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March 2021

Tidbits from Traveling Horace McQueen See page 3

Progress Baxter Black See page 5

Supply and Demand Special Report See page 8

Black Beauty Ranch welcomes Texas tiger By Shelli Parker

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Athens Daily Review

uring the recent cold snap, Elsa, a 60-pound tiger was found wearing a harness and freezing in Bexar County, representing a huge problem in Texas with wild animal ownership. Local animal sanctuary Black Beauty Ranch turned her world around and she is now rolling around in the hay enjoying new smells before being transferred to her 1,400 acre sanctuary. Elsa is one of the lucky ones, who was found in time. After her brief quarantine she will be moved to a larger area at the sanctuary. Extreme confinement in small enclosures and cages, improper diet, shelter and veterinary care coupled with boredom and the inability to express natural behaviors is a recipe for disaster and a sad reality for many captive animals. Being denied normal habitats and care can create aggression, frustration and that isn’t good when coupled with human interactions. “Elsa is a rambunctious young wild animal and appears to be playful and active. Sadly, she spent her first few months of life as someone’s pet,” said Noelle Almrud, senior director of Black Beauty Ranch. The dog harness she was wearing is a harsh reminder of the unnatural life wild animals are forced to endure in captivity. Elsa has a raw area on her See TIGER on Page 3

Ice storm was tough on livestock By Rich Flowers

What to do:

Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center partially open Staff Reports

Athens Daily Review

Athens Daily Review

While the mid-February ice storm that gripped northeast Texas did damage to plants and crops, it also took its toll on livestock who endured the sub-zero cold. Henderson County Agri-Life Extension Agent Spencer Perkins said it wasn’t that the animals froze to death, but the ice storm brought other problems. “As long as their body condition score was up and they were able to get plenty of food it wasn’t necessarily the temperature,” Perkins said, “Our most common livestock loss was either newborn calves being born on top of snow and ice or when our ponds and lakes froze over, cattle would go out there to search for water.” Perkins said cattle would fall through the thin layer of ice and not be able to get back on solid ground. “They could only try to swim so long to get back out,” Perkins said. “Our cattle producers would go out multiple times a day, breaking ice at the edge.” When the cattle would get thirsty, they would try to get water right then, not knowing the producer would be out in a half-hour or so to provide a way for them to drink. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension puts the statewide losses to commodities like citrus, horticulture plants and livestock at about $600 million. A Texas A&M Today story broke it down to $230 million for citrus, $228 million for livestock and $150 million for vegetable crops. “A large number of Texas farmers, ranchers and others involved in commercial agriculture and agricultural production were seriously affected by Winter Storm Uri,” Jeff Hyde, AgriLife Extension director, Bryan-College Station said. “Freezing temperatures and ice killed or harmed many of their crops and livestock as well as causing financial hardships and operational setbacks. And the residual costs from the disaster could plague many producers for years to come”

he Texas Department of Transportation is enrolling 1.238 million acres of land, consisting of 73,038 center lane miles of highways and interstates, in the historic nationwide Monarch Butterfly Candidate Conservation Agreement for Energy and Transportation Lands administered by the University of Illinois-Chicago with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Nearly 450,000 acres are being adopted in the agreement, which encourages transportation and energy partners to participate in monarch conservation by providing and maintaining habitat on millions of acres of rights-of-way and associated lands. “The monarch butterfly is one of America’s most wellknown native insects, but it has experienced significant population declines during recent decades,” said Amy Lueders, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Regional Director. “Through the monarch butterfly CCAA, we’re working with energy and transportation partners to help save this iconic species and other pollinators. We are incredibly grateful to TxDOT for joining the agreement and stepping up to help improve habitat and actively contribute to the recovery of monarchs on the millions of acres of highways and interstates they manage.” “TxDOT’s rights-of-way are excellent habitat for wildlife

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including pollinators such as the monarch butterfly as well as bats, bees, birds, and many more,” said James Stevenson, TxDOT maintenance division director. “Since milkweed is a crucial host plant for monarchs, TxDOT fully supports milkweed growth on state rights-ofway. Thousands of acres of milkweed appear on rights-ofway every year due to TxDOT’s longstanding wildflower and pollinator programs.” Texas plays an important role in monarch butterfly migration, with the colorful pollinators visiting the state every fall and spring as they pass through their breeding grounds in the north

and their overwintering areas in Mexico. Monarchs rely on milkweed for laying eggs and caterpillar food and other nectar plants for forage, but as those native plants have declined with an overall loss of habitat, monarchs have too. Populations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico have dropped by about 90% over the past 20 years. Thanks to the nationwide monarch agreement, companies in the energy and transportation sectors will provide habitat for the species along energy and transportation rights-of-way corridors on public and private lands across the country.

Partners who enroll in the agreement through a certificate of inclusion, like TxDOT and currently 15 others nationwide, will carry out conservation measures to reduce or remove threats to the species and create and maintain habitat annually. Although this agreement specifically focuses on monarch habitat, the conservation measures will also benefit several other species, especially pollinating insects. “TxDOT’s early participation in the CCAA has helped us make huge strides towards the conservation targets laid out in the agreement and build See MONARCH on Page 3


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March 2021

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Tips For Spring Turkey

Homework, practice and proper location help spur success in good turkey woods By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer

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ild turkeys always get in the mood for love as winter’s drab landscape gives way to the brilliant colors of another spring. Likewise, spring turkey hunting seasons are scheduled to coincide with peak breeding periods, when gobblers are revved up on testosterone and most responsive to calling. On April 3, Texas’ spring turkey season will be in full swing in most counties where it is legal to hunt the regal North American game birds. The only exceptions are 13 counties in eastern Texas, where a 23-day eastern gobbler season doesn’t get underway until April 22. The birds communicate among them themselves with peculiar body language and signature vocals frequently used to send sexy messages. It’s trash talk that only another wild turkey can truly understand. Hunters attempt to spoil the romance by joining in the conversations and playing dirty tricks meant to throw a mature gobbler into a fit that forces a fatal error. The main idea is to entice the bird into shotgun range using some sort of call to simulate the inviting sounds a hen turkey looking for male company. Sometimes it works like a charm. Other times it doesn’t. Some of best turkey hunts end almost as quickly as they begin. The gobbler takes the bait and comes barreling in without a care. One shot. Lights out. End of story. Most veteran hunters will agree that not all gobblers are April fools. That’s because every bird is different, as is every spring turkey hunt. Just when you think things are about to work out, a wily long beard will teach you a valuable lesson. Here are some worthwhile tips spring turkey hunters can follow to boost their chances of burning a tag this season while making their outings more enjoyable:

expert caller with a bad set-up. At times it is next to impossible to coax gobbler to cross a creek or goat wire fence. Always try to set-up to call in spots that create the path of least resistance between you and the gobbler. Otherwise, the bird may “hang up” and refuse to come any closer. In real life, the girls go to guys. If you are day hunting on unfamiliar property, ask the landowner or outfitter for any geographic tips about the property. Google Earth is a very helpful source.

Trash Talk: The essence of spring turkey hunting is conversing with the birds, usually with a slate, box or diaphragm (mouth) call. Turkeys make a variety of sounds when communicating among themselves. Learn to yelp, putt and purr and you can call turkeys successfully. The diaphragm fits in the roof of your mouth and creates realistic turkey sounds by pushing air across your tongue, causing the call’s plastic reeds to vibrate. The mouth call is the most difficult to master, but highly preferred because it keeps your hands free and makes a variety of turkey sounds. It’s a good idea to carry several reed-cut options. Box and slate-style calls are friction calls that are much easier to use. The slate consists of a pot and striker capable of making some really sexy sounds. Make sure to bring along a piece sandpaper to keep the pot surface rough. A box is the simplest call to use. The calI’s paddle pivots on a hinge screw. Slide the paddle across the edges of the box to produce sounds. There are several tutorials on YouTube for using turkey calls. Hunters rely on locator calls like crow calls and owl hoots to locate birds from a distance. Roosting gobblers will sometimes “shock gobble” when they a locator call at first light.

Learn the Land: Know the land and use it to your advantage. Use scouting trips to learn the locations of drainages, creeks, fence lines and water sources. A poor turkey caller with a good set-up is more likely to be successful than an

seats integrated into the vest. The extra padding can be a blessing when sitting for long periods.

Fire Away: Just about any shotgun kill a turkey but a 12-gauge loaded with three-inch magnum shotshells (No. 4-6 shot) is ideal. Shotguns should be equipped with a full choke to produce tight pellet patterns at long distances. It’s usually not wise to take shots beyond 30 yards.

Full Camo: Turkeys have incredible eyesight. Dress in full camouflage head-to-toe. If you can see a turkey’s head, you can bet it will see any movement you make. If you suspect a bird is approaching, shoulder the shotgun in advance and position the barrel on one knee pointed in the direction where you expect to see the turkey.

Know before you go: There is no substitute for scouting. Whenever possible, try to visit the property ahead of time and cover some ground. Listen for gobbling birds and look for reliable sign like tracks, scratching or dusting areas, feather drops, fresh droppings and active roost sites. Wild turkeys like to roost above ground, usually in trees, to avoid ground predators. Rio Grande turkeys, the most abundant subspecies in Texas, tend to roost in the same trees each night. Eastern birds are less choosy and prone to roost wherever they are at nightfall.

Photo by Matt Williams

It is not a good idea to shoot at gobblers in full strut. Wait until the bird offers a clear shot at the head and neck area. Aiming where the bird’s feathers meet with its neck will help ensure a lethal shot to the head and other vitals.

Hang In There:

Photo by Matt Williams

The slate-style call is a friction call comprised of a pot and striker. The call makes a variety of turkey sounds and is easy to master, but does require both hands to to use.

Geared Up: A turkey vest or backpack is handy for carrying spare calls, ammunition, food, water, knife and other essentials. Be sure to take along a good bug spray to repel ticks and mosquitos. Some vests have padded

Outdoor Briefs

It pays to be patient. If the birds aren’t gobbling, pick a spot and hunker down, calling occasionally. But don’t call too much. If a gobbler answers from the distance and shuts up, avoid the temptation to move for a while. The bird could be coming in “silent.”

Decoys: A gobbler coming to a call is constantly looking for the source. It can be a big advantage if he’s got a nice looking lady to look at once he gets there. Hen decoys can sometimes work wonders on long beards reluctant to commit. Place the decoy in an opening so it can be seen from a distance. Be cautious

when using decoys on public hunting lands; you never know when there may be an inexperienced hunter in the area.

The Right Shot: The most lethal shot is to the head, ideally when the bird is facing you or from the side. Aim for the base of the neck, right where it meets the feathers. You are almost guaranteed to get some pellets in the bird’s head, even if you pull high on the shot. Never shoot a gobbler in full strut, or a spooked bird or one that is flying off or running away. Body shots aren’t a good idea, either. Turkeys don’t leave blood trails like deer. The chances of recovering a wounded bird are slim.

Getting Legal: A valid hunting license and upland game bird stamp endorsement are required to hunt turkeys. Birds must be properly tagged immediately after harvest; you will a physical license on your person. Some public lands require hunters to have a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit. East Texas hunters are reminded of special regulations including a one gobbler limit by shotgun, archery gear or crossbow only; hunting over bait is prohibited.  Successful hunters in ET counties are required to report the bird to TPWD online or using the “My Texas Hunt Harvest” app. Reports must be filed within 24 hours of harvest.

Bassmaster Elites set for two back-to-back in Texas TPW Commission takes emergency action at Upper and Lower Laguna By Matt Williams Outdoors Writer Madre for spotted seatrout

are encouraging fans to continue following social distancing guidelines and washing their hands he Bassmaster Elite frequently, despite the Series will be on relaxation of COVIDthe Sabine River in related mandates. The event Orange on April 8-11 in the will base from the City of first of back-to-back stops Orange boat ramp. in Texas during April. The second Texas stop Earlier in the year, is set for April 22-25 at the Sabine event was Lake Fork, but the event rescheduled for August is no longer called Texas due to COVID concerns Fest Benefiting Texas Parks but flip- flopped back to and Wildlife. The 2021 the originally scheduled title sponsor for the Fork dates after Texas Gov. tournament (formerly Greg Abbott rescinded called the Toyota Texas mandates that would have Classic) is Guaranteed dramatically reduced the Rate. It marks the end of number of fans permitted a 13-year Texas Fest title on-site, according to BASS sponsorship by Gulf States reports. Toyota. Elite Series tournaments GST began its title on the Sabine have a rich sponsorship of the event history of drawing large in 2007 and has since crowds.hree previous visits contributed $3.5 million have lured more than towards TPWD’s youth96,000 fans to tournament outreach and fishing-related weigh-ins and other programs, according to activities, according to Craig Bonds, TPWD BASS. director of inland fisheries. Officials with BASS  Bonds said GST and Orange County decided to conclude their

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association and direct support of the Texas Fest event, but has conveyed to TPWD an intent to continue supporting various agency programs and initiatives.

“That is ultimately GST’s prerogative,” Bonds said. “We are extremely grateful for their past and continued support and they have indicated a desire to continue.”  In compliance with Lake Fork’s slot limit, Elite Series pros will adhere to a catch/weigh/immediate release format hatched in 2007 with the first Toyota Texas Bass Classic. Anglers will be allowed to bring one fish over 24 inches to daily weigh-ins that will be held at the Sabine River Authority headquarters. BASS communications director Emily Harley says there will be outdoor expos held at both upcoming events.

From TPWD Reports

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n March 24, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission took emergency action to change the bag and size limits on spotted seatrout in the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre due to the coastal freeze and subsequent fish kill in Feb. 2021. The new regulations for spotted seatrout in the bays and beachfronts of the Laguna Madre include: * a three fish bag limit, * a minimum size length of 17 inches * a maximum size length of 23 inches * no fish over 23 inches may be retained. These changes will take effect on April 1 and are valid for up to 120 days, but may be extended another 60 days if warranted. The Laguna Madre encompasses two bay systems, Upper and Lower Laguna Madre. It ranges from south of the JFK causeway near Corpus Christi (including the adjacent beachfronts from Packery Channel) to the Rio Grande river in south Texas. The emergency action will be reevaluated once additional data

is gathered by Coastal Fisheries biologists during the spring sampling season. This information will provide a better indication of the freeze impact to fish populations. “I am confident that our spring sampling will help us get a better picture of the impacts to fish populations since the February fish kill event,” said Coastal Fisheries Division Director Robin Riechers. “In the meantime, the Commission took the action to help conserve the fish we have now and accelerate recovery.”  Biologists expect this type of management action to result in an increase in population numbers since more mature fish are left in the water to spawn during the spring through summer spawning season. This coupled with spotted seatrout production at TPWD coastal fish hatcheries will accelerate recovery.


March 2021

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Tidbits From Traveling!

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s I travel the highways and byways in our part of Texas there is always something new on the horizon. Each town, large and small, has offerings sitting them apart from their neighbors. I am especially intrigued by the electronic signs advertising businesses. Somewhere, a little elf must be making up many of those “words of wisdom” for the signs. In Palestine, at a small animal vet clinic, the flashing sign is simple— and effective! “Free belly rubs— with exam”. I bet their business is booming!

With Spring officially here, lots of folks are assessing the damage to their landscapes. Two weeks ago, it seemed many trees and shrubs would never recover from the zero degree temperatures we shared. Now it’s a different story. Most shrubs and trees did survive—and are now greening out again. Huge live oak trees--many a hundred years old--lost their leaves—but now are generating new ones. Azaleas and roses took a hard hit and will be slow to recover. Cattle came through the Arctic blast in good shape, if they were in good condition before the

freeze. With the warmer weather ryegrass is doing well. Cattle are enjoying that bit of high protein green. They are also cutting down their hay consumption. When it comes to livestock, the sale of storied Texas ranches continues. The Waggoner Ranch sold a couple years ago for over three quarters of a billion dollars. Since then, more have been added to the growing list. The 6666 Ranch is on the market, about a half million acres. Also, the Matador and Swenson Ranches are being aggressively marketed.

All have a storied history behind them. Here at home, some large farms and ranches are on the market or have sold. The 15,000 acre Carter Ranch, bordering the Trinity River south of Oakwood, recently sold. New owner is an affiliate of the Mormon Church. My concern with this trend to “bigger and bigger” is that new owners may not be as inclined to support our local businesses, be involved in our schools or be a part of the community they have bought into. At least, let’s hope they will see the light!

That’s –30—horace@valornet.com

TIGER, continued from page 1 forehead from rubbing on her cage from stress, and fur missing where the harness once was. “She was on an inappropriate diet that would have caused severe health damage, but luckily, we got her early enough and will be able to remedy that,” Almrud. “We expect her to quickly acclimate to her large, natural habitat and start behaving more like a tiger than a pet. We will provide everything she needs to have all of her physical and emotional needs met and give her the fairytale ending she deserves.” Upon maturing she may join another rescue tiger Loki, with whom she is now neighbors. Loki was found in an abandoned Houston home, in a cage where he could barely move. According to bigcatrescue.org, there are currently more captive tigers in the state of Texas than left in the wild. If someone wishes to own a wild animal, it is dangerously easy to accomplish. Texas Parks and Wildlife stated there is much tougher legislation needed to prevent “breeding, selling and often the shooting of exotic cats in canned hunts.” “Small young tigers like Elsa quickly become large,

dangerous and deadly,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Private possession of tigers as pets, and their use in cub petting ‘operations’ like we saw in Tiger King, is a serious and sometimes deadly problem in this country. Hundreds of people, including children, have been seriously injured or killed as a result of the cruel and unacceptable epidemic of owning big cats. The Big Cat Public Safety Act must be passed immediately in order to stop people from treating tigers as if they were pets.” Block is referring in part to new federal legislation being proposed and a possible reintroduction at the state level. Federally, HR 263, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, would improve the welfare of captive big cats and protect public safety by prohibiting keeping big cats as pets and banning public contact with tigers, lions and other dangerous cat species, for instance in activities where people pay to pet, feed or take pictures with big cat cubs. The constant breeding necessary for these activities is a major driver of the huge surplus of big cats across the country. It is also needed at the state level, standards are needed requiring permits, caging standards, insurance and veterinary care creating meaningful laws regarding private possession which currently is lax. Texas SB 641, introduced by state Sen. Joan Huffman and Sen. Carol Alvarado that would have prohibited private ownership in Texas was stalled and failed to pass. It will be reintroduced in 2021. Black Beauty Ranch was originally founded in 1979 by Cleveland Amory. The U.S. government had slated the burrows in the Grand Canyon to be killed. Amory couldn’t handle this idea and hired his own helicopters and staff to capture and fly all of them to a sanctuary.

There were no injuries or deaths and the ranch grew from that point on to include more animals of all different kinds. He opened the Black Beauty Ranch as a sanctuary. The ranch has over 1,400 acres and is the home of more than 800 animals exotic and domestic. There are currently over 40 species represented there. The animals vary in needs and many come from neardeath situations. They come to the ranch and enjoy the good life. They offer scheduled bus tours occasionally by appointment in order to protect the peace and experience for the animals. To learn more visit, www.facebook.com/ BlackBeautyRanch.

MONARCH, continued from page 1 momentum with other transportation agencies and energy companies interested in supporting the monarch butterfly,” said Iris Caldwell, program manager at the University of IllinoisChicago, which administers the CCAA. “TXDOT is a natural leader for this work given their well-established wildflower program and key position along the monarch flyway.” To help reverse pressing threats like the loss of habitat and native milkweed plants, TxDOT will create, enhance and maintain habitat for monarch butterflies, as well as continue their general operations, vegetation management and maintenance and modernization activities within existing rights-ofway. In addition to seeding and planting nectar producing wildflower seed mixes to

restore and create habitat for monarchs, the department will be conducting brush control to promote roadway safety and pollinator habitat; conducting conservation mowing to enhance floral resource habitat; and applying herbicides to control undesirable vegetation and restore native or desired plant communities. Monarch butterflies and other pollinators are declining due to multiple factors, including habitat loss. Agreements like this offer an innovative way for partners to voluntarily help at-risk species while receiving regulatory assurance and predictability under the Endangered Species Act. The Service and the University of IllinoisChicago signed an integrated, nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement and Candidate

Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the monarch butterfly on energy and transportation lands throughout the lower 48 states in April 2020. CCAAs and CCAs are formal, voluntary agreements between the Service and landowners to conserve habitats that benefit at-risk species. A CCAA is for nonfederal partners only and provides assurances to participants, in the form of an “enhancement of survival permit,” that no additional conservation measures will be required

of them if the covered species later becomes listed under the ESA. A CCA can be entered into by any partner, whether federal, state or local authority, nongovernmental organization, private individual or corporation. It memorializes the conservation commitment of the landowners, but unlike a CCAA, it does not provide assurances. The monarch agreement integrates both CCA and CCAA programs so energy and transportation partners can provide conservation seamlessly throughout their properties, where there may be a mix of nonfederal and federal lands. In addition, if monarch butterflies are listed as endangered or threatened in the future, TxDOT will receive incidental take coverage on maintenance and modernization activities that fall

substantially within existing right of way. Incidental take includes the unintentional harming, harassing or killing of a listed species and is prohibited under the ESA unless a permit is issued. The Service was petitioned to list the monarch butterfly under the act in 2014. On Dec. 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that listing the monarch as

endangered or threatened is warranted, but precluded by higher priority listing actions. More information regarding the Service’s monarch butterfly conservation efforts and the candidate conservation agreement with assurances can be found on the Service’s Save the Monarch website.


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March 2021

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It Was So Cute at the Store but It Ate My Garden W

e have all seen them, little unassuming 6-packs of transplants waving cheerily in the breeze, or single 4-inch pots of stout contenders for the tomato row saying “Pick me! Pick me!” And we do. We select them, take them home, plant them, pray over them, and watch them grow, but not all of them are polite about it. The small fruited tomatoes almost always want to take over because of their indeterminate nature. If you have ever grown a Sweet 100 cherry tomato, you know what I am talking about. Tomatoes come in 3 basic growth habits. Determinate, which means they reach a certain height and then stop growing. Indeterminate, which means they continue to grow and produce tomatoes all along the stems throughout the growing season, and also semi-determinate, which means they still have indeterminate growth, but they are more compact, generally not reaching more than 6ft. Many of our southern garden

standards, like Homestead, are determinate. Also considered a bush tomato, these determinates make sturdy vines that will still need to be staked in order to keep the fruit from laying over on the ground. The vines are generally 4 ft tall or smaller, and this allows for easier planning and harvesting in the garden. Some other commonly grown determinate examples are Roma, Rutgers, Patio, and Ace 55. Indeterminate tomatoes always need a stake. A tall stake, possibly several of them. One indeterminate tomato can grow 6 feet or more of vine, and most of the smaller fruiting tomatoes tend to be indeterminate. It makes for wonderful snacking in the garden (because who doesn’t love bite-size tomatoes warm from the sun?) but can be troublesome if not staked or caged. Prolific, but impolite and a space-hog. Don’t let the growth habit scare you away though. Some of the most delightful tomatoes grow on indeterminate vines. Cherokee Purple is considered indeterminate –

10-12 oz delicious fruit, and a good producer for us here in East Texas. Also, Kellogg’s Breakfast and Brandywine are considered indeterminate, and pack a big punch both in size and flavor. Sweet 100’s, Yellow Pear, Juliet, and Brad’s Atomic are all strong examples of the extremely prolific growth and production possibilities of small indeterminate tomatoes. They will need a sturdy cage or stakes. Semi-determinate is a bit of the best of both of worlds. The more continual production of stems and blooms than determinate tomatoes, but they are fairly polite about it. Celebrity is an excellent example of this growth

Kim Benton

Cherokee County Horticulturist with a dilute fertilizer mix (at half strength). Give them consistent water and fertilize regularly once fruit starts to appear.

New Year

TPW Commission Approves Regulation Changes for 2021-22 The following hunting regulations for the 2021-22 season were approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission at its public meeting held online March 25. * Add crossbow to the definition of lawful archery equipment * Remove the prohibition on trailing wounded deer with dogs in Angelina, Hardin, Nacogdoches, Orange, Shelby, and Tyler counties; In addition, allow the trailing of wounded deer to no more than two dogs on a leash in Jasper, Newton, Sabine, and San Augustine counties * Eliminate the experimental pronghorn season in the northern Panhandle * Extend the general pronghorn season from 9 days to 16 days statewide * Close Panola County to hunting Eastern turkey season during the spring in 2022 * Implement mandatory reporting for spring turkey hunting (April 1 –30) in the “Western 1 Gobbler” counties in southcentral Texas in 2022 * Add two days of hunting opportunity in the Special White-winged Dove Days within the South Dove Zone * Establish season dates and daily bag limits for all migratory game bird hunting seasons * Modify the muzzleloader definition to clarify only the bullet or projectile and powder must be loaded through the muzzle * Modify opening day for chachalacas to be concurrent with quail season * Align spring and fall wild turkey hunting seasons with consistent North and South Zone boundaries along Highway 90 starting in the fall of 2021 * Allow a statewide squirrel hunting season by opening the remaining closed counties to a year-round hunting season Hunters hitting the field in the upcoming season should make note of these changes and follow all regulations set for species, tagging, bag limits, counties, season dates and means and methods.

habit. Strong vining plant that doesn’t take over your bed, vigorous growth, and a good crop, providing that the plants are given full sun, and plenty of water and fertilizer. San Marzano is another lovely semideterminate variety. No matter your available space, there is a tomato that you can grow if you have 8 hours of full sun and plenty of water and fertilizer. Tomatoes grow very well in a container, and work well in a raised bed. Now is the perfect time to plant since we are generally past the danger of frost (tomatoes will not tolerate frost or freeze.) Plant transplants into well drained soil and water in

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March 2021

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Progress I

magine you were a livestock man in medieval England a thousand years ago. It’s early spring. Snow on the ground, mud in the cow lot. You walk the small pasture where the heavy heifers are kept. It’s hard to see much with just the moonlight. But you spot one that’s down in a swale. She’s on her side in the process of calving. One foot is showing. You check the rest of the cows the best you can and go back to the heifer. No progress. You wait a little longer, then resigned to your duty, you walk back to the cow lot and set the gates. On your way back to get the heifer the wind blows down your

neck and you shiver. Using a long stick you got the heifer up and drive her into the cow lot. There’s some straw scattered behind the windbreak. She finds it and lays down. You walk to the earthen roofed shed to collect your tools. You manage to ease up on her and drop a homemade halter over her head and tie her loosely to a post on the windbreak. There is tepid water in your oaken bucket. After takin’ off your tunic you wash yer arms and kneel down behind her. Taking a three-foot leather thong, you slip a noose around the protruding foot. Following

yer father’s advice, you next slip a hand inside and search for the other foot. You attach a second thong to it, take a wrap around each hand and begin to pull. By pulling when she pushes, resting when she rests, you and she finally deliver the calf two hours later. You rub him down, get him under the flank to suck and get to bed at daybreak. Sound familiar? However, we have made some progress in a thousand years. We’ve traded the moonlight for a flashlight, a (grass-hemp) rope for a nylon, wool underwear for goose down, leather shoes for rubber boots,

leather thongs for chrome plated O.B. chains and we’ve traded patience for a ratchet calf puller. But for the most part much of the process remains the same. Cold feet, bare arms, sweat in your eyes, small heifers and big calves, manual labor and dogged determination. Progress has mechanized, modernized and computerized much of our world from farming to pharmacy, from coal mining to dentistry, from astronomy to architecture. But those of us who practice the ancient art of birthing livestock could trade places with our counterparts a thousand years

ago, or even two thousand years ago, and we’d be interchangeable almost immediately. Sorta like horseshoers, acupuncturists, dog trainers and herbal medicine salesmen. Makes ya think, doesn’t it?

Game Warden Field Notes The following items are compiled from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.

Good Samaritans A Marion County Game Wardens responded to Lake O the Pines regarding a capsized vessel. Several fishermen close to the incident rescued an 80-year-old male and his son and transported them to a boat ramp. EMS arrived on scene and then transported the older male to the hospital for observation.

a citation as well. Cases are pending.

Check Please!

console from the “abandoned” boat. Thanks to the warden’s quick thinking and investigation, he was able to return the recovered stolen items to the original owner in one afternoon. Cases are pending.

A Gregg County Game Warden received a call from the White Oak PD regarding

Helping Hand

A Little Mud on the Tires A Polk County Game Warden received a call from dispatch regarding individuals loading up a deer. A Polk County deputy was in the area and assisted the warden in patrolling the area based on the original call. An ATV drove by on a public roadway and the deputy initiated a traffic stop. The driver of the ATV fled, and a pursuit ensued. The ATV turned and went off-road on muddy terrain, so the warden followed the pursuit in four-wheel drive until the path ended and then gave pursuit on foot. The warden guided the deputy to where he expected the ATV to return. The deputy apprehended the subject and the ATV which was discovered to be stolen.

In a Slough of Trouble A Trinity County Game Warden and a K9 Warden were investigating a slough in the national forest that was suspected to be baited with corn. The Wardens found fresh corn in the water and other evidence of baiting down a trail, including the tear-off top to a corn bag and spilled corn. The next day before daylight, wardens sat nearby listening for shots in the slough and not long after sunrise, hunters began shooting in the slough. The Wardens located two hunters who were approximately 20 yards from the corn in the water. After a short interview, the hunters admitted to hunting over bait and putting the corn out a few days before. Citations included place bait to attract, hunt over bait, possession of lead shot and some tagging violations for deer from earlier in the season. Five wood ducks were also seized and civil restitution for each duck is pending.

Nothing to Stand On An Orange County Game Warden was traveling along the Tony Housman Wildlife Management Area when he observed a vehicle driving along the right-of-way in the construction zone that appeared to have a shotgun on the dashboard. The warden was able to exit the interstate at the state line and make his way back along the right-of-way to investigate. As he approached the vehicle, he observed a male subject carrying a shotgun coming from the woods, which is a closed area of the Tony Housman WMA. During the contact, the subject claimed that he was hunting hogs and was looking for a stand that his friend had erected next to the interstate. The warden found the stand erected on the WMA property within just a few feet of the interstate. The subject was issued citations for no annual public hunting permit and no hunting license. Two wardens followed up with the friend who had illegally placed the stand in the WMA originally. That subject confessed to placing the stand in the closed area of the WMA and was issued

A McLennan County Game Warden was responding to a trespassing call from a landowner when the warden came upon the suspect stuck in the mud. The warden interviewed the suspect and discovered that they had also burglarized a vehicle while trespassing. The landowner identified the stolen property and it was returned. The suspect was arrested for burglary of a vehicle and criminal trespass.

an illegal dumping complaint at a local restaurant. The restaurant owner reported numerous rancid bags of trash, accompanied by a decaying white-tailed doe carcass missing only its backstraps, piled around their business and dumpster. Information regarding the individual’s identity was gathered and it matched an individual that the game warden was already investigating on unrelated hunting violations. The warden and local officers responded to the subject’s residence where he and fellow tenants advised they had deemed the spoiled doe inedible via damages from a vehicle vs. deer incident. An impromptu necropsy suggested otherwise, prompting a full confession of how the doe was shot out of season and allowed to waste. During that interview, an additional confession was also collected regarding the warden’s original hunting investigation. That individual confirmed the illegal harvest of two other bucks found with antlers entangled from sparring along a late-night roadway. Exhausted and struggling to flee danger, both deer were fatally stabbed by the individual. Civil restitution and multiple subjects were charged. Charges included: Hunt/Possess Deer from Public Roadway, Untagged Deer, Illegal Means and Methods, Waste of Game, Hunt During Closed Season, Exceed Bag Limit, No Archery Stamp, and No Harvest Log. Additional charges are pending investigation.

Mystery Machine A Harris county Game Warden received a call about an abandoned boat on the San Jacinto River. When the warden reached the stripped vessel, he ran the HIN to find the owner’s information. The owner, an individual in Alvin, TX, had no idea that his boat was missing. He had given the boat to his son, who kept it in a local storage unit. When the son was notified, he was surprised to find the boat was not located in its stall. The son then began to search social media platforms to look for the stolen boat’s motors, electronics and miscellaneous items. The warden worked with a local deputy to have the stolen boat entered into the Boat Registration Information and Titling System. The warden then received a call from the son, exclaiming that he had found the two 225 horsepower Yamaha motors for sale on Facebook Marketplace. The warden then called a Game Warden Sergeant and a Harris County Warden to assist in the identification and location of the two motors advertised for sale. The Wardens arrived at the location and identified the stolen motors and a center

Called Out A Travis County Warden received a call from a processor reporting a man with a deer intact (not gutted) and most likely spoiled. The individual stated to the processor, “I guess I’ll go dump this then.” The warden was unable to find a local address for the suspect but was able to call him while he was returning to Houston. The individual said his friend shot an eight-point buck the previous afternoon. The warden contacted the landowner, who shot the deer, and informed him he faced a waste of game charge for leaving the “ungutted” buck for over 24 hours in temperatures exceeding 70 degrees. The warden also made the landowner aware that the general season ended two weeks prior and the buck was taken illegally. The violator then responded with an expletive-laden statement indicating his guilt. The warden seized the antlers from a taxidermist. Charges and civil restitution pending.

Sticky Situation

A Washington County Warden received a call of a suspicious boat discovered by a realtor and landowner. A TX number was provided to Austin Dispatch where it was flagged as stolen. The warden made it to the scene and verified the HIN of the boat and VIN of the trailer. Both were confirmed stolen out of Harris County. Investigators from the Marine Theft Investigation Unit were contacted, the original owners were contacted, and the property is being returned. The investigation is ongoing.

Mistaken Identity A DeWitt County Game Warden received a complaint about a hunter suspected of taking a deer out of season. When the suspect was contacted, her husband’s tag was on the deer. The husband initially claimed to have shot the deer. After interviewing both individuals, it was determined that the initial subject had in fact shot the deer. It was not taken out of season, but it was taken without a license. When all was said and done, violations included hunting without a license, hunting under the license of another, allowing another to hunt under one’s license, no proof of sex, and no hunters education. The deer was seized and donated. Restitution is pending.


6

March 2021

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

Texas Crops

Commodity prices favorable for Texas row crop producers By Adam Russel

Texas A&M AgriLife

T

exas row crop producers might have the luxury of choosing between sorghum, corn and cotton as all three commodities are seeing high prices with the 2021 planting season underway, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Mark Welch, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension grain economist, Bryan-College Station, said farmers will have options in 2021 based on market prices but may make decisions based on soil moisture levels in their location, input costs, past yields and crop insurance protections. “This year is unusual in so many ways, but virtually every summer crop is looking at strong prices, and every commodity is looking to buy acres of cotton, corn, sorghum and soybeans,” Welch said. “Texas farmers know what works best for them, and it will be interesting to see what they actually plant because there is strong competition among the various row crops.” Grain sorghum acres have been strong historically in Texas, though acres have dipped in recent years due to better revenue for corn and cotton, he said. But sorghum’s current price premium compared to corn may reverse that trend and help it eclipse planted corn acres for the first time since 2015. Welch said high prices, low input costs, exceptional drought tolerance and strong export demand for feed grain from China make sorghum a more competitive option for Texas producers than seen in recent years. China’s tariff system increases import costs for corn and wheat when imports exceed certain levels. Sorghum and barley do not face the same tariff restrictions. This gives U.S. sorghum, which accounts for about 80% of global sorghum exports, an advantage in the market that consumes the

Texas A&M AgriLife photo

Grain sorghum could surpass corn in planted acres this year due to surging grain prices as the planting season ramps up around the state. sorghum prices have come, Welch said farmers were getting $3.40 per bushel for corn and sorghum was $2.95 per bushel, a 45-cent discount to corn, in early August. Sorghum also has an input cost advantage over corn and cotton, he said. Sorghum seed cost for planting can be much less than that of other crops and generally has lower use requirements for fertilizer and water. However, the 10-year average sorghum yield in Texas is about half that of corn, 57 bushels Row crop per acre compared to 128 competition bushels per acre. Welch said steady exports Another advantage of grain sorghum to China high-yielding crops like is a big part of its price corn and cotton have in surge. this current environment is crop insurance protection. Average cash prices Higher base prices this for sorghum are $6.40 spring combined with per bushel compared to relatively higher average $5.90 per bushel for corn, yields can provide higher giving sorghum a 50 cent levels of revenue protection per bushel cash premium compared to crops with over corn, he said. For perspective on how far lower average yields.

most food and feed grain globally, Welch said. China accounts for about 80% of global sorghum imports. “We have very little export competition,” he said. “So, when it comes to exports, you have basically one buyer and one seller, and that can be scary when tensions are high and you’re dealing with a trade dispute. But recent projections from U.S. Department of Agriculture support exporting consistent levels of sorghum to China for the next several years.”

In addition, for insurance products with a March 15 sales closing date, the base price for corn was $4.58 per bushel compared to $4.40 per bushel for sorghum. These may be important considerations for farmers facing persistent drought conditions that may extend into the 2021 crop year, he said. “I think we are going to see an increase in grain acres overall, and I think this is a year that we might see sorghum overtake corn in acres planted,” he said. “There are really high cotton prices as well, and we’ve seen that be the crop option preference for a lot of producers in recent years as cotton prices got hot and grain prices were not.”

What follows wheat? The condition of the Texas wheat crop will also play a role in the acres for corn, sorghum and cotton. For wheat

damaged by Winter Storm Uri, especially in areas experiencing increasingly dry conditions, producers could terminate wheat acres early, hope for rain and follow with corn, sorghum or cotton. “With these prices, there could be a lot of double cropping, which is taking wheat to grain, graze out or forage, and following with a summer crop, if there is time and moisture,” he said. “Sorghum is also a popular choice as a replant option in years in which cotton fields are lost to early season storms.” It’s still early, but Welch said he would not be surprised if the U.S. sorghum crop jumped from the 6 million acres planted in 2020 to 8 million acres this growing season when considering the various factors. Texas and Kansas account for the vast majority of sorghum acres. But heavy increases to supplies could negatively impact prices even if

demand remains strong. The USDA survey that provides preliminary estimates for crop acres comes out March 31 and might present a better picture of plantings. But Mother Nature could be a major factor with big swaths of grain producing areas in Texas and Kansas experiencing various levels of drought. “If there is a huge crop, sorghum will rely on exports to maintain the price premium to corn and there might be some reduction, but it looks like it will likely trade right alongside corn and overall strong grain prices,” he said. “We’ll have a better idea about crop potential if we see some good rain events at and after planting, and we’ll have a better idea about prices in June and early July when southern Texas sorghum is cut and enters the market.”

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March 2021

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East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

East Texas Stock Prices ANDERSON COUNTY LIVESTOCK Updated: 3/24/2021 Head Count: 215 Buyers: 40 Sellers: 42

STEERS

ATHENS COMMISSION COMPANY Updated: 3/26/2021 Head Count: 610 Sellers: 157

STEERS

Under 300lb

0.93

1.78

300-DOWN

0.85

2.25

300lb - 400lb

1.48

1.81

300lb - 400lb

0.80

2.05

400lb - 500lb

1.21

1.72

400lb - 500lb

0.80

1.85

500lb - 600lb

1.35

1.60

500lb - UP

0.70

1.70

600lb - 700lb

1.25

1.45

HEIFERS

700lb - 800lb

1.20

1.42

300-DOWN

0.80

2.10

300lb - 400lb

0.80

1.85

HEIFERS Under 300lb

1.33

1.87

400lb - 500lb

0.75

1.55

300lb - 400lb

0.94

1.41

500lb - UP

0.70

1.50

400lb - 500lb

1.14

1.51

SLAUGHTER

500lb - 600lb

1.18

1.37

600lb - 700lb

1.00

1.25

Cows

0.25

0.70

700lb - 800lb

1.00

1.15

Heavy Bulls

0.60

0.92

Cows

0.30

0.85

Bulls

0.50

0.98

PACKER

PAIRS

$1100

$1500

Low-Middle

$600

$1000

$1475

STOCKER COWS

0.55lb

1.10lb

Top

BRED COWS

$550hd

$1050hd

GOATS

$50hd

$300hd

GOAT/SHEEP

$55hd

$260hd

BABY CALVES

$75hd

$300hd

BABY CALVES

$120hd

$200hd

HORSES

$150hd

$800hd

Updated: 3/22/2021 Head Count: 560

200lb - 299lb

1.10

2.05

300lb - 399lb

1.10

1.99

400lb - 499lb

1.10

1.80

500lb - 599lb

1.10

1.73

600lb - 699lb

1.10

1.49

700lb - 899lb

1.10

1.37

HEIFERS

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UNDER 300lb

1.50

2.00

300lb - 400lb

1.40

2.02

400lb - 500lb

1.35

1.88

500lb - 600lb

1.20

1.76

600lb - 700lb

1.15

1.58

700lb - 800lb

1.10

1.42

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UNDER 300lb

1.25

1.40

300lb - 400lb

1.20

1.55

400lb - 500lb

1.20

1.54

HEIFERS

200lb - 299lb

1.10

1.65

300lb - 399lb

1.10

1.57

400lb - 499lb

1.10

1.87

500lb - 600lb

1.10

1.50

500lb - 599lb

1.10

1.43

600lb - 700lb

1.05

1.35

600lb - 699lb

1.10

1.33

700lb - 800lb

1.05

1.30

700lb - 899lb

1.10

1.17

SLAUGHTER

SLAUGHTER

Cows

0.70 0.92

Cows

0.26

0.64

Heavy Bulls

Bulls

0.67

0.89

PAIRS

PAIRS

$800

$1,420

BABY CALVES

$1,320hd

STOCKER COWS

NA

LOW-MIDDLE

GOATS

LX2610SUHSD

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STEERS

STEERS

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*© Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2021. $0 Down, 0% APR financing for up to 84 months available on purchases of new Kubota BX, L, and LX Series equipment from participating dealers’ in-stock inventory is available to qualified purchasers through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A.; subject to credit approval. Example: 84 monthly payments of $11.90 per $1,000 financed. Customer instant rebates of $700 are available on qualifying finance or $1,200 on cash purchases of L01 series equipment. Additional instant rebate of $500 is available with purchase of one new qualifying implement. Some exceptions apply. Offers expire 6/30/21. Terms subject to change. This material is for descriptive purposes only. Kubota disclaims all representations and warranties, express or implied, or any liability from the use of this material. For complete warranty, disclaimer, safety, incentive offer and product information, consult your Dealer or KubotaUSA.com. † For complete warranty, safety and product information, consult your local Kubota dealer and the product operator’s manual. Power (HP/KW) and other specifications are based on various standards or recommended practices. K1161-04-145435-3

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300-DOWN

1.60

1.90

305lb - 400lb

1.48

1.89

405lb - 500lb

1.40

1.86

505lb - 600lb

1.32

1.66

605lb - 800lb

1.28

1.59

300-DOWN

1.25

1.75

305lb - 400lb

1.21

1.57

405lb - 500lb

1.18

1.51

505lb - 600lb

1.12

1.42

605lb - 800lb

1.09

1.31

Sales

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HEIFERS

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SLAUGHTER Cows

0.43

0.67

Bulls

0.81

0.95

PAIRS

$790

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BRED COWS

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8

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living

Support Agriculture Businesses... They are the Heartbeat of Our Economy

March 2021

Supply and Demand

Texas lamb and goat markets remain hot in niche market Special Report

T

exas lamb and goat meat producers continue to command high prices in a niche market driven by high demand and low supplies, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist and interim director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, San Angelo, said the Texas lamb and goat markets have thrived despite COVID-19 and that travel restrictions likely helped spur demand higher. “The lamb and goat markets are in another world as it relates to market conditions most Texas ag producers have been dealing with,” he said. “The market for Texas lambs and goats is diverse, resilient Texas A&M AgriLife photo and growing. It avoided Lambing and kidding season has begun as the market for goat and lamb continues to ride a wave of high prices due to supply chain bottleneck issues other livestock steady demand and limited supplies. markets dealt with, and I think the COVID across the state and coming in, prices took sold directly to consumers demand,” he said. “The meet the growing demand. restrictions kept the country. While lambs off and have continued to or harvested by ethnic prices reflect that. ” As such, imports have very regular consumers home, climb,” Redden said. “There are more adaptable processors and distributed little impact on domestic which means more family to other production just aren’t enough goats to to ethnic grocers and goat prices. Goat prices functions to eat lamb and conditions, western parts meet demands.” butcher shops. These goat meat.” “You see people strong, getting of Texas are ideal for goat non-traditional markets Redden said it was with a few hobby goats stronger production due to browse demand smaller, leaner Lambs in high noteworthy that even the here and there, but the Goat prices continued lambs and pay a premium cull nanny market was very requirements and low major producers who demand to experience a price for them. strong, meaning buyers are internal parasite load. are experienced with Texas producers trajectory similar to lamb, About 40% of U.S. goat willing to pay top dollar “The market has been the infrastructure and continue to command top Redden said. production is located in for less desirable goats. strong for some time now, know-how to handle a prices as they supply a “The kid goat market is West Central and West They were selling at $2.20 but prices continue to commercial goat herd niche market around the even brighter than lambs,” Texas, Redden said. About per pound in February, 85 trend upward,” he said. are generally located in U.S., Redden said. he said. “The goat market 30% of goats consumed cents per pound above the Texas,” he said. “There’s In January, the base price Prices reflecting has been on fire the last in the U.S. comes from five-year February average interest in goat production for 60-pound lightweight several years and getting imports. Australia has for 100-pound nanny goats because prices have been demand slaughter lambs was $3 better and better. Producers of $1.35 per pound. been a major player in the so good, but they are a lot Lamb production is per pound, up 70 cents per don’t understand it, but import market, but their of work, and I don’t predict Redden said goats, limited in the U.S. because pound from this time last they’re just riding the wave like Texas lambs, are in goats are primarily feral large increases in goat very few regions have year, he said. Those lambs as far as it will go.” herds, and they aren’t able production outside the high demand in major climates and production are selling $1 per pound to increase production to state.” Unlike Texas’ lamb population centers conditions that sheep over the five-year rolling market, goats have never perform well in compared average. been part of the traditional to other livestock. Overall, consumer meat production apparatus, Redden said Western demand for lamb has Reid said. There are no parts of Texas are expanded in recent years. big processing plants or ecologically perfect But Redden said Texas packers, and production for sheep. Native plant lambs have commanded feeds non-traditional, species include many premium prices through primarily ethnic demand. the non-traditional market varieties of browse that From January and compared to the traditional sheep find palatable, February, goat prices and the arid conditions market for restaurants or fluctuated between make controlling internal retail sale. $3.50-$3.80 per pound parasites easier. The traditional feeder compared to a five-year A significant piece market, which prefers average of $2.50-$2.75 for of the traditional U.S. larger framed, wool-type the same time of season. lamb market is supplied lambs fed to 140-180 January-March is typically by imports and they are pounds, and mimics the when prices are the best. one-third to half the cost beef industry as far as Kidding season is just now of domestic lamb, but processing and logistics, is getting started and most imported lamb do not not as common in Texas market goats are sold in the appear to have as large an as it used to be, he said. summer and fall. effect on the ethnic market The vast majority of Texas Goats are lighter, slowersupplied by Texas lambs lambs are smaller-framed growing animals compared and goats, he said. hair sheep that typically to sheep, Redden said. weigh 40-80 pounds – and Many consumers want Market kid goats tend to go to ethnic consumers. lambs at 40-60 pounds, be lighter than lambs – but producers are realizing Prices for Texas lambs typically averaging 35-65 better margins at 60-80 are driven primarily pounds – but are achieving pounds, Redden said. by the demand from comparable prices per head These market conditions nontraditional ethnic due to higher prices. Some factor into maintaining and goats have brought over $4 consumers, who are inflating strong prices as concentrated in major per pound at market. populations centers around buyers jockey for specific “There was one down weight and class lambs. the state and nation, week last year when buyers Redden said. “It’s a specialty market, were worried about the and it’s become harder and COVID-19 pandemic, but Lambs are shipped live to the markets where they are harder for supplies to meet as soon as the orders kept

Profile for Herald Press

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living March 2021  

A special supplement to the Palestine Herald-Press focusing on Farm and Ranch Living in East Texas.

East Texas Farm & Ranch Living March 2021  

A special supplement to the Palestine Herald-Press focusing on Farm and Ranch Living in East Texas.

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