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Pecan Crop

first_imgUniversity of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells fears Georgia’s pecan crop will fail to meet initial production projections by as much as 20 million pounds.Instead of the 110 to 120 million pounds projected more than a month ago at the start of the harvest season, Georgia is now expected to produce between 90 and 100 million pounds of pecans, said Wells.Wells’ forecast comes on the heels of the start of the pecan harvest, when weather conditions were less than ideal. Georgia producers prefer cooler temperatures and drier weather, which help to preserve the crop for as long as possible on the tree. This fall’s warmer temperatures combined with recent rain showers led to a deterioration in the quality of this year’s Georgia pecans.“We’re starting to see some quality issues to the point that the percent of the kernel (that’s filled) is running a little bit low, lower than normal. The size of the pecans is good, but to some extent that could be part of the problem. Any time you have a large nut size with a heavy crop load on the tree, it’s hard for the tree to fill those kernels, even under the best conditions,” Wells said.The average pecan typically has 50 percent of its kernel filled. The Desirable variety—Georgia’s most widely grown pecan variety—usually has as much as 53 percent of its kernel filled, but has dropped to 47 percent this year in many orchards, Wells said.The UGA Extension expert blames cloudy weather toward the end of September for the reduced kernel fill.“Any time we get extended periods of cloudy weather during kernel-filling time, that can cause some problems for us and make it harder for that tree to fill the nuts out,” Wells said. “I think that’s a lot of the problem we’re seeing with the quality being lower than we’d like to see.”Wells said unseasonably warmer temperatures this fall—above 80 degrees Fahrenheit during October and November—followed by heavy rainfall also led to sprouting, or premature germination, in the Stuart variety. Sprouting is germination of the seed while it is still on the tree.“If you see a lot of the Stuart variety in the trees that have not opened up yet, a lot of times those nuts may have already sprouted,” Wells said. “The pecan itself is a seed. When you have high moisture conditions and warm temperatures, it will stimulate that nut to germinate and sprout.” In addition to weather-related problems, Georgia pecan growers fought late-season aphids and spider mites in September. Producers had to apply additional spray applications to preserve their crop, he said.“If you’ve got that much pressure, even if they’re spraying them, that creates a lot of stress on the tree,” Wells said.Wells recommends growers shake the trees and harvest the nuts as soon as weather conditions allow. For the latest on Georgia’s pecan crop and UGA Extension pecan research, follow Wells’ blog at blog.extension.uga.edu.last_img read more

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Denmark’s first public monument to a black woman is Caribbean-made

first_imgJeannette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle A Caribbean-born artist has made history in Denmark by collaborating to create the country’s first public monument to a black woman. Tobago-born, St. Croix-based artist, La Vaughn Belle, collaborated with Copenhagen-based Jeannette Ehlers, to create “I Am Queen Mary,” a statue unveiled in Copenhagen on March 31st.Tribute to freedom fighterThe memorial is a tribute to Mary Thomas, a 19th-century freedom fighter, who led a major uprising on St. Croix, one of the Virgin Islands that was then part of the Danish West Indies. The unveiling marked 101 years since Transfer Day, when Denmark sold St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John to the United States for $25 million. The statue is painted entirely black and rises nearly 23 feet on a hefty pedestal. Thomas is shown seated in a position of power and government. Fireburn labor revoltThomas was an important leader of the ‘Fireburn’ labor revolt on St. Croix. The Fireburn began on October 1, 1878 as an uprising against the contractual servitude that continued to bind workers to the plantation system after the 1848 abolition of slavery in the former Danish West Indies.The insurrection was for better working and living conditions and involved burning down most of Frederiksted town as well as sugar cane fields on a great number of St. Croix’s plantations. Along with Mary Thomas, the three women – Axeline ‘Agnes’ Elizabeth Salomon, Matilde McBean and Susanna ‘Bottom Belly’ Abrahamsson – led the largest labor revolt in Danish colonial history. They were arrested and sent to Denmark in 1882 to serve prison sentences in Christianshavn’s Women’s Prison. Their sentences were later commuted, and they were returned to St. Croix and venerated in U.S. Virgin Islands cultural mythology as the Queens of the Fireburn. There are folksongs dedicated to ‘Queen Mary’ and a highway named in her honor. The European country never fully acknowledged its colonialist past in the Caribbean; although the Danish government recognizes Denmark’s wrongful role in the slave trade, it has never formally apologized for it.Also has Bajan rootsThe statue’s creator, Belle, whose roots also extend to Barbados, also teaches at the University of the Virgin Islands. She own a few businesses – a Latin dance studio, House of Clave, and a guesthouse, Trumpetbush Manor – with her husband, Rivert Diaz. She moved to St. Croix at age 7. Her work borrows from elements of architecture, literature, history, archeology and social protest to create narratives that challenge the colonial process. She is best known for her work reinterpreting the material artifacts of colonialism and uses her work to create a form of alternative archive that challenges the colonial narrative. For more on her work see www.lavaughnbelle.comlast_img read more

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