Daily Newspaper for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend, Far West Texas

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Oct. 22, 1996

Native plants promise future profits

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Staff Writer

Guayule is not new to the Trans Pecos area, but changing conditions
have recently made it a feasible market crop, said Mike Foster of Fort

Foster is experimenting with guayule and a newer alternative crop,
lesquerella fendleri (bladderpod).

Guayule is native to the Chihuahuan desert, he said. Lesquerella is
seen in wet winters in roadside ditches and creosote bush flats. Guayule
plants produce rubber, while the tiny seeds of the lesquerella plant
produce a unique kind of vegetable oil.

"We are not looking at lesquerella for food use, but due to its
chemistry, it has some particular advantages for industrial products,"
Foster said. "It looks promising for the Trans Pecos."

The oil in lesquerella is similar to castor oil, which is imported from
Brazil and India, Foster said.

"Castor oil is used in many industrial products," he said. "The
government has classified it as a critical agricultural material, so it
is stock piled. We think lesquerella can, in many instances, replace
castor oil."

One use is in lipstick, which is 50 percent castor oil, he said. "We
can target the higher priced cosmetic market."

Working with two universities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a
private company in Phoenix, Ariz., Foster said the next phase of the
study will be to grow the plant at the experiment station and other
private farms.

Lesquerella oil can be used in plastics, nylons and coatings inside
soft-drink cans, he said.

"It is not only an alternative crop for this area; it is a renewable
natural resource, making environmental-friendly products," he said. "We
are at the point where industrial people will buy all the oil we can
give them."

Lesquerella is a perennial but is grown as a winter annual under
cultivation, and can be produced in a cropping system similar to that of
winter wheat or other small grains.

There is no requirement for specialized equipment to produce.

Optimum planting dates in west Texas are from August 15 to September
15. The crop can be seeded on beds or broadcast with a Brillion seeder
on flat ground.

To produce 1,500 pounds of seed per acre, 20 to 25 inches of water will
be required, with an addition of 60 to 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre.

Lesquerella should be harvested in mid to late May with a combine
equipped to harvest alfalfa seed. Existing oilseed facilities are
capable of crushing lesquerella seed into oil and meal.

The USDA will release several cultivars with high seed production and
high oil content, Foster said.

Guayule is becoming economically feasible because the price of natural
rubber has about doubled, he said. And guayule latex is non-allergenic,
which natural rubber from Southeast Asia and Thailand is not.

"People in the health care industry wear several pair of rubber gloves
every day," he said. "A lot of them have developed severe rashes from
the rubber. We have found guayule doesn't cause a reaction, so we are
going to try to target the medical industry."

Almost everything in the medical industry has to be latex, he said.

"The next step is to increase seed to get it out on private farms,"
Foster said.

Moore tells farmers of El Paso research

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Staff Writer

Tuesday was homecoming day for Dr. Jaroy Moore, who made his farewell
speech at the Texas A&M Agricultural Research Stations' annual field day
last October.

"This time last year I was standing back here on a pickup saying I was
going to El Paso and wondering what I was getting into," he told a group
of farmers, ranchers and agriculture workers gathered to learn how
research can benefit their efforts.

"I'm still learning what I got into," said Dr. Moore, who heads up
research efforts in a large area of West Texas.

He outlined seven projects the El Paso staff is engaged in that will
affect the Pecos area - from tomatoes to biosolids.

Pecos cantaloupes were used in a ripening study this year to determine
if the shelf life can be extended, Moore said.

Irrigation research to improve water penetration, grasses, commercial
bluebonnets with blooms a foot long, nitrogen research, a study of
airborne pathogens at the Merco site (none were found), heavy metals in
fertilizer, gene plants, cotton variety testing and organic pima are
among the projects, he said.

"We are looking at ways (the researchers) can contribute over here," he

Moore retains responsibility for the Pecos station, and said anyone
with problems should call him, Mike Murphy, senior research associate,
or directors of the Trans Pecos Cotton Association.

acknowledged the research station staff, who "make this work possible.
Without them we couldn't do the job we do," he said.

They are Jaxie Young, senior secretary with 21 years service; Melissa
Grote, research assistant; Paul Ward, technician for 18 years; Raymond
Tillis, agricultural research technician, Johnny Fuentes, farm worker
for 34 years (22 at Pecos), Doug Pustejovsky, a graduate student who did
a cultural bollworm control study this summer; and Penny Armstrong,
Sarah Armstrong and Michelle Monroe, student workers.

Salt tolerant sorghum yields more than corn

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Staff Writer

Forage sorghums are more salt tolerant than corn and yield higher
tonnage in West Texas, said Mike Murphy, senior research associate for
the Texas A&M Agricultural Research Station.

Murphy led a group of producers to several test plots on the research
farm Tuesday during a field day.

He said that three years of study produced only 15 tons per acre of
corn silage, and that will not pay off.

"Farmers south of here are making 20-25 tons per acre," he said.

But the high sodium content in the soil at the research station west of
Pecos makes it impossible to do better, Murphy said. With a return of
$267.75 per acre and a cost of $120 to $150 per acre just to water, 15
tons won't pay, he said.

Pointing to one field of tall sorghum and a contiguous field about half
its height, Murphy said the staff thought they were planting all tall

The first plants to emerge in the field of shorter grain sorghum was
barley, which seeded itself from the remains of last year's crop.

"We didn't get to combine the barley," Murphy said. "We had to shred it
and disk it up, but I didn't think it could germinate and grow so well
in 115-degree weather."

Eventually you could see the grain sorghum coming up through the
barley, and it finally "smoked it out," he said. The barley kept the
field free of weeds.

The shorter grain sorghum was grown for silage, Murphy said.

"We are interested in doing more grain work. If we could have a good
grain program, we could develop grain sorghums that produce higher
yields. We need to find a salt-tolerant variety," he said.

Alfred Gonzalez, county extension agent from El Paso County, said grain
sorghum is a more forgiving crop for insects and irrigation.

"We don't grow corn and alfalfa anymore," he said. "We have been able
to maintain production and lower cost of producing feed."

He said they produced six dry tons of silage per acre, which this year
paid $95 per ton.

By double-cropping with wheat, they can make a plot pay $800 per acre,
he said.

The shorter grain sorghums provide less stalk but heavy grain, he said.

"The dairy people are happy, and the growers are happy. You can get 12
tons of tall sorghum, but you won't have the production you need," he

El Paso growers have no sorghum over six feet tall, he said.

Stalks are harvested in the soft-dough stage - "As soon as the head
gets colored top to bottom. We are harvesting right now and are
70-percent through," Gonzales said.

Plants are 68 percent moisture, and payment is made on total dry
matter, he said.

To determine dry weight, a sample of each load is weighed, then dried
in a microwave oven and re-weighed.

"That is fair to both parties," he said.

Gonzales said the El Paso research plot had 200 units of nitrogen
applied before planting and another 30-40 units later.

"Grain sorghum needs fertilizer and water early," he said. "Don't use
any herbicides or insecticides. Just water, cultivate and cut weeds out.
Dairies like that."

Five waterings are sufficient for the El Paso Valley, he said.

Deficit irrigation pays off at harvest time

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Staff Writer

Irrigation specialist Joe Henggeler reported during a field day Oct. 12
on a salinity study he conducted at the Texas A&M Research Center this

Henggeler said he used deficit irrigation (15 inches total during the
summer) to test for salinity problems.

"We load up on pre-irrigation to get a good profile," he said.

The first two irrigations were with water containing 3,000 parts per
million salts.

"Normally that will not hurt cotton yield," he said.

During the season, they put on four levels of water from the various
wells. The best produces 1,000 ppm salts and the worst 10,000 ppm (30
percent as salty as sea water).

"The idea is to look at - if we can start watering earlier with good
water, can we finish up a crop with bad water?" Henggeler said.

In a 1994-95 study, the plots with the two top quality waters made
800-900 pounds per acre, and even the poor quality water produced 1½
bales to the acre the second year.

"It looks like we will have at least a bale on the real, real salty
water," he said. "But we are beginning to lose yield over time. Good
quality water is making our yield."

A new $15,000 computerized system measures moisture in the soil and
plant in an effort to determine when to irrigate, he said.

"We can see there is an increase in water in the soil from 5 p.m. to
midnight," he said. "A lot of water is extracted early, then it slows

Too much water in the soil actually harms the plant, he said.

"You have water logged the soil, and your cotton has as much water
stress the second day (after irrigation) as it has in two weeks," he

The company that sells the equipment is trying to maximize irrigation
and increase yields, he said.

"They increased yields 15 percent in Australia by having the guy go
longer in his irrigations. He cut down two irrigations in a season and
had eight more days growing season and jumped up 15 percent in yield,"
Henggeler said.

Improvement can be made by any farmer to increase yield, but "A
high-tech system will allow you to do the fine tweaking for the last 20
percent of yield," he said.

Across the road from the high-tech system, Mike Murphy pointed out
plots of BT varieties, which repel insect pests. He said they were
sprayed with a defoliant the previous Friday. One strip had shed most of
its leaves.

Murphy said one strip of 80 rows was watered two weeks after emergence,
another at three weeks and another at four weeks, with infiltration

"We have always let cotton go four to five weeks to get the root system
established, but it is harder and harder to get it wet," he said.

Soil districts seek focus on all natural resources

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FORT WORTH - Conservation district officials, which represent 214 Texas
Soil and Water Conservation Districts, agreed at their annual meeting to
request the United States Department of Agriculture to develop a plan
that will focus on all natural resource concerns, such as soil, water
air, plants and animals, in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program
under the 1996 Farm Bill.

The current federal program, the Agricultural Conservation Program, has
been limited to land erosion problems at the "T" level, which is the
point where soils can rebuild themselves year after year from erosion
and still maintain their level of agricultural production.

This has restricted the use of this program where other resource
concerns were present on land not eroding above the "T" level.

"All the resources need to be included in these programs to prevent
possible problems in the future," said Bob Pearson, District Director of
the Freestone County SWCDs, "For example, in Freestone County due to
mining and the burning of lignite, we could have a problem with too much
carbon, so, we need a preventative program, such as reforestation, to
make sure we don't develop a problem."

Over 800 soil and water conservation district directors and other
conservation leaders are attending the 56th annual meeting of SWCD
directors, which is being held at the Radisson Plaza in Fort Worth.

Bermudagrass makes horse hay

in salty soil and hot-hot weather

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Staff Writer

Bermudagrass is salt tolerant, grows well in hot weather and provides a
hay crop, Mike Murphy reported to a group of farmers Tuesday.

It is the same grass that cotton farmers have trouble killing in their
fields, he said.

"I believe there will always be a market, but only for horses," he
said. "We can compete with East Texas real easy."

Murphy said Giant Bermudagrass is one of the varieties added this year,
and he learned it is the same as the NK-37 they have been using for

A plot of Matua disappeared after the first cutting and turned into
range grass, he said. It is now re-seeding.

Murphy said Bermudagrass should yield seven to eight tons per acre in
the future with the best variety.

"We will go to a larger type study under a center pivot, then we will
start doing over-seeding with clovers, legumes and small grasses to
utilize it the year around so you don't lose that underground moisture,"
he said.

Next to the grass plots at the Texas A&M Research Station are small
plots with orange sticks showing about 12 inches above the soil.

Murphy said that Dr. Seiichi Miyamoto is testing soil infiltration.

"He has found out the ammonium polysulfate of five gallons per acre
inch will help with infiltration rates most of the year," Murphy said.

"If you do that on the first irrigation, it gives the sulfate a chance
to get down into your profile, and it helps with the sodium problem," he
said. "Sodium tends to seal off your infiltration. We have a bigger
problem here than down south."

The sulphur itself benefits the soil, he said.

Diapause study helps farmer with bollworm

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Staff Writer

Diapause is the best time to control pink bollworms, Dr. Rex Friesen
told a group of farmers and ranchers Tuesday.

Dr. Friesen reported results of his ongoing and planned studies for
Reeves, Pecos and Ward counties during a field day at the Texas A&M
Research Station west of Pecos.

Objectives of the pink bollworm diapause study are to determine timing
and proportion of the bollworm population going into diapause;

* Determine proportion of diapausing larvae remaining in bolls and
susceptible to grazing (versus diapausing in soil);

* and Develop method and timing of late season boll sampling to
estimate numbers of pink bollworm going into diapause. This will allow
objective evaluation of fall plowdown practices.

In a trap catch study during 1995-96, Dr. Friesen, Jerry Workman and
Michael Workman found the highest catch of 730 moths in late April, with
the number dropping below 700 the first full week of May and back to
less than 400 in mid-May. By June 1 the count had dropped to 100.

The final objective of the study is to recommend plowdown practices.

A study of plowdown practices in the fall of 1996 and the spring of
1997 is underway.

Objectives are to document timing and types of cultural practices on
various farms and follow up with early season pink bollworm trapping to
estimate relative success in PBW reduction.

Factors to be considered in the study are date of picking/stripping,
grazing, date shredding, method/depth of soil disruption, variety of
cotton, winter irrigation, neighbor's practices and weather.

Boll weevils are also becoming a problem in Reeves County, Dr. Friesen

Boll weevil trap captures this year show 240 weevils trapped near
Balmorhea on Sept. 26; 30 trapped in the Belding area of Pecos County
Sept. 5 and Oct. 8; 47 in Coyanosa traps on Oct. 9, and 163 at Girvin on
Oct. 8.

A few were captured northwest of Pecos, south of Pecos and at Verhalen
in Reeves County.

In Ward County, a high of 12 were trapped on Oct. 3, and 11 were caught
at Grandfalls on Oct. 1.

Garment wet processing popular with consumers

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Cotton Incorporated has been actively researching ways to improve
garment dyeing and finishing technology since the early 1980's.
"Collectively labeled `garment wet processing,' many of today's new
consumer-popular fashion trends are created by this process which
produces an appearance that cannot be duplicated by any other means,"
explains Mike Tyndall, senior director, Technical Services, Dyeing and
Chemistry Research for Cotton Incorporated. Technical staff at the
Raleigh Research Center conduct evaluations of new processing techniques
and provides technical support to the garment wet processing industry. A
garment wet processing technical manual, containing many contributions
from Cotton Incorporated's Textile Chemistry staff, was recently
published by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists.
AATCC also awarded the staff a certificate for outstanding service for

support and technical contributions in this area. Cotton continues to
be the predominate fiber for this type of finishing process and provides
many opportunities for dyeing and/or washing in garment form.

Plains winery buys half WT vineyard

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Lubbock's Llano Estacado Winery has purchased 50 percent interest in a
107-acre West Texas vineyard.

Formerly known as "Stites vineyard," the vineyard will now be called
Double LL. Llano Estacado has consistently purchased grapes from the
vineyard in the past for its "Cellar Select" reserve wines.

"This has been one of the best vineyards of the High Plains for years,"
said Llano Estacado President Walter M. Haimann after the deal closed.
"With ownership we can be guaranteed the grapes continue to come to
Llano Estacado. That kind of guarantee is key to our goal of providing
consistent quality in our product.

The new stake in the Double LL vineyard marks the winery's first
significant foray into vineyard ownership. SInce its founding, Llano
Estacado has purchased the majority of grapes for its wines from the
High Plains and from other Texas growers. Dr. James Morris of Lubbock is
Llano's partner in the vineyard.

The Double LL Vineyards spans 107 acres, with the majority of grapes
being Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard also holds
Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Frac vines.

Vegetable survey measures

chemical usage on 21 crops

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AUSTIN....USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service is preparing to
conduct a national survey of vegetable growers' use of pesticides and
commercial fertilizers. The survey will cover chemical usage on 21
vegetable crops in 13 states that account for 80-85 percent of U.S.
production. The purpose of the program is to maintain an agricultural
chemical use database so that policies can be based on timely, detailed,
and reliable information.

As part of the national survey, the Texas Agricultural Statistic
Service (TASS) will collect data from approximately 400 Texas vegetable
growers in October, November, and December. "The information benefits
producers, processors, and consumers alike," explained State
Statistician, Dennis S. Findley. "All segments of the vegetable
industry, rely heavily on the survey results when responding to public
concerns about chemical use and its possible effects on food safety and
environmental quality. It is essential that the information be gathered,
analyzed, and released by an impartial organization. TASS performs this

This survey has a number of important benefits to producers. Throughout
the vegetable industry there are growers who rely on numerous minor-use
pesticides. The manufacture of these pesticides might be discontinued if
actual use is not documented through surveys such as this one. Such
discontinuance could have serious consequences for the growers who
depend on these pesticides. In addition, decisions regarding
registration and re-registration of pesticides are often made using data
from this survey.

This is the fourth time Texas vegetable growers have been asked for
information on pesticide and fertilizer use on 12 major vegetable crops
produced in the state. One of the most significant findings to emerge
from previous studies is that, in general, both U.S. and Texas vegetable
producers apply pesticides at rates considerably below manufacturers'
maximum levels. Data results from chemical usage surveys are a major
source of information showing that specific pesticides are actually
being used.

Joe Rowe Fort Davis will contact several area vegetable producers over
the next several weeks to gather information about their use of
agricultural pesticides and commercial fertilizers. Growers selected to
participate will soon be notified by letter. Interviewers will visit
them in person to conduct the survey. Cooperation is crucial since each
selected producer represents many other operations of similar size and
type. The accuracy of v the survey results is dependent on a high
response rate. Without which, improper assumptions and misinformation
about chemical use will continue to plague producers. All information on
individual grower operations will be held in the strictest confidence
and used only to establish state and national totals.

NASS will publish state and national estimates of vegetable growers'
use of agricultural chemicals in July 1997.

Arbor Day Foundation offers

free flowering dogwood trees

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Ten free white flowering dogwood trees will be given to each person who
joins The National Arbor Day Foundation during October.

The free trees are part of the nonprofit Foundation's Trees for America

"The white flowering dogwoods will add year-round beauty to your home
and neighborhood," said John Rosenow, the foundation's president.

"Dogwoods have showy spring flowers, scarlet autumn foliage and red
berries which attract songbirds all winter," he said.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting
between Nov. 1 and Dec. 10 with enclosed planting instructions. The six
to 12 inch trees are guaranteed to grow, or they will be replaced free
of charge.

Members also receive a subscription to the Foundation's bimonthly
publication, "Arbor Day," and The Tree Book with information about tree
planting and care.

To become a member of the Foundation and to receive the free trees,
send a $10 contribution to Ten Free Dogwoods, National Arbor Day
Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City NE 68410, by Oct. 31.

Cattle feedlot count down from 1995

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Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in Texas feedlots with
capacity of 1,000 head or more totaled 2.04 million head on September 1,
down 10 percent from a year ago. According to the monthly report
released by the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service, the estimate was
up 1 percent from the August 1 level. Producers placed 510 thousand head
in commercial feedlots during August, up 5 percent from a year ago and
up 24 percent from the July, 1996 total.

Texas commercial feeders marketed 480 thousand head during August, down
13 percent from a year ago. Monthly marketings were up 2 percent from
the July, 1996 total.

On September 1 there were 1.61 million head of cattle and calves on
feed in the Northern High Plains, 79 percent of the state's total. The
number of feed across the areas deceased 8 percent from last year and
was virtually unchanged from last month.

August placements in the Northern High Plains totaled 408 thousand
head, up 30 percent from last month. Marketings increased 5 percent from
last month to 402 thousand head.

Cattle and calves on feed for slaughter market in the United States in
feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more totaled 7.83 million head.

Placements in feedlots during August totaled 2.27 million. During
August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds
were 371,000; 600-699 pounds were 438,000; 700-799 pounds were 808,000;
800 pounds and greater were 648,000. Marketing of fed cattle during
August totaled 1.93 million.

Feeders in the historical seven monthly states with feedlots having a
capacity of 1,000 heads or more reported 6.61 million head on feed
September 1, down 8 percent from last year, and 5 percent below
September 1, 1994.

August placements totaled 1.97 million head, 19 percent above last year
and 12 percent above 1994. Marketings during August, at 1.65 million
head, were down 9 percent from last year but 3 percent above 1994.

September Permits to Drill
The Texas Railroad Commission issued a total of 1,068 original drilling
permits in September compared to 859 in September, 1995. The September
total included 803 permits to drill new oil and gas wells, 46 to
re-enter existing well bores, and 219 for re-completions.

So far in 1996, there have been 9,338 drilling permits issued to
compared to 8,448 recorded during the same period in 1995.

Permits issued in September included 405 oil, 253 gas, 338 oil and gas,
28 injection, and 44 other permits.

September oil and gas completions

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In September operators reported 362 oil, 292 gas, 31 injection and five
other completions, compared to 233 oil, 486 gas, and 27 injection and
other completions during the same month of last year.

Total well completions for 1996 year-to-date is 6,522, about five
percent above the 6,208 recorded during the same period in 1995.

Operators reported 736 holes plugged and 116 dry holes in September,
compared to 330 holes plugged and 116 dry holes reported the same period
last year.

July crude oil production
Texas preliminary July, 1996 crude oil production averaged 1,308,388
barrels daily, down from the 1,364,271 barrels daily average of July,

The preliminary Texas crude oil production figure for July, 1996 is
40,559,955 barrels, a decrease from the 42,292,408 barrels reported
during July 1995.

July natural gas production
Texas oil and gas wells produced 471,410,155 Mcf (thousand cubic feet)
of gas based upon preliminary production figures for July, 1996, up from
the July, 1995 preliminary gas production total of 463,820,726 Mcf.

Texas gas production in July came from 165,507 oil, and 49,594 gas

Viva algodon in Mexico

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Cotton Incorporated continues its consumer promotion push in Mexico. In
addition to offering its vast range of technical and fashion information
services throughout Mexico and Latin America, the fiber company for
American cotton growers and importers has now erected 34 billboards in
Mexico, all touting the trademarked Seal of Cotton and the value that
stands behind it. Twenty-five billboards are in Mexico City, three are
in Monterrey, four are in Puebla and two are in Guadalajara. The
billboards say, "If it has this seal, it is 100 percent cotton." "We see
the continued expansion of our advertising efforts in Mexico as a
tremendous opportunity to further the awareness of the seal of cotton as
a powerful sales tool," says Dean Turner, Senior Vice President,
International Marketing for Cotton Incorporated.

Years of work precede Gold Star award

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Youth that achieved the highest honor awarded to a 4-H member at the
county level were honored at a luncheon Oct. 56.

Gayle Hill of Midland, KWES Channel 9 News Director and former Gold
Star Recipient, addressed the honorees and their families.

TU Electric and West Texas Utilities Company sponsored the event and
had representatives on hand to present recognition awards to the youth
from the 23 counties in the District VI area.

The youth selected have spent several years participating in project
work which along with teaching technical knowledge, develops their
skills through hands-on activities.

4-H has always been a partner to other education entities which have
similar missions. It provides for utilizing classroom knowledge with
real life experiences through an array of projects and
multi-generational contact using adults and older youth such as those
honored at the luncheon to teach.

Throughout the 4-H experience members are constantly exposed to
activities designed to develop life skills.

The youth who reach the Gold Star Award level have developed life
skills which will serve them for a lifetime in their personal, business
and professional life.

Only a select few are chosen for this high honor. Each county has a
quota of Gold Star recipients. They are limited too through the number
of members who are categorized as senior members (ages 14 or older).

Kristin Stewart, daughter of Herb and Diane Stewart, is this year's
Gold Star Award Recipient from Reeves County. She was honored by Kit
Horne of West Texas Utilities Company/TU Electric.

Kristin received a framed certificate symbolizing this honor and a pin
which can be worn for recognition as being a true leader, and excelling
in commitment to themselves to develop life skills which enables Kristin
to be equipped to assume leadership roles in our community in the future.

The luncheon and recognition was sponsored and attended by the electric
companies which serve the Extension VI Far West District.

Kit Horne of West Texas Utilities Company, Luann Morgan, Raymon
Carrasco and Mike Seibold of TU Electric Company all play a key role.
The commitment the electric utility companies exhibit in support of the
4-H youth extends far beyond this one event, but each has a special
reason for wanting these Gold Star youth to be recognized and held up as
examples for other youth, and parents wanting to become involved in a
worthwhile, family oriented youth organization.

A large portion of the recognition and prestige associated with this
and other awards are due to these companies' support of this and
associated awards. The recognition program was conducted by members of
the District 4-H Council.

Orange gourds roll off the High Plains

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COLLEGE STATION - Pumpkins of all sizes have started rolling into
grocery stores and vegetable stands from the Texas High Plains, the
beginning of an avalanche of the popular orange gourds that won't stop
until just before Halloween.

"What we have here is a truly charismatic vegetable," said Dr. Roland
Roberts, a vegetable specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension
Service in Lubbock. Pumpkins signal fall, harvest and Halloween, he
said, and many wind up gracing centerpieces on dining room tables,
loafing in groups on the front porch, or wearing a toothy grin in a

"For art objects, they don't make for bad pies, either," Roberts added,
"especially the variety Small Sugar."

The month-long harvest season is just beginning on what looks like a
good crop in the Texas pumpkin patch, situated mostly on just 3,000 to
4,000 acres in five South Plains counties - Lubbock, Floyd, Bailey, Hale
and Lamb.

Even so, in a good year, a farmer there can produce 30,000 to 40,000
pounds of pumpkins per acre. That's pumpkins a-plenty for all of Texas,
with enough left over to truck out to surrounding states, throughout the
South and to points along the East Coast.

It's a bit early to tell, but this year's crop may not be quite that

"We have a lot of late-planted, therefore later-maturing pumpkins,"
Roberts said. "A lot of growers didn't plant until July. That's getting
on the late-risk side. The June-planted crop is coloring well."

Gary Carthel and his brother are cotton farmers who have been growing
pumpkins for 15 years on a 200-acre patch in Floyd County, which usually
grows more pumpkins than most other Texas counties combined.

"Our yields are going to be down a bit this year," he said, but the
drought had little impact because nearly all the commercial pumpkin
growers irrigate their fields.

"We lost some of the crop to hail and have been hit by diseases
brought,on by some recent wet weather."

Even so, what's survived looks good and should get a good price for his
business, Heptad Vegetable and Specialty Crops in Floydada, Carthel said.

"We're looking at getting 6 1/2 to 7 cents a pound," he said, adding
that consumers should be able to find 20-pound pumpkins in stores for
about $2.25 to $2.50.

Carthel estimated that 75 percent of the 2,000 acres of pumpkins in
Floyd County are planted for the 20-pounders that make the best size for
carving jack-o'-lanterns. Howden is the variety that most farmers there
are growing.

"Most farmers also are growing some Big Macs and Big Moons - these are
the huge pumpkins that range up to 100 pounds or more an require two men
to lift," Carthel said.

A good part of the rest of the acreage is planted in pie pumpkins, the
best for eating. These are 8 to 10 inches in diameter, weigh 6 to 8
pounds, are round, ribbed and bright orange. Their flesh is sweet and
fine-textured, and rinds are thick.

Eating a little pumpkin turns out to be good for you, too. "One-half
cup of cooked pumpkin supplies enough vitamin A for one day's needs and
small amounts of iron, thiamin and riboflavin," said Dr. Dymple Cooksey,
Extension Service nutrition specialist in College Station. "It's also
low in calories. A half cup of unseasoned pumpkin contains only 38

However, pumpkin is highly perishable and must be cooked the same day
it is cut open, she said. Otherwise, the insides quickly mold to a
feathery black.

Dr. Dick Edwards, Extension food marketing specialist in College
Station, suggested that consumers would be wise to buy their pumpkins
early in the month, when selection likely will be best, and store them
for use later on.

"Keep your pumpkins in a cool, dry place, and they will do fine for
several months," he said.

Edwards noted that supermarkets in October will offer other harvest
specials besides pumpkins. It should be a good month for fall fruits, he
said, and consumers should find good prices for apples selling for 79
cents to 89 cents per pound, while grocers will knock off about 10 cents
per pound for pears from Washington and Oregon and grapes from

Look for specials on sweet potatoes running between 39 cents and 49
cents per pound, Edwards said.

The winter vegetable crops will make their debut in October, he said,
with broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbages in good supply.

Meat cuts are still relatively inexpensive. The deep discounts seen in
September will continue through October.

"One difference is that we're seeing really good prices on the prime
beef cuts," Edwards said. New York strips and T-bone steaks will sell
from $3.50 to $3.99 per pound - up to $1.50 off the regular retail

Beef prices will trend upward in the coming months once the cattle
cycle works through the heavy sell off of animals caused by the drought.

"Higher-priced cattle will then start coming off the feedlots," he
said, "and we'll see markups at the meat counter maybe by November. Once
beef starts climbing, pork and chicken will follow suit."

The drought has meant sharp increases in feed costs, which cattle, hog
and poultry producers will pass along to consumers.

Seafood specials will be advertised in October, Edwards said, but they
won't compare with the bargains found in red meat.

Cooler weather will bring specials on hot cereals, soups, sausage and
bacon. Sales on coffee may see discounts of up to 20 percent.
"Bite-sized candy packaged for Halloween will get a big push at the end
of the month," Edwards said. "Bargain hunters will find some good buys
on candy after Halloween."

Effect on environment is confab topic

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Texas Plant Protection Association conference Dec. 10-11, at the
College Station Hilton Conference Center.

Richard Newman, U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy administrator for
farm programs, will discuss "Freedom to Farm: Competitiveness of Texas
Agriculture" during the opening general session at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 10.

The farm bill's effect on Texas producers and the environment is the
topic for John Baker of Temple, Texas Natural Resources Conservation
commissioner, at 9:10 a.m. Dr. Ron Lacewell of College Station will
discuss the economic and environmental impacts of crop protection
chemicals in Texas at 9:40 a.m.

A special session on precision agriculture will be 10:30 a.m.-12:30
p.m. Speakers include Perry Petersen, of Terra International in Sioux
City, Iowa, on theory and practice; Dr. Steve Searcy, Texas Agricultural
Experiment Station agricultural engineer, on yield monitoring and other
components; Roger Haldenby of Plains Cotton Growers Inc. in Lubbock, on
practical applications; and, Larry Falconer of the Texas Agricultural
Extension Service in Corpus Christi, on the economic and financial

Concurrent sessions will be offered beginning at 1:30 p.m. on corn,
grain sorghum and wheat; rice and soybeans; and, pasture and rangeland.
A poster session and a pest identification contest will conclude the day
from 5-6 p.m.

On Dec. 11, various laws and regulations will be discussed by Randy
Rivera, Mark Trostle, and Donnie Dipple, all from the Texas Department
of Agriculture in Austin, and Dr. Bruce Lesikar of College Station,
Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Concurrent sessions throughout the day, beginning at 10:45 a.m., will
include cotton; vegetables, fruits and ornamentals; and, peanuts and
alternative crops. An awards luncheon will be from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Registration before Nov. 15 is $40, or $50 thereafter. For more
information, contact Dr. Frank Hons, program chair, at (409) 845-4620,
or email

Upland harvest forecast down 14 points

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AUSTIN - Beneficial moisture was received across the state during
September, but the effects of the 1996 drought continued to be reflected
in the Oct. 1 production forecast of spring-planted crops released by
the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service.

The 1996 Texas Upland cotton crop is expected to total 3.85 million
bales, up 200,000 bales from Sept. 1, but 14 percent below 1995.
Harvested acreage is estimated at 4.1 million acres, 29 percent less
than last year as the earlier drought caused poor stands and resulted in
greater than normal abandonment. The yield is expected to average 451
pounds per acre, compared with 372 pounds last year.

Corn production is forecast at 171 million bushels, down 21 percent
from last year and 28 percent below the record set in 1994. Based on
Oct. 1 condition, statewide yield is expected to average 95 bushels per
acre, 19 bushels less than in 1995, and unchanged from Sept. 1 forecast.

Texas peanut production is expected to increase 4 percent from last
year, to 563.8 million pounds. Statewide yield, at 2,050 pounds per
acre, is 50 pounds above both last year and last month. Irrigated
peanuts have made good progress across the state this year, and
September rainfall benefited dryland peanuts. Peanut harvest is underway.

Sorghum production is forecast at 107 million hundredweight (cwt), 47
percent above last year and up 4 percent from last month. Harvested
acreage is estimated at 3.90 million acres, up 63 percent from 1995, as
sorghum replaced some lost cotton acreage. Yield, at 2,744 pounds per
acre, is expected to be 280 pounds below last year.

Rice producers expect to harvest 18.18 million cwt, up 2 percent from
1995. Yield is forecast at 6,100 pounds per acre, 500 pounds more than a
year ago.

The 1996 Texas soybean crop is forecast at 7.83 million bushels, up 51
percent from last year's production. Harvested acreage is expected to
increase by 13 percent, and yield is expected to average 29 bushels per
acre, compared with 25 last year.

Texas wheat production for 1996 totaled 75.4 million bushels,
practically the same as 1995. Yield, at 26 bushels per acre, was down 1
bushel from 1995 while harvested acreage increased 100,000 to 2.9

United States corn production, at 9.0 billion bushels, is up 22 percent
from last year's crop. A yield of 123.0 bushels per acre is forecast, up
9.5 bushels from last year. The sorghum crop is expected to increase 73
percent, to 446.2 million cwt. The U.S. Upland cotton crop is expected
to total 17.6 million bales, up 8 percent from last year. Soybean
production is forecast at 2.35 billion bushels, 8 percent above last
year. the U.S. peanut crop is estimated at 3.41 billion pounds, 1
percent below a year ago. U.S. rice production is forecast at 176.1
million cwt, 1 percent above 1995.

Corn alcohol fuels clean air debate

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The removal of lead from fuel mandated by the Clean Air Act is a cause
for great concern in the aviation industry.

Despite a waiver granted to aviation, 100 Low Lead aviation gasoline
must eventually be replaced by an unleaded fuel. Research indicates that
clean-burning ethanol fuel is the best alternative.

Ethanol is an alcohol fuel that can be made from virtually any
starch-containing feedstock or biomass. In the U.S., over 90 percent of
the ethanol produced domestically comes from corn, the most efficient
plant to produce starch. The reason for this is twofold: corn is a
stable, renewable resource and the value of corn by-products from
ethanol production make it an economical choice.

Yearly ethanol production currently exceeds 1.5 billion gallons,
utilizing 560 million bushels of corn. That represents about seven
percent of total U.S. corn use.
A bushel of corn produces 2-1/2 gallons of ethanol; an acre of corn
produces 300 gallons of ethanol.

Each gallon of ethanol produced domestically displaces seven gallons of
imported oil.

Ethanol production is energy efficient. It yields nearly 23 percent
more energy than is used in growing, harvesting and distilling corn into

According to numerous studies conducted by the National Corn Growers
Association, the market price of corn increases four-to-six cents per
bushel for every 100 million bushels of corn used in ethanol production.

The Baylor University's Renewable Aviation Fuels Development Center,
Waco, Texas, under the direction of Dr. Max Shauck, engages in research
to bring the alternative fuel power of ethanol to the skies.

During the last 13 years, the Baylor project has shown that 100 percent
denatured ethanol is the ideal fuel to replace 100 Low Lead aviation
gasoline. As part of its research program, the Center has modified and
flown nine aircraft on ethanol, accumulating over 1,800 hours of flying

Cottonseed, soybeans in feed additive

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Whole cottonseed and soybeans are essential parts of many dairy
rations. Now dairymen can benefit from the combination of these feed
ingredients into one product - ECSTRA.

ECSTRA, pronounced "extra," is a new feed ingredient manufactured by SF
Services, a diversified, mid-south farm supply business based in North
Little Rock, Ark. ECSTRA combines whole linted cottonseed, whole
soybeans and other bypass protein sources into one economical, extruded

"Until recently, extrusion was not an option for processing whole
linted cottonseed," says Tom Fangman, DVM, MS with SF Services. "Now we
have a patented product that takes the benefits of both cottonseed and
soybeans and puts them into one extraordinary product."

ECSTRA is positioned as a replacement for a portion of the plant and
animal protein, bypass protein and fat sources currently included in
rations. It is an excellent source of protein, energy and fiber. The
product has shown to increase milk production, help maintain body
condition and improve dry matter intake in lactating dairy cows. Plus,
it is an extremely efficient feed ingredient. According to the Forage
Testing Laboratory in Ithaca, N.Y., ECSTRA has a Total Digestible
Nutrient (TDN) profile of 91.33 percent.

The product is very palatable and can be fed in a variety of ways. It
can be incorporated into a total mixed ration (TMR), mixed into a
conventional supplement or grain ration, or top dressed by itself. The
recommended feeding rate is 2 to 6 pounds per cow per day, or .75 pounds
for every 10 pounds of milk production, not to exceed 7.5 pounds.

A study conducted by the University of Illinois showed high-group cows
fed ECSTRA produced 3.8 pounds of milk per day more than the control
group, which was fed soybean meal. They also determined cows receiving
ECSTRA maintained an additional 26 pounds of body weight during the
28-day trial. A study conducted at the University of Tennessee showed
similar results.

Using ECSTRA has many benefits aside from increased milk production and
higher body condition scores.

The extrusion process nearly eliminates the free gossypol toxin found
in whole cottonseed.

ECSTRA reduces the effect of stress and stabilizes milk production.

The product is much easier to handle and store than whole cottonseed. .
ECSTRA is very flexible in rations.

The ingredient is resistant to separation in a TMR.

ECSTRA mixes readily with other ingredients, can be moved by auger and
has a low moisture content of 10 percent, so it can be stored for long
periods of time without affecting feed value and palatability.

ECSTRA is available to dairy producers in Arkansas, Texas, Missouri,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, western Alabama and southeastern

Dairy producers interested in obtaining a free sample of ECSTRA, or
wanting to learn more about the product, can call SF Services at (501)
945-2371, or stop by their local SF Services retail outlet.

SF Services' Feed and Animal Health Group is responsible for the sales
of approximately 2,000 individual product lines, including the well-know
Clover Brand Feed line. Nearly 250 varieties of Clover Brand Feeds are
produced at six feed mills located throughout the mid-south.

Natural gas bridges growth,

environmental protection

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Toss this challenge to product development specialists and see what
they come up with: an energy form that is economical, environmentally
friendly, abundant, flexible and produced in the United States. Easy -
it's natural gas.

October, which has been designated as "Energy Awareness Month" by the
U. S. Department of Energy, is an opportune time to explore how natural
gas is used in the United States.

The simple chemical composition of natural gas makes it the
cleanest-burning fossil fuel and an energy source suitable for a variety
of uses, from powering metal and food processing plants to heating homes
and cooking restaurant meals. Currently, natural gas provides about 25
percent of the energy used in the United States.

Natural gas combustion results in virtually no emissions of sulfur
dioxide, which causes acid rain, or particulate matter, which has been
linked to at least 60,000 premature deaths each year, according to the
Natural Resources Defense Council. As a result, an increasing number of
customers use natural gas to help meet environmental goals.

For example, electricity generation units fueled by natural gas can
completely eliminate sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and solid
wastes, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent and
nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent. And using natural gas as a
transportation fuel in transit buses, school buses, taxi cabs and
package delivery trucks is one of the best ways to improve urban air

Indoor air quality problems can also be addressed by natural gas. Warm,
moist areas are a breeding ground for germs - especially in hospital
surgical suites and patient rooms. Many health care facilities now use
desiccant dehumidification and cooling systems powered by natural gas
engines to remove moisture from the air and maintain comfortably cool
temperatures, while saving money on electricity bills.

The cost advantages of natural gas are familiar to residential
customers, whose use of natural gas for home heating has surged in
recent years. The natural gas share of newly built single family homes
grew from only 38 percent in 1984 to 67 percent in 1995, in part because
electricity costs four times more per Btu, on average, than natural gas,
according to DOE.

Most of the natural gas used in the United States is produced in the
United States, with much of the remaining supply imported from Canada.
This domestic energy source plays an important role in ensuring
America's energy security - particularly as foreign oil supplies from
the volatile Middle East and other areas are threatened.

In the United States and worldwide, natural gas is well-suited to
bridging economic growth with environmental protection, while promoting
energy security.

Michael Baly is president and CM of the American Gas Association, a
national trade association whose member companies account for more than
90 percent of the natural gas delivered in the United States. A.G.A. is
based in Arlington, Va.

Fewer oil and gas companies

doing more and more business

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TULSA, OKLA. - This year's list of the top publicly-held U.S. companies
is both smaller and larger than it was in 1995.

Due to consolidations, there are fewer companies. As a result, the
former OGJ300 has become the OGJ200. Despite the smaller number of
companies, most important measures of financial size and performance
show signifcantly higher levels than those of a year ago.

For example, the OGJ200 shows growth in 1995 total revenue of 6 percent
over the previous year. Net income was up 15.3 percent.

Capital and exploration spending was up 8 percent from 1994 levels. At
$53.9 billion it was the highest figure since 1990 when it was $56.2

Bellwether Exploration Co. topped the list of fastest growing
companies. Lomak Petroleum Inc. ranked second and Texas Meridian
Resources Corp. was third. All three companies had percent changes in
stockholder's equity over 120 percent from 1994.

The Oil & Gas Journal's 1994-95 collection of information on the
largest 200 publicly-traded oil and gas companies with reserves in the
U.S. and 100 non-U.S. oil and gas companies has just been released in
Lotus or Excel worksheets. This is the 14th year that Oil & Gas Journal
has compiled data for its annual report. Oil & Gas Joumal's listing of
companies represents a large portion of the domestic oil and gas
industry and therefore reflects changes and trends in industry activity
and operating performance.

Thirty-eight data items have been collected for each of the U.S.
companies. Items include total assets, total revenue, net income,
stockholders' equity, capital and exploratory expenditures, liquids and
natural gas production and reserves, and net wells drilled. Also
includes sales prices for crude and natural gas, oil and gas sales and
assets, current assets, current and total liabilities, long-term debt,
number of shares outstanding, depreciation, depletion and amortization,
deferred taxes, interest expense, and number of producing wells.

Eleven data items have been collected for the international companies.
Items include total revenue, total net income, capital expenditures,
worldwide oil and natural gas production and reserves.

Contact names and mailing addresses are provided for all of the
companies. A macro program allows you to generate mailing labels and run
reports based on any of the data items in the worksheets.

A sample diskette is available for the OGJ200/100 International company
database. Contact Oil & Gas Journal Energy Database, 1421 S. Sheridan,
Tulsa, OK 74112 or call 918-832-9346 or 8003454618. Fax: 918-831-9497.

Study measures ag management

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How are the changes in farm programs affecting agricultural
productivity? What changes will consumers face? What land conservation
practices are agricultural producers using? To gather reliable,
objective information about U.S. agriculture, Texas Agricultural
Statistics Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will
conduct the Agricultural Resource Management Study.

Information on chemical applications, production practices, pest
management and selected production costs are some of the topics to be
measured in a variety of reports during October, November, and December
1996. Fewer than 18,000 of the nation's two million farm operators will
be asked to participate in the study, so every response is critical.
Some 1,081 producers in Texas will be included.

"None of us like paperwork . . . but for a few hours spent, the rewards
could be long term," says Del Wiedeman, wheat farmer, WaKeeney, Kansas,
and former president, National Association of Wheat Growers. "If we're
not willing to help ourselves in our industry, who will?"

The agricultural producers selected to participate in the Agricultural
Resource Management Study will be making an important contribution to
the overall welfare of the U.S. agricultural community. Information will
be merged and used by commodity analysts, producer organizations, and
others to benefit farmers and ranchers nationwide.

* Study participants have an opportunity to set the record straight
about issues that affect them such as use of chemicals and pesticides.

* Respondents are helping in the research for improved production,
marketing, and profitability of U.S. agricultural commodities.
Agricultural production practices can be developed to improve
productivity for farm operators and ensure a safer, cleaner working
environment for producers, their families, and communities.

Each Texas farm operator selected to participate in this year's study
will soon be notified by letter, and an interviewer will visit them
personally to collect information at the operator's convenience. USDA
will publish national information on agricultural chemical usage, as
well as analysis of commodity production costs and returns, in a series
of reports in 1997.

The Agricultural Resource Management Study is one of the ways that the
USDA and producers work together to provide the meaningful, accurate,
and objective statistical information and services that help keep U.S.
agriculture and rural communities among the most robust in the world.
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Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1996

Magic box greens up fields of alfalfa

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Staff Writer

PECOS. Aug. 27, 1996 - Pretty yellow butterflies flit from one lush
green plant to another in Jim Batteas' alfalfa field. But they're not so
pretty to Batteas.

Yellow butterflies lay eggs that hatch into a worm that eats alfalfa
leaves. They can devastate a crop in a hurry.

Batteas called in Reeves-Loving County extension agent C.W. Roberts to
evaluate the butterfly population and recommend whether or not to treat
the plants with insecticide.

Roberts recommended waiting, because the plants were about ready to mow
and bale for livestock feed.

"There is not enough damage from butterflies now to warrant spray," he
said. "There is some insect damage, but not nearly enough to pay to

If the butterflies lay eggs on short alfalfa plants that were recently
cut, the resulting larvae can be a problem, he said.

Bud Hayes, a salesman for a "magic box" that Batteas uses to treat his
irrigation water, said an electrical energy field created by the box
kills young alfalfa worms, and Batteas has not had to treat any of his
fields this year.

The electro static preciptor, or E.S.P., unit manufactured by Burkett
Energized Water Systems of Coleman, is the latest scientific application
of an age-old principle based on the sound laws of physics, Hayes said.

Water that passes through a controlled electro-static field has an
improved taste, is odor free, controls algae and electrolysis and is
environmentally safe.

Old scale is removed from pipes, and new scale is prevented from
forming without the use of chemicals.

While it does not remove salt from the water, it changes the chemical
makeup so the salt does not hurt plants. E.S.P. water clears leaf
surfaces of salt accumulation for better water/mineral/nutrient uptake
in the roots, Hayes said.

Soil percolation is greater and more efficient. The E.S.P. water keeps
the root area cleared of salts which will result in greater water,
nutrient and mineral uptake.

The plant uses less energy to acquire water and nutrients, making that
energy available for the purposes of plant maintenance, growth and
insect and disease resistance.

Salt, calciums, carbohydrate that are corrosive are all electron
hungry, Hayes said. The E.S.P. unit satisfies their hunger so they won't
bother the plants or root system.

"A healthy root system is the key to a healthy plant," he said.
"Electrons carry food to the plant. They help it to be stronger and
fight off insects.

Batteas' lush green field appears healthy enough to fight off any

"Here we have had tremendous luck on the worms this year," Hayes said.
"He hasn't had to spray yet for the alfalfa leaf form."

A.B. Foster also planted a test plot of sorghum and another of cotton
with water treated by the E.S.P. unit, but he said the results were
inconclusive because his stand was not good.

"We made a pretty good crop," he said. "More than we had previously on
cotton. I'm still not convinced it won't work and will do more testing.
So far it looks encouraging."

Charlie and Greg Mitchell use the system on their dairy for the cows'
drinking water supply, but have so far been unable to determine if it
has improved milk production.

Hayes said they guarantee the units to work or they will cheerfully
refund the cost.

"We may have to give the money back, but we will do it with a smile on
our face," he said.

The units are built in Port Isabel using 15-year-old technology.

Pressed for a price, Hayes said, "If it works, it is the cheapest thing
a man can buy."

Batteas said his units have paid for themselves this year in savings on
water and poison in four cuttings.

He said he paid $14 per system on wells that range in salts from 4,400
parts per million to 5,400 ppm.

His pivot irrigation systems are cleaner of sand and algae that grew in
the PVC pipe. The electronic energy killed the algae, he said.

The wells pump less sand because the charged water knocks scale and
rust off the pump and liner. The perforated liner is supposed to keep
sand and gravel out and keep the water clean.

"Salt water will rust and corrode it up where you can't get a good,
even flow of water into the perforations," Batteas said. "It has cleaned
the perforations out where I don't pump any more sand through my wells.
I don't have to clean the nozzles twice a week like I used to. Now we
clean them usually when we start."

He said he tries to make three circles with the pivot irrigation
systems, then shut down to cut the alfalfa every 21-24 days.

"Before I started using this "miracle box," I cut every 28-30 days," he
said. "It makes alfalfa grow faster with less water. I was making three
eight-day circles; now I make three six-day circles."

Batteas sowed the alfalfa circles seven years ago and has not had to

Rain, rather than being a blessing, is a curse to alfalfa fields
protected by the electrostatic field created by the small, green box
sitting atop Batteas' irrigation pipe.

"It washes down the electronic field," Hayes said. Fields that were not
rained on have no insect damage and make ½ to ¼ ton more than an older
field that was rained on and should have had the best hay."

The irrigation system drags hoses to emit water close to the root of
the alfalfa plants, rather than sprinkling them.

Salt water sprayed on alfalfa leaves will kill them, Batteas said.

And salt builds up in the soil.

"This is one reason we got the machines," Batteas said. "It is supposed
to break up the salt in the soil and leach it on down. It gets the root
system cleaned up so it grows faster and makes better use of fertilizer.
We spent lots of money on other circles trying to establish hay. You
have to get it up on rain water, or the second watering will kill it."

Roberts said that Batteas had a bad aphid problem year before last.

"In one or two sweeps (of a canvas net), I would get a handful," he

Healthy plants can withstand insect attacks much better than weaker
plants, Batteas said.

"If you have a weak plant, it catches everything that comes along," he

Hayes said that watering the field with treated water builds up the
energy field that kills the small worms.

Batteas is not relying solely on the "magic box," however. He sent soil
and water samples to a consultant in Minnesota for his recommendations
on a test plot of sudan.

"He's trying to come up with different things that will also help to
clean the soil up and get alfalfa started quick enough," Batteas said.

Before the magic box, though, Batteas spent over $70,000 on seed for
two circles and has nothing to show for it.

He now has five circles of alfalfa and sudan on land he contract farms
for Arnoldo Barless, a Brazilian living in New York City.

"He's a diamond dealer," Batteas said. "He can lose money on farming
and go buy another diamond to pay for it."

Newer technology is helping farmers save money by improving the water
and soil to farm more efficiently, he said.

"We have always had plenty of cheap feed and cheap food, but so many
farmers are going out now, they are starting to spend some money so we
can learn how to produce crops with salty water and take care of the

Knowing when and how much to water is one key to successful farming,
Roberts said.

If you water too often or not often enough, your field can be hit by
cotton root rot, and there is no cure for it, he said.

"You can lose your whole stand because there's nothing you can do about

Asked how he knows when and how much to water, Batteas said it is by
trial and error.

Yellow leaves on the plants indicate they are stressed, usually from
not enough water or from packed soil that won't let the water get to the

"I killed some of this the last watering trying to run slow enough to
put in an experimental plot of alfalfa," he said. "You just do the best
you can under the circumstances."

While hail is a menace to most crops in Reeves County, it does little
damage to alfalfa, Batteas said. It may knock off a few leaves, but they
will grow right back. Wind hurts it some, but not that bad, he said.

"This has been the windiest year we have had in 100 years, and I still
made more production than before."

And all because of a "magic box" little larger than a shoe box.

Game warden eager to work with landowners

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Staff Writer

PECOS, TX, Aug. 27, 1996 - Jim Allen listed Reeves County as his first
choice for a duty station upon his graduation from the Texas Parks and
Wildlife training academy in Austin July 31.

And the Sonora native is thrilled to be assigned here.

"I felt like I was lucky to get West Texas," Allen said. "I couldn't
ask for a better duty station."

When you think of a game warden, you may envision a stern, uniformed
peace officer who enforces hunting and fishing regulations.

But Allen sees his work as much more than enforcement.

"A big part of my duty is to teach folks about how to protect wildlife
resources and teach them about firearms and safety," he said.

Serving the public is Number 1. Ranchers and farmers are the
landholders, and that's where wildlife resources are going to be, he

"It is a unique position where you are able to work with and for them
along with the public in helping protect wildlife resources and also
help teach people different aspects of how to protect certain animals
and fish," he said.

Working with youth to teach them about wildlife and nature in general
is important to the young man who loves the out-of-doors and people.

"Youngsters can enjoy outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, and
I enjoy teaching them things," he said.

He hopes to teach classes in boater education, hunter safety and
fishing education for all ages.

"There's been folks 75-80 years old who took hunter safety education
courses with their grandson or granddaughter, and they really enjoy it,"
Allen said.

In enforcing the law, Allen will not be patrolling, just looking for
violators of hunting, fishing and boating laws.

"When you are in the country and you come across these individuals, you
make sure they are following the laws," he said.

Game wardens are state peace officers who have statewide jurisdiction.
They help out other agencies as they are needed.

Allen made the rounds getting acquainted with local officers last week.

"I am looking forward to working with other wardens and other law
enforcement agencies in Reeves and surrounding counties," he said.

Not only will he work Reeves County, Allen will help Robert French with
Ward and Loving counties and Randall Brown in Jeff Davis County.

Allen is familiar with the area, since he graduated from Sul Ross State
University with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.

Coming from Marfa last Saturday, Allen enjoyed seeing the mountains

"I am looking forward to dove season coming up next month,": he said.
"I have heard it is a big season here in Reeves County. I am looking
forward to getting out and learning the county and meeting the farmers
and ranchers."

He said anyone having questions should contact him at home or through
the Reeves County Sheriff's Office.

Allen and his wife, Catherine, have moved into their new residence at
414 S. Elm Street, where they share cooking duties in the kitchen.

Cooking is one of Allen's hobbies. His specialty is any type of
southwestern recipe.

"I like to open any cookbook and try just about anything," he said. "In
the mall, the first place I go to is the cook books."

He also enjoys reading, especially Elmer Kelton books, jogging and
spending time with his wife of three years.

Catherine is a student at Angelo State University in San Angelo,
majoring in special education for all levels. She expects to be a May,
1997 graduate.

Allen's mother is an ASU professor, and his Dad is a coach. He is the
older brother of two sisters, one in college and one working for the
First National Bank of Sonora in San Angelo.

He played football and ran track with his Dad as coach during high
school at Wolfforth.

"It was unique having him as father on one side and coach on the
other," Allen said. "That was interesting and made you work a little
extra hard, because if you didn't do good on the field or track, you
would kind of be hinted at at home. I enjoyed it and summers in the
cotton fields."

Questioned about the veracity of that last statement, Allen admitted he
didn't really like working 14 hours in the hot sun, but he did enjoy
fellowship with other teenagers working alongside him.

Fellowship and working with others seems to be Allen's top priorities.
He has enjoyed meeting new people in Pecos, where he and Catherine have
been made to feel welcome.

"There is a lot of good folks," he said. "We are looking forward to a
long stay here."



By C.W. Roberts

Manage grazing during drought

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(Article 4 in a Series of 5)

Stocking rate and grazing management decisions during drought may be
the most important decisions made. The effects of these decisions go far
beyond survival during the drought and greatly influence recovery
drought. No two ranches are completely identical and as such, need to
make stocking rate and grazing management decisions during drought that
are compatible with the goals of the operation. This article is intended
to highlight options for stocking rate and grazing management decisions
during drought.

Ranch forage supplies must be constantly evaluated to match supply with
demand. There's an old saying that goes: "Your income got's to exceed
your outgo lest your upkeep be your downfall". While primarily talking
about financial situations, this can be applied to forage situations.
Forage supply must meet or exceed forage demand or the forage base may
eventually contribute to the demise of the operation. Reduction in
stocking rates during drought pays big dividends in terms of less damage
to desirable forage plants, rapid recovery of the range following
drought, reduced supplemental feeding costs, and reduced losses to toxic
plants, just to name a few.

When talking about reduction in stocking rate, herd mix may be the most
important factor. Flexibility must be built into the herd. In general,
breeding herds should constitute no more than 60 percent of the total
carrying capacity of the ranch during normal years, with the remainder
of the herd composed of held-over yearlings or stocker type animals.
When drought conditions occur and forage supplies are limiting,
livestock numbers can be reduced by selling the stockers or yearlings
first without destroying the integrity of the breeding herd.

When the drought becomes even more severe and breeding animals must be
reduced, accurate herd performance records become extremely important.
These should be maintained such that when reducing the breeding herd
becomes necessary, the least productive animals can be identified and
culled first. Another alternative is to find alternative feed sources
such as wheat pasture, crop aftermath, or perhaps in the near future,
expired CRP acreage.

Rotational grazing systems may provide alternative options during
drought situations. Most grazing systems are designed to give plants
rest from grazing. Because plants are under stress during drought, they
need a longer period of rest to recover from grazing. Rotational grazing
or adjustments in rotational grazing plans may give adequate rest to
plants. In a rotation system, pasture numbers may be increased within
the system or the length of stay in a single pasture increased to
facilitate longer periods of rest.
EDITOR'S NOTE: C.W. Roberts is county extension agent for agriculture in
Reeves and Loving counties. He writes a guest column each month for
Living off the land.

Cool season grass hot crop under irrigation

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Even in the midst of the recent drought conditions in the plains states
region, cattlemen are reporting some very impressive success stories
with Matua bromegrass under irrigation.
"Interest in Matua is still very high in spite of the recent weather
conditions," according to Keith Carmichael of CuttingEdge Agri
Products-the nation's largest seller of Matua. "We've been surprised at
the number of inquiries this year, and because producers are beginning
to "get a handle" on how to manage this grass, we're seeing more large
plantings of 1000 acres or more." Although beef prices are in a
relentless down cycle, a recent poll done by Cutting-Edge found many
producers using Matua very satisfied. Reasons given included:
performance of the cattle, cost of gain, animal health, and hay quality.
"Many producers are getting $.40-.45 per pound on the gain basis," says
Carmichael, "and we nearly always have a list of people looking to put
cattle on Matua."
In every part of the country, producers are finding that cattle show a
real preference for Matua over other forages, including wheat, and they
perform well on it. A producer near Lazbuddie, Texas, reported average
fall gains of 2.89 lbs. per day and one near Muleshoe recorded 3.2 lbs.
per day. "These were 'pay-weights' from the producer," says Carmichael,
"and, after all, those are the only ones that matter anyway."
One feedlot manager polled, who also carefully monitors his grazing
system, reported 93,000 head days on one circle (120 acres) during an 11
month period ending in October. "I know they grazed it during November
to go completely around the calendar," adds Carmichael. "That would be
well over 100,000 head-days for the year, and the cattle averaged just
over 2 lbs. per day."
Just down the road on the edge of Muleshoe, another producer recorded
40,000 head-days during the fall season on a newly planted 120 acre
circle of Matua. In this system, early spring growth was chopped and
bagged. Even though the grass was completely "freeze-dried" and
literally "blew away" in February, it was cut twice this spring-yielding
14.4 tons at 62% moisture (5.5 ton DM). Presently there are 855 head
weighing nearly 500 lbs. grazing on the system in 15 acre cells. The
cattle, which are "dry-lotted" each evening and fed haylage, go to a new
cell every 1-2 days. In this system the producer is able to maintain
these numbers and the same high quality forage "all the way through." In
this producer's opinion, "management is the key" to maintaining
consumption and animal performance.
In virtually every case, producers grazing Matua have found that some
of it must be chopped or hayed at some point in order to stay ahead of
its rapid spring growth and maintain forage quality.

Even though Matua is a cool season grass that can provide a lot of
"winter grazing" in some areas, it continues to grow through the summer
months under irrigation. Research done by Dr. Ed Houston at the Texas A
& M University Agricultural Research and Extension Center in San Angelo
last summer shows Matua producing a ton per acre every 30 days
throughout June, July, and August with annual yield of over 8,000 lbs per

During a field day at the station in October in which he presented this
data, Dr. Houston told the group, "We're trying to be cautious, but I
have to admit, we're pretty excited about the Matua." Events this spring
led Dr. Houston to be even more optimistic. A fall planting near the
center went completely dormant during the winter. "It received
absolutely no water," he said."

Then on April 1 it revived. "Every plant came back alive; I don't
believe there was a single plant that didn't survive. I couldn't believe
it," he said.

"Matua has passed its first test with me," he adds. "Surviving the
summer and dry winter conditions-I believe it deserves a good look in
this part of the country."

Some producers seem almost relentless as they try to push this New
Zealand brome to try to find what its limits are. One cattleman near
Plainview, Texas placed 450 head of cattle weighing 450 lbs. on 90 acres
of spring planted Matua in late May.

"When we visited at the Farm Show in October," recalls Carmichael, "all
but 90 head were still on that circle. We sat down and calculated that
he was running over 3000 lbs. per acre through July and August. We just
haven't recommended that, especially on that new of a stand."

Producers were asked to compare Matua to wheat pasture. "The real
difference," states one producer who chops and bags both wheat and
Matua, "is from June to October. Matua just keeps on going after the
wheat is done-that's all bonus, plus you don't have to replant like you
do with wheat."

One producer polled, who manages well over 500 acres of Matua near
Lazbuddie, Texas, put it another way, " We can `graze-out' wheat or we
can graze right on through the summer with Matua-it's really not much of
a choice. Besides, I get tired of replanting each fall."

One cattleman in his second year using Matua near Del City, Texas, is
"very pleased." "We're running between 2,000 and 2,300 lbs per acre now,
and the relative feed value is running 150. I would have to say that the
cattle are doing as good as they could on anything-even the best wheat
pasture you could find," he said.

All producers polled seemed to agree; the key is management. "It
responds to everything you can do to it," says one Friona, Texas,
cattleman, "and it has everything we want. Everyone we know who has it
likes it."

For more information or a free video on Matua, contact Cutting-Edge
Agri Products, 800-753-6511.

Hay supply down 15 percent;

Perry offers help to ranchers

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AUSTIN (AP) - Production of cotton, corn, peanuts and hay in Texas are
down from last year because of the ongoing drought, according to
Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry.

Texas, the nation's top cotton-producing state, is estimated to produce
3.65 million bales, down 18 percent from last year and only the second
time since 1990 that the Texas cotton crop would drop below 4 million
bales, Perry said Monday.

``These numbers tell us just how severe this drought has been and the
toll it's taken on Texas crops,'' Perry said. ``Right now, we're looking
at more than 1 million acres of Upland cotton abandoned across the state
because of drought-related problems.''

Perry said more than 600,000 acres were abandoned on the southern High
Plains, the state's largest cotton-producing area.

Upland cotton production on the southern High Plains is estimated at
1.95 million bales, down 5 percent from last year. Recent rains across
the region have improved the condition of this year's crop, Perry said.

Texas corn production is estimated at 162 million bushels, down 25
percent from last year. Lack of timely rains during the growing season
has reduced statewide yield, which is expected to average 90 bushels per
acre, down 24 bushels from last year, he said.

Some corn producers in South Texas were not able to get a uniform stand
because of dry planting conditions, and producers had to delay harvest
in scattered areas, Perry said.

Dry weather also has cut production of the Texas hay crop. Total
production for all hay is estimated at about 6.9 million tons, down 15
percent from last year and the smallest hay crop since 1988, Perry said.

``Many of our livestock producers will be going into the fall and
winter months with low hay supplies, so I'm reminding producers to
contact the Texas Department of Agriculture's Hay Hotline to get a list
of suppliers who have hay for sale,'' Perry said.

Texas peanut production is estimated at 522.5 million pounds, 3 percent
below last year's crop, Perry said. Statewide average yield is down 100
pounds from 1995.

Texas sorghum production is expected to increase 36 percent from last
year to more than 102.6 million cwt. Although statewide average yield is
down from last year, harvested acreage increased 63 percent to 3.9
million acres, Perry said.

The Agriculture Department's Hay Hotline is (800) 687-7564.

Drought cuts production

of spring-planted crops

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The full effects of the 1996 drought are evident with the first
production forecast of spring-planted crops released by the Texas
Agricultural Statistics Service.

The 1996 Texas Upland cotton crop is expected to total 3.65 million
bales, 18 percent below 1995. Harvested acreage is estimated at 4.1
million acres, 29 percent less than last year. Dry conditions at
planting time, coupled with continued drought, caused poor stands and
many acres were abandoned. Yield is expected to average 427 pounds per
acre compared with 372 pounds last year.

Corn production is forecast at 162 million bushels, down 25 percent
from last year and 32 percent below the record set in 1994. Based on
August 1 conditions, statewide yield is expected to average 90 bushels
per acre, 24 bushels less than 1995 while harvested acreage is expected
to be down 5 percent.

Texas peanut production is expected to decrease 3 percent from last
year to 522.5 million pounds. Statewide yield, at 1,900 pounds per acre,
is down 100 pounds from last year, while harvested acreage increased 2
percent to 275,000 acres. Irrigated peanuts have made good progress
across the state this year, but dryland peanuts have suffered from

Sorghum production is forecast at 102.6 million hundredweight, 41
percent above last year. Harvested acreage is estimated at 3.90 million
acres, up 63 percent, as sorghum replaced some lost cotton acreage.
Yield, at 2,632 pounds per acre, is expected to be 392 pounds below last

The 1996 soybean crop is forecast at 7.02 million bushels, up 17
percent from last year's production. Harvested acreage increased 13
percent, and yield is expected to average 26 bushels per acre, compared
with 25 last year.

United States corn production, at 8.69 billion bushels, increased 18
percent from last year's crop. A yield of 188.7 bushels per acre is
forecast, up 5.2 bushels from last year.

The sorghum crop is expected to increase 59 percent, to 410.9 million
cwt. The U.S. Upland cotton crop is expected to total 18 million bales,
up 3 percent from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 2.3 billion bushels, 7 percent above
last year. The U.S. peanut crop is estimated at 3.3 billion pounds, 3
percent below a year ago.

Hundreds die each year in farming accidents

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The National Safety Council seeks to protect farm families through a
media safety campaign each year.

Each year hundreds of people are killed in farm-related accidents in
the United States. While agriculture is an icon of American history, it
also is one of the most dangerous industries in America. Safety and
health education can play an important role in reducing fatalities and
mjurles on tarms.

This year is the 53rd anniversary of National Farm Safety and Health
Week. During the week of September 15 - 21, 1996, the National Safety
Council encourages all Americans to put special emphasis on farm safety.

Throughout the 52 years of this observance, progress has been made in
some areas, still other areas are a growing concern to the oldest
industry in the U.S. For example, the average age of the American farmer
is approaching 55 years. Also, 1995 U.S. data shows the number one
killer of farmers 65 years of age and over is tractor overturns.

In addition, thousands of children are injured on farms each year. Many
farm tasks are being performed by young children currently living on
farms. The average age for a child to drive a tractor on the road is 12

Appropriate protective measures should be taken when a farm task
involves children.

Gerard F. Scannell is president of the National Safety Council, a
nongovemmental not-for-profit international public service organization
protecting life and promoting health.

He can be reached at 1121 Spring Lake Drive, Itasca, IL, 60143-3201 -
(708) 285-1121, FAX (708) 285-1315.

Pool to be honored at Permian Basin Oil Show

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ODESSA, TX - The Permian Basin Oil Show has announced that the 1996 Oil
Show Honoree is Frank M. Pool, founder of Pool Company, according to Don
Narrell, PBOS Honoree Committee Chairman.

"We're proud to have Frank Pool as our 1996 Honoree," said W. R. "Bro"
Hill, 1996 PBOS President. "Frank Pool's leadership and enthusiasm in
the petroleum industry and his community make his an extraordinary

Pool is the show's 31st Honoree since 1952. The Permian Basin Oil Show
is the world's largest inland exhibition of oilfield products and

Frank Pool was born in 1918 in Grandview. He graduated from Texas A&M
University in 1941 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum
Engineering. Pool began his engineering career with Humble Oil and
Refining Company in East Texas the summer before he graduated. After
graduation, Pool went to work for Humble Oil as the District Petroleum
Engineer in the Gulf Coast Area until he was called to duty in the
United States Army as a Second Lieutenant in 1942. He was later promoted
to the rank of Major as a Task Force Commander.

Upon completion of his military career in October 1945, Pool returned
to work for Humble Oil and Refining Company where he again worked on the
Gulf Coast. In January 1948, Pool and his family moved to San Angelo, to
be closer to his wife's family in Mertzon, Texas. He established Pool
Company with one rig and a one-room office. Pool's hard work and long
hours have brought Pool Company to international recognition for the
company's domestic and international operations based in all the oil
producing states in the United States and in 16 foreign countries.
Today, the company's headquarters are located in Houston, Texas.

Pool served on the Board of Directors for Pool Energy Services Co.
until his retirement in 1995. He currently acts as a consultant for the
Along with his outstanding entrepreneurial skills, Pool played a major
role in shaping the future of the well servicing industry. In 1956, he
and other well servicing contractors founded the Association of Oil Well
Servicing Contractors in Odessa. The mission was to unify the industry
to enable it to meet ~the challenges of governmental regulators, safety,
technology, insurance and contractor/operator relations. Pool was
elected the first President. This year the association broadened the
base of membership to include all energy service companies and is now
recognized as the Association of Energy Service Companies.

Other petroleum related organizations have also been touched by Pool's
leadership. He is a former director of Texas Commerce Bank, General
Telephone Company of the Southwest, the International Association of
Drilling Contractors, the Permian Basin Oil Show and the Board of
Trustees of Hardin Simmons University. He was a member of the Well
Servicing Task Force Group of the National Petroleum Council's Committee
of American Petroleum Institute, Southwest District, a current member of
the West Texas Geological Society.

Pool married Elizabeth Hughes of Mertzon in February 1946. They have
three children, Frank M. Pool, Jr., Mary Ellen Hartje and Martha Jean
Elder, and six grandchildren.

Pool served on the Board of San Angelo Independent School District and
held an elected office for the State Board of Education District 21. He
was also Chairman of the Regional School Board. He has served as council
person and member of the Boy Scouts of America. Pool currently serves on
the Board of Deacons at First Baptist Church of San Angelo.
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not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or
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personal and non-commercial use. The AP will not be held liable for
any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the
transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages
arising from any of the foregoing.

Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
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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