This is my last report for 2019 so I will wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Most of the county received around an inch of precipitation with the majority of it falling on Thanksgiving Day and Friday morning. Nothing heavy so it came slow and lots of drizzle. Pastures and fields are sopping wet and have been for some time now.
Wheat looks a tad better but growth is really slow and there is very little wheat ready for grazing right now. Those that had stockpiled forage reserves from native or improved pastures are getting a lot of it stomped in the ground with all this wet weather. So, it’s not lasting as long as we had hoped for and most are already putting out hay by now.
Cow-calf producers that calve in the spring are relaxing a little now after all the work done weaning, culling, shipping and marketing their calf crop and cull cows. That is unless they backgrounded their calves, then they have a little more work to do. Fall calving herds should be done with calving season by now and rolling along feeding hay and supplements and treating some calves for scours already.
Stocker operators that have cattle are sure needing the wheat to take off soon, as feeding hay is not going to cut it for very long.
OK, I said I would talk about pecans this week so here it goes. Our pecan trees made lots of nuts this year just like the oak trees made tons of acorns! Trees were loaded over most of the county, but we did have some problems that caused the crop not to be the best quality produced; some was OK, some was not. In my head I counted over 18 diseases and fungus that affect pecans, and numerous insects that harm the crop as well, such as the Pecan Nutcase Bearer, Borers, Weevils, Stinkbugs and Walnut Caterpillar just to name a few major players. If you don’t already know, pecans managed right are a pain in the kiester. But they sure make good pecan pies and candy!
There was a fair share that were poorly filled out which can be caused by poor growing conditions, low nutrients or insect and disease problems. If you found a small perfect hole drilled in their shell and the nut inside missing, this is the work of the pecan weevil, according to the experts the most destructive insect pest of pecans. Whatever the cause, these can be managed with lots of time and money, so you see why pecans are so expensive to buy. The early freeze caused some pecans to get stuck in the hull and once unopened pecans freeze, they must be opened physically. There were also quite a few pecans that fell prematurely and some of that is just part of nature’s game.
The pecan prices are not great, and my nut source has not returned my phone call this morning. Prices are lower on improved varieties and higher on natives this week. And some are even turning down the lower quality nuts. Demand is decent for good quality pecans, with some paper shells being harvested as well as natives. Harvesting is expected to increase during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Let’s hope the pecan prices increase too!
In the markets as of Nov. 30 — Slaughter cattle took a big jump to $119. December live cattle rose to $121 while January feeder was higher at $142. Feedyard closeouts were $53 in the black. The cow and calf markets were not well tested because of the holiday.
Visit the Cooke County AgriLife Extension website at cooke.agrilife.org for events and updates.
Marty Morgan is Cooke County Ag Agent for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Reach him at 940-668-5412 or email@example.com.