bill discuss insect management before but the drought and the changes it causes can catch growers off-guard.
Also on the program is Monte Nesbitt, new Extension Horticulturalist for Pecans. Monte will address several issues including fertility, zinc, weeds, and varieties.
Remember to call in your reservation! In addition, if you would like to receive this letter and other upcoming events from our office via email, please call or email Alisa Richey at 512-943-3300 or alrichey@ag.tamu.edu.

Oak Wilt and other Tree Diseases Workshop

If high summer temperatures and lingering drought weren’t enough to humiliate landscapes add in the Oak Wilt disease and homeowners are finally ready to sell out and move into an apartment!
This has been a terribly hot, dry summer for lawns, trees and shrubs. Homeowners have had some of the largest water bills in history but heat and drought are not the only cause of death for thousands of Live and Red Oak trees in Williamson County. We can blame the disease Ceratocystis fagacearum commonly known as Oak Wilt with steadily marching across the county landscape killing oak trees that are hundreds of years old. Add in the problem with Hypoxylon Canker on many species and a host of other problems in trees and we will see trees go down for years to come.
To help Master Gardeners, Professional Landscapers and even landowners better understand Oak Wilt and other Tree Diseases and know more about possible treatment options, Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas Forest Service have teamed up to offer the program “Oak Wilt and other Tree Diseases Workshop.” This is a day-long workshop starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending with an oak wilt injection demonstration close to 5:00 p.m. The training will be offered at the Williamson County Training Room, 3151 SE Inner Loop in Georgetown and end at the demonstration site. Cost is $10 and includes a catered lunch and break. You must preregister by paying $10 in advance to secure your spot. 3 Pesticide Credits will be offered to Private, Non-Commercial and Commercial applicators, one in IPM and two in General.
Speakers for the program will include Rob Grotty, Staff Forester with the Texas Forest Service (TFS), Jim Houser, TFS Oak Wilt Coordinator and Dr. Dave Appel, Extension Plant Pathologist and Associate Department Head of Plant Pathology at Texas A&M University.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great Budding and Grafting Workshop

Larry Jim Womack from Womack's Nursery in DeLeon did a great job
showing everyone how to bud and graft pecans and peaches. Should have been there!

Pecan Sawfly


The pecan sawfly is a tiny wasp that lays eggs near pecan leaves and the larva then chews holes in the leaves. The leaves look like someone used a shotgun on them! The larva are generally not considered more than a nusiance but if you are not familiar with their damage you may think they are hurting the tree. They only have one generation per year.