Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Living off the Land
Oct. 27, 1998
Growers say bell pepper harvest's quality good
By CLAUDE W. PORTER
Bell Peppers from a Pecos County farm flavors food from
Texas to infinity. Gracing supermarket shelves in Texas and
the Southeast, or as an ingredient in pre-packaged prepared
foods, it would be difficult to determine to what distance
they may have traveled.
Raising a hybrid variety, Randy Taylor supplies the bell
peppers from 135 acres of irrigated farmland.
According to Trey Miller, who markets the peppers for
Taylor, this year has produced a good crop. Large and extra
large peppers are packaged daily for shipment.
The Pecos Cantaloupe produce shed in north Pecos handles
the processing and shipping of the peppers. Clay Taylor is
Harvest this year began on October 13. It is expected to
continue for three to four weeks. A limiting factor could be
an early freeze, which would ruin the crop remaining in the
"We expect to get two pickings," says local grower Randy
Taylor. "A third picking is always a plus."
Bell peppers are harvested by hand. The harvest provides
jobs for itinerant farm laborers in the area. The processing
shed also offers seasonal jobs.
Miller said, "Most of the laborers are local people who
come back and help us year-after-year. They are good
The bell pepper harvest is a boost to the Pecos economy each
CLAUDE W. PORTER
From the time of the 12-foot canvas cottonsacks and "pea"
scales, cotton harvesting in Reeves County has come a long
With the introduction of two six-row cotton pickers by Sam
Miller on his farms, a new era in cotton harvesting has
begun in earnest.
Loaded with high-tech bells and whistles, the new John
Deere six-row pickers will gobble up the crop at five-to-six
miles per hour in two-bale cotton. Electronic sensors tell
the operator if a channel becomes clogged, if the 3.5 bale
hopper needs to be dumped, or a number of other things
should there be a malfunction in the machine.
According to David Kington, foreman for Sam Miller, the
six-row pickers will harvest 4-to-5 acres per hour in
1.5-to-2 bale cotton. That figures to 8-to-10 bales of seed
cotton per hour.
"It depends on how smooth the ground is and how many weeds
there are," says Kington.
One advantage of using the picker is that
By Sue Toone
Last month we talked about some of the Origanum plants
known by the common name of oregano and noted some of the
differences between the ornamental oreganos and the cooking
oreganos. Today we will talk about Origanum Majorana.
Marjoram is a tender perennial closely related to oregano
but one can usually tell the difference between the two
because marjoram has a much sweeter, delicate flavor. Also,
marjoram is not as hardy as oregano.
Marjoram is native to North Africa and Southeast Asia but
naturalized in the Mediterranean region. In another time it
was used as a `strewing' herb that was laid on the floor to
sweeten the air as it was walked on. Also, it was thought
that marjoram growing on a grave designated a contented
soul. The Greeks used marjoram in wreaths and garlands for
weddings and funerals. Down through the ages marjoram has
been used to sweeten the ladies' nosegays, put into small
bags to keep the contents in a drawer sweet, and for
sweetening the water used for washing. The leaves were also
used to rub on furniture to make a sweet smelling polish.
Today we feature the marjoram used mostly in cooking. The
leaves should be gathered before the plant blooms. This can
be done by cutting sprigs, tying, and hung in a dark, cool
place. Or you can pick the leaves off one-by-one and place
them on a screen to dry. You also can freeze the leaves.
Marjoram leaves are used in soups, roasts, stews, and
salads, pizza, fish and egg dishes.
You can grow marjoram outside in the garden or inside the
house in pots. Here are a couple of spices and varieties you
may want to try.
Origanum majorana - sweet marjoram - can be grown outside,
but must be moved into the house during the winter. Is the
most recommended marjoram to use in cooking.
O. onites - pot marjoram - is used in salads, teas, and
Next time we will talk about the basil family and the many,
many, scents and tastes of basil. Have fun.
Cotton gins in County plan to run at capacity
CLAUDE W. PORTER
Approaching a thousand bales ginned at presstime, the two
cotton gins in Reeves County are off and running for another
The saw gin near Saragosa began ginning this year on
October 2. The bale count tallied 550 bales ginned by Friday
morning October 16.
The roller gin in the Alamo area was to start operations
mid-week around October 20. Pima cotton which is handled by
the roller gin is coming off a little earlier than previous
estimates, according to Don Kerley, operator of both gins.
There were over 18,000 bales of cotton ginned in Reeves
County in the 1997 ginning season. Kerley estimates that the
number will drop this year to around 15,000 bales.
"There is approximately the same number of acres in cotton
this year as last," says Kerley. "The difference is the
ratio between upland acres and pima acres. Upland is down
and pima is up"
"Pima cotton does not normally yield as many pounds of lint
cotton per acre as upland, but pima is worth more per
pound," stated Kerley.
The cash price for upland cotton is running in the mid
60-cent range per pound at this time. The trend seems to be
downward with a bit of fluctuation in the market. No current
pima price was quoted locally.
On Monday in New York, cotton futures No. 2 were lower. The
average price for strict low middling 1 & 1-16 inch spot
cotton advanced 54 points to 65.51 cents a pound Friday for
the seven markets, according to the New York Cotton
Prices were $2.15 to $4.50 a bale lower than the previous
close. Dec 67.56, Mar 66.88, May 67.33, Jul 67.80, Oct
67.88, Dec b67.90, Mar b68.90, May b69.30 and Jul b69.80.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Water district names temporary directors
CLAUDE W. PORTER
The temporary board of directors of Trans-Pecos Underground
Water Conservation District became more formal with the
organizing and naming of board officers. The election was
held on Thursday, October 15, at the Pecos Valley Country
Club meeting room.
Dale Toone, a resident of the Saragosa community, was named
to the board as an at-large member. Previously adopted
procedure called for each participating county to nominate
one at-large member to fill the ninth position on the
district's temporary board. The names were to be placed in a
hat and one name drawn.
Pecos County declined to name an at-large nominee, so only
two names were placed in the hat. Loving County submitted
Elgin (Punk) Jones as their nominee.
A.B. Foster of Pecos, was nominated and elected by
acclamation to serve the board as president. Nominated for
vice president and also elected by acclamation was Dennis
Braden of Coyanosa. Clark Lindley, Pecos, was elected
without opposition as board secretary.
In other business conducted by the board the newly elected
officers were authorized to prepare a letter documenting the
group's efforts to organize an underground water
conservation district. This letter is to be forwarded to
State Representative Gary Walker.
Walker is to prepare a bill for introduction in the
up-coming legislative session to authorize a water district
referendum. In each of the three counties voters will be
given the opportunity to decide as to whether an underground
water conservation district will be established.
Due to the passage of Senate Bill 1, in the previous
legislative session, area residents have the option of
creating a local district with local representation to
regulate the use of underground water resources. Should this
option not be exercised, the three counties involved would
fall under regulation by the Texas Natural Resources
Conservation Commission, in Austin, with no local
Larry Turnbough, a Reeves County cotton farmer, has been
instrumental in the formation of the ad hoc group. Chairing
the information meetings which have been held over a period
of months, Turnbough guided the group to its present
The Trans-Pecos Cotton Association has acted as an
information vehicle for the group. Executive Director Bob
Bickley has provided support services.
Cotton Association elects new directors
CLAUDE W. PORTER
The Trans-Pecos Cotton Association held their annual meeting
at the Randy Taylor Onion Shed No. 2 on Tuesday, October 6,
at 7 p.m. After a time of socializing, the annual business
meeting was held.
Items discussed would be described as routine. The principal
activity was the election of directors. Members and guests
were treated to a barbecue after the conclusion of the
The Board of Directors from last year were re-elected to
serve again for the 1998-99 term. Directors can be
designated to the board by a gin, be appointed to the board
in an advisory capacity, or elected to the board by the
Those serving on the Board for the coming year include:
Dennis Braden, Coyanosa, Designate; Elmer Braden, Coyanosa,
Designate; Ted Godfrey, Pecos, Elect; David Z. Hess,
Coyanosa, Elect; Kenneth Lindemann, Verhalen, Designate; Sam
Miller, Pecos, Elect; and Dr. Jaroy Moore, Texas A&M
University Agricultural Research & Extension Center,
Also serving are Mike Murphy, Texas A&M University
Agricultural Experiment Station, Pecos, Advisory; Ysidro
Renteria, Pecos, Elect; Jesus Ruiz, Coyanosa, Elect; Dale
Toone, Saragosa, Designate; and Larry Turnbough, Fort Davis,
Bob Bickley serves the Cotton Association as Executive
Director. Offices are located in Pecos at 2206 Bickley
Fed cattle numbers up from last year
AUSTIN - Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in
Texas feedlots with capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled
2.67 million head on October 1, up 4 percent from a year
ago. According to the monthly report released by the Texas
Agricultural Statistics Service, the estimate was up 2
percent from the September 1 level. Producers placed 640
thousand head in commercial feedlots during September, down
9 percent from a year ago but up 25 percent from the August,
Texas commercial feeders marketed SILO thousand head during
September, up 10 percent from a year ago. Monthly marketings
were up 6 percent from the August, 1998 total.
On October 1 there were 2.16 million head of cattle and
calves on feed in the Northern High Plains, 81 percent of
the state's total. The number on feed across the area
increased 5 percent from last year and was up 2 percent from
the September total.
September placements in the Northern High Plains totaled
531,000 head. up 30 percent from the August total.
Marketings were up 5 percent from last month at 467 thousand
Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United
States in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more
totaled 9.75 million head on October 1, 1998. The inventory
was 2 percent below October 1, 1997.
Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.65 million
head, 2 percent below 1997. During September, placements of
cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds totaled
433,000 head; 600-699 pounds totaled 479,000 head: 700-799
pounds totaled 796,000 head; 800 pounds and greater totaled
941,000 head. Marketings of fed cattle during September
totaled 1.86 million, 3 percent above 1997 and 18 percent
Feeders in the historical seven monthly states with feedlots
having a capacity of 1,000 head or more reported 8.38
million head on feed October 1, down 2 percent from last
year but 12 percent above October 1, 1996.
September placements totaled 2.25 million head, 1 percent
below last year and 1 percent below 1996. Marketings during
September, at 1.58 million head, were 3 percent above 1997
and 18 percept above 1996.
Upland forecast down 42 percent
AUSTIN - September rainfall was welcomed, but received too
late to help the 1998 drought-stressed crops according to
the October 1 forecast released by the Texas Agricultural
The 1998 Texas Upland cotton crop is expected to total 3.0
million bales, 42 percent less than in 1997 and 31 percent
less than 1996. "Harvested acreage is estimated at 3.05
million acres, 41 percent less than last year, as
significant acreage was lost to drought and poor stands,"
according to Dennis Findley, State Statistician. Yield is
now expected to average 472 pounds per acre, 7 pounds below
Corn production is forecast at 175.8 million bushels, down
29 percent from last year's record production and 13 percent
less than 1996. Based on October 1 conditions, statewide
yield is expected to average 95 bushels per acre, 43 bushels
less than 1997; harvested acreage is up 3 percent from last
Texas peanut production is expected to increase 9 percent
from last year to 900 million pounds. Statewide yield, at
2,500 pounds per acre, is down 110 pounds from last year,
while harvested acreage increased 14 percent to 360 thousand
Sorghum production is forecast at 56.7 million hundredweight
(cwt),46 percent less than last year and 45 percent less
than 1996. Harvested acreage is estimated at 2.3 million
acres, down 27 percent from last year. Sorghum replaced some
lost cotton acreage this year but, much of the late planted
acreage also failed. Yield, at 2,464 pounds per acre, is
expected to be 840 pounds less than last year.
Rice producers expect to harvest 14.2 million cwt.
practically the same as in 1997. Yield is forecast at 5,600
pounds per acre, 100 pounds more than a year ago.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1998 by Pecos Enterprise