VOL. 22, NO. 1
IN THIS ISSUE:
CHILLY, BUT NO DAMAGE—
The coldest night of the winter occurred on January 3, 2008. There are undoubtedly some cold pockets out in the northwestern part of the Valley where temperatures dipped below freezing at or just before daybreak. The coldest number I have seen was 32 in Edinburg. There were some wispy clouds at sunrise, which may have helped attenuate the temperatures a bit.
When the media warns of potential sub-freezing conditions, people tend to get a little concerned. For Texas citrus growers, there was nothing in the forecast to suggest that damage might occur—even with a totally clear sky and no wind. Remember, it is supposed to take several hours below 28 in order to cause ice inside a grapefruit. Neither the critical temperature nor the duration was indicated by the various weather services.
On the other side of the Gulf, Florida citrus growers were rightly a good deal more concerned about the possibility of damage, as minimum temperatures were expected to drop below critical and perhaps last long enough to damage the crop. However, the first reports I have seen from UltimateCitrus.com (written by Chet Townsend, a friend and colleague in the southern part of the state), indicates that sub-freezing temperatures were recorded pretty much throughout the citrus belt except along the East Coast Indian River District, but winds continued through the night, thus averting potentially colder temperatures elsewhere.
The coldest in Central Florida was 28 at Lake Alfred, but the duration was brief. Even Immokalee and parts of Hendry County in the Gulf District recorded 30 degrees, as did Lake Wales in Central Florida. Early indications are that citrus was not damaged.
Because of the holidays, the final tally for shipments out of the Valley through the end of December is not yet available. The latest data I have is the 15th, and those data show that we are still ahead of recent averages for total movement.
The biggest item is that early orange movement was about 100,000 cartons above the averages, but navels were below by about the same volume. Navels have been difficult this season—a light crop that has experienced decay problems in the packinghouse and in transit, plus inexpensive California navels.
I will do a full analysis of the season-to-New Year movement in next month’s issue.
RGV HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY—
The Rio Grande Valley Horticultural Society will hold its 62nd Annual Meeting on two different occasions this month, due to some scheduling conflicts. The traditional evening Garden and Landscape Session will be held on Wednesday, January 23, 2008, in the Rio Red Room at the Citrus Center. Contact Barbara Storz at 383-1026 for more information.
The scientific session will be held on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, in the Hensz Auditorium at the Citrus Center, from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm. Registration is $35, which includes lunch; students can attend for $15. Contact John Jifon at 969-5643 for additional information.
NEW NAMES, NEW LOGOS—
Well, there are new names and new logos for the agencies that used to be known as the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (more recently, Texas Cooperative Extension). The changes in name and logo are to be “unveiled” at a conference in College Station next week, but everybody already has the new logos and are expected to be using the new names.
As for the Experiment Station, it will be known henceforth as Texas AgriLife Research, while Extension will become Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The Center here at Weslaco will become the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.
The new logos will be simply AgriLIFE EXTENSION or AgriLIFE RESEARCH, with Texas A&M System beneath. Across the AgriLIFE part of the logo of each will be an arc that points to the Extension or Research part of the name, sorta like the Nike swoosh without the curl at the end.
A rose by any other name...
JULIAN W. SAULS, Ph.D.
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