Due to requests from some of our journalism subscribers, we will begin putting news briefs on AGNMORE. The news briefs are a camera-ready monthly mailout that is provided to Texas weeklies. Most of the stories are shorter versions of the long stories that have run already on the daily AGNMORE news list. As more weekly newspapers are getting online, they are asking for this service online. We will continue to mail the briefs camera-ready to those who want it.
Please contact me if you have questions/comments about this service. The brief will be emailed about every 4 weeks, when the camera-ready briefs are mailed. Thanks. Kathleen Phillips
VALLEY COTTON CROP MOSTLY PLANTED
WESLACO — Most of the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s 1999 cotton crop has been planted.
John Norman, cotton IPM entomologist at the Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Weslaco, estimates the cotton acreage total at 240,000 acres, roughly what it was last year.
And like last year, a lack of moisture and low market prices will be a major concern this year.
“A few growers,” Norman says, “have already had to irrigate to either get a stand or to keep the plants growing.”
If root growth can reach down to deep soil moisture, plants may not need additional water until about mid-May. Despite it all, Valley growers are gambling that rain will provide a good crop this year and bring much better profits than a good crop of corn or sorghum would bring.
CHOOSE TOYS CAREFULLY
COLLEGE STATION — By playing with toys or play props, children can acquire essential life skills. Parents and caretakers have to be careful when choosing toys for children, cautioned Jasmine Ng, an associate with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service’s Partner for Parenting program. There are four types of toys for children: social and fantasy materials like dress-up clothes; music, art and movement materials like drums; exploration and mastery toys like blocks; and total motor playthings like tricycles.
Dr. Linda Ladd, Extension child development specialist, said caregivers must make sure a toy is safe, both physically and emotionally.
For more information on toys, check the Institute for Childhood Resources’ site, Dr. Toy’s Guide, at http://www.drtoy.com. For more information on toy safety, visit www.kidsource.com.
The Partners for Parenting Program is a joint effort between Extension and the Texas Department of Health.
RANCH TO RAIL CALLS FOR OCTOBER DELIVERIES
COLLEGE STATION — The 1999 Texas A&M Ranch to Rail Program is accepting nominations for deliveries in October, announced Dr. John McNeill, associate head for Extension at Texas A&M University’s animal science department.
“Since 1991, almost 20,000 head of steers from 1,600 ranches in Texas and 13 other states have participated in the program that feeds consigned cattle at two locations, and collects feedyard performance, health information, and carcass data,” he said.
The program started in 1991 with 666 head at Randall County Feedyard near Amarillo. It was expanded to the King Ranch Feedyard at Kingsville in 1992.
In 1996, Ranch to Rail-South was moved to Hondo Creek Feedyard at Edroy, north of Corpus Christi.
For more information, contact your local county Extension agent or call Dr. John McNeill at (979) 845-3579.
STATEWIDE RABIES PLAN SUCCESS FOR FIFTH YEAR
RAYMONDVILLE — As a highly successful state rabies-control effort wraps up its fifth year, the Texas Wildlife Damage Management Service is helping with a special effort to control the disease in South Texas with a precision air drop.
Using agency helicopters, WDMS employees and the Texas Department of Health have been dropping vaccinated baits near the community of Raymondville after potentially rabid dogs or coyotes came into contact with people on several occasions, said Gary Lee Nunley, WDMS director.
According to the Texas Department of Health, there have been seven confirmed cases of canine rabies in South Texas since mid-March of 1998, most of them within a 30-mile radius of Raymondville.
Since the program began in 1995, there has been a 97 percent decrease in canine rabies confirmations, the health department reports.
SPRING BRINGS URGE TO REMODEL HOMES
COLLEGE STATION — Consumers who read packaging labels on food are more likely to have healthier diets than those who do not, according to a preliminary study released by Texas A&M University.
Dr. Rudy Nayga, assistant professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M, feels that the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act is achieving its purpose.
Nayga is studying data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the effect of the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act on diet quality. The law enacted in 1994 updated the list of nutrients and ingredients on food packages, standardized serving sizes, defined nutrient content claims and standardized health claims and health benefit statements.
The study recently was awarded the 1999 Applied Consumers Economics award presented by the American Council on Consumer Interests.
NUTRITIONIST: NOT ALL FIBERS CREATED EQUAL
COLLEGE STATION — Despite recent headlines, researchers at Texas A&M University have found some types of dietary fiber do help prevent colon cancer.
“Not all fibers are created equal,” said Joanne Lupton, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher who studies human nutrition. “Some are protective and some are not.”
Her research is contrary to recent research suggesting women who ate a high-fiber diet were no less likely than women who ate little fiber to develop colorectal cancer or polyps.
Lupton said fibers that are most protective against colon cancer are those which do not ferment in the colon, such as wheat bran. Fermentable fiber, like oat bran, does not protect against colon cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer caused more than 47,000 deaths in 1998.
REVEILLE MAKES GREEN LAWNS ALL YEAR LONG
DALLAS — Homeowners who long for a barefoot-soft Kentucky bluegrass lawn and gave up long ago because of the Texas heat, just may think a fanfare is in order when they hear about a new bluegrass for Texas.
Reveille, a cross of Kentucky bluegrass with Texas native bluegrass, was developed by Dr. James Read, Texas A&M grass breeder and geneticist in Dallas. The result is a turf that looks like Kentucky but acts like Texas–hardy enough to stand the Texas heat and sun.
Read said Reveille showed heat tolerance, water efficiency and good resistance to insects and diseases, and it stays green winter and summer.
“Commercial areas and corporate complexes could find this very attractive and might even lower their landscape maintenance costs,” he said.
FOREST HEAD CARVES FUTURE FOR TEXAS
AUSTIN — Texans celebrated 30 years of better health and nutrition when the Texas Agricultural Extension Service’s Expanded Nutrition Program hosted an educational program here in April.
ENP is a federally funded program that provides education about food and nutrition to families and youth with limited resources. At the federal level, the program is called the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).
In the program, instructors teach clients about basic nutrition, managing a food budget, food safety and food preparation. Staffers are recruited from the same communities as the clients, ensuring that they can relate to one another in terms of culture, language and life experiences.
ENP is also offered in Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, El Paso, Hidalgo, Tarrant and Travis counties.
For more information, call Debra Reed at (979) 845-2798.
REPORT SAYS NATION’S FARMS UNDER STRESS
COLLEGE STATION — Farms across the United States are under considerable cash flow pressure because of low prices, according to a study released by the Agriculture and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Ed Smith, agricultural economist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, in a report to Congress said, “The majority of the crop farms we monitor are under considerable financial pressure. These farms will probably need to look for ways to refinance their loans.”
The report predicts that these difficulties will persist for the next two or three years, he said. This is due to gloomy forecasts of foreign demand and projections of low prices .
The study includes commodities that are significantly impacted by farm and agricultural policy, such as wheat, feed grains, cotton, rice, pork, beef and dairy cattle.
FUCHS HONORED BY STATE PEST GROUP
SAN ANGELO — Dr. Tom Fuchs, state Integrated Pest Management coordinator with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, was given special recognition during the Texas Pest Management Association’s annual meeting in Galveston.
Fuchs was honored for his committed leadership and outstanding service as Extension’s statewide IPM coordinator. He was also cited for his sincere dedication to IPM and to Texas producers.
Fuchs has been headquartered at the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center here since 1979. He was a district Extension entomologist until his 1993 state IPM coordinator appointment.
Fuchs coordinates and manages 25 IPM Extension agents who serve 54 Texas counties. The program’s benefit to Texas farmers is estimated at $360 million annually.
TEXAS GOAT GROWERS TO GATHER IN KERRVILLE
KERRVILLE — A unique program this summer called “A Gathering of Goat Producers” features a speaker list that reads like a “who’s who” of today’s meat goat industry.
“If they’re in the business, chances are they’ll either be here talking or listening from June 29-July 1,” said Dr. Rick Machen, Uvalde-based Extension livestock specialist.
“Many of the industry’s sharpest minds and thinkers with a vision toward the future of the meat goat business are scheduled to participate,” said Machen.
Registration by May 15 is $75 for the first family member and $50 for each additional family member. There is no charge for children under age 8.
For further information contact Machen at (830) 278-915.
PROPER PINE TREE PLANTING SUGGESTED
OVERTON — Pine tree seedlings may be in short supply, but landowners can make their reforestation dollars stretch if they ask their contractor questions.
Eric Taylor, forestry specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, said landowners should take a hard look at planting techniques every year, but it’s more critical this year as stocks are in short supply.
Taylor recommends landowners ask the seven “hows”:
— How was the seedling grown?
— How well-adapted is the variety to the objectives?
— How will the seedlings be treated as they travel from nursery to planting site?
— How the seedlings will be treated at the planting site?
— How will seedlings be planted?
–How many seedlings will be planted per acre?
— How will the quality of the planting be guaranteed?
Landowners may access information at the East Texas Forestry site at http://overton.tamu.edu/forestry.